Transparency issues raised

The issue of whether or not to open the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board’s workshops to the public and the press will be debated again by members.

Workshops, which include briefings by Council staff and the circulation of information relevant to decision making, are held almost weekly. Currently, no proper Minutes are kept and public access is not permitted. Decisions are not taken at the workshops, but recommendations that lead to decisions are made.

The amount of workshops has lead to the monthly business meetings being little more than a box-ticking exercise for decisions already made in private, with little discussion taking place.

The option of opening workshops to public scrutiny was voted down by the previous local board in 2014 but was raised again by member David Cooper at the local board’s meeting last month.

He said although it’s an option not popular with Council staff, it is important that the press and the public are given free access to all matters that do not meet the requirements for confidentiality.

Member Cooper says he hopes to raise the issue more formally at this month’s local board meeting, so that a proposed change can be voted on.