New Titahi Bay association?

Last updated 10:04 04/02/2014

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A new residents' association is in the works for Titahi Bay.

Last week, Mana MP Kris Faafoi waded into the debate over the inclusiveness and transparency issues that are plaguing Titahi Bay Residents Association.

He called the recent decision by the residents' association to exclude Porirua deputy mayor 'Ana Coffey - and some other Bay residents - as petty and small- minded, and he is now helping to set up another organisation.

"My feeling is that people have ignored them [the existing residents' association] because of the trouble they make. It makes them irrelevant.

"But enough people out there obviously want an organisation that is pro-active and positive in the community, without being controversial. This has come to a head out of pure frustration."

Mr Faafoi, a Bay resident, said a free website for the new group had been offered, and the suburb's RSA could potentially host the first meeting.

Those two developments have received a lot of praise on Facebook, although Mr Faafoi has been challenged over his involvement.

Former residents' association member Peter Windsor said:

"You [Mr Faafoi] should stick to mainstream politics and not attempt to divide a community."

Responding to comments from Porirua mayor Nick Leggett that the association did not effectively represent the people of the Bay, the residents' association secretary, Moana Hilliard, said it was not a closed shop.

She made no apologies for potential members facing a formal process and rules to become a member.

"The mayor can choose not to recognise us if he wishes.

"We have never claimed to represent the Titahi Bay community per se.

"We do, however, support and advocate for matters which already have a community mandate through the Village Plan, 2005, as well as other issues that impact on particular sectors of the community."

Mr Leggett said it was sad the Titahi Bay Residents Association was so negative, and that its "historical, political fights and desire to attack the council" was not representative of the wider Bay residents' feelings.

He said he had been publicly, privately and personally attacked over this issue, and refused to withdraw any comments.

It was important the association came clean about how much it had in its bank account, and how much it had spent, Mr Leggett said.

"The feedback that Kris and I have is that Titahi Bay needs an open, democratic residents' group that truly represents the aspirations of the community," Mr Leggett said.

"Several people have put their hands up to be involved."

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Porirua City Council chief executive Gary Simpson has rejected suggestions the council's code of conduct may have been breached by comments made on Facebook concerning Titahi Bay Residents Association.

Councillors Euon Murrell, Litea Ah Hoi, deputy mayor 'Ana Coffey and mayor Nick Leggett were accused by residents' association member Brian Warburton of making "vitriolic, derogatory and defamatory comments" about the association's members. In his emailed response, Mr Simpson said he was aware that Ms Coffey had been ejected from the association and was not surprised by the outcry it led to, owing to her popularity in the Bay.

"In relation to the council's code of conduct, I have been through it, and there is nothing that should limit an elected member entering into comment using any channel they choose."

He said the association's effectiveness had steadily diminished in the past few years.

"That is regretful, as robust and effective associations or similar groups are essential for meaningful dialogue between the council and local communities."

- Kapi-Mana News


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