Why Has KCDC Failed to Provide Memorial For Peace Campaigner?

John Murray: a man of peace with the white poppy symbo

Supporters of a memorial for Kāpiti’s famous peace campaigner the Very Rev. John Murray want to know why nothing has happened despite two years of requests to the KCDC and Mayor K Gurunathan.

And KIN asks: Why has the KCDC failed to provide a memorial for John Murray?

Mr Murray was known nationally for his campaigning on social justice issues — including his opposition to the 1986 rugby tour, his support for the White Ribbon campaign and his opposition to any militarism in Anzac Day commemorations. And of course he was head (Moderator) of the Presbyterian Church for some time.

Our local government correspondent Jeremy Smith reports John’s admirers were back at a  Kāpiti Coast Council meeting today looking for answers from Mayor K Gurunathan,  Kāpiti councillors, and their CEO, Wayne Maxwell.

Kapiti Mayor K Gurunathan — why has Guru failed a follower of Gandhi?

He says they told councillors how the proposal went through the Paraparaumu-Raumati community board in April 2017 and was then approved by the KCDC.

Significant roadblock’

Alida van der Velde said the hold-up appeared to be because the council was waiting for a report from local iwi.  She said the non-existent report was a “significant roadblock’.

And she said the petition for a memorial now has more than 100 signatures.

She said the delay was not caused by local iwi, Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai who were in fact waiting for the initial report from the council. She understood Te Atiawa Trust chair Andre Baker, a former KCDC councillor, would not talk to the council until he saw the report.

‘Send a clear message to the CEO’

“I request that the Councillors at this table, send a clear message to the CEO, to make this a priority and get it done so we can move on with this process. This delay has cost Council and ratepayers a lot of money AND has created mistrust of Council and their processes”.

Maureen Roxburgh, who met John Murray, when he was a retired Presbyterian minister, described him as a great advocate for peace who helped found the Kapiti branch of the University for the Third Age.

Mayor Gurunathan said he would specifically ask for the report.

KCDC CEO Wayne Maxwell would only say the situation was a circular impasse. But he said a draft report would be ready by April 1.

Councillors need to send a clear message to the CEO that is this unacceptable on two counts –

the fact that the report has yet to be written and

the fact that this has caused an impasse with Te Ati Awa.

What will Councillors now do to remedy the situation?

Mrs. Van der Velde took time out of her schedule to attend community board and council meetings and present a proposal on behalf of the late John Murray over 18 months ago. She followed the process and the steps required of her as a member of this community in proposing the naming of path for the late John Murray.

However, she has been let-down by KCDC staff, who had the simple job of providing a required report –which KCDC staff failed to write.

Section 14 of the Local Government Act states:

In performing its role, a local authority must act in accordance with the following principles:

• conduct its business in an open, transparent, and democratically accountable manner;
• a local authority should provide opportunities for Māori to contribute to its decision-making processes:

It would appear that this impasse, completely of the Council’s own making, by not providing a report which Council agreed to provide is contravening Section 14 of the Local Government Act.

I should remind you that KCDC has over 300 staff members that are paid over 25 million dollars a year by our rates. It is inconceivable to me as it should be to Councillors that this is now the situation.

Excellent write up, thank you.
Just two “things” that are not 100% correct: we are waiting for IWI consultation to be completed. The chair of Te Atiawa representing the three IWI in this area , Mr Andre Baker, cannot give his approval UNTIL HE HAS RECIEVED A REPORT that Council promised from the beginning, but never delivered on. This report has been referred to three times, but Council so far has refused to write it. The CEO Mr Maxwell promised Councillor Mr Mark Benton, before the meeting, “ he would get on to it. “ During the meeting he made a commitment to get the report done by 1/4/2019. The Council is providing the road block by not getting on to this report, we have waited for it for two years. IWI want the report before they say yes to the proposal of the street for John Murray, and they are right, it was part of the deal.

You might want to ask Mr Andre Baker from Te Atiawa to comment, thanks so much, Alida.

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