by Geoffrey Churchman
It was no surprise: while Crs Holborow, Buswell, their protégé, young Sophie Handford and Elliott were always going to vote for it, there were mild hopes that James Cootes and Rob McCann might reject it, but it was not to be.
I arrived at 9:15 am yesterday for the marathon session which began at 9:30, but was told that the public seating was already “chocker” and they could not put any more chairs in for “health and safety” reasons. So I headed home to watch it online, not a fantastic experience as you only get a fuzzy picture of the council table and the backs of the public speakers’ heads. Another problem is that after refreshment breaks the live stream does not automatically reappear; you have to keep refreshing the page manually.
Much of the seating at that point was allocated to the mayor’s iwi friends who at one stage gave an approximately 5 minute long haka, which suitably impressed young Sophie who stood up and began dancing along.
Some of those who Mr Maxwell had paid to produce favourable reports for him came along to support what they said, but there were several opponents who also spoke. The result was that inclusive of the breaks, public speaking was still underway at 2:30 at which time I had another meeting to attend.
At about 5:30 came the Councillors vote: the opposition was led by Gwynn Compton who pointed out that the visitor numbers and economics simply didn’t stack up. But “wellbeing” and other ethereal, nonsensical notions held sway. Rob McCann might like to consider how many new social housing units could have been bought for $4.6 million and would have provided actual wellbeing to their tenants.
Siding with Gwynn were Bernie Randall and Martin Halliday as was always expected. There was a reasonable chance that the present Waikanae ward Councillor would be swayed by the views of the WCB members to join the votes against and that’s what happened.
So, the present mayor will get his legacy anti-colonialist white elephant, although exactly what it will consist of is not yet clear. In the meantime, Eva and I like the rest of Kapiti ratepayers are going to have to find our compulsory annual contribution to pay for it, in addition to the thousands of dollars we already have to pay for Mr Maxwell’s bureaucrats and consultants…