Big tick for attendance record

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 12:00 20/05/2014

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Palmerston North's newest councillors started out enthusiastically to get their feet under the council table, not missing a single meeting from October's election until the end of last year.

The latest meeting attendance statistics released by the city council show Rachel Bowen, Leonie Hapeta, Aleisha Rutherford and Grant Smith attended all five meetings they were expected to attend.

Returning councillors Susan Baty, Adrian Broad and Lew Findlay, traditionally high scorers, also achieved 100 per cent attendance rates for the last six months of the year.

Most of the others attended more than 90 per cent of meetings.

The lowest scores went to Vaughan Dennison and Duncan McCann, who missed four meetings apiece, but then attended an extra four or five which they were not technically required to.

Mayor Jono Naylor and councillor Billy Meehan missed three.

Dennison said he thought the attendance performance from the current group of councillors was not an issue, with everyone doing their best to get to meetings, now routinely held during the day on Mondays.

However, some councillors like himself, who had busy jobs outside the council, still struggled to fit in all of the extra commitments such as workshops and hearings.

Meehan said the last six months of last year had been especially busy for him organising the Fight to Make a Difference night as well as running his boxing gym business.

McCann said the meeting statistics did not capture the number of informal and community meetings councillors went to as part of their role.

"By and large, the whole council has a high attendance record.

"But if you are asking the question, are your representatives working for you, then these meeting records are only one indicator."

Naylor skipped one meeting because he was in hospital.

While the figures did not capture the amount of work councillors did or did not do outside formal meetings, including reading, talking with ratepayers and assisting community groups, he said they were still a relevant tool.

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- Manawatu Standard

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