Kāpiti politician Guy Burns says Council staff have already told him that if Community Boards are abolished, they will be replaced by another (unelected) system.
Burns, Deputy Chair of the Paraparaumu Raumati Community Board. says this system would use money saved by abolishing Community Boards.
According to a Council report for a Council virtual meeting tomorrow the boards cost the Kāpiti Coast District Council (KCDC) $250,000 a year to run.
However, Burns says the news that Council is considering abolishing Community Boards tomorrow has come as a great shock — and is a direct threat to local democracy.
“I argue that another system will be ad hoc, experimental, untested and take several years to be fully functioning—and very likely no better than the current Community Board system we already have,” he says.
‘Boards have a long and proven record’
‘Community Boards in Kapiti are an effective vehicle for locals to seek support and advocacy regarding local matters.
“They are time tested and have been instrumental in letting Council know what local communities are thinking. The Community Boards have a long and proven track record of lobbying Council and Councillors regarding issues that are important to residents.”
‘Four options are under consideration at the next Council meeting ( tomorrow, August 26), he says.
“Under two options there will be no Community Boards at all. The other options include Community Boards for Otaki and Paekakariki, and the rest of the district misses out. The rationale for privileging Otaki and Paekakariki are that they are distinct communities of interest!
‘To designate some areas of Kapiti to be distinct communities of interest and imply others are not is unfair and smacks of subjectivity and bias.
All areas of Kapiti can be described as distinct communities of interest. Raumati South, Raumati Beach, Paraparaumu Beach, Paraparaumu village, Waikanae Beach, Waikanae village, Te Horo/Pekapeka, etc.
‘One avenue for an appeal’
‘There is still one avenue for appeal if Community Boards end up being abolished (or limited to select geographical areas in Kapiti)—any change that Council make can be formally appealed to KCDC and must be referred to the Local Government Commission for consideration.”
However, Mr Burns argues, ‘If it isn’t broken—don’t fix it!’