Media Release in response to WDC Extraordinary Meeting 19.11.14

20 November 2014

Media Release:

WDC Extraordinary Meeting of 12 November 2014

Ryan Welsh, NZ Chambers of Commerce Northland’s President says “Public perception, both in and outside our region, is so important to regional growth.  For a long-time Northland has wrestled with negative perception, be it warranted or not.  Principles of good governance by Local Government are vital to show the business community that they are objective, accountable, work in the public interest and show integrity.”


“The extraordinary meeting held on 12 November 2014 was to determine what the goal was for the development of the former Harbour Board/ NRC Building at the Town Basin.  This has created a flurry of media release and comment.  The meeting highlighted the need for our Council to reflect on 4 key areas.  In no particular order they are conduct, leadership, due process and public perception.  All these areas overlap to some degree and are virtues that any business operator or member of the public will appreciate.”


“Robust discussion was always to be expected considering the topic and should be encouraged.  Robust discussion does not serve as licence for bad conduct but instead should be a flag for greater vigilance.  There are strict rules of conduct which Councillors are expected to follow and the public is deserving of this as a minimum.”


“The Council requested from the public ideas or proposals for the building.  A process was adopted by which any organisation or individual could submit a proposal.  Council were then to evaluate each proposal using a workshop and matrix format prior to the extraordinary meeting.  This should have been the correct forum to weed out, dispense with and deal with some of the complex or vexing issues surrounding each proposal.  The Councillors should have then been able, at the extraordinary meeting on 12 November 2014, to discuss the merit of each proposal in a considered way, put it to a vote and have a result.  The whole matter was further confused by a motion to eliminate one of the proposals.  Although Councillors are deemed to be within their rights to put forward motions it is imperative that due process is followed for public confidence and good governance.”


“Although the Chamber is not specifically tagged with the role of being a public watch dog it is certainly the Chambers role to make comment on improving the business environment in whatever shape or form that should be.  Local Government is expected to be an important facilitator and enabler of economic growth in the region and as such should observe good process and practice.”

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