Compton brings proposals to table
Due to public frustration at the short length and split nature of public speaking time at Council meetings, the difficulties of attending Council meetings in person due to work and life commitments, and the lack of any searchable video archives of Council meetings, Kāpiti Coast mayoral candidate Gwynn Compton has proposed a number of sensible changes to make it easier for people to have their say and ensure Council is open and transparent.
“A clear message I’ve heard from the public during this campaign is that they want a single, longer time to share their views at Council meetings, rather than the two separate 30 minute blocs either end of a Council meeting as is the current practice. Given the end of Council meetings can vary by up to four hours depending on what’s on the agenda, it’s little wonder almost no one sticks around waiting for the final 30 minute slot at the end of the meeting,” says Mr Compton.
“If I’m elected as Mayor, I’m proposing to make the first hour of each Council meeting a proper open forum, where members of the public can come and speak freely. The first 30 minutes would be for items not on the agenda, and the second 30 minutes specifically for items on the agenda.
“This simple and common sense change will make it much easier for people to have their say on the issues that are important to their communities, rather than them having to wait around all day or guessing when Council might finish working their way through the agenda as is currently the case.”
Gwynn Compton has also committed to Council exploring having more flexibility around meeting times as to allow people who commute, work, or have other commitments during the day to also be able to attend Council meetings in person and speak.
“The current one-size fits all approach of having Council meetings during the day on Thursdays instantly cuts off a large number of people who have other commitments during the day. Council needs to provide residents a greater ability to speak to Council in person, and that means looking at how we can have additional meetings in the evenings, or potentially even an occasional weekend meeting, to help make it easier for people to participate in our democratic processes.”
Along with more flexible meeting times, Gwynn Compton says that ensuring video recordings of Council meetings are archived in an easily accessible way on the Kāpiti Coast District Council website is long overdue.
“We need to do a much better job of ensuring the public can easily access video recordings of Council meetings. Only being able to watch the live stream as Council is meeting, rather than being able to go back and view archived meetings after the fact, excludes a large number of people who have busy lives during the day, but still want to see what took place. Having an easily accessible video archive of Council meetings is another common sense solution that’s long overdue, and will help improve the openness and transparency of Council."