Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Councillors set to skip meeting

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Rotorua Lakes Council building. Photo / Stephen Parker
Rotorua Lakes Council building. Photo / Stephen Parker

The next Rotorua Lakes Council meeting may not be able to go ahead after at least two councillors said they would not attend because there was nothing to discuss in public.

Tomorrow's council meeting, set down for 9.30am, may not make the seven members required for a quorum and could be cancelled or postponed.

Rob Kent.
Rob Kent.

Councillors Rob Kent and Mike McVicker told the Rotorua Daily Post they would not be going because the entire meeting agenda would be discussed during a confidential session.

Councillor Peter Bentley said he would make his mind up on the day, but was leaning toward a no-show saying the meeting could be a pointless exercise.

Deputy Mayor Dave Donaldson said there were good reasons why most of the meeting would be held confidentially.

But, with mayor Steve Chadwick and councillor Trevor Maxwell in China, and councillor Glenys Searancke on holiday in Fiji, all it would take is for Mr Bentley and one more councillor to pull out of the meeting before it would not be able to go ahead.

"Quite honestly, it's becoming a bit of a joke," Mr Kent said.

"The decisions are being made by committees and all we are doing is rubber-stamping those decisions.

"It's pointless, if I was mayor the meeting would be cancelled.

"There's one page of confidential minutes and a staff presentation on a planning matter outside of the district, so I will not be there on Thursday," Mr Kent said.

Dave Donaldson.
Dave Donaldson.

Mr McVicker said: "I will not be attending the meeting, as once again there is virtually no substance to it."

"The public section is just rubber-stamping previous pre-ordained decisions, and the confidential one is hardly worth debating," he said.

Mr Bentley said confidential debates were not what he was elected for. "It's supposed to be a free and open system of government, but there is no general business for debate, I'm not sure if it will be worthwhile going."

However, Mr Donaldson said he would ask the council's chief executive Geoff Williams to "give an explanation of the guidelines for why matters may or may not be debated in confidence, for the benefit of those watching online or in the public gallery".

"Most of these items are recommendations from committees and previous discussions held in confidence.

"There are valid reasons why these matters were debated confidentially and continue to be debated in confidence."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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