To restore democracy

Important points for ratepayer representatives' to focus on during the upcoming Local Government Elections.
(from G.O )
Predictably, questions to candidates are most frequently about single issue items, e.g rates are to high, not enough money for this or that organisation, much like submissions to the Annual & Long Term plans,  with candidates aligning themselves with what they think will gain them the most votes.

It is essential that we concentrate on solving the underlying issues that allow bias and self-serving decisions to get through the democratic process without proper scrutiny from the public, or at least those that take an interest. 

Examples of undemocratic behavior by Councils.

                   these are nothing more than a chance for admin with the help of key elected representatives to manipulate information and present it in any way that suits the agreed agenda with little to no public oversight.

Last Agenda items.
                              the use of these and the barely legal way they are put forward undermines the whole democratic process not only for the people but for Councillors who are put on the spot to make decisions usually under intense pressure from key elected representatives and administration.

Extra Ordinary Meetings.
                                     These as the Late Agenda items are used all to often to get through some pet project or controversial changes that have significant effect on the residents. 

The arbitrary and inconsistent interpretation of the Resource Management Act by different councils is a major concern.

The power held by the CEO and administration with little to no ability to hold them to account for advice given.

CEO being legally entitled to withhold legal advice for the elected arm.

Codes of Conduct are often used to undermine transparency and democratic process by silencing any dissent that the Chair and CEO have agreed upon and are useless in actually dealing with real issues with the conduct of Councillors. 

If we were able to force more transparency and fair process a lot of the issues we eventually become aware of and then have very little chance of having our concerns addressed or even voicing them, would be questioned earlier and Councillors would not feel so comfortable with progressing with that which they know people would not be happy about if they knew.  

The above points make a mockery of our democratic process.

Ratepayers representatives need to lobby for their councils' meetings and workshops to be videoed

Prepare other members of your group with supplementary questions during Meet the Candidates meetings for when they try to justify their opposition to their meetings and workshops being videoed with  statements like "it would be unfair to staff" or that CEOs and staff would not feel comfortable giving advice if it was recorded, or other excuses such as "workshops wouldn't be fun if they were videoed"   

Very few candidates have had any experience with the actual business of council for the 3 years prior to standing for election.
Some have little to no idea how local councils operate or the boundaries between the elected arm and the administrative arms.

Any advice on how we might address these issues from those who've had experience in working within councils would be useful for intending candidates and can be reproduced ( anonymously ) herein.

Any comments or suggestions you'd like to make can be uploaded to this page ( send to : )