The first full council meeting on the new term was held on 20 October 2016. All councillors were present.
The agenda outlined the main rules that regulate councillors participation around the council table, including: revised standing orders and code of conduct. Minor corrections were made to both tabled documents.
Cr Wensley raised a question about the quorum of elected members at meetings and moved to change the standing orders to insert the word “being” (in para 10.1(a) and (b)) and require at least 2 elected members at any committee or sub-committee meeting, rather than just one (in para 10.2).
In effect, this codified the practice to date – as at least 2 elected councillors are usually appointed to every sub-committee. For example, last term of council, Cr Ensor and Cr King were appointed to the commercial subcommittee. The CEO advised that 10.2 reflected the law and that council had dealt with quorum matters through the terms of reference. However there was nothing preventing council changing standing orders instead. The amendment was unanimously supported by council.
The agenda also provided councillors the opportunity to select the voting system for deputy mayor and committee chairs. I advocated for councillors to support an STV (singe transferable vote) system rather than FFP (first past the post) system. My reasoning was we already had a minority mayor and it was important to ensure there was majority support for the deputy. It also would motivate new councilors to stand for the deputy or chair positions. The mayor opposed STV on the grounds FPP was used during the election and should be used to elect the deputy.
By majority (Cr Hawkes and myself dissenting), the FPP system was carried.
Council unanimously appointed Cr Canton, Cr Hawkes and Cr Ogilvie to the Motueka community board, and Cr Brown and Cr Sangster to the Golden Bay Community board. Cr Hawkes election to council has resulted in a by-election for the Motueka community board.
Interestingly, only one candidate (former councillor Barry Dowler, who is seeking to return to local government politics after being defeated in local body elections) is standing for the Motueka Community Board. Unfortunately, the media’s recent beat-up about the cost of holding a by-election ($30,000) does not put potential candidates off. Although I fear thats exactly why it’s being talked about. To put cost into perspective, council is already committed to spending between $13,872 (chair) to $6,936 (member) per annum, on whoever is elected?
Getting only one candidate standing in Motueka is a very disappointing result for democracy – especially given the talent that is available in that community. Hopefully, someone from the next generation will put their name forward and give residents a choice.
Agenda and minutes
The agenda and minutes are located at: www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/committees-and-subcommittees/standing-committees-meetings/full-council-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/FullCouncil/2016/2016-10-20.
Nelson Mail (20 October 2017) www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/85574312/New-look-Tasman-District-Council-takes-office
Nelson Mail (10 October 2017) www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/85122976/eight-fresh-faces-feature-in-newlook-tasman-district-council
Nelson Live (27 October 2016) www.nelsonlive.co.nz/2016/10/new-women-councillors-get-to-work/
Nelson Mail (17 November 2016) www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/86586240/Ex-councillor-Barry-Dowler-to-stand-in-Motueka-Community-Board-by-election
Nelson Mail (9 December 2016) www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/87365860/Motueka-Community-Board-by-election-could-cost-up-to-30-000