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Meeting attendances challenged

Using meeting attendances as a measure of a Tauranga City Councillor’s worth is being challenged by councillor Tony Christiansen, who comes in at the bottom of this year’s list.

The list records councillors’ attendances at public meetings – but not at the workshops and working party meetings where a lot of the council’s work is done. It’s been used as a measure of councillors’ work. The figures were published this week.

Councillor Tony Christiansen is challenging how meeting attendances are used to measure a councillors worth.

Councillor Tony Christiansen is challenging how meeting attendances are used to measure a councillors worth.

“I’m on seven different committees in council and that’s something people don’t see,” says Tony.

Tony sits on seven working groups and task forces working on things such as the Greerton Library, central city hotel development, the harbour marine precinct and waterfront development.

“Those things don’t get reported,” says Tony.

“They’re not on council’s list of public meetings, and there are councillors there who do nothing else, that’s it. That’s all they do. Yet they are on half the committees I’m on, and of course they can attend 100 per cent because they don’t do anything else.”

His other issue with using meeting attendance as a measure of a councillor’s work is that there are meetings like the Projects and Monitoring meeting held on Monday where not one resolution was passed.

“That was a recorded meeting, but whether I was there or not would have made no difference whatsoever. It wasn’t a voting meeting, and how many times a year does that happen - quite often.

“If you wanted to look at the meetings, the issue meetings are the ones where I make sure I’m there.”

The other reason Tony’s has not attended as many meetings is his job as a motivational speaker, and the fact he’s had to take time out to be with elderly parents this year.

He books months ahead for the speaking circuit, trying to avoid clashes with council meeting dates, but finds that they can change unexpectedly.

“I do most of my speaking engagements on the weekends and I organise my dairy as best can. The odd time I have been stuck in Australia because I can’t get a flight, or something stupid’s happened - and I miss a meeting on Monday.

“I only actually missed four meetings last year through speaking engagements.”

He has also missed meetings due to his trip to Canada to undertake bobsled training for the Para-Olympics bobsled team, in which he will be competing in 2018.

“At the end of the day I just want people to understand that I’m passionate about it (being on council) and I’m just doing do the best job that I can,” says Tony.

“A lot of people say ‘why do you bother?’ but I funnily enough, I do enjoy it.

“I think one of the important things for me is it gives me a grounding. I can go away on a speaking engagement and be talking to 10,000 people. I can inspire ten thousand people and have them standing on their seats.

“Then I go into the dark clouds of the council with eleven other people. It’s like beating my head against a brick wall, such negativity some times, and I don’t want to be like them.”

Rick Curach and Bill Grainger scored 100 per cent on attendance, with Rick at 79 out of 79 of his meetings and Bill at all 81 of his scheduled meetings.

The 99 per centers are David Stewart and Larry Baldock missing a meeting each; 82 of 83 for David and 84 of 85 for Larry.

Catherine Stewart and Bill Faulkner scored 98 per cent; 80 out of 82for Catherine and 87 out of 89 for Bill. Wayne Moultrie is at 96 per cent attending 76 out of 79 meetings.

Terry Molloy is at 95 per cent, with a meeting score of 81 out of 85, Murray Guy is also 95 per cent; meeting score 75 out of 79.

Mayor Stuart Crosby is at 92 per cent, attending 78 out of 85. Tony Christiansen 86 per cent, attending 66 out of 77 meetings.