Kapiti Councillor deplores ‘vulgar’ mannequin demo outside KCDC HQ
By Cr Jackie Elliott
Three well known anti-council protesters have created a vulgar mannequin display outside the Kapiti Coast District Council building during a Council meeting.
This, and their (alleged) releasing of details of an in-house sexual conduct complaint to the media, has shown reckless disregard for the sensitivities and well-being of both parties involved in the complaint — both of whom are our well liked and well respected colleagues.
The display last Thursday also showed complete disregard for the well-being of all the workers and public in council on the day, undoing, at the first opportunity, the efforts made by management to provide a safe workplace as is their legal obligation.
Whoever (organised) this display, and the distasteful messages attached to parts of their plastic bodies, the effect did not discriminate. I was deeply embarrassed and disturbed by the whole scene, for myself, my colleagues, staff and the public, including children and elderly residents who saw the display.
(Note: KIN earlier decided not to publicise this demonstration in an effort to protect innocent parties. However, when elected representatives, including Cr David Scott, make public statements, KIN tries to publish these as part of the democratic process.)
I recall that the three people responsible, screamed foul loudly last year accusing the then Mayor and council of ‘re–victimising ‘ a Waikanae woman who had complained about a councillor’s email, yet here they were actively re victimising a female complainant themselves.
What vexes me most, and still really upsets me is that one of these three protesters was a woman. What point was she making at council with these female mannequins? I just can’t process this.
As a councillor, I get and welcome a lot of phone calls from the public, but this weekend I received a number of phone calls from one of these protestors,
threatening that this was the first of 10 planned demonstrations against council.
What are we, women at council, supposed to do? All take leave of absence for a few months so we can feel safe, until they finish amusing themselves.
Absence ourselves from our jobs, abandon council meetings and daily routines out of fear? Turn our phones off? I think not. Why should any woman be scared away from her workplace in this day and age?
Beyond White Ribbon status
Three years ago, I had K.C.D.C’s self appointed White Ribbon status publicly revoked to stop workplace bullying. This triennium, under new leadership, the council chambers are a very different and positive place to be in for me, and it should be for all. Always.
I’m also associated with a company whose founder, a well known NZ business woman, devotes her time and resources to her mentoring programme for the rehabilitation of female prisoners. I am proud to support her ongoing success in rebuilding the futures of women and their children whose lives are shattered by the effects of lifelong abuse.
To make a public mockery of abuse against women, against anyone, is abhorrent. This juvenile mannequin antic has achieved nothing constructive and done nothing but cause deliberate distress to all those who saw it.