And in the midst of all that, some of the biggest changes local government has faced since 1989 were thrown onto the table.
Mooted while all eyes were cast elsewhere, the Three Waters Proposal was meet with a response that pitted local government against central government. Whichever way you looked at the proposal, local self-determination was to be further eroded and local representation spread even more thinly than snow on a Northland beach.
Other policies too saw the sweeping cape of central government thrown over the activities of local government. Some would say unnecessary overreach; the big cats getting the little cats to implement some undesirable national policies and practices on the local front. Mayors and councillors became front-line fodder as they addressed policies around Significant Natural Areas that impacted private property rights, cultural heritage and our agricultural industry.
It has always been the heart of local Councils to serve their local communities – the people, the people, the people. This last year has seen that heart sorely tested; but the heart has not been found wanting! So this Christmas time, a candle lit in honour and in appreciation of the efforts and hard work of our local Councils – elected representatives and staff – might be the very least Central Government could do.
In the meantime, a big, heart-felt thanks to you all from our small team at Dry Crust.