Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Williamson wants name of official behind Rotary Walkway decision

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Howick ward councillor Maurice Williamson. File photo supplied
  • By Laura Kvigstad, Auckland Council reporter, funded by New Zealand on Air

Howick ward councillor Maurice Williamson has been left in the dark on questions to Auckland Transport (AT) and his  colleagues have suggested it should stay that way.

At Auckland Council’s transport and infrastructure committee meeting on May 9, Williamson asked AT for the name of the official behind the decision to make Pakuranga Rotary Walkway a joint walking and cycling path.

“There has been a lot of people quite seriously injured, all I want to know is who’s the person who did it,” Williamson said.

He asked AT similar questions during the April 4 committee meeting and said he still had not received an answer.

AT chief executive officer Dean Kimpton gave Williamson a clipped response.

“Thank you, councillor. I will undertake to come back to you as soon as I can,” Kimpton said.

Williamson pointed out Kimpton gave the same response at the last committee meeting.

Cr Chris Darby argued Williamson should not be allowed to know the official’s name.

“I plea for you not to release any name of any individual for an elected member to berate,” Darby said.

“It is not appropriate at all.”

Chairperson John Watson was quick to shut down the comment from Darby as inappropriate and Williamson denied that he was intending to berate a member of AT’s staff.

Later during the committee meeting, Cr Alf Filipaina thanked AT for putting him in touch with a member of staff.

“Thank you for giving me that name. He has helped me so much in regards to a lot of issues that have been within the Manukau ward,” Filipaina said.

Williamson interjected to ask why Filipaina had been put in contact with a member of staff but he had not.

“That is because I am not going to berate them. I don’t know why you are talking councillor Maurice because I am trying to acknowledge the staff here,” Filipaina said.

Cr Greg Sayers defended Williamson and said it was in the interest of democracy that councillors are able to question the decisions of staff

“If we can’t target the individual [responsible] it is bureaucracy that is loose and uncontrolled,” Sayers said.

He said it was vital any governors be able to pinpoint a person responsible for a decision to be able to “grill, question and debate with that person directly.”

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