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.
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.
”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.
“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.