Guy Burns Calls On KCDC To Reverse Its Book Cuts

Guy Burns, Community Board representative and Councillor candidate, is calling forKāpiti Coast District Council to reverse its decision to slash the new book budget by 50 percent.

Guy Burns

“I’ve been talking to locals, and they are fuming and upset because the book budget has been slashed. Kapiti has the highest library membership of any NZ borough.

“Books are a source of joy and wellbeing for all ages and peoples. Most ratepayers don’t seem to mind some their rates money being spent on Libraries; especially new books.

“There are plenty of non-essential Council spending which could be used for re-establishing the new books budget.

For example; over 3 million dollars is being spent on the so-called ‘town centres project’ this year; these upgrades will only benefit a select few.

Waikanae town Centre

Also; 4.3 million dollars is set aside for spending in Otaraua Park—a place many Kāpiti residents don’t even know the whereabouts of.

“Councillors have cut the book budget and with very little consultation with the communities they represent.

‘We love books!’ Children takingh part in a Kāpiti Libraries free Summer Reading Programme.

“A big oversight on their part—which will cost them dearly when locals vote in September.”

One has to wonder whether Councillor Elliot realizes she is being set up as the public scapegoat on behalf of her fellow Councillors and the Mayor? All current sitting members apparently voted for this rather ill advised and book hating proposal but stupidly Jackie is official spokesperson for it. The 48% of library users are not fooled by the excuses that have so far been trotted out and I believe that the voters will make their intentions clear to those who has made this attempt at ripping off the ratepayer. Whatever happens in the end, we all will be paying for it one way or another. This once again only highlights how much control we have over the council which is absolutely none. I suppose the question is: What can or are we going to do about it?

My point is a bit different. On the KCDC website, the main documents relating to the budget are accessible, and I went to have a look. Document Corp-19-777 tells councillors about the annual plan process: at paragraph 30 it says that “Community Boards provided their input to the Annual Plan process at the
workshop on 14 February 2019.” Document Corp-19-749-draft-annual-plan-2019-20-final gives the presentation content: at slide 49 it says “reducing the library book renewals for one year”, and at slide 50 it gives the numbers (in $000) “Library – Books: 2018/19 402, 2019/20 Long-term Plan 410, 2019-20 Annual Plan 211”. So the intention to cut the book budget from the previously signalled $410,000 to $211,000 was set out for the community boards, and the boards were specifically asked to comment.
Community Board members have no vote on the budget, but they are given special briefings and a much better opportunity to raise issues than the rest of us have. And they are supposed to reflect the views of their community to assist in the Council’s decision-making.
Mr Burns says that he did not spot this budget change. My question to him remains: since the budget is the most important process by which the work of the Council is planned and controlled, why should we re-elect him when he was apparently not paying attention when this decision was made?

Paul, I see it now. With all your knowledge of our corrupted political system maybe you would be a better candidate?

Andrew, I do not think that the system is corrupted. I have talked to quite a number of our local politicians, and find them to be genuinely seeking the best for our district. Some of them are extremely able. The problem is rather that, as a group, they are out of their depth in a governance role. We voters need to identify the candidates who have the skills that are actually required for the job that we pay them for.
Perhaps it would be more realistic to wonder if the job is beyond what can be expected of the people who are likely to stand for election. If so, we should reform the Local Government Act to make the job of councillor more achievable; but I don’t know what such a reform would look like, so in the mean time I encourage voters to assess candidates against the requirements of the current job.

Paul, Mr. Burns being a community board member has no real power at all and certainly had nothing to do with these toxic cuts. Aim your arrows in the right direction and get others to deny the real culprits the power they love to sup at our expense. Mr. Burns is quite right in everything he states here. All present Councillors need a tough love lesson in the political realities of turning on those they claim to represent.

Good point Paul. As a Community Board member I am not party to all the pre Annual Plan briefings and processes that Councillors have access to. Board members virtually have no decision making powers. No, I did not spot the budget change, but certainly would have if I was to vote on it……

We voters pay elected officials (including Community Board members) to pay attention to how Council is run; we have neither the time nor the interest to do so. The cut in the books budget was presumably shown in the Council budget approved earlier this year, and a draft of that budget was made available for community comment (although not a full consultation exercise).
So, a question for Guy Burns, and for every other councillor and community board member who has just discovered the cut in the books budget: why were you not paying attention at the time? And if you were not paying attention, why should we re-elect you?

Paul, Mr. Burns being a community board member has no real power at all and certainly had nothing to do with these toxic cuts. Aim your arrows in the right direction and get others to deny the real culprits the power they love to sup at our expense. Mr. Burns is quite right in everything he states here. All present Councillors need a tough love lesson in the political realities of turning on those they claim to represent.

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