'Elected' Economic Development Committee
Friday, March 20, 2015 at 3:56PM
Bill Barclay

The penny has dropped at last, and a paper is going to next week's Council meeting to correct the anomaly to which I have been drawing attention for the past year. And not before time!

Firstly, Bob Renton was very obviously persuaded  to resign to enable a "voting member of Council" to be appointed. Tony Brljevich was appointed by Leach to fill this vacancy.

Now he is increasing the councilor membersip from three to four whilst keeping outsider appointees to three, and appointing Cr Connors to this vacancy on the pretext that she is needed to "strengthen the Committee's knowledge and experience for working with the arts,events and tourism sectors." Cl Goudie remains as a "reserve" member - another slap around the chops for someone who Leach clearly intends to keep at 'arms length' with an election just a year or so away. 

What a joke - all he had to do was come clean and admit that they made a mistake, and set about fixing it instead of undertaking this charade in a vain attempt to 'save face.' Oh well, whatever it takes.

At last I am able to remove the "Un-elected" nomenclature that I have maintained while they finally arrived at the blindingly obvious. The Chair is no longer in a position to exercise a casting vote to support  the "Economic Development subject matter experts" - where did that come from? 

But that is not all - Day has another paper that follows the one above seeking to have the Chair (Brent Page) attend six weekly Council meetings and have "speaking rights," but more importantly, to receive the same daily $1,330 "reimbursement rate" that he is entitled to at Economic Development Committee meetings. And he may well attend for no more than 15 minutes to deal with EDC business! It gets worse by the day!

Again the infamous, apparently bottomless Economic Development budget is to be raided to meet this "reimbursement." Day uses the rationale that this is required "in order to support the Council's focus on economic development through integrated decision making," and draws a parallel with the outside membership of the Audit Committee, but that is a 'red herring' inasmuch as those outside members have no such "speaking rights."

It is all load of codswollop of course, and there is nothing that Brent can bring to the Committee that cannot be adequately conveyed by Day, or the Councillor members. But it does point to the ever increasing attack on our democratic institutions by this lot, and reflects the same thinking that lies behind the Government proposals announced yesterday to 'stack' the ECan (Environment Canterbury) Board with appointees.

It would not surprise if Day's next effort is to seek voting privileges for his appointees - nonsense I know, but the 'foot is in the door!'




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