My ‘What’s going on in Council – May 18’ column caused a massive stir amongst readers regarding cost blow outs, the quality of voice across the district and powers. This is my reply to those readers.

These are fair comments and ones already echoed around the council table. Forgive me, but my column is limited to only 600 words so I had to keep it focussed on the decision that was made. I didn’t have room to talk about powers, costs and how community boards may operate.

Council gave clear directions for the proposed model to be cost neutral. Both in terms of dollars and staffing. We were assured that this was achievable and now it’s on us to ensure it happens that way. This was absolutely a major concern of mine, as it should be being the Deputy Chair for Finance and Audit. This concern was also echoed around the council table.

All councillors have equal mandate across the table. We all listen to the communities feedback, read our papers, check legislation and compliance then make our collective decisions accordingly. No individual Councillor has the mandate alone, collectively we do though. That’s democracy.

The quality of the community boards and the council is contingent on the quality of people you elect to those positions. If we want community boards to be functional and meaningful then we need to elect people who will empower that to happen. Voting competent people on to the community boards will ensure that there is quality voice, voting competent people to council will ensure council gives effect to the community board voices.

I’m not going to take a position on what powers should sit where until I see how the model rolls out. I can guarantee you I will vote for what the information and the community tells me is the most sensible.

I encourage anyone who would like to know more to watch the video online of the public deputations, workshopping and deliberations on the day of the representation review meeting. Also read the submissions and the council paperwork, it is full of a lot of great information.

Again, if you have feedback regarding this model then please send it through to the Local Government commission. Have your say.

Cr Wharehinga