Making up for lost time after missing council meetings

By Victoria White

2 comments
Hine Flood
Hine Flood

THE Wairoa District councillor who has missed the most meetings in the past term says she has worked hard to make up for this.

Wairoa mayor Craig Little said a lot of people did not realise being a councillor was more than just attending meetings. He felt it was acceptable for councillors to miss some meetings, as long as it was not a common occurrence.

"You might have a local government thing on somewhere else and you just can't get out of meetings," he said. "There'll always be something come up, it might be a tangi or a funeral and that but ... you've got to have a pretty good reason not to go to a meeting.

"But the bigger thing is, if you miss a meeting, as long as it's not a common occurrence, you should then follow up and see what you missed out on."

Of the 60 council, and extraordinary meetings, councillor Hine Flood attended the least - 45. This was one fewer than mayoral candidate Benita Cairns, and 13 fewer than the person with the highest amount of attendance - mayor Craig Little.

This did not include subcommittee meetings.

Ms Flood said she had missed meetings, but worked hard to make up for this.

"I work part-time and sometimes my position within my work life requires me to represent the organisation I work for on a national scope, so that has taken me away from a formal meeting on the odd occasion," she said.

Other reasons for her absence included statutory leave, and illness. On occasions when she had not been able to attend meetings, Ms Flood - who is standing for re-election - said she had put in formal contributions on agenda items that she needed to speak to.

"I don't just not turn up, I do my part," she said.

When minutes were released from meetings she had missed, "I actually do my homework so I don't come to the table without any of the process, or items that might need to be discussed as a result of what I may have missed.

"On paper it might not look wonderful," she said, "but I don't feel that I haven't performed as well as anyone else ... my personal view is I can be absent and probably contribute more than people who might be present."

Although councillors were required to spend around 15 hours a week in their role, she said it took another 15 hours outside that to prepare.

"I want to go to the table and contribute. I can only do that if I'm prepared," she said. "If people are voting for me then it's my job to be as effective as I can to contribute with the dialogue at the table."

Mr Little said if councillors stayed away from a meeting where a decision was made, they could not complain they were not there as "it was your duty to be there".

If councillors did not attend workshops, that was a worry, he said, as they received a lot of information during them.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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