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The Perfect Storm

It has been my policy not to comment on matters relating to the Kāpiti Coast District Council so I will not be commenting about the very public furoré over the Chief Executive’s salary. That is a contractual matter between him and council and all such contractual matters are discussed privately between the parties.

However I am intrigued by the confluence of the gathering clouds which has now resulted in the perfect storm and attempts to discredit council- the entity, councillors, staff, the mayor and the CE. That is the real matter of public concern.

Observing from the sidelines

So let me try and put it into perspective and do it neutrally as I now observe from the sidelines.

Kāpiti has always been blessed with an active and informed community. People have always protested and spoke their minds on matters of concern for the community as a whole. They have turned up at meetings, public forums and written letters. Usually, but not exclusively, the focus has been on the issue, not the man, the woman, the councillor or staff. They have become informed on issues and have judged rightly or wrongly on decisions made. I have no quarrel with that and in my 18 years on council have viewed it as informative and democratic.

This time the winds of discontent are different.

People have a right to protest but they do not have a right to mount the campaign of vituperative personal attacks which I have been reading lately. Nor do they have a right to be as uninformed as some appear to be. Nor to mischievously misinform when they challenge as some letters writers appear to be doing. Nor to waste ratepayer money of multiple requests for information under the guise of the Official information Act. Such requests cost the ratepayer real money and if used for legitimate information rather than as a weapon is totally defendable.

The swirling black clouds of discontentment and resentment over many issues have merged into the perfect storm. It is a storm in which I detect a lack of knowledge in the role of local government. But those who do have such knowledge are preying on those without.

Add the other perennial moaners whose letters I have read over those 18 years being ably led by the nose and you get less than 1% of the population of Kāpiti turning up and making a noise. It is democracy but is becoming democracy by the mob. I do not want to see mob rule in Kāpiti and those mounting this campaign should beware of what you ask for. You may not like the result.

I have to ask why?

The election is not for another 2 years! Seems a bit early to me to be campaigning. But then there is the old adage ‘all news is good news in politics’ – no matter how unhelpful it is in the business of running a diverse community. All that will remain is dispirited staff already working hard and wondering what on earth they are here for when all they get is unfounded criticism from people who should know better.