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Monday, July 22, 2024
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Three strikes and you’re out of the discussion

MARY ARGUE
[email protected]
“I’m going to have to stop you there for continuing to be disrespectful,” said South Wairarapa district Mayor Alex Beijen, emphasis on “continuing”.
Just like that, Jim Hedley was dismissed from yesterday’s council meeting. His public participation was cut short with the click of a Zoom button.
Hedley was ejected, not for the first time, when his critique of council process flirted with personal attacks.
His submission to council marked the beginning of a meeting about South Wairarapa’s rates crisis, and he did not hold back.
“In all my time, this is the most unprofessional council I have ever seen,” he began. “The average rate increase of 14 per cent turns out to be 29 per cent. The mayor and council have aggressively denied that 14 per cent is in fact 29 per cent.”
“What happened to honest, openness, transparency, and accountability – are they just collateral damage?”
The second time Hedley used “unprofessional” and “council” in the same sentence, Mayor Beijen reminded him that personal insults would not be tolerated.
However, Hedley would not be deterred.
“How gullible do they think the ratepayers are? Then to treat ratepayers as if they were idiots and not come to the table and have a proper discussion. You’ve beaten around the bush, flogged the dead horse, and now through the media say we can not have services that have been previously carried out by council.”
When Hedley turned his ire on the mayor directly, accusing him of destroying council’s reputation, it was the final straw.
“I’m going to have to stop you there….”
Click, and he was gone.

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