MAYOR CALLS IN COPS TO COUNCIL MEETING
Kāpiti’s Mayor Jenny Rowan called the police in to quell the continuing uproar over water meters at a District Council meeting today.
Anti-water meter campaigners from the “Ask Us First’ group were reported to be heckling councillors as they discussed the issue.
Three councillors – K Gurunathan, Ross Church and Tony Lloyd – voted against, but seven other councillors and the Mayor
approved water meters for the region.
A group of “Ask Us First” water meter opponents, who collected about 8000 signatures for a petitioncalling for a referendum on KCDC’s proposed $8 million installation of meters, heckled councillors as they discussed the issue this morning.
Ms Rowan ordered the group to stop interjecting, and when they continued,according to one report, told a staff member, “Call the police”.
Two police patrol cars arrived outside the building. But the officers did not enter the meeting room at Meadows Church, despite a final slinging match between “Ask Us First” founder Jackie Elliott and Rowan.
Ms Elliott said the community was not being listened to.
When Rowan announced police would eject hecklers from the meeting if they continued, they called out “bring it on”.
The council voted 8-3 in favour of the installation of water meters from July 1. A report is to be prepared on tender costs and project timelines and will be brought to a council meeting on June 28.
Councillors K. Gurunathan said the council did not have a mandate to introduce meters unless it was made an election issue in next year’s local body elections.
He said throughout the consultation process opposition to water meters has increased. He said evidence-based debate had suffered from the impact of other negative issues — projected costs of the Aquatic Centre, the civic building, the Otaki main street project and the CEO’s Pay rise.
Crs Ross Church and Tony Lloyd voiced concern about community opposition.
Lloyd said the issue had caused an irreversible division between the council and the community. Church said he was not 100 per cent convinced it was the right time to decide on the issue, given the community opposition.
But Ms Rowan said community consultation had been robust and the council had a responsibility to provide good water.