Kāpiti Voters Miss Out Under Council Proposals — Waikanae Experts

Jeremy Smith reports that Kāpiti voters could have been given the choice of voting for seven ward councillors, and three at-large councillors, at next year’s local elections. 

Kāpiti Coast – aerial.view

He sys this suggestion comes from two Waikanae residents, Margaret Stevenson Wright and John Vickerman. Stevenson Wright is a former member of the Waikanae Community Board.

But the proposal before councillors to consider is for a ‘superward’ with three councillors combining Waikanae with Paraparaumu. The other two wards would be Otaki, and Paekakariki/Raumati.

KIN understands the KCDC has received more than 450 submissions on its representation review, and fifty per cent of these come from Waikanae.

Waikanae ‘under-represented

Currently Waikanae, with one ward councillor for nearly 15,000 people, is under-represented : ward councillors should technically represent 10,000people – plus or minus 10 percent.

Waikanae River estuary

The Stevenson Wright-Vickerman submission is that their plan will “better represent us or our community. We regard the ( Council) proposal as an attempt to diminish local democracy and not enhance it.”

They also say that while Waikanae has distinct communities of interest its residents also identify very strongly with a collective Waikanae identity.

Not considered by councillors

They say that the option of  having seven small ward councillors and only three district wide (which they suggest) was not considered in the proposal formally put before councillors.

They say the number of ward councillors should not be tied to having the same number of district-wide councillors – the current five plus five model.

The two say some of the comments made at an initial consultation were recorded as perceptions which were elevated to principles.

They say: “The impression given is one of a foundation built with rigorous scientific method, ultimately arriving at the preferred option presented today. We believe this is misleading, that some statements relied on are unverified, and the consequences as they stand are not warranted. “

Kapit Coast District Council HQ

— but has the Council got things

wrong?

Worries about Community Board abolition plan

Stevenson Wright and Vickerman are also concerned about the possibility of  disestablishing some or all of the community boards.

“This (KCDC) review so far has not portrayed the role of community boards fairly. “

They say the decision to put the abolition of community boards on the formal proposal
apparently occurred in the councillor briefing of 29 June 2021.

“There is a public perception that in doing so, councillors have acted with bias, self‐interest, predetermination and potential conflict of interest,“ they say.

“A review which dissolves all Community Boards and increases the power and control of a Chief
Executive does not enhance local democracy.”

In the 1960s the Rand Corporation developed the Delphi technique to manipulate public opinion. This is one description of the process:
The goal of the Delphi technique is to lead a targeted group of people to a predetermined outcome, while giving the illusion of taking public input and under the pretext of being accountable to the public. For the Delphi to work, it is critical that the targeted group be kept away from knowledgeable people who could lead them away from the Delphier’s predetermined outcome.

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