Council PR Needed?

KCDC’s Popular PR Man Falls on Sword

By Alan Tristram

The Kāpiti Coast District Council has ‘restructured’ its PR team, effectively ending the KCDC career of the popular  PR man Tony Cronin after 11 years.

Earlier, Tony earned the respect of councillors and journalists alike for the highly-professional way he treated their requests, no matter how difficult the questions.

I can vouch for this:  During my six years on the Council I crossed swords with Tony  several times when he had to represent the ‘official’ view (which I often opposed ) – and I was never treated with anything but courtesy and respect.

A KCDC statement says: “The communications team is being restructured and refocused and long-term member, Tony Cronin, is leaving.”

Group Manager Corporate Services, Bernie Goedhart, says: “Tony joined Council as its Public Relations Advisor in December 2000.  He has worked with three Mayors and four Chief Executives and supported councillors and community board members over the intervening 11 years,fronting for Council on sensitive or complex issues on many occasions….”

Now Tony is improving public relations with his coffee at the Paraparaumu Railway Station — and here’s  his account of his time in the firing line:

A Public Life like Ronnie Barker’s in ‘Open All Hours’


By Tony Cronin

My 11 years with Council have been interesting and eventful — because whether we can drive on our beaches, walk our dogs on them or parade naked it’s  deeply interesting and important to many!

I joined Council as Public Relations Adviser in December 2000 when Glen Innes was the General Manager and Iride McCloy was Mayor.  I’ve worked with three more chief executives and two more Mayors and I’d like to thank both Alan Milne and Jenny Rowan for being great people to work with and for.

I came to Council from a Wellington public relations consultancy background.  I’m a former President of the Public Relations Institute.

I charged by the hour and the issues I dealt with were important to the large companies and organisations which employed our services but of minor importance to most citizens.

Local government, particularly Kapiti Coast local government, is vitally important to many people.  Our water supplies, our roads, our stormwater, our sewerage are critical to our daily lives.

How rates are spent is critical

For a largely retired community, how much and how our rates are spent is also critical.

As a “spokesperson” for the Council I grew used to receiving calls at odd hours of the day and night on such earth shattering issues as whether logs and other debris washed up on beaches by recent storms should be removed by the Council.

Like Ronnie Barker in “Open All Hours” I was often left with the feeling at the end of it that “it’s been a funny old day”.

Now I have left Council I’m sure I will miss the people and I will miss being on the “inside” of events.  I will continue to read letters to the editor and continue to wonder why the editors of the papers accept letters from the same people every week.

‘I have to continue earning a living’

I’ve been asked what I want to do next.  It would be nice to retire but I have to continue earning a living for a while yet.

My partner and I will continue to operate Railhouse Coffee on Paraparaumu Railway Station.  We will look for ways to expand that business.  Come and see us on a weekday morning.  We guarantee a good coffee.

And if anyone wants my help to work with and explain Council or they need someone who knows about communication, please let me know.  I think I can help you and I’d like to talk to you.


Hail and farewell Tony and good luck in your future endeavours. Without wishing to jump into your grave so to speak, will KCDC now be on the lookout for new communications staff? I am a long standing journalist with extensive experience of covering local government issues though have never been “on the inside.” I am currently in Britain though due to return at any moment and rather dreading the employment or lack thereof situation, having heard ominous rumblings from my current firm. I will not elaborate here, but will look forward to hearing from you (or a colleague?) and will check the situation upon my return.

Once again, all the best


Jackie Llewellyn.

go well Tony. After so long on the inside it’s hard to adjust to the outside. And I do know that and understand the sense of ‘what next’ that the recently non worker goes through.

Over the last 10 or so years, Tony Cronin was always willing to answer my questions and explain Council’s stance on various issues when I asked.
He was always polite and courteous even when I was being a thorn in Council’s side! I will miss you at Council meetings,Tony, but will call in for a latte one of these days.
May you have success with your business, and may people who need your professional help in the communication field find you.
Every good wish for the future. Take care, Cheers, Betty van Gaalen

Thank you Betty. There are many I will miss – and a number I won’t miss too much – but you were always unfailingly polite and always to the point.

Local government is vitally interesting to many. I will continue to watch from the sidelines.

Tony Cronin