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Friday, July 26, 2024
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Records of turnout telling

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Attendance records are important, whether it be attendance at school, at work or to council meetings in the case of our elected representatives.
This week the Times-Age collated and printed the attendance records of district councillors across the Wairarapa Valley and it’s fair to say in the main most councillors made a real effort to be on hand when needed.
Of course it is unrealistic to believe any mayor or councillor should be at each and every meeting any more so that it is realistic to believe no employee should ever be absent from work.
Illness, unforeseen family problems and not being always able to work annual holidays around each and every meeting date all conspire to upset the best laid plans of mice and men.
Good attendance by councillors is, of course, vital because it in council chambers that decisions affecting a great many people and concerning very large amounts of public money are made.
Voters are entitled to know that the men and women they have entrusted with spending their hard earned rates money have at least fronted up of most occasions to try and ensure it has been wisely spent.
That has not always been the case and this newspaper in the past has printed reports of unacceptably low councillor attendance, on at least one occasion revelations of low attendance without proper excuse has been credited with a councillor being unceremoniously rejected by voters at the next election.
It is patently obvious that councillors who repeatedly fail to turn up have the potential to distort decision-making and their motives for wanting to be a councillor can be legitimately challenged.
But the worst attendance at council meetings of all is the non-attendance of the public.
Each and every month or so, depending on the meeting timetable of individual councils, the ratepayers and residents of our towns have the right and the opportunity to attend open meetings of council.
Few ever bother and although the most important business transacted is usually brought to them via the newspaper most could gain a very good insight into the merits of their councillors by coming along to judge first-hand for themselves.

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