RDRR COUNCILLORS BOYCOTT COUNCIL’S LONG-TERM PLANNING PROCESS
Press Release: Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers, 21 November 2020
Crs Peter Bentley, Raj Kumar and Reynold Macpherson are boycotting the Council’s Long-Term Planning workshops. The latest workshop on Thursday 19 November collapsed in conflict. Cr Macpherson was harassed when he described some of Council’s financial investments as ‘wealth transfers’ from ratepayers to selected landowners and that two of its partnerships were examples of ‘crony capitalism.’ He rejected an accusation without evidence that he had leaked confidential material from the workshops and was shouted at by an official when he questioned why the complaint was even heard and allowed to become a witch hunt. The three RDRR councillors and other participants walked out.
“The workshop went off the rails,” said Cr Bentley. “I prepared for the advertised topic, Levels of Service, but wasted my time. It was all about central government services we can have little effective say on. Then a rural board member, the Mayor’s bulldog, made wild allegations about an elected councillor that were echoed up by her Lakes poodle. The ambush was totally uncalled for and just a personal vendetta. I have lost confidence in our ability to represent the interests of ratepayers at the LTP workshops.”
Cr Kumar said that the Mayor had insisted that he stay while others were allowed to slip away. “Once again” he recalled, “a personal grievance was aired seeking retribution along with regular and nasty interjections. The LTP workshops are meant to be open forums that respect diversity, not to be ruled by a few angry voices trying to rebut alternative ideas with shaking heads and open disdain. I believe that the Mayor helped plan the ambush. I have had enough of this nonsense. I want to get a better Rotorua, not listen to a continuous rant.”
“The workshops are dysfunctional,” said Cr Macpherson. “Presentations are made only by senior officials and often repeat the proposals we heard a year ago during induction. The senior officials always stress a self-serving myth – that the workshops are to clarify the priorities of elected members for officials to implement. Rubbish. Despite Covid, the borrowing and spending plans remain largely unchanged and imply another big rates rise. So, we reserve the right to challenge the LTP being manufactured in secret by senior officials and the Mayor’s in-group, whenever it sees the light of day.”
The 651 members of RDRR have recently reaffirmed their Constitutional objective; to promote and advocate social, economic, environmental well-being in the district of Rotorua, as preferred by residents and ratepayers. This should be evident in five ways, they agreed: transparency of local governance; financial prudence with revenues, debt and expenditure; effective consultation of ratepayers and the public prior to decision making on all issues of significance; rising prosperity; and increasing equity of outcomes.
Peter Bentley, email@example.com 07 262 6077, 027 493 0435
Raj Kumar, firstname.lastname@example.org 021 821 869
Reynold Macpherson, email@example.com 07 346 8553, 021 725 708