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A Little More About The Greens Candidate  

Scott Summerfield has been around the Council as a Planning Officer since the end of 2014 - his name has appeared on a number of planning papers to Council from roughly the time that Katina Conomos  departed. He has now announced his candidature for the Greens, and with what is probably a very disappointing position at No. 38 on the Party List, his chances of entry through that route are very slight indeed, but no doubt he will do better next time, even score a place on the glamourous North & South group photo

Hence his declaration that he is up for giving Scott Simpson a good run for his money. Scott Sim. won't be feeling any pressure in that regard, I would not imagine, but in the absence of a viable Labour candidate - none has put his hand up yet, and past performance has been dismal to say the least, it may end up as a two-horse race, particularly with the current Labour/Greens detente that they have put in place.

So just who is Scott Sum.? The following is gleaned form an unsigned article in today's Informer.

  • He is 26 years old, and grew up in Ashburton
  • He has a degree in International Relations, Politics & European Studies.
  • And a Masters in Maori Studies.
  • He joined Labour in 2008, and the Greens in 2012, and has "a strong sense of social justice."
  • He worked initially for the Austraian High Commissionb, and then the Office of Treaty Settlements.
  • He joined TCDC at the end of 2014 - he must have been 23 at the time. 
  • He is now Group Leader - Strategic Planning - remarkable progress.
  • He was married in 2015, and his husband is GM of a digital media company in Thames. 
  • The couple live on the Thames Coast. 

Summerfield will work "part-time" for the TCDC during the election Campaign - I was not aware that such an arrangement was possible. He will certainly need to be extremely careful ithat he does not 'cross the line' during that period with statements likely to be construed as in conflict with his role a TCDC employee, or TCDC policy - that is a task that the Chief Executive will need to manage with considerable dexterity. 

He already lists housing availability and affordability, clean rivers, climate change and "arresting regional decline" as his major concerns, and more controversially, he is reported as saying: 

"I will be keeping a close eye on mining development especially on the Coromandel."

He claims to be actively involved in the Abortion Law Reform Association, and that he will continue to work with that Association irrespective of being elected to Parliament - a notable activity, in view of his apparent orientation. 

Altogether, a fairly impressive CV that may well attract a wide range of voters - probably bright-eyed youth rather than the predominantly older vote in this electorate, but even if he is unlikley to take Scott Sim. down, he could well secure a high list vote.

It does concern me that he has been granted a 'part-time' dispensation by our Council. I consider that such is questionable,' - it is our Council after all, and for him to be advising on policy during the election campaign, either in a full or part-time position stretches the limits of what is normally permitted in these circumstances.

Rob Williams may need to thoroughly familiarise himself with the requirements of the LGA and other legislation. For instance S.42(3)(a) of the LGA specifically requires the CE to:

 "Reflect and reinforce the separation of regulatory responsibilities and decision-making processes from other responsibilities and decision-making processes., and b) is capable of delivering adequate advice to the local authority to facilitate the explicit resolution of conflicting objectives." 

In the case of a public servant candidate, it is my understanding that they must resign - not work "part-time," but resign for a specific period prior to a parliamentary election, with the proviso that they get their position restored immediately should they lose.  Surely the same principle should apply in this situation with an employee of a local authority? Hopefully this will be clarified in the near future.

With rampaging Nick Smith at the dual controls, who knows what may happen to National in September, and Scott Sum. has a good example in Jeanette Fitzsimons who took out Murray McLean in a widely enjoyed boil-over. Those were the days! 




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