Mels Barton is the editor of the Glen Eden Guardian, Secretary of the Titirangi Ratepayers Assoc, Trustee of the Ecomatters Environment Trust, and the Weed Free Trust, the Secretary of the Friends of Regional Parks, the National Coordinator of Sea Week, plus President of GAG (the Grassroots Action Group), Mels has her finger on many pulses.
Find out how the elected council representatives are being totally overloaded with information and data, then expected to vote on issues that they do not have the necessary time to research. For example, having to attend a council meeting in two days time, but given a 500 page dossier to read and fully understand.
Note, that where once our democratic process was to vote in a full council who managed the ongoing affairs of the city, today Auckland appears to have a two tier system that operates with a corporate model embedded in all aspects of council, and that elected council members are often dependent on council staff for information, who may have mixed loyalties with how the business of council is run.
The message being heard is the urgent need for transparency in all aspects of the democratic process, if we the people are to have our elected servants serve our express wishes for self governance, these servant have to be seen to be acting on behalf of the wishes of the people. Be it at local or at a national level.
An insightful interview, that ends with very good news that trees and stands of trees in the Auckland regional council areas, plus Waitakere and the Northshore have been saved from the axe.
From 1 January 2012, following the National governments 2009 changes to the Resource Management Act, the only way to protect trees on private land was to have them scheduled (listed in the District Plan), a very prolonged and labour intensive practice.
Fortunately, the above changes have been overturned by our Judicial system who have recognized the short sightedness of this hurried 2009 legislation.