Don’t throw out babies with AAP bathwater

Most people don’t really like the Alternative Approval Process, including many politicians serving on local governments.

Most people don’t really like the Alternative Approval Process, including many politicians serving on local governments.

But we urge people to think long and hard before totally throwing the baby out with the bathwater with the current AAPs before the public.

These are important items to consider on their own, apart from whatever distaste you may feel towards AAPs in general.

Things like the future of flood management in the Valley deserve more than to be dismissed out of hand because you don’t like AAPs.

The Alternative Approval Process is far from a perfect system. It requires 10 per cent of electors to fill out forms and turn them in to the local government to defeat immediate approval of the expenditure. The item may still go ahead if the local government then goes to referendum on the question and gets a majority.

Given the general apathy of the voting public towards local government most of the time (just look at the pathetic municipal voting numbers), it can be difficult to reach that 10 per cent threshold. It usually takes a fairly coordinated effort by an individual or group actively soliciting “no” from an area’s voters.

But it’s not fair to blame our local Valley governments for the AAP process. They didn’t think it up. It is the process they are supposed to use. And in some ways, in using it, they are responding directly to the voters who complain about local governments wasting money.

Because for all its faults, the AAP costs a fraction of what a referendum costs, yet still give voters some kind of voice.

We’ve never been fans of the idea that every decision should be put before the public in a referendum vote. It’s a cumbersome, expensive and time-consuming notion.

And voter apathy is an equal problem in using referenda as a measure of public support.

We elect people for a reason: to make decisions for our communities. If we were making all the decisions by constant voting it would be a council of thousands and totally unworkable.

It’s not a simple equation. But let’s not cut off our noses to spite our face.

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