Storm In A Tea Cup And A D Cup!
City Vision-Labour Councillors
For Immediate Release
4 November 2009
Storm In A Tea Cup And A D Cup!
Missing teaspoons, dirty cups and the benefits of lesbian Treaty of Waitangi activism were hot topics for debate at the Auckland City Council today.
The Council’s Community Services Committee debated at length whether to support a Council staff initiative to remove cups, saucers and cutlery from most council halls on the Auckland isthmus.
The Committee also discussed
Council’s grants under the Community Group Accommodation
Support Fund and Community Group Assistance Fund.
The most controversial issue in these funding decisions was the Citizen’s and Ratepayers groups withdrawing a council staff recommended grant to the Charlotte Museum Trust for an exhibition about lesbian activism on Treaty of Waitangi issues.
Hauraki Gulf Islands Councillor Denise Roche said the teacup issue was spurious and the discussion around the grant to the Charlotte Museum exhibition revealing in exposing bias from Citizens and Ratepayers councillors:
“I can’t believe I spent three quarters of an hour in a committee meeting trying to convince the majority party councillors to leave the teacups in community halls. Staff report that this could make a savings to the ratepayer of about $12,000 – but other costs will include council providing disposable cups that will end up in the waste stream. They have agreed that they won’t apply this to halls in the Gulf Islands. Apparently Hauraki Gulf island residents steal fewer teaspoons and cups than they do on the isthmus.
“I’m disturbed by the entrenched knee jerk reactions that the Citizens and Ratepayers councillors have to the words ‘activism’ and ‘lesbian’ – especially when combined with ‘Treaty of Waitangi.’ You’d have thought by now that councillors would have recognised that our population is made up of people from all walks of life and having a visual record of lots of different people that chart our city’s history is a valid use of Council’s resources.”
Tamaki/Maungakiekie City Vision/Labour Councillor Richard Northey said: “It might seem like a storm in a teacup, but community meetings at gracious halls like Ferndale House, the Leys Institute or the Maungarei Rooms to be successful and welcoming need to include a nice cup of tea drunk from solid crockery rather than something drawn from a box of throw-away cups.
“It might seem a storm in a D-cup, but a high quality and discussion-provoking exhibition of photographs of activism by lesbians on Treaty issues is just as worthy of Council recognition and support as an exhibition of 1981 Springbok Tour protest photos or of the once-controversial Barbara Hepworth sculpture.”
Eden Albert Ward Councillor Cr Cathy Casey said:
"For the cost of spending almost an hour of council time in debate on this, we could probably have replaced all the worn-out hall crockery and spoons with Royal Doulton and silver service!
“As for the withdrawal of the Charlotte Museum exhibition grant, this is just sexism at its very worst. Councillors Paul Goldsmith, Graeme Mulholland, Greg Moyle and Bill Christian displayed a type of Neanderthal reaction to this legitimate lesbian group that I have not witnessed since the 1960’s. Shame on them."