In a bizarre twist to the case of the missing Housing Meeting signs it turns out that the local council nicked them and then damaged them to boot.
Ōtaki Labour candidate Rob McCann says the Kāpiti Council has caused a great deal of unnecessary angst following revelations that three Housing Crisis Meeting signs had been taken by council, despite earlier assurances from council that they had not been involved.
“We checked with the Kāpiti council last week and were told they were 99% sure it wasn’t the council that took the Housing Meeting signs. Now they have now informed us they took the signs and promised to return the stolen property.
When Mr McCann went to pick up the signs, the council were unable to locate one and had destroyed the framework of another.
“This is vandalism, bureaucratic nonsense and political interference or deference. The people of Kāpiti should be able to decide if they want to go to a housing meeting, not the council, and they should not cave into complaints by people who don’t want housing raised as an issue in our community,” said Mr McCann.
“We are appalled that the council would stifle free speech like this, not inform the owner of the billboards, or even inform each other of their actions.
“As a Labour Candidate, I am not going to complain about Nathan Guy’s electioneering signs welcoming the expressway, supporting a cycle way or even the one about driving safely at Christmas. They demonstrate an MP trying to pretend he still lives in our electorate and focus on being portrayed as one of the people.
“Those Guy signs were signs paid for by our tax dollars, and the council had no problem with them. It also raises some serious questions about KCDC’s ability to behave in politically neutral manner. Our current MP has had signs up for months which are pure electioneering and KCDC haven’t touched them.”
Mr McCann says the fact KCDC has an issue with a Housing Meeting sign needs some explaining and an apology.
Kāpiti Mayor K Gurunathan says Council received a complaint about the signs and that triggered the process of removing them.
“The enforcement people took action and of course this has led to another complaint. Council doesn’t want to get caught between two political factions.”
Mayor Gurunathan says Council officers are treating the matter with urgency and are discussing processes and policies about political signage.
“It should not be thought that this council has any issues at all with the holding of public meetings regarding housing issues. I attended one such meeting recently myself.
“I think Mr McCann has leveraged the opportunity well to get media coverage from the issue and strategically he has played it well. Council wants to be fair to all the players here and we will make the policy and processes clear to all of the political combatants very soon,” says Mayor Gurunathan.