Claims of ageism at coun­cil

Hamilton News - - Front Page - Tom Row­land

Hamil­ton’s new­est coun­cil­lor has been made deputy chair­man of the com­mu­nity and ser­vices com­mit­tee af­ter only four and a half months into the job.

Coun­cil­lor Ryan Hamil­ton, who won the east ward by­elec­tion in Fe­bru­ary, will take on the role which has been deputised by deputy mayor Martin Gal­lagher since coun­cil­lor Mark Bunting was re­moved from it last year.

The move drew crit­i­cism in the coun­cil cham­ber from coun­cil­lors Siggi Henry and James Cas­son, af­ter the NZ Her­ald re­ported that they had both ex­pressed in­ter­est in the role last year.

Ms Henry raised an amend­ment at that meet­ing to make Mr Cas­son the new deputy chair of the com­mu­nity and ser­vices com­mit­tee, how­ever it failed to gain sup­port.

Dur­ing de­bate Mr Cas­son la­belled the move to ap­point coun­cil­lor Hamil­ton as ageist, mayor An­drew King said later in the de­bate that his de­ci­sion was based on age.

“Not once did mayor An­drew ask me what I can of­fer, or what I have done to qual­ify as deputy chair,” Mr Cas­son said.

“I think the mayor’s rea­sons need to be chal­lenged on this.”

Mr Cas­son listed the links and con­nec­tions he has through­out the com­mu­nity, call­ing it a mat­ter of a prin­ci­pal.

“The ap­point­ment by the mayor on age is ageism.”

Coun­cil­lor Ge­off Tay­lor said that it was not a de­bate on age, but a de­bate about merit.

“I be­lieve that is why Ryan has been nom­i­nated for this,” Mr Tay­lor said.

“James if I could of­fer my own ad­vice, it is that I find Ryan good to en­gage with and dis­cuss is­sues.

“I haven’t been able to find that sort of ease with you. Talk of age is pure bs.”

How­ever, mayor King said the de­ci­sion was based on age.

“I am choos­ing on age. Ryan is over a decade younger than any­one on this ta­ble, and we’ve al­ways talked about giv­ing a voice to young peo­ple,” Mr King said.

Coun­cil­lor Paula South­gate, who chairs the com­mu­nity and ser­vices com­mit­tee, said she would sup­port the de­ci­sion made by the mayor, but had sym­pa­thy for both coun­cil­lors Henry and Cas­son.

“I very much ad­mire Siggi for her level of at­ten­dance at com­mu­nity events, she is al­ways there,” Ms South­gate said.

“James also, I reg­u­larly see him at events as well and I am aware of the amount of ef­forts he puts into com­mu­nity events.”

Coun­cil­lor Mark Bunting, who lost the job last year, said he wished the dis­cus­sion was not tak­ing place in the first place.

“We would not be hav­ing this dis­cus­sion if I didn’t mess up. This is Phillip’s job, so what­ever we have got to do it with the same quo­rum and class that Phillip would have done,” Mr Bunting said.

Deputy mayor Martin Gal­lagher has been the act­ing deputy chairan since coun­cil­lor Bunting had it re­voked from him for send­ing an of­fen­sive meme to jour­nal­ist An­gela Cum­ing.

Mr Bunting only held the role for a short time af­ter tak­ing it over fol­low­ing the death of coun­cil­lor Philip Ye­ung last year.

Photo / Hamil­ton City Coun­cil

Hamil­ton City coun­cil­lor Ryan Hamil­ton.

Hamil­ton City coun­cil­lor James Cas­son.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.