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Yan calls for greater transparency

Yan calls for greater transparency

Wellington Mayoral candidate Jack Yan believes the Wellington City Council needs to be more transparent.

"Parking is shaping up to be a big issue at this year's election. As others have found out though, Council was not releasing information regarding its enforcement of parking, attempting to use the commercial sensitivity clause of Official Information legislation. The Ombudsman rightfully rebuked Council over this in its report to Parliament.

"Simply releasing the information upon request though doesn't go far enough. I would like to see our enforcement guidelines proactively published on the Council's website, so people know where they stand if they've received a ticket. Too often, people just pay the ticket because finding out otherwise is too time consuming."

Yan's ideas around transparency do not end there though.

"If we look at London, the Greater London Authority is, in its own words, 'committed totransparency in all its financial and operational activities'. This sees its annual budget, which lists spending plans for the year ahead, and details of payments over £250 listed in one place.

"Unfortunately, Wellington City Council's website provides no where near this level oftransparency. Only 37 per cent of respondents in a recent survey 'thought information was easy to access from council'."

With amendments to the Local Government Act set to see mayoral powers increase following October's election, Yan believes Mayors will need to be held to much greater account.

"We've already seen concerns in Auckland, where the Mayor already has additional powers, around the way that office uses its funds. I believe Councillors will need to be able to keep the Mayor in check.

"If elected, I would seek to implement a Mayoral Question Time, modelled on Britain's Prime Minister's Questions, to balance out the new functions Mayors will have post-election."

Yan also believes web casting the meetings would keep Councillors on their toes.

"I hear stories of the behaviour of Councillors changing considerably when television news crews come along to film the meetings. Let's keep everyone at the top of their game through live streaming."

ENDS

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