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Following on criticism of Strat Peters in last week’s PP column, it was interesting to note that he chaired the Thames TYP Hearing last Friday in an exemplary manner – each submitter was given a fair hearing, and kept precisely to time.

It was no fault of Strats that all the Hearings were illegal inasmuch as the Standing Orders regarding the appointment of the Chair (LGA Schedule 7, [s.26.1] and Standing Order 2.3.1) were completely ignored.

Under the Act, Board Chairs are not eligible to chair meetings of Council (which this was), and it is staggering that this was not pointed out to the Mayor when he promoted this concept. This is by no means the first time that the current Council has adopted a cavalier attitude towards procedure, and undoubtedly not be the last.

Fortunately s.29 of the Act effectively validates defects of this nature, but this validation clause is meant to cover inadvertent, not deliberate procedural lapses, and is no excuse for sloppy procedures.




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Reader Comments (4)


Unfortunately, the ignorance demonstrated in understanding something so basic as Chairing a meeting is replicated all through the Councils proposals for change, especially in relation to 'big ticket' items such as District-wide rating for essential services and introducing 'private deals' with developers in the Development Contributions Policy (to say nothing about rating rural septic tank users for urban reticulated sewerage). If introduced, these things will be ticking time-bombs until a future Council does a fix-up.

Also, I don't know if Sandra has thought it through (see individual submissions), but her desire to remove all ratepayer subsidies for social development is not advisable. For example:

a) Does she realise that under the Councils current social development policies most community groups pay only peppercorn leases for the use of Council land? How is she going to justify the removal of those leases to all the community groups throughout the Peninsula?

b) After many years of lobbying, the Council finally introduced a 'Positive Ageing Strategy'. How is she going to justify the removal of that policy to all the over 65's in the community only 6 months after it was introduced?

c) For many years the Council has provided significant financial support for surf lifesaving groups around the Peninsula. How is Sandra going to explain to these groups that this funding is permanently withdrawn?

Perhaps Sandra should ponder the fact that re-prioritising money from 'social development' to 'economic development' simply makes (to use her phraseology) "welfare recipients" out of a different lot of people - the business community in this instance. They Business community should be last on the list for that sort of thing, not first.

Dal Minogue.

May 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDal Minogue

Where is the new CEO in all of this
surely Hammond has pointed out to Leach the errors in the Mayors way in having non-elected Councilors chairing a Council meeting-?
We know the Auditor General is a toothless tiger - to wit their comments on the previous Mayor when there was purported to be 'a perceived conflict of interest' - so no point in raising this issue in that camp - but none the less a Mayors task is to Chair all Council meeting and in their absence the Deputy Mayor [if you have faith in their ability] - so what the Hell are Board Chairs doing the job for Mr. Hammond???

May 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCyclops


Re "where is the CEO in all this?", you have raised an interesting and valid point. Of course the Chief Executive has obligations under the LGA to ensure, beyond the request of any elected member including the Mayor, that the Council operates 'legally'. So what has happened at the hearing regarding the chairing of meetings, might be considered as the first test of his competency?

The problem is, as you have indicated, how can there be redress for this when the Auditor Generals office is a damp squib? It would seem that High Court action is the only alternative, but that is prohibitively expensive. Yet perhaps it would be worthwhile if, as is the case, the different 'Chairs' of all these meeting failed to address (even 'pro-forma') Leach's conflict of interest? Obviously, the Community Board Chairs would not dare direct that he "consider his position" given that he could sack them all and replace them with himself anytime he wanted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dal Minogue.

May 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDal Minogue

Ah, Dal, if you get to spend any time with the CE you will understand exactly why the mayor and councillors are not being made aware of legal obligations.........

May 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGunna

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