Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Draconian media policy adopted by Horowhenua Council


Horowhenua District Council has a media policy that refuses to recognise media questions unless they are from, "a news media organisation registered by the New Zealand Companies Office."

"Any further enquiries that are not for a news media organisation registered by the New Zealand Companies Office will be treated as Official Information Requests," said council's communications advisor Trish Hayward. The council also wants to know what news organisations the information is being provided to and what the deadline is.

Dr Gavin Ellis, author of 'Complacent Nation', a book that explores the erosion of New Zealanders' right to know said, "Nothing in the Act gives council the right to withhold information on the grounds that a publication and deadline are not given by the information seeker.

"I believe that, if the council refuses to supply information to a freelancer for that reason, there are good grounds for a complaint to the Ombudsman. It is useful for council officers to know the deadline to which a journalist is working but that is in order to expedite the flow of information, not to stem it," Dr Ellis said.

The council's media policy was revealed to a freelance journalist for the first time after questions were asked about how council was fulfilling its legislative requirement to consult on a very important 20 year 2018-2038 Long Term Plan (LTP); the first 20 year LTP. Previous media questions from the freelance journalist had been answered by the council.

Council has signalled an intention to rate the small communities of Waitarere, Hokio, Ohau, Manakau and Waikawa $106 million for new water and waste water systems.

There will only be three days before submissions on the draft 2018-2038 LTP close on 26 March if the council wait 21 days to answer the questions .

Council has been asked:
(1) why public consultations are being held at the Levin Aquatic Centre instead of Te Takere that is regarded as the centre of the community?
(2) Whether council has more responsibility to ensure ratepayers are fully informed considering an intention to raise $106 million for new water and waste water infrastructure in “new growth” areas?
(3) why it is acceptable land and property developers haven't contributed one cent to essential infrastructure in "growth areas" yet ratepayers are expected to pay for it?
(4) How much the infrastructure rate equates to in dollar terms for each affected area?
(5) Given the complexity of the draft 20 year LTP whether public consultations should include more than four relatively obscure public meetings?
(6) What has council been doing to consult residents that need assistance to understand the draft LTP implications
(7) Why has the council called the 20 year LTP, "Consultation in preparation of 2018-2038 Long Term Plan" instead of a draft document?
(8) Why has the council decided to hold so few consultations and none at Te Takere? What was the rationale behind that decision?
(9) Why doesn’t council doesn’t visit marae, associations and groups around the district and tell them how they will be directly affected?
(10) Wouldn't travelling to Marae be an effective way to consult with Maori ratepayers?
(11) Why is a public meeting on the Otaki to Levin North expressway considered important enough to be held at Te Takere but not the district's LTP?
(12) Why only one month for consultation on a complex and lengthy document?
(13) Why council running so many consultations simultaneous taking into consideration residents have busy lives and, unlike the council staff, are already juggling many responsibilities and obligations?
(14) Does the council think the consultation process on a number of important documents simultaneously would meet the standards of the Office of the Auditor General if a governance complaint was made?
(15) The draft LTP states "Look out for upcoming consultations that are outside the consultation on the LTP. The outcomes from these may result in future changes to the LTP." Shouldn't the LTP be informing the other consultations not the other way around?

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Spying On Politicians, Activists, Iwi, Quake Victims: "Failings Across Public Service"

A State Services Commission investigation into the use of external security consultants by government agencies has uncovered failings across the public service, including breaches of the code of conduct...

However, the inquiry found no evidence of widespread inappropriate surveillance by external security consultants on behalf of government agencies. More>>

 

Dope News: Binding Cannabis Referendum To Be Held At 2020 Election

The referendum on cannabis for personal use is part of Labour's confidence and supply agreement with the Greens. It could be one of potentially three referenda - decisions have yet to be made about euthanasia and changes to electoral laws. More>>

ALSO:

Vic: Victoria University Name Change Rejected

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has declined Victoria University of Wellington Council’s application for a legal name change. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Post-Cab 17/12/18: Chief Justice, M Bovis

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's final post-cabinet press conference of the year focussed on announcing the appointment of Helen Winkelmann as the next Chief Justice, and an update on effort to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis from New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Law Commission Issues Paper: Use Of DNA In Criminal Investigations

In the 22 years since the Act came into force, it has become clear that the modern-day fingerprint analogy is increasingly inapt... Theoretically, whole genome sequencing could ultimately become the standard method of analysing a DNA sample. Such a development will give a new perspective on the concept of genetic surveillance in the criminal context. More>>

State Highways: $1.4 Billion For Road Safety Improvements

The Safe Network Programme will make 870 kilometres of high volume, high-risk State Highways safer by 2021 with improvements like median and side barriers, rumble strips, and shoulder widening. More>>

ALSO:

Dealing Crackdown, Addiction Support: Government Action On Synthetics

The NZ Drug Foundation has welcomed the Government’s response to synthetic drug deaths. The response strikes a balance between giving law enforcement the tools they need to target criminal networks and changing drug law to make it easier for people to access help when they need it. More>>

ALSO:

Strategy Committee Unanimous: Wellington To Forge Ahead With Convention Centre

The three-storey Cable Street building, with around 18,000-square metres of floor space, will comfortably be able to host 1500 people for conventions. It includes a 1651sq m exhibition area that will attract international exhibitions too big for nearby Te Papa and provide an always-changing visitor attraction. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels