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Unelected Economic Development Committee

Here is the text of an email I sent to Laurna White earlier this week:


I am quite puzzled at the reference today to Cr Goudie being a member of the Economic Development Committee.

I would be grateful if could advise just how and when this appointment was made?

Do I understand that the Committee now comprises seven members – four councillors and three appointed, one of whom remains the Chair?

Thank you, and note the mea culpa on Leadfoot!



And here is the reply I received from Deputy Chief Executive Ben Day at 8.34am yesterday:

Hi Bill,

No she isn't a full time member, just a reserve in case an elected member is an apology.

There was a Council report that went up a few months ago to add a few reserves to the Committee, as we clarified the delegations of the Committee and also made sure that our non-elected members never out-numbered elected members as a quorum, so your references on your blog to the EDC being dominated by unelected representatives is incorrect. Non-elected members can't dominate the vote and I am more than happy with this check and balance around the quorum rules.

Cr Goudie is attending the meetings from time to time anyway, probably given her involvement in the Hauraki Rail Trail Charitable Trust. Not voting as she isn't casting votes if she isn't standing in for an apology.

Debra, can you please send Bill the EDC delegations and the report that nominated new reserves. This report articulates the quorum rules.



And here is my further query at 10.15am the same day

Thank you Ben, but with all due respect, regardless of what constitutes a quorum, and your being  “more than happy with the check and balance around the quorum rules,” if there are equal numbers of councillor/appointed ‘voting’ members, and the ‘appointed’ chair has the casting vote, then the unelected members are in control. It is my view that Bob Renton is not a sworn councillor and therefore to my understanding cannot be regarded as other than an ‘appointed’ member with no direct accountability to Council.  Are you able clarify this point?

There was no suggestion that Cr Goudie attended last week’s meeting as anything  other than a voting member, and participated in all discussions – not simply HRCT matters.  That being the case, for whom was she substituting?

If I am not mistaken, David mentioned Cr Goudie’s ‘membership’ of the Committee during the course of delivering his Report. The reference to her as a member certainly came up at some point during the meeting. .

I do believe that this issue requires clarification, and I trust that you will regard this email as nothing more than that – further, I undertake to cease my reference to an “unelected” committee if this can be cleared up.   



I have received no reply to this further inquiry to date. I will keep readers informed as to the course of this as it develops, if it develops!

Readers will no doubt be aware that I have an anathema to the whole idea of a majority unelected committee of any kind, let alone one that has the ability to spend rate-payer money in $100,000 lumps without the need for any further reference to Council. I believe that this is an outrageous state of affairs, a gross misuse of ratepayer funds, and lacks a legal mandate. 

If Mr Day is able to provide evidence that control remains with elected (and sworn!) Council members, I am perfectly happy to back down and withdraw any inference to the contrary. In the meantime, he will just have to put up with my continued reference to the Committee as "un-elected."



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