Dancing in the dark - What’s transparency?  

                                           -  The Whangarei Report  10 November 2008

                                           -  Northern Advocate - 23 October 2008 




What’s transparency?



Absolutely amazing it was. A councilor called to have an item that was on the agenda for the Confidential section of Council meeting on 22nd  October, to be heard in the public sector of the council meeting and it failed to even get seconded by another Councilor, although a cry was heard from someone new to the public gallery.


So much for the transparency that so many had called for prior to the elections of 2007, or doesn’t that matter now.


There was obviously a fair amount of public interest in the issue as after council failed to allow it to be heard publicly a large group in the public gallery rose to their feet and left the chambers. An insult to their rights as ratepayers to hear public issues openly aired. The reason portrayed was that it was not prudent to discuss matters with results being available to public via the media before the organizations or clients concerned could be informed.


Fair call one would think. Then why were the loans to the Northland Rugby Union Incorporated discussed in the open meeting shortly afterwards or were those outcomes already “fait accompli”.  One has to wonder as the only councilor to ask questions publicly was ‘Lecturer turned Pupil’ Councilor Mai.


Yes the rest sat tight lipped and let her have the floor with numerous questions as though she was the only one in the dark on the matter. Some of the questions were of great interest as it appeared the Northland Rugby Union’s staying in the Air New Zealand cup was reliant on the promised loan. Loans for improvements are fine but loans for debt? 


Debatable. Good on you Councilor, try to keep them honest as transparency on the reaction at the meeting was running at a mere 7.14%.


So people of Whangarei, if you have a failing business venture, either through bad times, bad management, or bad debt, apply for a loan from the Whangarei District Council and even you may be able to hang in there. 


And if you really play your cards right they may, with the help of the Regional Council, build you new premises for your ailing business.

 There is light at the end of the tunnel, be careful it’s not a train.


Warren Slater