Community Board members Bernie Randall and Guy Burns are shocked that Kapiti Coast District Council are building barriers against local government transparency.
“Recent decisions to exclude Community Board members from some Council meetings are the last straw. In December, council made a decision not to allow Community Board members access to the public excluded agenda and meetings. This is despite Community Board members who sit on Council committees, being given the Public Excluded agenda for many years and the fact that Mayor Gurunathan campaigned at the last election on openness and transparency.
‘Secondly, for the first time in memory, there will also be no opportunity for the public to express themselves on the Council’s Annual Plan. This important Plan will be presented to Council for approval as a done deal—with the overall rates increase, and with no feedback from ratepayers.
“There are good reasons for openness and transparency. Secrecy breeds suspicion. Decisions made behind closed doors make people suspicious about whether the decision was fair or not.
“KCDC continually talk about the value of consultation. There was no consultation about these changes. In fact, the decisions appear undemocratic. By taking this stance near election year, we wonder what the Mayor and Councillors have to hide?”
The whole culture of the KCDC hiding things from the public gaze has to change. While a few (and just a few) matters could be governed by the Privacy Act, the only two reasons why the bosses want to hide things from not only the ratepayers, but elected representatives, are incompetence, corruption or both.
We are told the the KCDC Audit and Risk Committee now considers “Reputational Risk” — really? —Eds