Press Release – Jackie Elliott
Kapiti Council candidate Jackie Elliott is disappointed at the low public turnout at last night’s initial public consultation on Local government Reform options meeting held in Otaki.
“Only seven members of the public attended this first meeting, which was held with one days notice. A common question at the meeting was why is this consultation being rushed.”
Ms Elliott says the answer from the working party, CEO Pat Dougherty and Crs Booth and Gaylor was because the working party, formed last October, must consult with Kapiti and come up with a proposal by May.
“The actual reason for this haste is that for the first year after the Government announced the pending reforms, KCDC refused to play any part in the discussions. So we in Kapiti are seriously behind the eight-ball and playing catch up,” says Ms Elliott.
A common theme at the meeting was what would be the position of Community Boards after amalgamation. The meeting was told under a single tier system there would be a super city and community boards but no local councils. Whereas under the two tier system community boards would only survive if the local council appointed them.
Ms Elliott said there appears to be far more faith in our community boards than in the council and protecting community boards is vital to the preservation of local democracy and local decision making.
Last night’s panel, and the Kapiti public’s submission forms give three outcomes which include the status quo. Ms Elliott says the status quo of eight separate councils plus the regional council is too expensive and doesn’t work. “That is why the region’s leaders asked for change. Ninety percent of respondents to KCDC’s postal consultation on local Government reforms last year indicated they wanted change to the current system.”
Ms Elliott says KCDC’s current structure costs Kapiti ratepayers nearly $2million in salaries each year just for the eight top positions. “This is a disproportionate part of the six cents in every rates dollar collected in Kapiti spent on salaries. This is the highest percentage in the country, and we need to change that.”
Ms Elliott says the issues being discussed are of great significance and she urges as many people as possible to attend the next three meetings.
The next meetings are: Monday April 15, Waikanae Senior Citizens Hall, 7.30; Tuesday April 16, St Peters Hall, Paekakariki, 7.30pm; Monday 22 April, Paraparaumu Community Centre, 7.30pm.