Councillors Representation Review
I need to place this advertisement to advise the citizens and ratepayers of the South Waikato of my position in relation to the Representation Review as it affects the Tirau Ward.
Included here is a full copy of the Tirau Community Board (TCB)/T.M. Magill Submission lodged with Council – please read the Submission and judge for yourself whether this is tantamount to a threat. The Mayor has said … “so I was perturbed that somebody would make the threat that if you don’t do what we want we will move”… - I think not and can advise conclusively that was and is not my intention whatsoever.
All that the TCB and myself would like is that the status quo be preserved. I believe that …“if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. There are no efficiencies whatsoever to be gained by implementing Council’s recommendation.
The TCB work well and work hard for the needs and aspirations of the (urban and rural) portions of the Tirau Ward. If the TCB is “dissolved” there is no “replacement” entity to represent the Ward. The TCB is very cost effective, paid a very modest sum which is paid for only by the Tirau Ward. There is no motivation for any replacement organisation from the area – (such as a retailers or business owners group).
The CEO (Craig Hobbs) has been quoted as saying …“Magill has pushed the us against them (Tirau) concept”. This is patently untrue. The only motion (I can recall) not supporting Tokoroa was the $1million spent on the improvements to Lake Te Moananui (when it was increased from the initial $650,000.00 (approx.) cost of the project). I thought the increase was excessive. Otherwise, I have taken a collaborative approach with matters concerning the Tokoroa and Putaruru Wards and my voting record would support that.
Mr Hobbs also stated that I have the lowest attendance of all Councillors – attending 40 of 68 meetings in the last year. The message he is portraying is that I am not doing my bit at Council. I don’t believe that this is relevant to my effectiveness around the Council Chamber. I have a fulltime job and I sometimes – following perusing the Agenda beforehand – make a conscious decision that my presence at a particular meeting would not provide any value and I go to work instead. Besides, 40 days of meetings (i.e. 8 full weeks out of a year) is not a bad attendance rate over 12 months in my opinion.
Becoming a Councillor should not be the preserve of plus 65 year olds who otherwise have no other employment or occupation or may have jobs where replacement staff are readily available. We need an age balance, employment balance and gender balance around the Council Chamber to give the best and widest possible representation.
I was given six weeks leave of absence earlier this year (by the Mayor) due to major surgery. I have also been battling with cancer and am required to attend Hospital relatively often.
Mr Hobbs (CEO) – by his comments – has also improperly interfered in matters of Governance which is the preserve of the Council itself. He has obviously taken a personal position against me (i.e. I am part of his employer – the Council). He has crossed the line in his comments and should withdraw those critical comments as the sole employee of Council (i.e. Council itself appoints only the CEO. The CEO then has the responsibility to employ everyone else that works at SWDC). Councillors are able to discuss any concerns they may have but it is completely unacceptable for Mr Hobbs (as the Council employee) to attempt to discredit me in this manner.
The Mayor and CEO sought a legal opinion to determine that I am unable to participate at the Council table when it makes its final decision (in late June) about the Representation issues. I accept that.
The Mayor (at the Tirau meeting) spoke (in lengthy terms) that it was his personal opinion that the number of Councillors should be reduced from 10 Councillors to 8. His view was outvoted by the Council and yet he continues to pursue this position. In that case (and if he continues with this position) then the Mayor (and perhaps the Deputy Mayor) should also not take part in the final decision (as like myself the Mayor should not participate in a Council decision where he disagreed with a duly passed and approved Council Resolution).
The Mayor at the TCB Representation meeting said that the moves to do away with the Tirau Ward and the Tirau Board were in the interests of efficiency yet was unable (despite being questioned several times) to provide any reasons that would justify any efficiency whatsoever. This is because (in my opinion) there is no efficiency (financial or otherwise) but rather just a long held and stubborn view that the Community Board is not required – despite the logic expressed emphatically by the Tirau people at the meeting who want the TCB to continue and to retain its Ward status.
It is interesting to note that over 100 people turned up to express their views at the Tirau meeting. Other identical meetings were held at Tokoroa, Putaruru and Arapuni – and a total of (approx.) six (6) people turned up at those meetings.
The Mayor referred to the “harmonisation” of rates which benefits Tirau and that the Tirau Water Sewerage Station (costing $399,103.00) and the maintenance costs of the Tirau Memorial Hall are shared across the district. With respect, that is completely irrelevant. There are a huge number of projects and existing infrastructure in (particularly) the Tokoroa Ward which are funded across the district. The Lake Te Moananui restoration project being merely one such recent case. In fact, I cannot think of any areas of capital (rates) expenditure in Tokoroa which are not funded across the whole District – apart from possibly the ongoing costs of the security cameras going into the CBD of Tokoroa – no decision has yet been made on that.
When you look at the collection of rates across the district and the capital expenditure – Tokoroa does extremely well out of rates “harmonisation”. I hasten to add that it is appropriate that Tokoroa receives more than its per capita share of funding – having regard to it being the Council base town and the particular social and community issues that Tokoroa continually faces.
It is regrettable that this representation issue has evolved into a personal condemnation by the Mayor and our CEO against myself. I would have thought that within our district that a Councillor is able to express his or her honestly held views without personal attack – indeed it is my job to advise all of the Council and to express the concerns of the people residing in the Tirau Ward.