Should council be involved?
The changes to the Local Government Act that allowed our city council to take it upon itself to promote the destruction of Porirua as an independent city state very clearly that (only) affected electors may demand a poll to determine whether a final proposal (from the Electoral Commission) will be put into place.
The legislation does not allow a local authority to constrain the Electoral Commission by way of requiring it to put the proposal to a community in a binding referendum.
Not only that, but the act prohibits a local authority from using any of its money or resources to either promote or oppose the implementation of the final proposal.
It is clear that the council cannot call for a poll on a final proposal and that if electors successfully petition for a poll, then the council cannot spend money or resources either supporting or opposing the poll itself (as that would be opposing or promoting the final proposal).
How then is it that our mayor and councillors have been telling our community that they have put forward an amalgamation proposal on the basis that it will be adopted only if a binding referendum supports it?
Once the council submitted its proposal, it lost all control of the process. Which of these representatives of our community is going to initiate the required petition and ensure that at least 10 per cent of electors sign it?
Is this really the skill level we deserve from our elected representatives? Or is it a matter of integrity instead?
Either way, perhaps this year the unheard 60 per cent will actually make a choice for more competent governance around the council table.