Missed meetings election issue
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.