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‘What made her quit?’


With the by-election to replace Amber Dunn on council, it would be enlightening to know in more detail exactly why she suddenly resigned.

The small article which appeared in the paper gave but the sparest picture of what made her quit.

Surely ratepayers are entitled to a fuller explanation, as indeed are those who may be considering putting themselves forward as candidates.

The few words Ms Dunn gave hinted at something unwholesome in the council — something she was not prepared to endure.

I do not like the curtain of silence which has been drawn over this resignation. What is it we are not being told?

Meantime, I wish Ms Dunn all the best for her future.

To those considering standing, I suggest it is high time to put aside personal crusades on non-council matters.

The wellbeing of the local ratepayer is the most important thing, and taking a hard look at what the ratepayer can sustainably afford — especially in these Covid times. “Back to Basics and Budgeting.”

Roger Handford

Leave a Reply to Tony Lee Cancel reply

  1. Peter Jones says:

    So how long do you want to keep queuing up at Pac&Save Roger?
    How long do you want council to remain powerless to question the official narrative?
    I’m not talking about Covid-19 either.
    I’m talking about the management running all the unelected bodies who make our region’s decisions.
    Who gets to put them under the microscope?
    If Sustainable and Trust Tairawhiti are in deed acting out a foreign ‘Green’ agenda for Bob Hughes and company we need councillors with grit to challenge them and put pressure on them to act for the good of rate payers who still value the freedom to be able to live their lives as they see fit.
    Small business is under direct attack here in Gisborne and these people need a voice that is not tame.
    The wage subsidies run out soon!

  2. Lara says:

    Don’t ask me why but a month ago I watch via you tube 7 hours of this years Gisborne District Council meetings. These are available for your viewing pleasure on the GDC website.
    I noticed plenty…
    I have a few hunches about what might have led Ms Dunn to resign her position. Sadly I am not telepathic so rather than get it wrong, I will pose a few questions.
    1. Why is Nadine Thatcher Swann always sitting at the right hand of the Mayor during these meetings? Is she an elected official?
    2. Why do only a few councillors ask probing questions of the information they are expected to read and then act upon?
    After seven hours of viewing, I only noticed Councillors Akuhata Brown, Seymour and Worsnop offering advice, opinions or challenges during the meetings.
    3. It is great to be polite to each other whilst participating in a council meeting but why don’t more councillors speak up in those meetings, based on careful consideration of the information they have?
    4. The whole process during the meetings seems so tightly controlled by the two at the top of the table that robust conversations, lateral thinking, dialectic debate and fresh ideas don’t have a chance.
    The meetings look like a disparate group of people, who don’t really listen to each other deeply, going through the motions of having a meeting for the sake of having a meeting.
    I think that type of behaviour is called performativity.
    Maybe that has something to do with her resignation?

    1. Tony Lee says:

      Hey Lara

      I looked this up: performativity is a concept that can be thought of as a language which functions as a form of social action and has the effect of change. Not sure this is what you mean here. Don’t you mean perfunctory: lacking interest, care, or enthusiasm; indifferent or apathetic?

      Also, about point 1, where do you expect the CE to sit? Wearing cloth cap, three paces behind the mayor. Check put the Local Government Act 2002 which defines the role of the CE. This would indicate an appropriate position close to the elected members to carry out the statutory duties.

      Also, meetings have rules that ensure that dialogue doesn’t meander and is on point. If fresh ideas are to be discussed they should be on the agenda. Often these ideas are put forward, management are asked to prepare papers around the ideas and make recommendations. This is a reasonably efficient process.

      On the matter of dialectic debate not being undertaken. My very limited dictionary understanding is that this is inquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions or perhaps the art of investigating or discussing the truth of opinions. Sort of round table, new age, thing? Maybe with incense, headbands and oodles of homespun philosophy. Next meeting 27 hours of video and the meeting closed with no resolutions made. By the way, a meeting with no resolutions is not a meeting in terms of the Act.

      1. Lara says:

        Hi Tony,
        Thanks for the vocabulary lesson. Much appreciated and adds to my knowledge base! There can be so many different meanings and interpretations for a word can’t there?
        My post grad studies over the past two or so years have asked that I understand and write extensively about performativity and dialectic conversations, admittedly in the context of leadership in educational settings, not Gisborne District Council meetings.
        My research into both concepts taught me that performativity is when leaders go through the motions and do what appears to be the right thing. But they really don’t want anything to change or they are aiding a particular agenda.
        Dialectic conversation is a Socratic type of conversation. People asking the types of questions that support deeper discussion and insights into actions, possibilities and events.
        Is it possible that there is room for both your interpretation of the words and the actions I watched in the hours of meetings I viewed and mine?

        1. Tony Lee says:

          Thanks Lara. Maybe in letters to the editor you could assist readers by using more accessible, everyday language, resisting academic speak. Everyday English would not require vocabulary that demonstrates your extensive post graduate studies.

          1. Lara says:

            Hi again Tony,
            Although your criticism of my choice of vocabulary has little to do with why Ms Dunn might have quit the Council…
            By using big words Tony, I’m doing my bit for the community by building vocabulary knowledge.
            In future, I will provide a definition or synonym as well. I will not dumb down my words though.
            Did you know that the world health organisation, in about 2011, stated that vocabulary, or lack thereof, is a social justice issue?
            People with a limited vocabulary are more likely to die earlier, be poorer, have dysfunctional relationships, be less healthy and have less job satisfaction.
            People who can use big words, should do so on behalf of improving outcomes for their fellows who may be less literate.
            So good on you for using a dictionary to look up new terms.

  3. Peter Jones says:

    Thank you Tony and Lara for pointing out why standing for council is essentially a giant waste of time and effort.
    For one thing the council should not even have Nadine Thatcher Swann sitting in on their meetings. She is not an elected member and has nothing to do with it.
    Her function is to do as she is told by council after they have discussed the issues and decided on a course of action.
    Dialectic conversation is a Socratic type of conversation that encourages non-performativity and compliance.
    A sort of round table, new-age bullshit.
    Those disparate troughers who don’t really listen to each other deeply, going through the motions of having a meeting for the sake of having a meeting, need a huge wake-up call.
    Unity is the key here.
    Council must unite and start calling the shots as they are elected to do.
    First thing I will be recommending if I get in is that we remove the council CEO from the meetings so that we can get on with it.
    She works in the building and if we want her opinion we know where she is.
    Can anybody seriously imagine her doing what she is told by council?
    How many of our councillors signed up to be troughers?
    Troughers don’t unite because self-interest is best served by keeping social distance from their counterparts.
    In a democracy change comes from unity of purpose, but in Tairawhiti the tail wags the dog.