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Reporter ejected from Featherston community meeting

A Times-Age reporter was asked to leave a public meeting at Featherston Community Centre on Thursday evening by a South Wairarapa District councillor after some attendees objected to media being present.

About 16 people in total attended the meeting, which was called to discuss a reduction in the district’s library hours and promoted on Facebook by both South Wairarapa District Council deputy mayor Sadler-Futter and councillor Rebecca Gray.

“If you would prefer to chat about library changes in person, elected members will be hosting an informal session at the Featherston Community Centre on Thursday at 7.30pm. Hope to see you there,” Sadler-Futter wrote.

Meanwhile Gray noted it was a forum “for open dialogue and feedback”, but not an official community board or council meeting.

Sadler-Futter, Gray, Featherston Community Board [FCB] chair Tui Rutherford, and FCB member Warren Maxwell were at the meeting.

An attendee objected after the reporter took a photo of the group

In the discussion that followed, some attendees said they did not feel they could speak freely with a member of the media present.

“I would like to ask that the media be removed please. I’m not comfortable,” said one attendee.

“This is not a public meeting; it’s a gathering of the community, to be honest – it’s Beck’s call,” said another.

Gray then asked the reporter to leave the premises, saying, “The purpose of tonight was to have open and free conversation, and I think probably the chance of that being reported might stifle that.

“So thank you for coming along and for your interest, but taking into account everybody’s sentiment, it would be better if you could leave.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. As I understand it, the reporter was asked to leave because they turned up and started taking photos without asking, or introducing themselves. Some members of the community also felt they couldn’t have a free and frank conversation if it was being reported. It would be great to see some actual reporting of the issues here instead of just perpetuating the “feral Featherston” cliche.

  2. The SWDC has always been one sided that is why we left that community and would return if there was was a positive change A plumber for a building inspector grow up

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