Tea but not much sympathy  - Northern Advocate - 28 May 2009

Care for a cup of tea?   - The Whangarei Report - 28 May 2009


Who is for a cuppa?


At the Whangarei District Council April meeting 2009 Councilor Warwick Syers said;If people wish to enjoy the hospitality of this chamber they should respect protocols.’ He also continued withIf they cannot be upstanding in this chamber I would suggest if they want to attend they should join the meeting after the prayer.’  We took his advice and did just that. Both Pat and I have since attended two days of submission hearings at the Northland Regional Council on May 21st and 22rd and enjoyed the sincere hospitality shown by them, during that time. Today, Monday 25th May we attended Whangarei District Council submissions and come morning break, we were both invited by Cr Brian McLachlan to join them for a cup of tea. A couple of council critics, perhaps we should have felt threatened entering the den of the councilors, but humbly accepted Brian’s offer and partook in the pleasantries and joined and mingled with some of the councilors. Maybe this was to be the unfolding of a new chapter. This change of culture was short lived and shortly, Brian had the job to inform us that he had been reprimanded for inviting us in and not to again, in the future. On questioning, he confirmed that the CEO, Mark Simpson had given the directive. At lunch break in the foyer we talked with Mark Simpson, to ensure that the story was in fact as it was and yes he confirmed ‘that the councilors felt uncomfortable with us being there and unable to talk freely’. We were now happy to have heard it straight from the horse’s mouth and he continued to say ‘and you can put that in your next letter to the editor’, so people here it is. It appears some senior management don’t like citizens talking to councilors.  Who is running this show?


Warren Slater