Submission to the Council meeting of 2 March 2017

I am here today to get an assurance from the Council that they are not in support of ‘alternative facts’.

It was with great surprise I read the Mayor’s Column of 25 January in the Kapiti News in reference to the newly adopted Standing Orders.

He stated: “The changes were unanimously voted for by all the elected representatives”. The vote he refers to was taken on 15 December 2016.

The answer given by the CEO in his letter to me of 22 February states “Cllr Buswell and Cllr Cardiff were absent from the meeting”. [The council meeting minutes state that Cr Buswell joined the meeting at 12:05, although that was after the vote on this matter. – Eds]

So, the fact is that the changes were not voted for by all the elected members, as the Mayor stated.

An Official Information Act (OIA) request to the CEO regarding the vote division on this matter received the answer dated 22 February: “A division was not requested for the motion in question [adoption of Standing Orders], so it cannot be provided.”

However, I have an audio recording of the meeting of 15 December made available by Council that clearly records from minutes 42–43, Councillor M Scott asking for a division and all those present on the 15 of December voted for the adoption of the new Standing Orders with the exception of Councillor Elliott.

So, the fact is that the adoption was not unanimously passed.

This is an example of the importance of recording what was said, so we do not have to rely on spin.

A third matter regards the OIA response. I asked for the vote division details and the CEO said there had been no division. This is contrary to what the Council’s own audio recording discloses. Why the discrepancy?

I ask the Mayor to explain why he should apparently mislead ratepayers. These kinds of statements undermine their confidence in the Council.

Saying it is minor is no defence. Facts are facts. The citizens of Kapiti do not want alternatives to the facts.

I suggest that the Mayor correct his statement regarding the matters that have been raised here today and include them in his next article.

Also, I want a reassurance that Council takes a dim view of inaccurate OIA responses. Many of you [councillors] campaigned on openness and transparency. The only way to ensure misleading information is not given in OIA responses is to hold the person responsible to account. In this case, the only person you Councillors can make that demand of is the CEO [Dougherty].