Mark­ing their cards

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

To­day’s edi­tion in­cludes our mid-term re­port on Porirua City coun­cil­lors’ per­for­mance.

Go­ing by the re­ac­tion to our as­sess­ment in 2010, it is likely to be a talk­ing point in the com­mu­nity.

The re­sponse to those ini­tial ‘‘re­port cards’’ in­di­cated readers’ wel­comed them, though I re­call a few peo­ple felt them mean-spir­ited or ju­ve­nile.

We are not try­ing to shame peo­ple who have put up their hand to serve their com­mu­nity, but we do re­tain the be­lief that those who stand for public of­fice and pull a wage from ratepay­ers’ money should be scru­ti­nised. We also want to gen­er­ate in­ter­est in lo­cal pol­i­tics and im­prove voter turnout.

We did our best to en­sure our in­de­pen­dent panel of 10 com­mu­nity mem­bers was bal­anced; ge­o­graph­i­cally, cul­tur­ally and po­lit­i­cally – with rep­re­sen­ta­tion from key sec­tors such as busi­ness, arts, sport and ed­u­ca­tion. We also rec­ti­fied a pre­vi­ous over­sight by in­clud­ing a youth voice.

I was im­pressed by the dili­gence of the pan­elists. If they did not feel they had rea­son­able knowl­edge of a coun­cil­lor they did not as­sess them, and for those they did, they did not al­ways feel ca­pa­ble of grad­ing ev­ery cat­e­gory. This meant for some coun­cil­lors only six as­sess­ments were used to form av­er­age scores – and in three of the five cri­te­ria we had only four as­sess­ments for Faafoi Seiuli – hardly com­pre­hen­sive and not ideal. But one could also ar­gue that a lack of recog­ni­tion by so many panel­lists says some­thing in it­self.

I was sur­prised by the out­stand­ing grades the ma­jor­ity of first-term coun­cil­lors re­ceived and my con­fi­dence in the as­sess­ments was com­forted by how com­pa­ra­ble the scores of sea­soned rep­re­sen­ta­tives were to their 2010 eval­u­a­tion – which shared only one pan­elist.

Though the new panel gen­er­ally scored the coun­cil more gen­er­ously – all bar two recorded higher over­all scores than in 2010 – the peck­ing or­der is con­sis­tent, with no wild fluc­tu­a­tions.

Mayor Nick Leggett – who the panel re­mark­ably awarded 495 points of the 500 avail­able to him – Euon Mur­rell and Denys Latham again scored very highly, and Litea Ah Hoi and Liz Kelly po­larised an­other panel. Their high and low as­sess­ments can­celled each other out, again po­si­tion­ing them back in the pack with Sue Dow.

Tim Shep­pard and Ken Dou­glas did re­ceive no­tice­ably higher scores from the new panel, though the lat­ter’s over­all po­si­tion­ing was the same as 2010 due to the stel­lar scores of rook­ies ’Ana Cof­fey, Anita Baker and Bron­wyn Kropp.

Study the eval­u­a­tion or dis­miss it, it’s all food for thought go­ing into the 2013 elec­tions, par­tic­u­larly as each ward is ex­pected to be re­duced by one seat. Readers can be as­sured we will as­sem­ble an­other panel be­fore then.

Matthew Dal­las, Ed­i­tor

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