There is probably little doubt that the Napier City Council could have handled the issues surrounding its dog pound much better.
For the Ministry for Primary Industries to deem that an investigation was warranted was a big deal, but the council has gone from denying that a problem existed to downplaying the findings of an audit report that they have declined to release. A press release highlighting the good points was simply not good enough.
Thankfully MPI will release the audit report soon. Hopefully the much bigger MPI investigation into the pound will also be made public when it is finished in the next few weeks.
The issues at the pound were first raised by Havelock North resident Jessica Maxwell, who is the chairperson of animal welfare lobby group Watchdog!.
In a letter to the editor yesterday, the Mayor of Napier Bill Dalton blasted Ms Maxwell for raising her concerns and also said the paper should focus on the positive things the council was doing. Having given the council's recent Summer Cycling Carnival ample coverage, we believe it is also the role of the paper to point out when things could have been done better.
While Ms Maxwell may have complained about many issues in the past, it is her persistence and passion for animals that led to the Hastings District Council bringing about sweeping reforms at its pound. Ms Maxwell is now trying to get the same thing done at the Napier Pound.
While Jessica Maxwell's call for NCC chief executive Wayne Jack to resign is a step too far, Mr Dalton and Mr Jack could have been more transparent on this matter.
There is a concern building in Napier that there is a lack of tolerance in the mayor and chief executive's office for any criticism, even if it is justified.
The point that must not be forgotten in all this is that the mayor and his councillors, as well as the chief executive, are accountable to the people of Napier.
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