Sir Geoffrey Palmer is no fool. The former Prime Minister won't need telling the importance of a report he and three other "notables" are to release in a few days' time.
Back in May Sir Geoffrey, former Wellington city and regional councillor Sue Driver, Treaty of Waitangi expert Sir Wira Gardiner and NZ Transport Agency director Bryan Jackson were assigned the task of recommending a possible new structure for local government in the Wellington region, which includes Wairarapa.
Greater Wellington Regional Council and Porirua City Council were the prime movers behind the establishment of this "review panel" but their findings are sure to attract keen debate from a much wider audience than that.
Nobody could ever accuse Sir Geoffrey and his three cohorts of not taking their job seriously. They have held meetings all over Wellington, Hutt Valley, Kapiti and Wairarapa regions where they have provided an opportunity for community leaders to express their views on the shape any kind of reform should take.
In Wairarapa the main interest will centre on how the panel see this area fitting into the scheme of things.
They have been made well aware of moves being made to amalgamate the Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa councils, but whether they will go as far to suggest whether that should happen and, if so, what it should look like remains to be seen.
It must be emphasised, however, that it won't be Sir Geoffrey and company who will make the final decisions on what, if anything, occurs here.
Any recommendations they may make will be just that, recommendations, because in the end it is the ratepayers who will play the biggest part in what direction we will head.
And that is exactly why the Palmer report needs to be carefully digested, not only by those who happen to be sitting around various council tables but by the general populace as well, a situation which could be helped immensely by the staging of forums/workshops at which it could be the centre of attention.
After all an informed public is always likely to make better decisions, isn't it?
Gary Caffell is a Masterton district councillor.