- Date published:
10:18 am, August 21st, 2016 - 22 comments
Categories: business, community democracy, local body elections, public transport, Unions, water - Tags: bertie ratu, Jobs That Count, meatworkers union
So often we lose sight of the fact that local government is about much, much more than rates.
It’s about the water that comes out of the tap – and whether it’s contaminated with campylobacter. It’s about the kinds of houses that get built in your neighbourhood – and whether they’re warm, dry and watertight. It’s about public transport and road networks that mean you can get from A to B easily, whether B is your work, the local library, your kids’ school or your marae.
It’s about building the kind of community you want – whether that’s about urban development, or how to ensure the voice of Māori is heard at the top table. It’s dog laws, liquor licensing, noise control.
It’s the bits of life that aren’t work: the parks and community centres and libraries, theatre projects, providing public spaces for markets and festivals.
It’s how we care for each other: social housing, night shelters, funding vital social services like women’s refuges and food banks.
And it’s about work: about the businesses and employers who operate in our communities: how they treat local people and the environment, and making them pay their way.
Far too many big companies think they rule the roost in our towns. They get discounted rates while local residents are expected to pay more and more, they discharge their wastewater into our rivers, and they threaten to pull up stakes and take our jobs away every time they get a single whiff of regulation.
That’s why we’ve started a Jobs That Count local government campaign – it’s started with running candidates in towns that have AFFCO plants – including the wonderful, strong AFFCO delegate Bertie Ratu – as a powerful way to hold Talleys AFFCO to account for the mistreatment of people who work for them, and for the environmental harm they are doing.
But we’re not stopping there. Across the country there are people running for their local boards and councils who know that local government makes the decisions that matter for their communities. And all of us can stand together and make our votes count – for local government leadership that really represents the people. We want other candidates who believe in jobs that count and real local democracy to get on board with this campaign too. It’s well past time for taking back control of our communities and I want others to join us in this.
That means getting involved. Turnout for the local body elections in 2013 was just 41%. In many areas, just a couple of hundred votes one way or another determines who gets onto councils or local boards – many wards go uncontested. With a united campaign across the whole country, we can work together to get good people elected – people who believe in Jobs That Count.
If you want to get involved, or just stay informed about our campaigns, can sign up at www.together.org.nz/our_democracy.
Note: Helen’s flying out to Cuba today for treatment, so won’t be available to comment here.