I get lots of questions about what a councillor does. As a councillor the main tasks include a lot of reading and thinking about things in that reading and deciding what you think about it. The decisions themselves happen at meetings and are done through voting. The other main bit of being a councillor is talking to people about issues and things that they would like to know more about.
There are lots of other things that happen from week to week too and you never quite know what might come up.
Here are a few highlights of this last week.
On Monday I helped answer the phone for the poll about the better Local Services Amendment. Councils all over the country are concerned about the amendment because it appears to take away the community from the decision making process around amalgamation and the forming of CCOs.
I have seen lots of comments about how little say the community has when it comes to council things already so does it really matter. Fair call. For various reasons councils don’t engage that well with their communities. One of the reasons for this is that the legislated process has become the only tool used often and this tool is not the best option in these changing times.
So this term I have been trying to encourage better engagement and the council has made some great progress. I would argue that we need to give this progress a chance to grow and develop.
On Tuesday I got to visit Tiwai with the Bluff Community Board. They visit Tiwai every year to hear how things are going but this is the first time I have been able to attend. It was pretty interesting to visit and see the pot lines.
We also had full council on Tuesday where Councillor Neil Boniface and I presented a report on social housing following a meeting held in July about the issue.
Wednesday was a pretty council free day actually. I had a meeting with our office manager at ArchDraught to discuss accounts and systems as they had attended the Venture Southland Lean Management seminar that day.
I also attended our writers group Southern Scribes which I was involved in starting in 2008. We have had many people come and go from the group over the years but just recently we have had an influx of new members which is exciting. Now there are 12 of us who meet fortnightly to discuss our writing projects and support each other.
Thursday is one of two days I usually work for the Southland Oral History Project. This project has been going for ten years this year and we are working on an audio cd of about 50 extracts from our collection of over 300 interviews. We plan to distribute the cd to rest homes in early September.
On Friday I did some last minute shopping for Kurtis’ 14th birthday which was Saturday. I had a chat with the history curator at SMAG about the Grand Research Project. I wanted to make sure that if we were gathering information to use to create an exhibition we were doing it properly and were not missing anything.
On Friday night I managed a quick drink at the Invercargill Club with friends before heading to the first night of Theatrefest. I love Theatrefest because it has a number of short plays and they are locally produced and often include young people. Friday included a comedy, a Shakespeare extract, a play by Anton Chekhov and another play about Santa.
Saturday was Kurtis’ birthday so we took him and two friends to Queenstown for some luge and go carting adventures. While the three teenagers went up the gondola by themselves, Phil went off to look at some work and I sat in the Bespoke Kitchen and ate some paleo treats and drunk peppermint tea. And truth be told did a bit of election campaign planning which has to be done this time of year.
So that was the week that was.
Who knows what next week will hold.