Sunday, April 24, 2005

Know Your City Councillor. Part 1.

Just out of sheer mischieviousness I've decide to write some profiles on Christchurch's City Councillors. I'll pop them up a couple at a time when I'm feeling exceptionally motivated. I suspect Mayor Garry Moore will get a post of his own so I'll cover him off last of all. Where possible I've linked to their respective party profiles as well. Just so you can have the political spin as well.

Helen “I don’t quite understand” Broughton
Riccarton/Wigram Ward.

It’s not unusual to see eyeballs roll, breaths inhaled, and muttered comments when Councillor Broughton opens her mouth at the Council table. For someone who’s a sitting councillor in her second term and previously a community board member since 1995, Councillor Broughton’s grasp on procedure, and reality, sometimes is woefully lacking. At last years annual plan deliberations she waited until after the final budget was settled before asking if alterations could be made to reduce rates increases. Somehow she’d forgotten, or had been unable to do, during the previous four months of annual plan deliberations.

This year she’s back at it in similar mode. Together with Councillor Bob Shearing she put forward a notice of motion requiring rate increases be kept to 2.7%. The attempt was lost. However there were at least three discretionary budget items that could have been challenged to reduce Council spending, but not a peep from Councillor Broughton or her fellow penny pinchers.

Councillor Broughton is noted for always asking questions, normally about matters, that if she’d bothered to read agenda papers, she should understand. It’s not uncommon for Mayor Garry Moore and Councillor Sue Wells to make scathing comments of her abilities during Council debates. One shouldn’t be too harsh on her though; at least she does seek advice when confused.

Her other claim to fame is her drink driving conviction. She picked this up a couple of years ago while member of a Council road traffic safety sub-committee. Irony is a marvellous thing.

Pat “some of by best constituents are Maori” Harrow.
Fendalton/Waimairi Ward.

Pat Harrow has about three political planks, analysis of which reveals quite a lot about the man. First and foremost; he’s a self proclaimed equalist when it comes to matter of race and culture, and totally opposed to any suggestions of there being special treatment for Maori, or Treaty of Waitangi obligations, in Local Government. This despite the requirements of the Local Government Act. One shudders from questioning whether Councillor Harrow may be the white middle class bigot he appears to be. It would be nice to know if he’s actually met a Maori though.

His second crusade is to introduce charges for out of town visitors to the City’s Museum and Art Gallery. He brings this little gem up every year, and every year he gets voted down. Councillor Harrow is nothing if not persistent.

Finally, his other main area of interest involves the ratio of native to exotic native plants used by the Council in its reserves work. Councillor Harrow supports English type exotics as being “more in keeping with the English heritage of Christchurch’s history”. Can we assume some of his favourite trees also include Rata and Kahikatea?

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