Taking a sabbatical from writing  about things he sees while out walking such as fluffy dogs, pesky kids having fun at the river and rose gardens, Cr. Gary Caffell decided to publish the following on his MM page:

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People may well say to him they didn’t know XYZ event was on, but they are just paying him lip service and are being wholly disingenuous. Quite frankly it worries me that so little is required to ignite the flames of desire for new public works in his dear old belly.

Lets just consider a few things first. You’ll have to excuse my jumping around but I do believe i’ll make my point.

The tears and sorrow were overwhelming when it was discovered King Street Live was closing down. King Street Live, the venue loved not just by the punters, but especially by the musicians.   Between the then owners and  local music promoters- we saw the very best in music that NZ had to offer come to visit, as well as class act international bands, poetry readings from some greats, and a regularly used venue for local musicians and students of music to use.

I mean, for goodness sake, you’d see top class acts touring internationally share their flyers online  with the locations at the bottom listing : AUCKAND, WELLINGTON. MASTERTON. CHRISTCHURCH. DUNEDIN. When do you ever see that!? It was an incredible asset to the town that not quite enough people took advantage of.

The utility to the town that all this afforded I will leave to the reader to ponder, but for me it was simply a great venue which offered an entertaining night out away from the brawling and banality that one might have found at the Hound or Joxers.

Still, it was forced to close it’s doors because the ROI wasn’t acceptable to the owners. Fair enough. It was a private business. Undeniably, the problem was locals didn’t turn out in sufficient numbers. The same locals  crying crocodile tears over its closure and virtue signalling. Yet council also played a role in its demise… Which I can’t quite blame them for… they all but have their hands tied with the vocal Aratoi lobby group who are very defensive of their current 90% share of MDC’s arts and culture budget. But I digress with that inconvenient truth..

..where this connects to Caffell’s post  are the lame excuses people used once they heard the news, invariably something along these lines:

“I didn’t know what was on, oh what a shame, I would have supported it more if only I knew.”

Bull-effing-shit.

All events in the Wairarapa are:

  1. Listed in both the local papers weekly under what is on.
  2. Major events are advertised in the Dom.
  3. Feature on Wairarapa TV regularly.
  4. Facebook events are created and shared.
  5. Posters are put up around most cafes and high foot traffic areas.
  6. The events themselves will have a dedicated website with details and/or are listed on well known event notification websites.

If people can’t be arsed finding out what is on from all that then a big eff off sign in town isn’t going to help, Gazza!  The fact is, these people who complained to our dear Gary simply can’t be bothered going out, or are too cheap to chuck $20 or so down for a few hours of entertainment.

The desire to go out is not very strong in this area. The locals you’ll more likely see out and about here are the expats who’ve arrived from larger centres in the recent past.  People driving over from Wellington are also integral  to the success of most of our  weekender events. People from the city love going out and do so regularly without the help of a big council built noticeboard in the middle of Courtney Place.

It is a lost cause Gary. Don’t bother with the locals- particularly the ones who throw the aforementioned excuse your way. But to follow is some food for thought on something council could actually help with to make the place more vibrant and reclaim some ground lost to the humming wee towns just down the road:

Forget the minutiae (yet expensive) details that council consistently tangles itself up in. Need some help with that one? Think the $93,000 (page 71) in part that has been spent on those god-awful nonsense billboards plastered around town like bloody Maoist propaganda posters. You know the ones:

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The best thing council could do for this town is to see about improving the rail connection, in addition to their current effort to attract people and business.

If the three councils could miraculously cooperate and lobby government for help in this area many more people would move here. As we see in South Wairarapa, action and cultural growth comes about organically from that. It can only ever come from that. Everything else is futile. Change comes from more people with new attitudes and habits. South Wairarapa has successful events coming out the wazoo. Masterton does not.

Shave 20 minutes off the commute time to Masterton from Wellington and increase service frequency and watch what happens. This can be achieved through express services and electrification to Featherston. This will not be cheap. But I would argue that with national election outcomes often coming down to one or two seats in the house, MMP has delivered excellent opportunities for electorates such as ours to play king maker and extract delightfully unfair advantage from the situation. Our local governments should be taking advantage of this under appreciated fact.

I would like to offer some empirical evidence to back up this theory right now, but I will have to wait for the report due out in the next couple of months from GWRC.  Councillors will be getting copies of this no doubt- let’s hope they pay as much attention to that as they do the nitwits blaming lack of information as an excuse to sit on their arses at home.

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