Mayor Church feels stroppy councillors reflect local communityBy Alan Tristram
The Kapiti Coast District Mayor, Ross Church, says he accepts that the new council is deeply divided on some issues –but insists this ‘represents the local community.’
The new Mayor and former councillor swept to victory over two-time Mayor Jenny Rowan last October.
However, the new-look Kapiti Coast Council has been divided at times, with three rebellious councillors – K Gurunathan (Guru), Jackie Elliott and David Scott — often at odds with the other seven councillors, the Mayor and even the CEO.
This was marked recently when all three called for a KCDC debate on the Council’s prosecution of an elderly Otaki couple accused of illegally felling native trees. But they failed to get any support from the other seven Councillors.
In an exclusive interview with KIN, Mayor Church says he isn’t too perturbed by the dissension because ‘the Council we’ve got is an accurate reflection of the community’
However, Mr Church says, he’s ‘not always comfortable’ with councillors’ attacks on various issues, ‘but they were elected and they reflect the community.’
“And,” he says,”we all get on pretty well.”
Criticism of KCDC staff
It’s a very different picture when it comes to the KCDC staff, he says.
“Attacks on staff are off limits. I have been pretty strong on not allowing people to attacks staff.”
The Mayor said that when a member of the public mentioned staff by name at a Council meeting he made a stand to stop the attacks – ‘and the person concerned was happy about this.’
Councillors attacking staff are also a ‘no,no’ he says – ‘and I have spoken to councillors about it.’
“But sometimes these councillors still feel the need, as they see it, to be honest and open.”
And Mayor Church admits that ”I sometimes find some (remarks) unwarranted, unhealthy and unwelcome.’
Enjoys the job
Mayor Church has told KIN that he really enjoys the job, but find the seven-day work roster can be demanding.
“I’ve been a hell of a lot busier than I thought I would be!” he says. He relaxes by taking ‘little breaks,’ working on classic cars in his Paraparaumu business, and ‘jumping the car and going somewhere’ with his partner Vicki.
So we ended this interview on a relaxed note – and confident that Mayor Ross Church is at the very least prepared to front up to the media and answer any questions that are tossed his way.