ROBB (Restore Our Books Budget) says it has scored a victory for readers and democracy by helping to oust three sitting Kāpiti councillors in the recent elections.
The campaign group says: ‘Those sitting councillors who supported the cuts and lost their seats were Mark Benton, (Paraparaumu Ward), Michael Scott (Waikanae Ward), Mike Cardiff (Districtwide).
Councillors elected on promises of restoring the cuts were Gwynn Compton, Bernie Randall, Martin Halliday,and Sophie Handford. Robb McCann is understood to want to reinstate the book budget.
Councillor Elliott had a change of mind, having earlier supported the cuts.
On the campaign trail she candidly explained her change of position. She said staff advice was there was no room for new books. I had this confirmed in discussions with two other councillors who confirmed this is how they understood the advice.
New Councillors expected to fulfil promises
It is trusted the newly elected councillors will challenge staff advice, unlike the ousted councillors.
They must keep that in mind and realise that obsequiously acquiescing with Staffs one-sided recommendations will not happen on their watch. After all that is what they are paid to do — ask critical questions.
Interestingly in Otaki where very few ROBB flyers were distributed sitting councillors and Angela Buswell and James Cootes were two of only three book budget cutters who were re-elected.
41,0000 library members were not happy with cuts.
ROBB used a strategy that maximized the issue of the appalling cuts made to the library budget. #
The former council told library members immediate cuts were necessary to help pay for repairs to the Waikanae library debacle. That was simply untrue.
#According to the latest information KCDC has no intention of repairing the Waikanae library. It will look at “other options” in the next 5 to 10 years
Psychological well- being jeopardized the major issue
As a result of ROBB’s raising a matter that ultimately affects the neurological/mental wellbeing of a whole community. ROBB’s strongest point was the evidence it produced about the high importance of reading to mental health. (And much cheaper than building new Mental health facilities). Democracy had a win.
Councillors are foolish indeed if they ignore the interests of 41,000 library members.
Spend storage fees on books!
The next stage is to get reversed the waste of $32,100 p.a. on storing the Waikanae books.
ROBB has already asked why these books have been incorporated into the Paraparaumu and Otaki Libraries. Simple.
If the bureaucrats raise pointless excuses then they can be stored rent-free at the old Raumati Pool complex. Lions have stored 100,000 books, there is room for 100,000 more.
ROBB says put that money into new books.
ROBB is looking forward to working constructively with the new Council.
It aims ton restore the budget then move to having a budget that equals the new book per member expended by Wellington CC