The good, the bad and the strugglers
The report cards, assessing the work of Porirua City councillors, are in. As usual, some councillors are smiling, others are frowning.
The results put Litea Ah Hoi and John Burke at the bottom, while Bronwyn Kropp and Euon Murrell get a view from the top.
This is not a popularity contest – the panelists do not judge on whose name appears most in print, on radio and TV, or in social media.
They judge on the councillors’ and mayor’s turnout to public meetings and events, whether they are willing to take calls on issues like footpaths and streetlights and what value they can bring to their community or neighbourhood.
Kropp and Murrell were judged favourably on their leadership, intelligence and visibility in their ward and in Porirua.
Burke and Ah Hoi were judged to be not providing sufficient value to their wards or around the council table. Burke’s presence mystified some panelists and Ah Hoi was seen as someone who had once been a star, but has faded.
Mayor Nick Leggett had a tumble down the rankings, but an 82 per cent rating was still commendable. Anita Baker and Izzy Ford did well, while Denys Latham and the departing pair of Tim Sheppard and Ken Douglas were in the pack.
Some people do not like the report cards. But they offer a sort of combined, collective wisdom. There is no attempt to harpoon anyone maliciously.
In the past, councillors who have fared badly have said we have made it impossible for them to seek re-election.
Our view is that if you worked hard, around the council table and in the community, the panel will reflect that effort made.
Our panel was made up of people from business, media and residents associations – folks who are aware of the councillors’ and mayor’s work in the community.
Over the years, no matter who we put on the panel, the results remain surprisingly consistent. The best performers finish at or near the top. If certain councillors are constantly polling near the bottom of the field, there is a lesson in there for them.
The panelists were frank – one was annoyed that not a single councillor had put any measure forward to stop the rates climb. Overall, we were impressed by our panelists efforts to be fair and impartial.
We hope the exercise gives a shot in the arm to local body politics, which not enough residents care about.
Voter turnout is below 40 per cent, so anything that encourages people to think, and debate, about who sits on their local council is surely valuable.