In an unprecedented move, a public meeting in Waikanae on Sunday called for the resignation of the Kāpiti Council’s chief executive Wayne Maxwell.
The meeting, attended by over sixty locals, was called to discuss the recent Council decision to close the Waikanae Recycling Centre on August 1.
Apart from strong opposition to the decision itself (passed on the casting vote of the Mayor) there were strong arguments against the process and what many described as ‘bullying and underhanded’ tactics by the Council’s chief executive.
This mostly focussed on an extraordinary letter Mr Maxwell sent to all councillors just prior to their discussing the issue during the Long Term Plan meeting.
In a bid to save the Recycling Centre from closure Cr Jackie Elliott, who holds the Waste Minimisation portfolio, put a notice of motion, duly supported by three other councillors to see the matter discussed. Mr Maxwell’s letter in response to all councillors has outraged many in the community and the call for his resignation at the meeting was unanimous.
Cr Elliott says the intention was to have the discussion as part of the normal democratic process and for the council chief executive to subvert that was completely unacceptable.
Excerpt from the CE letter to all councillors regarding the four councillors who put up a notice of motion to stop the closure: “Either the signatories are not aware of the implications in spite of my advice; or they are but do not see the failure to adopt the LTP as important to them. I’m left with a third possibility, which is equally disappointing – that the signatories are effectively freeloading.”
The meeting was chaired by Waikanae resident Dr Marie O’Sullivan who, after much discussion with those present put the motion: Moved Chair (Marie O’Sullivan, Seconded Blanche Charles)
That this meeting call on the CEO of KCDC, Mr Wayne Maxwell, to resign, following the abusive email sent to councillors on June 22nd, 2021.
The motion was carried unanimously by the public. The four Councillors present, who are effectively employers of the chief executive, abstained.
Waikanae ward councillor Jocelyn Prvanov told the meeting the Waikanae Community had not been properly consulted and the move to close it was very rushed. She said members of the public had told her there was no cogent reason to close the centre and she agreed.
“There was a lot of skulduggery in the background and it’s just not good enough,” says Cr Prvanov.
Councillor Sophie Handford told the crowd the decision did not fit with Council’s declaration of being a Climate Emergency council.
“This closure doesn’t send the right message and it doesn’t make sense. A change of level of service needs to be properly consulted on and this wasn’t,” says Cr Handford.
Chair Marie O’Sullivan put two other motions to the meeting following presentations by John Vickerman and Waikanae Community Board member Margaret Stevenson-Wright.
The Motions were: Moved: Chair (Marie O’Sullivan) Seconded: Loretta Pomare
That this meeting request the Ombudsman review the legality of the decision made by KCDC to close the Waikanae Recycling Centre. Carried Unanimously
Moved Chair (Marie O’Sullivan) Seconded: Edwina Allen
That the Environmental Protection Agency panel considering the Summerset development at Park Avenue insert a condition of the resource consent that Summerset must provide an offset in the form of a recycling centre in Waikanae if the area of the current recycling centre is used as a construction access for the Summerset development or if Summerset purchases the recycling centre land. Carried Unanimously
Cr Elliott says it seemed clear those at the meeting came from right across the political spectrum and to see such unanimity on these controversial issues should send a very clear message to Council that the community expect better.