Chair, Kāpiti Concerned Citizens
The latest Kāpiti Coast District Council meeting was somewhat marred by the absence of Mayor Jenny Rowan, of Deputy Mayor Roger Booth, and also CEO Pat Dougherty and Strategy and Partnerships Manager Gael Ferguson.
It left some of us wondering whether perhaps we were at the wrong meeting!
We’d hoped to present our ‘Vote of No Confidence ‘petition. But we decided, because of the the absence of the four above, and Councillor Tony Lester, that it was best to wait until the next meeting to present the petition.
In public speaking time, Jean Kahui asked Council about questions raised by Jackie Elliott at the meeting where Council accepted the Crag report.
One of these asked how households with extraordinary water use needs — due to disability, age or health issues — would be considered by Council.
Gael Fergusson had replied that the next step for Council was to have dialogue with health user groups while setting up user pays water charges to ensure these residents would not be further disadvantaged.
It was noted by Jean Kahui of KCC that neither the question or the response were in the minutes of the meeting and that the minutes be rectified. Chair Ross Church replied that they would be adjusted.
Later, I — and other members of Kapiti Concerned Citizens — spoke about the 1,742 signatures we’d gathered on the ‘Vote of No Confidence’ petition, asking elected members of Council to resign.
However due to the absence of Mayor Jenny Rowan, Deputy Mayor Roger Booth, CEO Pat Dougherty, Gael Fergusson and Cr Tony Lester, our group decided it was best to wait until the next meeting to present the petition.
Council staff had been advised days before the meeting that the petition was going to be presented, as is practice, and it is unfortunate that all four of Council’s most senior representatives chose to be unavailable on the same day.
My feelings are that our elected representatives are expected — and paid — to make full Council meetings their number one priority.
The meeting was advised that Mr Dougherty and Ms Rowan were attending a Select Committee hearing on the Local Government Act Amendments. But even so, they had a choice of which time and day they appeared and their absence looked like a deliberate snub.
Poll wanted on amalgamation
It was also stated that Mayor Rowan and CEO Pat Dougherty were at the Parliamentary hearing to request that it be made mandatory for a public poll to be held, and the results adhered to, in considering district-wide amalgamation.
Members of the public spoke about the irony of KCDC staff making such an appeal to the Government when they completely ignored 8012 residents requesting a referendum on water metering in April this year.
Ms Kahui suggested it was a different story ‘when their jobs are on the line.’
As part of the agenda, Council presented their findings on the Local Government Reform submission process.
Page 18 of the report states that: ‘Council would only analyse the phone survey, despite the written postal survey being widely available to all the affected public.’
However, Christopher Ruthe, quoted the reports describing those phone surveyed, as ‘a self selecting group of committed respondents’ — and said
when there is no statistical evidence to justify this statement by the council reporting Officer.
“Yet despite the bias of the Council survey towards the status quo, survey results show 91% support for amalgamation,” he said.
“KCDC wants to ignore what people are saying and uses a complex set of data to confuse what is a basic and conclusive result. ‘ Mr Ruthe added.
Cr Cardiff queried what Council’s response would be, given that on page 2 of the report, item 49 was the request for the table to issue a press release to
the media on the acceptance of the public consultation report.
“What exactly are we going to say”, he asked fellow Councillors. The councillors agreed they could not and would not release their comments, given the results of
GWRC representative, Cr Nigel Wilson gave an update on regional issues and answered questions about the Capital Connection.
Cr Lloyd asked what planning consideration was being given to more carparking at Waikanae Station. Mr Wilson replied that GWRC and Horizons had been primary drivers in
saving the service.
“We are hoping the Minister will have some sort of empathy with us” he said.
However he also said that at last weeks Regional Land Transport Committee meeting, KCDC staff had offered money to help pay for the service. “It was not
the wisest of choices,’ he said.
He added: “And should you have the opportunity to withdraw the offer, I suggest you do so.” He also commented that Councillors
present may not have been aware of the offer.
Mr Wilson invited the public and Council staff to the annual Friends of the Otaki River walkover of the Otaki River on the 14th of September, the event
attracted 3 busloads of sightseers last year and it was hoped those numbers would be exceeded this year. A walkover along the Waikanae river is planned for
Wellingon Regional Council are also involved in Flood management plans and Hydrological studies in progress of the Waikanae River. Cr K. Gurunathan asked
about the studies as KCDC were planning to extend the current borefield.
Cr Wilson said the results of testing would have to be analysed first to ensure increased borefield ‘take’ from the ground water supply was not
detrimental to the river.