Thursday, 25 October 2012

People power wins in Palmerston North

People power wins in Palmerston North.

The PNCC voted to keep Wards so the spirit of Dr Brian Booth who passed away some months ago was still present as various submitters argued for the retention of the Ward System and their argument was persuasive and the councillors voted eight to four in favour of wards. This was a complete reversal of earlier votes.

Of those making verbal submissions [19] only one argued clearly for across the city voting, that submitter [Chettleburgh] suggested that there was little cost difference for candidates and that a hundred word bio in the candidate booklet was all that was needed to get individual candidates message across. This submitters argument was strange, because he was elected to the Regional Council via their Ward system, because the PN City is treated as a Ward [one of five] under the Manawatu District Council voting system.

One other submitter [John Whitelock] wasn’t sure what he wanted other than that he wanted the rural based locations to be represented, but he did point out how successful his ward committee had been when it was in existence.

One submitter [Ian Ritchie] has written to all councillors stating:

“I was asked a question last night as to the difference between the spirit in Ashhurst and Fitzherbert.
After the submissions, John Whitelock, who had chaired the Fitzherbert Ward Committee, said that when the Ward Committee functioned there were some great discussions with attendance at meetings up to 90 – far more than Council meetings.
I think that says it all.
Wards and especially Ward Committees are very important on the ground, even for supposedly a collection of small, disparate communities as there were in Fitzherbert. Please reinstate them.
They are the life blood of good local government”,

For the record this is how the councillors and mayor voted on the issue:

  • For City wide voting [4]: Naylor [Mayor], Jefferies [Deputy Mayor] Nicky Guy and Bruce Wilson:

  • For Ward voting [9] : Barnett, Baty, Broad, Kelly, McCann, Meehan, Nixon and Utikere. Teo-Sherrell didn’t vote because of a conflict of interest [he had put in a submission] but he supports Wards.

  • Abstained: Linklater.

  • Absent at time of vote: Findlay

  • Failed to turn up for any of the submission hearings. Dennison

Total 16,

You can decide what each person’s reasons for voting the way they did, but in regard to:

Cr. Linklater abstaining this was odd; when one considers that he was pushing City wide voting through out the submission hearings.

Cr. Findlay being absent for the vote was most likely because he was in support of Wards but could not bring himself to vote against the Mayor.

Cr. Dennison’s absence from the total submission debate simply proves once again the wide gap between councillors regarding performance. Never the less, he most likely would have voted the same way as the mayor.

A key point to arise was the clear view that Councillors should live in the Ward in which they stand at the time of the election. This immediately means that local representation means just that. If once elected councillor’s change their location they can remain representing the ward they were elected in until the next election, then if they wish to stand they must do so in their new ward. That ensures true local representation and stops all the councillors from ending up in one Ward.

There are already strong moves to kick start the reformation of unofficial Ward Committees if you are interested in joining such a group, please contact me at or phone 359-2030.

No comments: