Carrying on with Council Meetings Risks Pork-Barrel Politics
FROM WAYNE HARPUR FOR INVERCARGILL
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
18 SEPTEMBER 2019
CARRYING ON WITH COUNCIL MEETINGS RISKS PORK-BARREL POLITICS, SAYS HARPUR
Invercargill City Council candidate Wayne Harpur says the continuation of Council meetings during the campaign period gives sitting Councillors a platform that other candidates do not have.
“This Friday, the Invercargill City Council Events Committee meets to consider six grant applications,” Mr Harpur said.
“If those six applicants turn up to speak to their applications and are then successful, one could argue they will be naturally pre-disposed to vote for those four Councillors and the Mayor who approved their grant.”
“It runs the risk of pork-barrel politics and should never have happened in the campaign period.”
Mr Harpur, a former Councillor and Invercargill businessman, said the Events Committee meeting could easily have been set aside until after the election period finishes on October 12.
“Local Government New Zealand advice says common practice would be to schedule the last ordinary council meeting in the week before the campaign period begins. That hasn’t been done and it is not a good look for fairness in this election race.”
He said candidates did not have the same opportunity to woo voters and the Council should have taken better care in setting its meeting schedule.
“I am still campaigning hard for election to the Invercargill City Council, but it is not a level playing field when this sort of grace and favour is continuing for sitting representatives.”