What's on in Council this week - by Terry Sheldrake

On Wednesday we have an Audit and Risk meeting, this committee is chaired by an independent Chairman Bruce Robertson with members of this committee being the four appointed chairs of council, along with her Worship the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. This meeting has on the agenda Chief Executive and Staff reports covering several items most notably an Internal Audit report, a Health and Safety update, a Council Strategic Risk Management report, an Insurance renewal document to be discussed along with a closing Ernst and Young report for the year ended 30th June 2022. At this time of our three year elected term most papers coming to council are papers of information e.g. leaving many decision papers for the soon to be newly elected council.

As these articles are “what’s on in Council” I could not let my final write up go without giving a few thoughts on my term as an elected councillor.

Although comfortable in standing initially I admit that I did underestimate the raft of council policies, rules, Local government act, Central government demands, acronyms and regulations that one needs to get a serious grip on to fully understand and to be totally effective in this local governance environment. Once elected for any first term councillor there is certainly plenty to take on board.

Not comprehensive yet here are some of the issues that for me come straight to mind, for those standing do not underestimate the amount of pre meeting reading required.

Long Term Planning reports and meetings, Three waters reform, numerous public submissions over a raft of issues, Rail, processes around appointing trustees/directors to both Trust Tairawhiti and Gisborne Holdings Limited, Councils CCTO reviews, Kiwa pool project, Water treatment plant upgrade, Stout street speed humps, Kiwi Fruit industry challenge regarding Rates, numerous discussions/meetings re setting of Rates, library and Museum reports, Skate park upgrade, Environmental work to city and surrounding parks/water ways and rivers, Peel street toilets, visits to our rural sectors with our rural councillors, Mortuary Waste discussions, Wisconsin mound concept, designated Maori council seats, being an appointed member of the council “code of conduct committee” and associated responsibilities thereof, chairing of the Waste Water Management committee, Roading, Civil Defence meetings and activity, Flooding, Endeavour replicas, RMA, taking community/residents calls and concerns along with all other council meetings in a Covid time has kept one busy.

For the first year due to Covid most of our meetings unfortunately were held via Zoom conferencing making it difficult for all sitting councillors and GDC staff across numerous meetings.

Once elected if I can stress one thing to those standing for council you are being elected to represent “all of the community” regardless of being on the General or Maori roll. Once elected and debate kicks in one’s personal stance and or preferences usually don’t get across the line, simply due to the rules of democracy and standing orders ultimately being final.

Moving forward I believe the big ticket items are the Three Waters Reform and AUD, Climate change, Roading network, Power networks however with such a small percentage of rate payers begs the same old question “who pays” and how? Importantly you need a sound understanding of all things financial, i.e. reading and understanding financial reports.

It is a privilege to be elected and I would like to thank all the voters who had confidence in selecting me as a Councillor my thanks and appreciation also goes to the GDC staff that have worked with me throughout my term.
After spending my life in Gisborne Kathy and I have shifted and now reside in the BOP.