Diane Connors Calls It Quits, (Or Does She?)
Thursday, July 25, 2019 at 11:24AM
Bill Barclay

Here is a Facebook entry from today that is interesting from a number of angles, but mainly because of what it doesn't say. Diane and Sandra have seldom been on the same page to any interested observer, and Diane has been an avid supporter of the empowerment model - impractical, contradictory, and extravagant as it was predicted to be from the outset.

"This is to notify Thames residents and ratepayers that I have resigned from my role as Thames Community Board Chair and board member, effective immediately.

I believe the environment and culture that has been allowed to develop under current leadership has eroded the Community Empowerment model and prevents me from carrying out my role- my commitment to my community. I am sorry if I have let anyone down.

Over the last 15 years we have acheived some great things together - as a community. It has been my previledge to serve you. I always said I wasn't a politician - but an elected representative. I will continue to advocate for my community in whatever means possible. I wish to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and encouragement over the years. Arohanui.

Diane Connors ex- Chair, Thames Community Board"

But there is more to this than meets the eye. I doubt if Diane considers that she would have a realistic chance at beating Sandra in the mayoralty contest - though I am sure it has crossed her mind at times.

What I do know is that she stepped down from the Council and Strat stepped up by mutual agreement - I suspect that the roles were meant to be reversed at this election, but Strat once again indicated his change of heart some time ago and that he would again stand for Council - goodness gracious  - how often has that happened over the years. His contribution has been minimal during this term, but at least he was 'on the side of the angels" when it came to the climate emergency motion.

Diane has of course performed sterling community activities - much admired by all who have come into contact with her, and it is not surprising that she has found Sandra's dictatorial, and rather reactionary attitudes 'hard to stomach.' So have a great many others who have experienced her hard knuckle politics. 

Beyond her, lies the maze that needs to be negotiated within the Castle, and the almost complete change of staff - most of whom would find the so-called community empowerment model an anachronism when centralisation has been the order of the day for so long. The Community Board has virtually disappeared from sight, and its deliberations almost irrelevant as time has gone on.

There is more to be said at some point about the unhappiness within the Castle - weekly initiation sessions are said to have become the norm by way of example. General unhappiness at all levels is seeping into the public arena, and with much finger pointing at the leadership style at the very top. These issues have a habit of seething away for some time before the top blows, and they become impossible to ignore. I will be watching with great interest as we approach the election.


Update on Friday, July 26, 2019 at 3:46PM by Registered CommenterBill Barclay

Strat has corrected the report of his imminent departure.

It seems that he basically agrees with Diane, and simply 'wants out' of the poisonous atmosphere around the Council table - and who can blame him. 

He has decided to stand (at this stage!) for the Community Board which he tells me is losing at least three of its current members, leaving the quite ineffective Lester Yates whose intentions are unknown - he thinks that there are a few good people intending to stand, but that it will need someone like him to lead it - he certainly has the experience, and ability to stand up to the apparent disinterest of the Council and staff that it has suffered over the last few years.

Strat will of course rock in as the most recognisable, gregarious and perennial candidate in this parish. What is more, he seems to know where a lot of this Council's secrets are buried - a valuable resource even if his 'lips are sealed.'  I applied thumb-screws, to no avail!




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