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The DCC Draft Annual Plan: A Call To Arms for Democracy in Dunedin

By   /  March 26, 2014  /  Aaron Hawkins, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  4 Comments

Last year Council only got 262 submissions. Fewer than half a percent of people in this city were able, and willing to share their opinion by taking part in the Annual Plan process. To me, that’s a sign that our local democracy is sick, and we all need to work together to try and fix it.

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The oil free future is needed now

By   /  January 14, 2014  /  Aaron Hawkins, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  6 Comments

This past Saturday in Dunedin, as part of Oil Free Otago’s ‘Oil Free Future Summit’, more than 200 concerned citizens gathered raise red flags about the continued expansion of extraction, and discuss alternatives that can buy us some time on this beautiful planet. Among us were Professors and academics (of physics, economics and social geography), artists, activists and policy makers (local and national).

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“What If Our Government Tried To Guide Democracy, Rather Than Dictate To It?” And Other Rhetorical Remarks

By   /  November 27, 2013  /  Aaron Hawkins, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  6 Comments

Winning the election is one thing, doing the governing is another completely.

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My question is to all MPs & asks: Is there something wrong with your inside voice?

By   /  November 12, 2013  /  Aaron Hawkins, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  5 Comments

Our two largest and oldest parties spend the entire time plodding through their well-rehearsed parochial barrage, yelling over the top of each other and applauding wildly whenever they think their boss has told a funny. Each caucus is as bad as the other, and it is a funny kind of conundrum seeing people you respect personally and professionally make you start to question all of that all at once

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An Eternal Week In The Classic Mould

By   /  October 22, 2013  /  Aaron Hawkins, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  1 Comment

It is an odd feeling being not quite a constituent and not quite a representative, treading more diplomatic lines than your humble narrator is used to while the incoming Council (new and returning) wait to get their feet under the desk

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One Ward To Rule Them All?

By   /  October 15, 2013  /  Aaron Hawkins, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  5 Comments

The bigger a ward becomes, the more difficult it is for candidates to connect with the voters whose support they need to make it to the Council table. There are two ways of doing this: having the free time and physical capacity to individually visit every household in the city (impossible if you have mobility issues, say, or a 9-5 job), or invest enough in advertising to get your message out that way.

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Notes From The Hustings, or, “So … how’s the campaign going?”

By   /  October 9, 2013  /  Aaron Hawkins, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  6 Comments

For at least seven or eight months prior, I’d been working my way through the democratic rigor of our official nomination process, selected by consensus by members of our local branch and vetted at a national level.

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Dunedin Mayoral Hopefuls Do The (Climate) Denial Twist

By   /  September 18, 2013  /  Aaron Hawkins, Deconstructing Headlines, Most Recent Blogs  /  20 Comments

I’m aware that there are still people in denial about man made climate change, and as such the urgent need to change our energy habits to slow it down to safer levels.

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In The Lion’s Den: A Greenie Goes To The Chamber Of Commerce

By   /  September 12, 2013  /  Aaron Hawkins, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  3 Comments

Community concerns about stray cats are important, but so are ideas around greater regional co-operation and Council priorities. To that end, here are my responses in full to the discussion questions we were originally set.

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Everyone But The Mayor (Has An Opinion On Oil & Gas)

By   /  September 3, 2013  /  Aaron Hawkins, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  1 Comment

Seeing as we’ve already dug out more than four times the carbon we can safely burn without boiling the planet, everything that gets pulled out of the Canterbury Basin takes us further from halting the disastrous effects that will cause.

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How the Ranfurly Shield can be good for this October’s Election

By   /  August 28, 2013  /  Aaron Hawkins, Deconstructing Headlines, Most Recent Blogs  /  Comments Off on How the Ranfurly Shield can be good for this October’s Election

“aiming high and falling short beats treading water and clinging on for survival every day.”

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The DCC’s Two-Tier Method is Killing Consulation

By   /  August 21, 2013  /  Aaron Hawkins, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  1 Comment

“Stand Up, Otago!”

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Time to lift the bar on housing standards in the frozen South

By   /  August 14, 2013  /  Aaron Hawkins, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  Comments Off on Time to lift the bar on housing standards in the frozen South

There are things we can all do to help lift the bar on housing standards in one of the coldest cities in the country. Now we just leadership from our elected leaders to make the best use of what we have to make it happen.

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So Your Public Transport Sucks Eh, Auckland? Swapsies?

By   /  August 6, 2013  /  Aaron Hawkins, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  Comments Off on So Your Public Transport Sucks Eh, Auckland? Swapsies?

Here in Dunedin, one of our main downtown bus stands hasn’t had a visible timetable for months in any form. The printed version of the timetable is a design nightmare. It is not uncommon before 7am to see three empty buses in convoy around the University Campus.

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How Art Can Be The Antidote To Downtown Doledrums

By   /  July 30, 2013  /  Aaron Hawkins, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  Comments Off on How Art Can Be The Antidote To Downtown Doledrums

When times are tight, it always seems to be tempting for those in charge of the public purse to relegate art, culture and heritage to Luxury Status. It is a Nice To Have, but doesn’t quite cut it for those lobbying for a focus on Core Business or a Back To Basics Approach.

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More Spying Equals Less Community Engagement

By   /  July 29, 2013  /  Aaron Hawkins, Deconstructing Headlines, Most Recent Blogs  /  1 Comment

Every cliché Cheech & Chong paranoid conspiracy about the government watching your every move had come true. The crazy hippies were right!

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