Are KCDC Councillors ‘Reds In The Bed’ of Power?

In an Op-Ed piece, Christopher Ruthe says there’s too much Council decision-making behind closed walls.

Kapit Coast District Council HQ —
or is it the Kapiti Kremlin?

‘Our Council considers it was elected to make its decision behind closed walls, he says.

‘This may be due to a Labour majority elected in the last elections.

Councillor Rob McCann was the only one to come out honestly and identify himself.

Labour’s Rob McCann
( note red tie)

Briefings’ for Councillors

Under the new regime the Council regularly meets in “Briefings”.

These are so secret the Mayor writes emails to castigate Councillors who raise in public anything that is discussed in ‘Briefings.’

Guru gnashing his teeth

The latest example is his public admonishment of one Councillor and a Community Board member for daring to ask whether spending millions on a Gateway to Kapiti Island is a priority.’

( Editor: “I understand the targets of Guru’s ire were two so-called neo-colonialists, Messrs Burns and Randall)

Note that the Standing Orders of Council require briefings to be recorded…but presumably their in house legal advice is to ensure they are not made public…I wonder why?

The point being councillor briefings and workshops are not recorded and therefore not available to the public, who are excluded from them ever since Jenny Rowan’s time.

I recall in a previous triennium asking councillors in my 3 minutes of public speaking time about the council’s pensioner housing and some refused to answer and one notable councilor accused me of being undemocratic!!!!!!!

Do not think the lack of openess, transparency and accountability is related to any particular political persuasion.
I think it was Jenny Rowan that first excluded the public from briefings and that has continued through different administrations regardless of political hue,.

It would be good to know whether the lack of openess is legally allowable under the Public Records Act 2005.

With the portfolio system there is even less opportunity for accountability as ratepayers have no idea what portfolio holders are up to or whether they are actually doing their job, as there is no requirement for reporting or recording or even basic remit for what they are supposed to do or what outcomes are required for their additional payment of either $14K or $9K.
Staff and councillors must relish this approach as they don’t get asked as many questions.

A recent DomPost article by Dave Armstrong made the point that Labour is only slightly left of centre and has many policies and views similar to National.

Can we expect a MacCarthy type witch hunt?
Would Christopher Ruthe be able to differentiate a communist if he met one? I certainly would not characterise Jacinda Arden as a communist, far from it. Smacks of Trumpism to me.

There is a belief by a few of the councillors that briefing are confidential, which they are not. However, common sense is required about telling the public that options and possibilities being considered are firm proposals before that stage has been reached. I love the “Kapiti Kremlin” name!


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