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Coromandel Catchment Committee (RIP)

Readers will be aware of my infrequent attendance at the meetings of the unelected Coromandel Catchment Committee at the TCDC Council Chambers over the years. Held there for the sake of convenience rather than boundary - Thames lies within the Waihou Catchment Committee area which provides far less controversy, and excitement for participants.

Excitement because 1080 has become the touchstone and reason for the general rise in blood pressure around the table. This is generally down to the presence of one member - Reihana Robinson from the Northern Coromandel Landcare Association who along with all the other members is unelected - appointed in other words by some osmotic process devised by elements within the WRC that control its deliberations. The remainder of members are appointed through the political process being members of TCDC or WRC.

Most have nothing to say, but Reihana has plenty, and although devoted to her anti-1080 cause, actually reads the agenda and provides written input on important matters that concern her. Most of what takes place otherwise is mere waffle and expression of good intentions. The fact that it is unelected means that no one, let alone the WRC really takes much notice of what goes on, except when it suits their purposes.

Being concerned at the inability of many who would be interested in what goes on at these talkfests to attend at Thames, Reihana moved a motion at the last meeting (later adopted) requiring staff to move the meetings around the District. Staff demurred because of 'security concerns' arising from a a glass of water having been thrown at a staff member at a previous meeting by one of the many excitable anti-1080 proponents who often attend to express their frustration at the lack of action by the Committee at identifying an alternative method of possum control. Better than issuing blackmail threats, I guess, but still classified as an 'assault' by our precious (and apparently water soluble) staff members.  

Be that as it may, staff have taken the opportunity presented by this motion to move the next meeting on 20 May to Tairua Library which they claim has insufficient seats to house members of the public, so one of our great democratic institutions will therefore be "public excluded" as a result. Imagine the opportunity this precedent provides for similar bodies to operate behind closed doors. You may be sure that this will occur given the predilection of our present Council to conduct all of its more controversial business behind 'closed door' workshops.

Further, the meeting has been designated by the Zone Manager as "very brief" - two hours forsooth! This to enable a "field trip" on the many Tairua works underway, and obviating the necessity for attention to be given to pesky member-generated recommendations/discussions/votes - particularly emanating from that 'pain-in-the-arse' Reihana Robinson, supposedly in the interests of the community.

Oh dear - such is the way of democracy in our many community organisations where the major objective appears to be to prevent any action being taken that may draw attention to, or reverse the odious practices of our farming community that continue to foul our waterways. That is the long and short of it, and the farmer members of the Committee have been remarkably successful in deflecting attention to these matters in the past.

Meanwhile Reihana will remain a voice in the wilderness - they know that she speaks the truth on many issues that should be of concern, but 'see no evil, hear no evil, and speak only when spoken to' remains he prevailing mantra.




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Reader Comments (2)

Under what section of the Local Government Act can you make a whole meeting of a Waikato Regional Council committee public excluded?

March 23, 2016 | Unregistered Commentersailing away

It is just as dodgy as everything else they get up to. There is no way they can without a resolution and reasons provided as per the Act.
But someone would have to challenge the action at the meeting - Reihana perhaps! And who be bothered attending to await the outcome of the challenge. Not me, that is for sure.

March 23, 2016 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

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