Missed meet­ings elec­tion is­sue

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By MATHEW GROCOTT

Judg­ing from con­tact vot­ers have had with the South Waikato News the key elec­tion is­sue so far ap­pears to be how many meet­ings coun­cil­lors at­tend.

The news­pa­per has re­ceived sev­eral phone calls and a let­ter ask­ing for the at­ten­dance records of coun­cil­lors.

In re­sponse South Waikato District Coun­cil has supplied at­ten­dance records for the its three-weekly coun­cil meet­ing.

This is only one of the meet­ings that coun­cil­lors can be ex­pected to at­tend. The fig­ures do not in­clude the likes of com­mit­tee meet­ings, coun­cil work­shops, pub­lic meet­ings, hear­ings or com­mit­tees on which coun­cil­lors rep­re­sent SWDC.

In the cur­rent term there have been 57 meet­ings with the best at­ten­dance rate be­long­ing to Mayor Neil Sin­clair and councillor Anne Ed­meades who have each missed one meet­ing.

Coun­cil­lors Eileen Barker and Brenda Watkins have missed two meet­ings each, at­tend­ing 55 out of 57.

The low­est at­ten­dance rate be­longed to councillor Wendy Cook who at­tended 36 meet­ings, 63 per cent of the to­tal. Councillor Lyn Cor­ban at­tended 39 meet­ings, 68 per cent o the to­tal.

Fig­ures for other coun­cil­lors are Frances Camp­bell (51), Mike Gubb ( 51), Shane McMahon (51), Jenny Shat­tock ( 52) and Her­man van Rooi­jen (50).

Mr Gubb wel­comed the re­lease of the at­ten­dance fig­ures and he had wanted the num­bers to be made pub­lic for some time.

He said all coun­cil­lors had rea­sons for missing meet­ings at times but he had man­aged to at­tend all but six dur­ing a busy three-year term.

Since the last elec­tion Mr Gubb, a busi­ness owner and vol­un­teer fire­man, has had to deal with the death of his mother and two grand­par­ents and three weeks of fire sta­tion of­fi­cer train­ing in Aus­tralia.

Both Mrs Cook and Mrs Cor­ban have de­fended their at­ten­dance fig­ures.

Mrs Cook said her work meant she spent a lot of time trav­el­ling to in­ter­na­tional pool and snooker com­pe­ti­tions, par­tic­u­larly with youth.

Mrs Cor­ban also said her work did at times con­flict with coun­cil meet­ings. She worked at South Waikato Achieve­ment Cen­tre and ‘ ‘ has to jug­gle’’ her two roles.

Both women said their at­ten­dance rate did not re­flect on the work they do as coun­cil­lors. They both at­tend other meet­ings which were not in­cluded in the fig­ures they said and when they missed meet­ings they made sure to catch up.

Mr Sin­clair said the meet­ing fig­ures did not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect the work rate of coun­cil­lors and the three-weekly meet­ing was only one part of the job.

Coun­cil com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Kerry Fabrie said no coun­cil­lors had breached stand­ing or­ders around at­ten­dance in the cur­rent term.

Stand­ing or­ders re­quire coun­cil­lors missing meet­ings to pro­vide an apol­ogy. Three missed meet­ings with­out one re­sults in a councillor be­ing re­moved from of­fice.

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