Ken’s ad­vice: Coun­cil­lors need to stay fo­cused

Kapi-Mana News - - OUT & ABOUT - KRIS DANDO

Ken Douglas moved from his high-pro­file trade union role to lo­cal pol­i­tics eas­ily, and he recog­nised the pit­falls im­me­di­ately.

‘‘I have a lot of re­grets about what’s not been done here in Porirua,’’ he said.

‘‘But the pres­sure of fit­ting the cen­tral gov­ern­ment re­port­ing and strate­gies into the lo­cal gov­ern- ment process is dif­fi­cult.

‘‘You’re of­ten pol­ish­ing things to death or you have costs put upon you – it’s ridicu­lous at times.’’

Pay­ing GST on rates was a ‘‘tax on a tax’’, Douglas said, and an is­sue he railed against of­ten. Leaky homes, the cost of Trans­mis­sion Gully and the im­pact of the high­way on the city, and Porirua’s strate­gic place in the re­gion were among the sub­jects that dom­i­nated his 18 years.

Cut­ting ser­vices, as is out­lined in the 2016/17 an­nual plan re­flected the pres­sures to­day, he said.

‘‘We need to be future-proof­ing Porirua.

‘‘Some [ratepay­ers] might have Lambton Quay ap­petites, but that’s not the re­al­ity. We need cen­tral gov­ern­ment fund­ing for city devel­op­ment.’’

Pin­point­ing his coun­cil achieve­ments was dif­fi­cult, but said he did his best to de­bate is­sues in an in­formed way and con­vince col­leagues to think strate­gi­cally.

‘‘I’ve got in­creas­ingly grumpy. I just want coun­cil­lors to be fo­cused – they get dis­tracted too eas­ily.’’

Con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween ratepay­ers and the coun­cil was cru­cial and was largely achieved in Porirua, Douglas said.

Ken Douglas speaks at a union demon­stra­tion in Welling­ton in Oc­to­ber 1977.

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