Roll call notes councillors' absences

By John Cousins

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Tauranga's top-polling councillor Tony Christiansen is the worst performer for attending meetings.

Cr Christiansen attended 86 per cent of meetings last year, according to information the Bay of Plenty Times obtained under the Official Information Act.

The globe-trotting inspirational speaker who was the top polling at-large councillor in the 2010 elections, attended 66 out of 77 meetings.

He said four of his missed meetings were for speaking engagements and four were for personal reasons that related to his elderly parents. One of his leaves of absence was when he was offered the opportunity to drive a bobsled at the Winter Paralympics.

Cr Christiansen was surprised he had been absent from a meeting without explanation.

"I thought I was quite diligent about these things."

He said he had cut back his speaking engagements by 60 per cent since becoming a councillor but had always maintained that he wanted to continue public speaking where possible in order to keep a balance in life.

"The council can be pretty demoralising. It feels good to inspire 10,000 people, and I have trouble getting anything out of nine other councillors."

Mayor Stuart Crosby's 92 per cent attendance was the next lowest, although three of his seven missed meetings were because he was away on other council business.

Otherwise he would have matched the 95 to 96 per cent attendances by councillors Murray Guy, Terry Molloy and Wayne Moultrie.

Perfect attendance records were achieved by councillors Rick Curach and Bill Grainger who, coincidentally last year, claimed the lowest and highest number of hours a week spent on council duties.

Councillor Larry Baldock would have had the perfect score but missed one meeting because he was on other council business.

Cr Curach, who stunned ratepayers last year with his shock admission that he worked an average of 22 hours a week for his $74,000 salary, said his 100 per cent attendance showed he took his role seriously.

"Attending meetings is our core function and I always make an effort to be there," he told the Bay of Plenty Times.

At the other end of the workload scale was Cr Grainger who claimed the biggest effort at 45 to 50 hours a week.

The attendance figures were for formal meetings at which minutes are taken. They did not include resource consent hearings (paid separately), project steering groups, taskforce meetings and council workshops.

Cr Christiansen said he was on six taskforces and working parties.

"There are so many other things that you do."


 

- Bay of Plenty Times

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