Six Kāpiti Councillors/Mayor Vote To Disband Community Boards

Kāpiti councillors have given majority approval for the first step in a representation review, which could see the end of the four Kāpiti community boards, reports Jeremy Smith.

Kāpiti Councillors and Mayor

They took part in a virtual meeting with a Zoom vote. But this means objectors could not speak face-to-face with their elected repreentatives.

From Wednesday next week – September 1- the public will be able to make submissions on the review, which could also combine Waikanae and Paraparaumu in a super ward for next year’s elections.

The vote at today’s zoom meeting went through seven to four (The proponents comprised the Mayor and six councillors).

Four councillors oppose the move
Among the four voting to stop the proposal is Waikanae ward councillor Jocelyn Prvanov. 
The others were Bernie Randall, Jackie Elliott and Gwnn Compton.

Cr Compton said he was not comfortable with a proposal which might leave Waikanae – a quarter of the population – with no designated ward  councillor.

Local democracy would suffer, says Prvanov

Cr Prvanov said the proposal would not provide good democracy.
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”I can’t see how existing councillors could do the work now done by community board members,” she said.

She quoted from a community contact who described community boards as first point of contact and the grassroots of the community.

She said the research used in the council briefing was not as robust as it should be.

 ‘Waikanae as an entity would disappear’

Waikanae community board member Richard Mansell said Waikanae as an entity would disappear into the central ward.

“We would have taxation without representation. We feel like a cash cow.”

And senior council staffer Janice McDougal was quizzed about the integrity of the research used to formulate the proposal before the council. 

Waikanae Community Board chair James Westbury wanted to know if McDougal accepted that experts could get things wrong.

Paekakariki wants details of ‘research’

Paekakariki community board chair Holly Ewens said she has made an Official Information request to find out more about the geographic and demographic parameters used in the research.

Before the vote Mayor Gurunathan said he was a supporter of community boards.

Mayor says he was a supporter of boards

“The process is quite challenging and we need to go out to the public.”

Ōtaki Community Board chair Chris Papps said she was unequivocally opposed to losing community boards which would be a backward step for Otaki and Kapiti.

Paraparaumu-Raumati board chair Kathy Spiers said the boards should stay. 

“We are out and about!” she told the Mayor and councillors.

There is NO good democratic reason for disbanding the community boards. The only motivation for scrapping community representation would be if particular community boards disagree with the agenda of the current council leadership. This can not be allowed to happen. Not under any circumstances. We already have a voting system with such complexity that some are put off voting because they don’t understand how it works. What we should be doing is simplifying the voting system so many many more eligible voters feel confident they can make informed choices on who they would vote for to represent them.

What concerns me greatly is the way in which the process has been manipulated. The council knew about this months ago yet sat on it until we were in level four lockdown and people had their sights on other matters. They called a council meeting via zoom to progress it, denying a number of people the right to representation. Many people in the district do not have access to the internet. They presented only one option for the review, when there were a number of others that could have been considered. Their briefings on the matter were held in secret, so the public doesn’t know what was discussed. This is in direct contrast to Wellington City Council, who streamed their briefings, presented a series of options and voted to reject all of these.
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Thank you Marie for raising,again, some vital points to throw light on this whole sorry business. Editor

Richard Mansell made an impressive speech on the Representation Review at the recent Council meeting. He warned that if the proposal goes ahead Waikanae as a community will disappear into the proposed new central ward which will combine Paraparaumu with Waikanae. Richard stated that Waikanae was a distinct geographic area with a distinct residential make up and a distinct community of interest. Such communities usually came with a taxation component but without representation there should be no taxation. Paraparaumu having a higher population could consume Waikanae and Waikanae could theoretically be left without any representation.

Just for the record the four councillors who voted against progressing this proposal at the current time were Crs Prvanov, Compton, Elliott and Randall. An important point that could have been included in the article above.

Editor Alan Tristram replies: We did include this paragraph, ‘Four councillors oppose the move
Among the four voting to stop the proposal is Waikanae ward councillor Jocelyn Prvanov.
The others were Bernie Randall, Jackie Elliott and Gwnn Compton.’ I’m sure you’ll agree this covers your important point.

David, your comment is deeply offensive and inappropriate. For people who don’t know what waterboarding is, here’s a link: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterboarding
You’re implying Mayor Gurunathan should be subjected to torture. How is this helpful? Quite frankly, I think you should be on a watchlist with comments like this.

Gurunathan says he supports boards.
Water board might work.. wouldn’t know a good decision if he fell over it.

If the mayor said he was a supporter of Boards, why did he vote for disbandment? This does not make sense. Waikanae as an entity should not be “disappeared” into a broad Paraparaumu board/ward as both communes are large and significant. Where is the democracy in that?

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