Home' The Mirror Central Otago : October 24th 2012 Contents 24.10.12
Votes cast for
the status quo
Central Otago District Council wards are:
Cromwell, Alexandra, Earnscleugh-Manuherikia,
Maniototo and Roxburgh.
The council comprises 10 members plus the
Estimated to cost about $10,000, the
representation review, carried out by an
independent panel in February this year, was
compulsory under the Local Electoral Act 2011,
with all local authorities required to do this every
six years, and in this case, in preparation for the
2013 triennial elections.
By MARY-JO TOHILL
It turns out the council election model, even if it
was ''broke'', would be too hard to fix.
At a meeting last week, the Central Otago District
Council threw out the idea of at-large voting,
which would have introduced district-wide voting
to elect eight councillors plus the mayor, and
ditched a proposal to combine the Alexandra,
Earnscleugh-Manuherikia community boards,
while retaining the other three boards, Cromwell,
Maniototo and Roxburgh, for the time being.
This option aimed to attract a wider skills mix
and demographic of elected members, and had the
potential to reduce parochialism and increase
voter choice, while keeping the community
boards structure. It just about ticked all the boxes,
but the majority of ratepayers and some
councillors were opposed to the creation of a
''Vincent'' ward from the amalgamation of the
Alexandra, Earnscleugh-Manuherikia wards.
Of the ratepayers who made submissions, 96 were
against this proposal and 24 were in support, with
an overriding message that at-large elections ran
the risk of smaller communities losing their local
representation, and that councillors' already high
workload would increase with fewer in office.
The council opted to stay with the ''if it ain't broke
don't fix it'' status quo -- that is, ward-based
elections and 10 councillors plus the mayor.
The five community boards would remain, and
the only change was the re-naming of Roxburgh
Community Board as Teviot Valley.
With councillors split on the issue, and Cromwell
member Cr Gordon Stewart, who had been
chastised for his vocal opposition to the change
opting not to vote, Mayor Tony Lepper used his
casting vote to retain the status quo.
''Initially I thought a council elected at-large
would be useful in decision making because they
would be responsible for the entire district, but
after Friday [the recent submissions hearing], I'm
thinking what we've got is not bad, and what will
you get if you change.''
SHORT AND SHARP
Bike too powerful
Alexandra man Peter Gillies, 61, was
convicted and discharged for drink-
driving and driving while disqualified
when he appeared before Judge
Stephen O Driscoll in the Alexandra
District Court last week.
The judge found Gillies, who had been
disqualified from driving indefinitely in
2004, was generally confused in his
belief he could ride the motorised bike
he built on May 10.
However, because the motor has more
than 300 kilowatts of power, being
1800, it is classed as a motor vehicle.
Gillies was disqualified from driving for
six months after he was caught by
police riding the motorised bike on
Woman stole from employer
Alexandra woman Janice McArthur, 38,
was remanded until November 15 for
sentencing for stealing $7374.16 of cash
and stock from her former employer,
McArthur deleted or adjusted stock
records and made fraudulent refunds to
hide the offending, which occurred
between October 30, 2010, and May 31
Costs of bureaucracy
Mayors tackle local government minister
By MARY-JO TOHILL
Central Otago mayor: Tony Lepper
Queenstown Lakes mayor: Vanessa van Uden
An audit bill estimated to cost about
$177,000 is sending Central Otago district
mayor Tony Lepper straight to local
government minister David Carter.
At a council meeting last week, Mr
Lepper and deputy mayor Cr Neil
Gillespie were vocal in their condem-
nation of the cost of government-imposed
audits and the use of ratepayer money to
pay for them, the most recent examples
being the long-term plan and annual
Earlier this year, Mr Lepper joined
forces with Queenstown Lakes district
mayor Vanessa van Uden, who said her
council's LTP and audit had cost $126,000,
to tackle the minister on ''the cost of
Central Otago district's corporate ser-
vices manager Susan Finlay told council
members last week the contract with
Audit New Zealand through the Auditor
General's office was due to finish next
Cr Martin McPherson believed that
councils paid ''almost treble of what the
private sector pays'' for audits, which Cr
Gillespie believed was of ''little demon-
strable value to the ratepayer.''
This would be part of an on-going
discussion the two mayors were having
with Mr Carter, to improve efficiency
while maintaining transparency, Mr
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