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Committee with ‘no teeth’ to be reviewed

Membership of the regional transport committee, the subject of recent criticism, is to be reviewed by Gisborne District Council.

It will be part of a review of all committees after the local body elections in October.

The decision follows a paper — presented by Pat Seymour to the council — questioning the effectiveness of the committee and the contribution of its appointed members.

The regional transport committee includes several community representatives although they do not have voting rights.

Council chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said according to the Land Transport Management Act, community representatives were not required, however, the council had resolved to continue with them.

Following the election the council was required to adopt a local governance statement that would include committee delegations. Issues about representation could be dealt with through that process, she said.

Mrs Seymour said since the end of last year the appointed representatives on the regional transport committee had consistently not attended meetings.

“It is partly because being there does not seem to achieve anything,” she said. “The people appointed are all busy people.”

This was no disrespect to councillor Bill Burdett who chaired the committee; it was the process.

“It does not seem to have any teeth. It should be a useful planning committee when you look at what its terms of reference are, but it is not actually achieving anything for our district.

Brian Wilson said not being a member of that committee, he was still mystified about what the issue was. Mrs Seymour’s paper said the committee had no teeth. The recommendations had nothing to do with that. All they were doing was reviewing the committee membership.

If people really wanted to review this why did they not look at the terms of reference or the power to operate?

Mrs Thatcher Swann said during the review the council could look at having the chairs of all other major council committees and the mayor included on the regional transport committee.

There were ways the committee could be strengthened.

Larry Foster said he key word was effective. As it was structured at the moment, he did not believe it was effective. Councillors knew the issues so it was imperative they were involved in the committee’s decisions.

Roading was the council’s biggest issue. The reason it was not being prioritised was the ineffectiveness of the regional transport committee.

Malcolm MacLean said some good ideas came up at the committee but there was no money. Without money how could it be effective?

Meredith Akuhata-Brown said it was timely to review all the committees and consider those who put their name forward.

Mr Burdett said councillors were forgetting that the most important thing the committee was involved in was putting together the regional transport plan, which was then taken to Wellington.

The committee did need a review. He would like to see the mayor on it, along with a couple of others who had clout.