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Wairarapa Times-Age - 2021-06-11

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Heading in right direction

OPINION

Ron Shaw states [June 10] that June 9’s editorial is disturbing. However, this editorial is also enlightening in bringing the truth to our Wairarapa community. It exposes the unsavoury behaviours that have infiltrated some of our privately- and publicly-funded organisations in New Zealand. It is also distressing that staff of the Times-age have been harassed. But it is good to know that these staff, many very new in their journalistic careers, recognise they are not there to serve those who dictate what should be printed depending on the level of revenue their advertising brings in. For those of you who have been subscribers of the Timesage, you will know that I have rarely put my name to a “Letter to the Editor” since becoming a Carterton district councillor in 2001. I was trained to listen to all views in the community as an elected representative. This enables the ability to deliberate and vote at the council table where you bring all community opinions forward and vote for the one which you believe reflects the majority view of the ratepayers you represent. This was not always the view that I believed was the best outcome for the community, but I recognised the other views around the table, and those views in the community so have been happy to proceed with the consensus view. We were trained to understand that if you had expressed your view publicly on an issue, then you were expected to raise a personal conflict of interest at the beginning of all meetings. Over my time on council, I have often seen ‘points of order’ raised when a councillor or mayor has forgotten to observe this requirement. I have seen this requirement disappear as some councillors advocate their views on social media. This requirement exists in the ‘non-pecuniary conflicts of interest in Appendix B of the Carterton District Council Code of Conduct’. Some councillors have not recognised their legal requirement to raise their nonpecuniary conflict of interest, which can often exclude them from voting and/or exercising their ability to deliberate with their fellow elected representatives as a council on the issue that they have publicly advocated on. Thank you, Times-age, for standing strong against the reported external negative influences experienced by your staff. Our family will be continuing our subscription to the paper into the future as you take the ethical approach and defend our democratic rights. Jill Greathead Carterton

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