Masterton’s Mayor using the Kuripuni Cycleway as an example of council transparency is disingenuous because it is not being funded by rates revenue and the consultation was required by the NZTA.
Council officers are adept at avoiding public scrutiny even when revealing information as last week’s Audit and Risk Committee Meeting demonstrated. The Agenda had a Supplementary Report, which councillors obviously weren’t given sufficient time to read, it stated: “During the year, 3 Waters Stimulus Funding of some $279,000 was used to fund private lateral re-lining in French Street. This work has not impacted the rates requirement.”
No elected representative asked why public money was being used to enhance privately owned assets and if it was going to be used why wasn’t it being spent in Cockburn Street.
Twice in recent meeting agendas, the sum of $45,000 has been shown as a budget addition for bicycle parking on the proposed cycleway, an extraordinary amount for a couple of bike racks but no one seems to have noticed or they have simply lost touch with reality.
Several weeks ago I met with the Mayor to voice my concern regarding what I perceive as council secrecy and deception around some projects. As an example try finding any information on the defunct Lansdowne Trail Toilets and Viewing Platform. This glaring example of ineptitude caused some embarrassment and the communications department removed all previously available references.
I left the meeting with assurance from the Mayor that a council officer would telephone me to discuss my concerns regarding the Colombo Road Bridge and Sewer Pump Station, but to date have only received an E-mail from the Mayor detailing information that became a matter of public record in April 2023.
Your court reporter does a fine job of traditional reporting, rather than following the lamentable trend in the mainstream media to emphasise the opinions of the reporter [or his employer].
His or her report of the knife attack on a policeman in Masterton [Times-Age, page 1, August 28] enables the reader to evaluate the judge’s rationale for giving this violent offender home detention, rather than a period in prison. The judge accepts the offender’s parents’ opinion that their son threw a large kitchen knife at the policeman [inflicting a 5cm gash on the officer’s face] because alcohol and the man’s anxiety medication combined “to make him act this way”.
I am left wondering whether this judge thinks the offender is a powerless victim of his own drugs, rather than a man with a capacity to make a choice, a man with human agency. The real victim in this case was clearly the policeman [and his family, as indicated in the report]. Surely, the courts and the rule of law are set up on the basis that citizens are people with the capacity to choose whether to respect the law. This elevates citizens above the level of powerless victims, which means they need to take responsibility for their actions. The law surely needs to be clear that it is neither trained nor sanctioned to be a therapeutic agency.
Raising the Hood
Karl du Fresne raises valid points about how little we, the ratepayers are being told about the Hood Aerodrome upgrade. MRRA has raised similar concerns but that’s not the only issue. Almost a year on from the last local body elections when the new mayor and council were elected we know virtually nothing new on the town hall, the library and very little on sewage. Even cleaning out the Lake of Remembrance seems to have fallen into the deep hole of bureaucratic inertia over an apparent consent required to put the sediment somewhere. A new chief executive has been appointed and council staff have been given a pay rise, pretty obviously not performance-based.
The ratepayers deserve better, the Mayor really needs to tell us what’s going on on multiple fronts.