Kāpiti Councillor Jackie Elliott says she backs statements made by Community Board members Guy Burns and Bernie Randall that the KCDC is becoming less transparent.
Three Information Act requests
She says she’s had to make three Official Information Act (OIA)requests in as many weeks for basic information on important and urgent issues.
“The council has a legislative duty to respond to an OIA in 28 days,” Cr Elliott says.
“However, it is a completely disabling way to have to carry out our jobs as elected representatives.”
And she cites the case of a Wairarapa politician in a similar position — Carterton councillor Tracey O’Callaghan, who resigned two weeks ago for the same reason.
At the KCDC, communication apparently broke down earlier this month March after Cr Elliott criticised the Mayor for torpedoing her attempts to bring back on to the table the council’s controversial decision to sell council-owned housing.
Cr Elliott states: “For him ( Mayor K Gurunathan) to fail to even answer my emails, was clearly obstructive.”
She says: “In another instance, I emailed the Chief Executive and Mayor twice regarding a review of the Waikanae Library closure.
“Because there was no response, I have had to pose 12 questions in an Official Information Act request.
“The Chair of the Waikanae Community Board has also said she was told by the Group Manager to refer her questions about the library to the Chief Executive (CE),” says Cr Elliott.
‘Informal’ chats for some
“This year the Mayor and councillors have also taken to regular meetings or informal ‘chats with the C.E. (three scheduled this month), ” she says.
“While discussion is good, it is undemocratic for these meetings to occur without agendas, without any minutes and without any official records of the discussion whatsoever. More alarmingly, they include straw poll decision making on major multimillion dollar issues.”
“I have attended just one of these sessions.
“As for the second, I was told the day’s business at Council was over, when they all (the rest) attended a ‘chat’ with the C.E. soon after I left.
A ‘shameful’ way to carry out public business
Councillor Elliott also goes on to make a particularly damning criticism of Kāpiti Council procedures.
she says: “The public and I have no idea what decisions were made by the Council, and no way to find out. This is a shameful way to carry out public business.
“With further unanswered questions on the operation of the Waikanae River recharge, and the blocking of my attempts to have the two property disposals reconsidered, it is important the public is made aware of exactly what is happening inside KCDC and I am grateful for the two Community Board members who are sticking their necks out to do this. says Cr Elliott.
Cr Jackie Elliott also says citizens wanting more information , should contact her on (021) 0452762 or firstname.lastname@example.org