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Monday
Sep092019

The 'Other' Councillors!

I have refrained from making comment about the other candidates for election to the seats other than those for Thames. But several people have asked me about my views of individual performance having attended all the  meetings of the current Council.

The caveat is that meetings have been so curtailed by the determination of the Mayor to avoid any degree of confrontation within the Chamber, that it is difficult to judge just where councillors stand on major issues, never mind the finishing of 'open' business before morning tea on most occasions. This results from hiding away behind the closed doors of 'workshops' - a practice which stretches the limits of the Local Government (Meetings) Act.

In addition, the Chief Executive's Meeting Report has become a useless narative-free fancy presentation of bar and pie-charts worthy of an under-graduate essay. He would never get away with it with any competent board of directors, or council for that matter.

I would therefore prefer to divide the Council into the groups that voted for and against the Climate Declaration in April, even though substantial failure can be separately laid at the door of members of the Audit & Risk Committee for one, chaired by Tony Fox.

I can tell you of the attitudes and stolid opposition by a majority of councillors to taking any action in regard to the LGA Climate Declaration that came before the Council in April. The result probably fairly represented the views of the majority of our aging demographic who have demonstrated distinct reluctance to face up to the accepted scientific facts, Trump and his cohort excepted! But that does not excuse a complete lack of leadership.

It was clear that the internal National Party trend towards promoting 'Climate-Inquiry' as opposed to 'Climate-Denying' has now become the default position of this cohort, leaving 'anthropogenic' interference to one side as 'un-proven.'

I find this gutless, but convenient position rapidly becoming accepted as a perfectly satisfactory argument for a significant section of the population to avoid having to 'face-up' to the situation that we are now in. I believe that letters to the various editors on the Peninsula are reflective of this position, and in the main are prompted by fear of lowering house values, and rising insurance premiums. 

It is why a considerable number of candidates will find difficulty if they 'over-emphasize' the dangers during the campaign, no matter what their personal beliefs. Never under-estimate the innate selfishness engendered by the ballot-box. We only have to see the clear antagonism generated by the 'school-children's petition' to understand the depth of this feeling. It was certainly patently obvious in the fraught atmosphere evident during their presentation to Council in April.

The five councillors who supported the Mayor's motion to reject the Declaration were Bartley, McLean, Fox, Walker and Brljevich, and each of  those who spoke gave quite spurious reasons for their opposition while claiming the legitimacy of their views. They all followed the line of least resistance related to the "lack of clear evidence of human influence on climate change." Those who voted in favour of the Declaration - Peters, Simpson and Christie failed abjectly in their arguments, and mostly sat mute in the debate. 

In general, I consider that none of the sitting members warrant support for re-election - the Council would do well with a complete 'clean-out' of its incumbents, and a new, younger, fresh and 'ready to think and act' group replace them. Should this happen, such a group would need to be really 'on its mettle' to, if necessary, combat our reactionary Mayor on issues that are important to our District, and ensure that democracy prevails despite some of her more antediluvian attitudes.

 

 

 

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