Local government candidate Guy Burns (candidate for the Paekakariki-Raumati Ward) is advocating for Kapiti Coast District Council to use a low cost form of non-binding referendum to assess ratepayer support for individual spending proposals.

“To help avoid unpopular and unnecessary decisions I’m suggesting Council should identify the cost of specific proposals for ratepayers and then ask them whether they are willing to pay.

“A polling form could go out with each rates bill, and be specific about the cost impacts of each spending proposal on each rates account. Administrative costs could be minimised by using online polling tools.

“It would enable ratepayers to be properly informed about proposals, and for Councils to get a proper understanding of what people think as opposed to just interest groups lobbying on behalf of their pet projects.

“Both district wide and local ward initiatives can be covered by such an approach. The current system of public consultation that occurs does not attract large numbers of submitters, and many ratepayers do not have time to engage in them.

“Kapiti could lead the way by introducing non-binding polls on individual spending proposals as an adjunct to traditional consultation, so that decision-makers in Council have real information about the views of those they expect to foot the bills for spending.”