Don Briggs -public defender remembered

Regional Councillor Nigel Wilson remembers public advocate Don Briggs

Kāpiti lost one of its staunchest public defenders this week with the death of former Councillor Don Briggs.

At age 81, Don was still showing the tenacity and energy that had become his hallmark.

I joked with him recently that when he and I died half the people at the funeral would be showing up just to make sure we were actually dead. He laughed.

While all the public campaigning may have created an impression of an earnest, strident and fearless advocate the fact is Don was also always up for a laugh. He had a wicked sense of humour.

For many years Don and Joan, who passed away in 2007, were a team and I personally was delighted when Don was elected to Council.

Don’s funeral will be held at St Lukes Church in Waikanae on Wednesday at 3pm.

My sincerest sympathies to Don’s daughter Alison, his son Richard and their families.

The last words must go to Don himself. Below is his statement during the recent election it is well worth a re-read.

“Council cannot be allowed to continue to submit to private self-interest, at ever increasing cost to the community.

“I want change. I have no wish at all to simply support a council bent on any more approval of private changes. Changes that are counter to all the plans we set in place by democratic process.

“Delivering on the District Plan can no longer be allowed to belie the fact that the district plan has quietly been changed almost 100 times, all in service of private developments and at ever increasing cost on rates.

“We owe it to ourselves and to our future generations to at least preserve the values we have all worked hard for and cherish, rather than see them continually eroded at our cost in the false name of development.

“We owe it to ourselves and our children to face the truth of just how far we have declined in the name of ‘development’ disguised as progress. Council’s are intended to be a public service, not a private corporation. The future must be for all of us, starting here and now and no longer abandoned to free loading private opportunists.

“Council has to urgently address the increasing real needs and concerns of those who have made their homes here, who pay the bills and suffer the rapidly depleting way of life.

“We must bring back proper Town Planning from what has become an open door for major Private Plan Changes to our District Plan. Changes in Zoning, must be brought back to be the proper public process it was always intended to be. We must urgently come to realise that growth and the markets, rely first of all on the well being of the customers.”