Tag Archives: Speaking rights

Dunedin City not the only council with a code of silence

Received.
‎Sun, ‎24‎ ‎May‎ ‎2015 at ‎2‎:‎43‎ ‎p.m.

A Massey researcher is concerned that some local councils are gagging their elected members and stifling free speech.

Source: Massey University Te Kunenga Ki Purehuroa

Massey University - Catherine Strong 2011-02 (1)Created: 02/12/2014 | Last updated: 16/12/2014
Councils’ conduct codes gag elected members
Dr Catherine Strong from the School Communication, Journalism and Marketing, says there is a disturbing paragraph creeping into some councils’ operating policies.
“It basically prevents elected members talking to the media about anything negative within their council. This includes council decisions, policies and overall reputations,” she says.
The research will be presented at the Journalism Education Association of New Zealand Conference in Christchurch on Thursday, and is a content analysis of codes of conduct of all 67 city and district councils in New Zealand.
While most councils clearly stated that elected members have the right to talk freely to the media (with obvious restrictions around confidential information and employment practices), the research found that 10 councils (15 per cent) restrict elected members giving critical opinion to the media.
This amounts to gagging the elected members – the very people who are representing the community, Dr Strong says. “They are not meant to be spin doctors for the council.” She suspects newly-elected councillors approve the entire 4000 word code of conduct without scrutinising the wording of the small media section within it.
Read more

Dunedin City Council – Standing Orders (PDF, 1018 KB)
12 Aug 2014: The Standing Orders set out rules for the conduct meetings of the Dunedin City Council and includes the Code of Conduct for Elected Members, as adopted at the inaugural Council meeting Oct 2010.

█ For more, enter the terms *code*, *vandervis*, *naturaljustice*, and *citifleet* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

9 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics

Dunedin Cycleways: Pet project staff, ‘entitlement’? #irony

“However, I can certainly confirm that it is not the practice of staff to pre-empt any decision-making by the council.” –Ruth Stokes, General Manager Infrastructure and Networks

### ODT Online Wed, 11 Feb 2015
Apology over council staff gaffe
By Vaughan Elder
A Dunedin City Council senior manager has apologised to councillors over a staff member appearing to pre-empt a council decision on cycleway funding. Concern over the actions of staff came up at yesterday’s infrastructure services committee, where councillors voted on the allocation of $570,000 in new Government money to spend on the South Dunedin cycle network. […] In the council press release, senior transportation planner Kylie Huard said the Government funding “will be used” to enhance and expand the South Dunedin cycle network, including providing a link between Shore St and Victoria Rd, via Tainui and Cavell Sts.
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DCC Media Release (30 Jan 2015):
New Government Funding for Dunedin Cycleways

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And another thing….

ODT (11.2.15) Board to pay for road closures
In the article Mick Reece is described as the “council parks, recreation and aquatic services group manager”. Group Manager.

█ Isn’t it time the Dunedin public received an up-to-date Dunedin City Council organisation chart showing reporting lines. To know exactly where those 40+ managers / team leaders (of a total council staff of about 700) are situated, at considerable cost to the ratepayers.

Message to DCC chief executive Sue Bidrose: “Time for fine detail.” And, “Due diligence to Democratic principles, to be learned by Staff.”

[Subtext: it wasn’t simply a typo]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

5 Comments

Filed under Business, Construction, Cycle network, DCC, Democracy, Economics, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management