Editor Refuses Cr Elliott’s Call To Censor Stories On Book Budget Cuts

The Kapiti and Coast Independent stands by its stories on the massive cuts to the Libraries books and material budget.

Alan Tristram,

Your letter makes various demands we cannot, and will not, accede to.

We emphasise that this is not Communist China, where politicians have the power to clamp down on the press.

We are happy to print a full article (500 words max) by yourself defending your position as a member of the Council which made the cuts; and look forward to receiving this.

We ask you to provide evidence that:

  1. You opposed these cuts when they went through the Annual Plan process.
  2. Alerted the public to the fact that such swingeing cuts were about to be made.
  3. Invited members of the public, and Friends of the Libraries, to make submissions on these vital matters.
  4. Made any attempt to move a motion cancelling the cuts.
  5. Tried to enlist the support of other councillors, and the Mayor, to oppose the cuts.
  6. You oppose in principle the idea that the reading public should suffer to provide money for Waikanae Library repairs or replacement.

Sincerely yours,

Alan Tristram, Editor

I think it would be safe to say that all present councillors and the mayor are watching this situation unfold on Kapiti’s most fearless news publication. You notice how all of them apart from one have the brains to not try and defend the indefensible. Better to say nothing than get more deeply stuck in the political mire.

This library thing stupidly enough has become the defining issue of this election. The fact that most of those who’s fault it is are being very silent screams out more than any words could.

I’m hoping that our representatives and those who want to join them have the courage to answer the three questions I have put in today’s issue (9 September 2019). If they lack that courage to truthfully answer them then this also reveals how lacking they are.

One final point: A candidate for the mayoralty this time around has in his poster blurb the words – “Fresh Leadership”. Personally I’m sick to death of those who would believe we the voter want leadership. That word has been misused since the cave. We want and clearly need a well functioning democracy which Kapiti has never seen. The future is not voted for power crazies telling us what we will have but being asked and listened to to divine what should be done. This is why the questions being asked today have importance. However they are answered (if they are), we the voters will be able to go back and see what those answers were to able to gauge whether the candidates have kept their word to the public…

Councillor Elliott indulges in alternative facts a la Trump.A glaring example is her false claims.
[1] that 20,000 new books are in storage,
[2] they are unable to be displayed due to lack of shelf space.

First, in a response to an OIA KCDC advised 25,000 books are in storage as a result of the Waikanae library closure. No new purchases !!
Secondly, it is correct that due to the Councillors failing to make the bureaucrats accountable has resulted in books having to be storied. However it is an affront to ratepayers intelligence for Councillor Elliott justifying her vote to reduce book purchases for the reasons she has given. The storage is a direct result of her , Mayor Gurunathan, of whom she is a strident supporter failure, for 6 years, to raise the matter of bad maitenance of the library.
The councillor expects to be a winner in the elections based on her record. She may well be right. Voters may like having councillors who act as Elliott does.

recind is spelled rescind: revoke, cancel, or repeal (a law, order, or agreement).
“the government eventually rescinded the directive”

There’s also no full stop between words in the same sentence.

Dear Salima, I am not sure what you are referring to, unless it was a discussion a few months ago about the council management constantly reminding the council table they do not have to answer questions of an operational nature?
But we are now discussing the re-allocated portions of the libraries budget.
Alan has asked me a number of questions to which I have duly responded including evidential material that I have tried three times to bring this issue back in front of the council for a vote to recind and reallocate funding. But in hindsight I do have to thank you for yet another opportunity to remind readers that I have done so. As a councillor. I am most happy to have assisted in bringing a suitable resolution here for book lovers.

Hi Alan,
I find this discussion quite interesting. Councillor Elliott has also asserted that staff are denying her certain information regarding Council finances, in particular operational expenditure vs capital expenditure. However, Council staff have said they have no record of Councillor Elliott making any such requests for information. I sent her the letter from Council staff and asked if she could confirm the accuracy or produce records that would indicate that she had indeed made requests inquiring about Council finances. Councillor Elliott wrote me that she had no records. If anything, this just proves how dysfunctional Council has become. Kapiti constituents must be astute in their election votes this year, such behaviour can not continue.

” Knowing the ‘Why” goes a long way to understanding a decsion”. The decision was made because this and previous councils did not fix the ongoing problem of a leaky Waikanae library which they have thoughtlessly tried to dump in the lap of library users. That is the only reason why we are where we are today. The council do not seem to want to acknowledge this stark fact. Instead of defrauding library users they should have acquired the funds needed from one of their pet projects because it is their fault not ours. This also they do not seem to want to do. Whatever happens we the public are paying for it but these people are turning out to be rather in transient about the whole affair. If politicians wish to upset a possible 48% of ratepayers just before an election then I can only admire either their courage, stupidity or both. Let us also not forget that the original cuts were not public-ally notified as some would have us believe.

Hi there Alan, Thank you for the opportunity tio explain how I have tried to have council recind the budget cut and reallocate other funds. I have sent the emails through to you as requested, I really hope that going forward we can wiork together with better communication to avoid unnecessary angst .and am deeply sorry that so many people have been upset.

Mr Editor,
I have already responded to most of your questions in my previous comments. Except number 3.
I acknowledge ‘Friends of the Library ‘ as an interest group were told about budget cuts in a manner and time that councillors were completerly unaware of, and had we been advised of a pending announcement were going to ensure the group were aware why 50% of this years libraries budget was being re – allocated to cover the cost of the urgent set up the Pop-up Library and service centre in Waikanae to maintain library services without borrowing money. Knowing the ‘Why” goes a long way to understanding a decsion. I have already asked council to discuss with the group, the possibility of haviong an elected member representative on the group to ensure smoother communication without this sort of completely avoidable angst in the future.


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