Council report delay
DEBBIE JAMIESON IN QUEENSTOWN
Promises of a monthly report revealing public Queenstown Lakes District Council information following the axing of council committees are yet to be fulfilled, four months after the regime was introduced.
Queenstown Mayor Vanessa van Uden said the intention was the report would carry information such as financial reports, performance measures, service delivery and building consents figures which were previously made public through committee agendas.
It would be put on the council's website for anyone to access.
''It just hasn't quite got there yet but you will see it come up each month once we've got it down to a framework that's easy to read. It's not far away,'' she said.
The monthly report was one of the avenues the council proposed to ensure the public would be able to access council information after the finance, strategy, infrastructure and community services committees were scrapped following last year's election.
Now, instead of six-weekly committee meetings as well as a full council meeting, the council is only holding a monthly council meeting while the Wanaka Community Board continues its six-weekly meetings.
The system is on a one year trial.
''I wouldn't say it's working perfectly in terms of time, and we've had Christmas in the middle, so we need to give it that chance to work through,'' Ms van Uden said.
She believed the new system would save time for councillors, save staff time and resources and ensure every council member was a part of every major decision made.
She did not believe it affected the community's opportunities to be involved in and understand council decisions.
''I wouldn't accept that. Anything that would've gone to committees is still coming to full council except that monthly report side of things.''
The council also held monthly workshops behind closed doors and were not planning to open those discussions to the media or public, as the Central Otago District Council has decided, she said.
''I've got a reasonably firm opinion on it. Workshops don't make decisions. There does need to be an opportunity for general discussions ... there's an advantage to be gained without the public there.''
We work really, really hard to absolutely minimise how much stuff is put in public excluded in council meetings so that is available for the public to be there to hear it, to have their say and be involved.
''The public is still involved in every decision unless there's a reason why not,'' Ms van Uden said.
- The Southland Times
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