The Kāpiti Independent can reveal that at least two KCDC councillors are now favourably considering whether the Council should change its policy on water meters.
This will come as good news to Jackie Elliot and the 7661 Kāpiti Coast people who backed her petition for a referendum on the issue.Earlier in the month, I spoke to one Kāpiti councillor who told me quietly: ‘I don’t see how we can ignore a petition that big.’
And now Councillor K Gurunathan (Guru) has stated baldly in a newspaper column that the Council must change its stance following the public furore over the massive pay rise for the CEO –while big cost over-runs were being announced for Council projects.
Cr Guru says: “Given (the) political momentum it will be foolhardy not to support a call for an intelligent referendum (and I mean intelligent) on water meters.”
Water meter trouble ahead
These cracks in the Council dam presage trouble ahead for Mayor Jenny Rowan and Councillors who are firm proponents of the widely disliked meter plan.Some other councillors may soon feel it’s better to jettison at least one unpopular council policy to try to keep some of the ratepayers happy some of the time.
Late last year, the petition, the largest such ratepayer initiative in Kāpiti’s history, calling for a referendum on water meters, was presented to the district council amid accusations of undemocratic behavior.
About 30 ‘Ask Us First’ lobbyists carrying banners and placards staged a protest outside Kapiti Coast District Council’s headquarters before presenting the 7661-signature petition to mayor Jenny Rowan at a council meeting.
The council had been considering introducing water meters at a cost of $8 million and included them in its latest annual plan.
‘Huge opposition to meters’
Petition organiser Jackie Elliot said the petition demonstrated the huge opposition to water meters and (showed) that the council had no mandate before making its decision.
She said: “This community no longer trusts council’s consultation process.”
Ms Rowan said at the time the council would ‘consider’ the call for a referendum.
Maybe the Council will now do this.
But the problem for the CEO, KCDC planners , Mayor and other pro-meter councillors is that a referendum would probably blast a hole in their plans.