Library Book Lovers Will Demand Action From Election Candidates


A group of Kapiti Coasters, outraged the Mayor and councillors have slashed the library budget, are determined to have it reinstated.

A new lobby group ‘ROBB’ — restore Our Book Budget — has just been established to fight the Council’s decision. 

ROBB – Restore Our Book Budget held its first meeting on 19 August 2019.

Budget cut in half

The trigger was KCDC cutting the book purchase budget by almost HALF; down from $402,500 to $211,000.

Many of the 41, 000 library members have expressed how deeply upset and disempowered they feel.

Proven community support’

The Chair of ROBB  Mr Christopher Ruthe says: “There is proven community support.

“Over 80% of Kapiti residents are members of our libraries. That is 41,000 out of 52,000 people.

“This is the highest membership in the whole of NZ. We are all proud of that. Yet this Council has treated the 41,000 with contempt. We have been robbed.”

The Chair says:  “People are upset because there was no consultation. The $402,500 budget was set in the long term plan after consultation as Council is legally required to do. The slashing was done in secret.”

‘The final straw’

It is seen as the final straw following the forced closure of Waikanae library due to negligent maintenance.

The former Waikanae Library, closed late last year aftere the discovery of toxic mould in the building and the book stocks

The independent Morrison Low Report into that library was scathing in its criticisms of KCDC. The Kapiti News (21-8-2019) in an expose “Time to demand answers on Library Building Debacle summarises the Australian report as stating there were” systemic and organizational flaws” along with “a dysfunctional culture within council”.

ROBB believes innocent library members are being made to pay for the Waikanae library building debacle. ROBB says this is unfair and unjust. And worse, it is the readers that are having to pay.

 The Chair comments: “The Mayor and Councillors have previously said they are for the health and well being of the community.

‘For the health and well-being
of the community’ —
then why are they slashing the books’ budget?

Yet they cut resources for a most important council facility that achieves this. All the world’s leading neurologists and neuropsychologists agree as to the importance of reading to mental health.” ”

ROBB has been seeking to resolve matters by discussion. However it understands that the cut is irreversible with this current Mayor and Councillors. 

ROBB’s aims

Faced with the Mayor and Councillors intransigence the only option of registering opposition to the cuts is by petition, leafletting, and action to get a better Council. It seeks:

  1. Immediate reversal of the recent funding cut
  2. Proper funding for new library acquisitions.
  3. A commitment by the new Mayor and Councillors to increase funding levels at least to the equivalent of Wellington within 6 years.

ROBB is hoping more will join the fight to have adequate libraries and is hoping more will join the fight .
ROBB is hoping more will join the fight to have adequate libraries and is hoping more will join the fight .

To contact: email;

C B Ruthe


Hi George, as most of us don’t use the Mahara Gallery why not take some dosh from there? Isn’t the figure of $3,000,000 being bandied about? Since the richer arty farty types want us to pay for their hobby why not then? Neo-lib private profit, public debt seems to be the way these people think.

What’s more important to you out these. Being able to get enough books or arty types wandering around a gallery they expect you to pay for?

” has he asked the ratepayers?” Well Jackie I have to hand it to you, this is rather good. Since you and the cutting crew hid this proposal from ratepayers I put it to you that you and they have no right at all to question ratepayers on much of anything. You do know we pay for everything, right? And that council ‘owns’ absolutely nothing and that it’s all our property. You people are only managers and you have all proved time and again that you are rubbish at it. It brings me no joy to state this as it will go on and on and on.

You also don’t seem to realize that saying anything about this snafu on here is only hurting your electoral chances. Jackie you only had one vote whichever way you went. These others are just as guilty but have the nous to be very quiet. A lesson you should have learnt by now. Having read Mr. Ruthe comments it seems you are only adding fuel to the fire again. I’d feel sorry for you and the others but being that you all cost us so much, I’m all sorrowed out. Every day that goes by brings us closer to the day of reckoning, much overdue that it be. The sad fact is that no matter what other ‘representatives’ heed the call things won’t get any better because if they were it would of happened many years ago.

George Renwa: As has been said elsewhere before, let these malcontents take the needed funds from something they want to do (no doubt without consulting us in the first instance once more again). In this thing there are only three sides, Council lovers, Book lovers and the Disinterested.

Councillor Elliott shows she either does not read, or cannot read what is written. ROBB is wanting to restore $192,000 to the Book buying Budget, not $2,700,000! ROBB has never suggested spending the alternative facts suggested by the Councillor.

If this is the quality of the thinking around the Mayor’s “harmonious” Council- it sure ain’t a harmony that appeals to me or my wallet. [You will no doubt have seen his ad showing him playing a cello. The “Harmonious council” simply rubber stamps what the bureaucrats say, no questions asked and by the looks no documents properly read.

I am just writing to get confirmation that Christopher Rutthe the Chairperson of R.O.B.B. is asking for a rates funded increase to the libraries book budget over the next five years from approx $411.000 per annum to $M2.794? This will cost a 4.5% annual rates increase alone, has he asked the ratepayers? Perhaps R.O.B.B. wishes to reconsider this particular aim.
Kind Regards Cr Jackie Elliott

What a shame the budget will be slashed for Waikanae library! So many people depend on it and it’s a favourite haunt of mine. I’m 72 years of age and probably representative of a large slice of Waikanae citizenry. Not everyone can afford to buy new books or even second hand ones.

A library should be a community hub – not just a row of shelves with a few books. It’s a place to meet, a place to read, a place to research, a place to feel part of society. For the elderly, it could be such a benefit. Take the Levin library as an example – it’s a destination in itself.

These aims are very interesting. Does the writer know what is the current annual Wellington City Council library acquisitions budget is and how many city and suburban libraries are they currently stocking?

I use the library all the time, and do not like the idea that the budget for it will be reduced. I can understand that some $$$ may go into different areas. I also use Press Reader, and hope they keep that. I often get books through the other libraries, and I hope they keep that service, too.

I agree with all the above comments. I was highly doubtful that this council would restore our library when it was first closed for maintenance. They have been trying to close it for years. Spend more on salaries and less on services is the motto of this council.


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