Chang­ing of the guard at Porirua City Coun­cil

Kapi-Mana News - - CONVERSATIONS -

Porirua City Coun­cil will have at least four new faces set­tling into the com­fort­able chairs in the coun­cil cham­ber later this year. Last week we re­ported that four coun­cil­lors were step­ping aside at the lo­cal body elec­tions in Oc­to­ber – Tim Shep­pard, Bron­wyn Kropp, Ken Dou­glas and Litea Ah Hoi. That’s a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence to dis­ap­pear from the coun­cil scene.

All four ask per­ti­nent ques­tions and en­liven any de­bate. The knowl­edge and fore­sight they bring to the cham­ber will be missed.

Dou­glas and Kropp told us the past two years had been par­tic­u­larly pro­gres­sive for Porirua City Coun­cil on sev­eral fronts.

The city cen­tre upgrade is mov­ing ahead – al­though some clar­ity would be nice around whether the canopy-like cov­er­ings are com­ing back – the chil­dren and young per­son’s pol­icy was a mas­ter­stroke, and other projects have gained trac­tion un­der a mayor and coun­cil keen to push on.

The coun­cil seems more in­clu­sive and co­he­sive in this term, per­haps be­cause some of the per­son­al­ity-driven ar­gu­ments that were such an ever-present fac­tor be­tween 2010 and 2013 have been non-ex­is­tent this time.

What this coun­cil must do is keep chal­leng­ing it­self to do bet­ter. There are good peo­ple around that coun­cil ta­ble, and new faces will bring en­ergy and ideas.

First-term coun­cil­lors can eas­ily find them­selves over­awed by the weight of doc­u­ments that need to be read, and an in­abil­ity to get trac­tion on their pet projects.

In a cham­ber sur­rounded by con­fi­dent speak­ers such as Euon Mur­rell, Nick Leggett and Dou­glas, it’s some­times eas­ier to keep your head below the para­pet.

New coun­cil­lors must not be scared to make them­selves heard.

And a mes­sage to Porirua res­i­dents: if you’re not happy with the di­rec­tion this coun­cil is headed, don’t shout from the side­lines, or merely clack away on a com­puter – stand up and be counted.

It is a heavy com­mit­ment, putting your name for­ward for lo­cal body elec­tions, but Porirua has a proud his­tory of com­mu­nity-minded peo­ple will­ing to be rel­a­tively lowly paid – $34,700 for a fairly full-on com­mit­ment – for the priv­i­lege of rep­re­sent­ing a part of the city.

It’s not a lot of money for, as one in­cum­bent coun­cil­lor told us re­cently, putting your life on hold to pro­vide your neigh­bours with a voice.

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