It’s not OK – Northern Advocate - 30th July 2012

It’s not OK – The Whangarei Report – 2nd August 2012

A real showdown

Last Wednesday’s Whangarei District Council meeting was a platform for council to have yet another attack on one of our sincere, community minded citizens. Although there were no applications received for this day’s public forum, a line up of two presentations unfolded before us.  The first was a presentation of the recent “It’s not OK” campaign against family violence, displaying the concerns and un-acceptance of bad behaviour in our communities and this group’s effort to make things better.  Sadly those presenters had left before the next speaker took centre stage, or they would have experienced a prime example of how council treats those they don’t want to hear from.  Vivienne Shepherd spoke about the bad behaviour and bullying that had been bestowed upon her after weeks applying to speak at a public forum.  The mayor had an already prepared notice which he read from, to have her removed as they, our elected, didn’t want to listen to certain comments she was making.  As public in the gallery we were asked to leave, but as it was a public meeting opted to stay and witness their actions.  Fortunately two senior police officers, Inspector Tracy Philips and Inspector Cliff Metcalfe were present and controlled the situation in a professional manner. That’s a lot more than can be said for the councilors and staff that fled the scene with little or no concern of the proceedings of how one of their constituents could have been treated.  Shame on those who scarpered from the scene, like a flock of sheep.   All those that have made comments about this bullying behavior that occurs in this edifice, now is an opportunity to speak out and say that “It’s not OK’’.  Some may criticize Vivienne; but she had the courage to stand up, sit down and be heard.  Had we just experienced a Punch and Judy show, but this time not behind closed doors, but what could have been, if we had vacated the chamber when asked?  Does this also prove that the 14 elected approve of this type of bad behavior shown by council?

Warren Slater



(Items that were abridged by Northern Advocate and The Whangarei Report are in italics, for their published copies)