By Alan Tristram
Jackie Elliott, the recently-elected Ōtaki Community Board member, says she’s being harassed at meetings of the Kāpiti Coast District Council.
She says she was harassed by Mayor Jenny Rowan, Cr Penny Gaylor (a fellow Ōtaki Community Board member) and Janet Holborow, chair of the Paekakariki Community Board,for daring to comment on an agenda item for that meeting.
Ms Elliott says: “Councillor Gaylor publicly attacked me for speaking out rather than going through the Community Board as she suggested I do.
Issue concerns tourist logo
“The issue was on public spending on a new tourism logo for Kapiti. I was (providing) feedback on it and asking about the cost to ratepayers.
“There was no opportunity to discuss this at a Community Board meeting.”
She says the issue was never a part of a Community Board discussion, and although it was not resolved by Council, it would probably not be added to Community Board agendas.
Ms Elliott made her concerns known at the KCDC meeting this week when she said she wanted to raise the issue of speaking as an individual and/or as a Community board member at Council meetings.
She told the Mayor and councillors: “I reserve the right to present views, both public and private, to any forum where the public interest is involved.
“To be chastised for speaking by Cr Gaylor and the Mayor is an open insult to the people of Otaki who elected me on the basis I would represent them.
“At the February council meeting, both Councillor Ellis and Community Board Member Rosemary Barrington presented the views of the community to this table in public speaking time and were listened to by you all with respect.
“I ask that I, and the rest of this community are given the same respect when using this forum. This is supposed to be a non threatening environment please ensure it remains so.”
Janet Holborow replies
At the council meeting, I pointed out that when people talk to Ms Elliot about issues, they’re generally talking to her as an elected member, and if she represents those views at meetings, she is speaking in her capacity of community board member, rather than a general member of the public. I believe in the right of Ms Elliot to speak during public speaking time. It was never my intention to question that right.