Your editors went to this meeting organised by Karl Webber and Martin Halliday yesterday afternoon, a smallish, but very worthwhile gathering attended by 18 at different stages, including 8 candidates. We all sat around in a big circle — which could be a good model for the Waikanae Community Board meetings in future, that is done in Paekakariki — got to introduce ourselves and then discussed a whole range of issues, including Waikanae ones, which for your editors were quite insightful.
Nigel Wilson said this time there is the best group of challenger candidates he’s seen and, like most of our readers, we think it will be good if the present mayor and at least a few of the existing councilors, including the present Regional Council seat holder, can be replaced with the challengers. Jackie Elliott was the only sitting Councilor present. Mayoral candidate Martin Halliday was there and Gwynn Compton’s wife to represent him as Gywnn had to be at a major announcement at Beef + Lamb NZ.
The most interesting thing for your editors was the description of the Society of Local Government Managers which Jackie Elliott says provides council bosses ways to manipulate and undermine if not marginalize elected members. Back in February 2018 we reported on the Delphi technique which council bosses use to promote an illusion of democracy and make people think they’ve had a say. In reality it’s all about maintaining autocratic rule, not democracy. This Society is an embodiment of the autocrats! But it’s not hopeless for the people if the right candidates get elected in 8 days. One change needed immediately in Kapiti is to remove the council boss from the top of the table at council meetings; he can sit on a side bench and offer an opinion if called upon to do so.
Everyone present condemned the disconnect between elected members and the ‘top-down management’ which enables the bosses to run the show the way they like. This must be replaced.