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Inaugural Meeting 

The inaugural meeting of any council should be a joyous affair as the successful candidates get together for the first time and pledge their undertakings to act in the best interests of the council and rate-payers etc etc.

The Inaugural Meeting of our Council was distinguished by new member Sandra Goudie placing her well publicised (and dirty) gumboots on the table in front of her. I missed the members speeches due to other commitments, but I can imagine how she drew attention to her roots, and background as a dairy farmer in announcing her arrival on the scene. Her amateur dramatics will cause some angst, I predict.

That aside, the most interesting change was the absence of the usual media table that has traditionally stood beside the public seating, and the Council table.

It appears that the removal was the result of discussions held in private prior to the Inaugural Meeting when I have no doubt that means by which to make life more difficult for media, and I suspect me in particular were canvassed. I am on fairly good grounds in assuming this based on the following exchange of emails with David Hammond.

30 October 2:46pm

David                                                                                                                                                               I understand that there is deal of antagonism towards my presence by certain councillors, but the absence of a media table from the Council Chamber constitutes, in my view, a level of childishness and/or vindictiveness that does the Council no credit.                                                                           There are other members of the media who at times like to attend Council for particular items, or even the whole meeting. Are they to be affected in the same manner? – you will surely realise the difficulty of sitting and writing over a long period in the spectator chairs provided.                                                     Can you please advise whether this action was as I have described, or something more innocent. I do not to draw attention to it unnecessarily, but don’t intend to simply ignore it, particularly at the outset of a new term. Robert Jeffares emailed me to say that he was ill, and thus unable to attend today – I am sure that he would be equally concerned, along with Michael Dobie                                                                   I realise that I am merely a ‘blogger’, but since I am the only source of Council information for a considerable number of people (plus or minus 900 per week), I see no reason why I should be treated any differently to members of the MSM                                                                                                    I look forward to hearing from you.                                                                    Cheers                                                                                                                                                             Bill

31 October 5.54pm

David                                                                                                                                                       Have you a response for me on this? On re-reading it I can see that it may have been mis-interpreted as a criticism of staff – it was certainly not meant as such. I realise that the conduct of affairs within the Chamber is entirely the prerogative of Council, and that the enquiry may be better directed to the Mayor.                                                                                                                                             Please let me know if you believe this to be the case.                                                                           Regards

1 November 2013

 Morning Bill. Busy time - yesterday had new elected member orientation, and before that started, dealt with a Maori occupation on land, coro harbour protest and several other things before 9am. Will talk to elected team about making a table available for the public gallery. Not a media table but a table for people in gallery to spread out their papers. Open to anyone who comes.                                                                        Thanks                                                                                                                                                       David

There is nothing under Standing Orders that requires a Council to provide any facilities whatsoever for members of the  media - bona fide (whatever that is!) or otherwise. They are simply to be accorded access as 'members of the public'. So fair enough - they are within their rights, but I will be interested to hear what Fairfax (HH and 'Waikato Times') have to say about it, let alone Robert Jaffares who along with yours truly have provided the only reportage of the previous Council.

I have had to develop a fairly thick skin after being virtually ignored in the Chamber apart from a fairly regular acknowledgement from the Mayor - for which I am grateful, but the removal of the table indicates a new level of vindictiveness, and the election provided the opoortunity. But I still believe that this happy little bunch of like-minded merry-men (and women!) needs to be watched - closely watched, as they develop their policies on development contributions, aquaculture, mining, and in particular, the move towards a Unitary Authority.

I have no intention of altering my style, or method of operation, certainly not because of this childish behaviour. Body language indicated to me on Wednesday that amidst the satisfaction evident around the table, that there was substantial embarrassment amongst staff.

It sort of increases ones resolve.  



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Reader Comments (1)

Goudie will need the gumboots -- hear she has bad case of foot in mouth disease

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBogan

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