This is the set of correspondence that we have been sent from an Official Information request. The council reply to Te Kura Kaupapa is obvious, but it’s not obvious which reply dated 19 March was sent to the first two complainants of 26 February, which are similar although not the same.
Obvious questions, apart from who sent the Te Kura Kaupapa letter to Stuff, are:
1. Despite the comments by the present Mayor to Stuff media, the first complaints, which were received by the council the day after the 25 February meeting, concerned alleged assault and abuse from Te Kura Kaupapa members against ratepayers in the public gallery. Why weren’t these initial complaints mentioned by the mayor?
2. Why didn’t the mayor, when speaking with Stuff, mention that he had initially apologised to the aggrieved ratepayers in the audience who had filed the complaints? How sincere are we supposed to regard these ‘apologies’?
3. Why did the mayor claim to Stuff that he did not know the identities of anyone involved in the alleged incidences, claiming that there had been unsuccessful efforts to identify those involved, despite having the names of three of those present? Is this because to acknowledge them would have necessitated admitting that there were conflicting accounts?
4. Why did the mayor, having three complaints from ratepayers in attendance, not attempt to investigate their allegations before proceeding to Otaki with the Race Relations commissioner to apologise to the students for alleged incidents that no councilor or staff member had witnessed?
5. Did someone in council forewarn Te Kura Kaupapa that complaints of physical and verbal abuse had been filed by ratepayers?
6. Did Te Kura headteacher Heni Wirihana Te-Rei file a complaint with KCDC a week later to pre-empt possible blowback from the ratepayers’ complaints about his students? What efforts did Te-Rei make to corroborate the accuracy of the allegations?
7. Why was the ‘matter considered closed’ by Gurunathan and Mr Maxwell in reply to ‘an official complaint’ filed by a ratepayer, dated 26 February, yet His Worship proceeded to Otaki to apologize to the Te Kura students?
8. Why did His Worship assume that the Te Kura account was accurate, yet summarily dismiss the complaints of verbal and physical abuse filed by three of those present, and subsequently corroborated by others present?
9. While the present mayor claims that ‘the buck stops’ with him in ‘ensuring the safety of all’, why did he not mention to Stuff the concerns of the ratepayers for their safety, despite having privately acknowledged their concerns and apologised? Are the aggrieved ratepayers who claim to have been subjected to verbal and physical abuse, relegated to non-persons?