By Alan Tristram
The radical Kapiti Coast Councillor who helped oust former Mayor Jenny Rowan has accused her administration of creating a KCDC ‘propaganda unit’ in the communications department.
Cr K Gurunathan (Guru) who came second in the Mayoral race, winning 2200 more votes than Ms Rowan, says the former Mayor and Council chalked up ’an impressive list’ of achievements.
But he says it became a ‘don’t care’ council, pressing on without genuine consultation — and creating a ‘propaganda unit’ to push its policies.
‘Bureaucracy and rigid processes’
He says: ‘ In key controversial issues the council bureaucracy and rigid processes were used to achieve those ends.
‘Those processes include turning the ratepayer-funded council communications department into a council propaganda unit. The cost has been the alienation of significant sections of our communities.’
Cr Gurunathan, who was returned as a councilor for the Paraparaumu ward, offered his congratulations to new Mayor Ross Church.
‘We have shared and highlighted similar issues during our campaign.
‘Prominent were the two common issues for a transparent and open council, and the need to reduce the power of the council bureaucracy.
‘Mr Church identified the latter as putting “people before process”. My campaign defined it as the need for “Public servants not bureaucrats”. Ross’s 7933 votes and my 6779 votes provide a massive political mandate for change,’ he says.
Cr Gurunathan adds: ‘Three other mayoral candidates Gavin Walsh (3675 votes), Jackie Elliot (1974 votes) and David Scott (1501 votes) had also highlighted similar themes in their campaign. All three are now district wide councillors.
Criticism of former administration
Cr Gurunathan says Ms Rowan’s campaigned heavily on an impressive list of council achievements.
‘But,’ he says,’ The political reality is that this can-do council had also become a don’t-care council that has pressed on without genuine consultation.
‘Jenny Rowan’s massive loss and the demise of at least two of her lieutenants show the public value their democratic rights.
‘The people have spoken and the new mayor and council have to take this message on board. The message should also be clear to the council bureaucracy.’