Democracy alive and well — Mayor
Kāpiti Mayor Jenny Rowan has hit back at critics who claim cancellation of this week’s scheduled Council meeting was a denial of ratepayers’ democratic rights.
Regional Councillor Nigel Wilson claimed earlier it is highly unusual for a full council meeting to be cancelled — and this is a denial of ratepayers’ democratic rights to address elected officials.
But Mayor Rowan says:“I’m sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists, but the meeting was cancelled for practical and prudent reasons.
“With only one procedural report due to be tabled at Council this month, we felt it was not a good use of councillors’ time and staff resources. In fact we moved one of our Long Term Plan (LTP) workshops into the vacant slot.”
Ratepayers’ protest meeting earlier
A large crowd of ratepayers gathered outside an earlier Council meeting to protest against a $44,000 pay rise for CEO Pat Dougherty against a background of huge budget blowouts.
“The Council should be strapped in and listening.”
The right to cancel
The Mayor also says the Council reserves the right to cancel meetings on occasion as stated clearly in advertised meeting schedules.
She says in this instance it was simply not practical to drag Councillors in for a meeting that would have taken about 10 minutes of their time.
“And I would like to assure the public that democracy is alive and well in Kāpiti,” she says.
“Our full council meets at least eight times a year on a six-weekly schedule, as do the Community Boards and each of three standing committees,” Mayor Rowan says.
Public speaking at most meetings
“When business demands it we do hold additional meetings. There is public speaking time provided at every one of these meetings and this is safeguarded through Standing Orders.
“Away from the headlines, it is business as usual here at Council with elected representatives fully involved in Long Term Planning workshops looking at the future of Kāpiti’s for the next 20 years. These workshops are open to the public.”
The eighth Long Term Plan (LTP) is being held at the Meadows Church in Realm Drive. At the end of the workshop process a draft LTP will be produced and released for public consultation.