Survey results worth noting
The councillor survey Kapi-Mana News regularly carries out provides a solid assessment of how members are faring.
Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said though the survey was subjective, it was healthy for democracy, because it shone a light on local government.
It’s important to note the panelists provide their own judgements. We merely report their findings.
The panel represents different spectrums – education, sport, business, community groups – and they come from different parts of Porirua.
We canvas widely to find people who know their community and their findings should not be dismissed lightly.
In previous years, the KapiMana News edition with the councillor survey has been extremely well read.
We don’t sell our paper, so this time-consuming exercise should not be passed off as circulation-building. We have a reputation for keeping city officials and elected members honest, and this is a forum for us to do that.
One sitting councillor told us that the ‘‘dreaded report cards’’ made them all a little nervous and it was like taking an unopened school report home for your parents to open.
In recent surveys, Tim Manu, Robert Shaw and Liz Kelly have fared poorly. All have subsequently slipped from the political scene.
Our panelists alerted those councillors to impending trouble in the polling booth, but those warnings went unheeded.
Leggett, ’ Ana Coffey and Euon Murrell have been consistently good performers in our surveys and it’s no coincidence they are going strong around the council table today.
This time around, Litea Ah Hoi, who has been on the coun- cil since 2001, has reason for concern.
The panel felt her work ethic and visibility in public had dropped away.
We’re yet to find someone who finished bottom of the survey heap and was pleased about it. The phone call to inform them of the result can be uncomfortable.
Legal action and retraction demands have sometimes followed, though they’ve never come to anything.
Ah Hoi’s reply was that she was adding plenty to debates at the council table, on district licensing and behind the scenes in her community, and the votes she collected on polling day reflected that.
She said it came down to perception and that the survey result did not reflect the time she put in to earn her $32,600.
Fair enough, but perception is important, and the feeling from the panel – which included two residents of the Eastern ward and a former city councillor who works in eastern Porirua – was clearly that her work ethic had dropped away alarmingly.
She would be advised to look at her own performance, rather than talking about a panel she said ‘‘don’t know me’’.
Ah Hoi, along with fellow strugglers Denys Latham, Tim Sheppard and John Burke, need to turn it around in the next half of this triennium, otherwise they will face problems at the ballot box in 2016.
At the other end, Izzy Ford, Murrell and Coffey polled impressively, along with Leggett.
Their performances in the council chamber and the community earned them solid scores.
Overall, our panel felt Porirua was being well served by its councillors.