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Taxpayers’ Union denounces Council’s move to exclude conservative councillor from budget hearings based on advice from LGNZ

Summarised by Centrist

The Taxpayers Union has raised concerns over a move by the Carterton District Council to prevent fiscally conservative councillor Grace Ayling from participating in crucial budget hearings. 

There wasn’t even a vote. It was simply determined Ayling had to go. 

Ayling, who was elected on a platform of curbing government waste, has been vocal about her views on rates and spending. This has prompted officials to label her as “conflicted” and exclude her from the hearings committee. 

The decision, based on “informal advice” from Local Government New Zealand, has been criticised as an act of censorship and a breach of democratic processes. 

Kiwiblog’s David Farrar says it’s nuts to try to strip a Councillor of their voting rights simply because they voiced their opinion that rates are too high.

Budget decisions are inherently political and that councillors should not be penalised for advocating for their constituents’ interests.

“It’s like saying that a Councillor who wants to stop a library being closed can no longer vote on whether that library closes, “ Farrar writes. 

Editor’s note: Carterton Councillor Grace Ayling faces a potential conflict of interest regarding her participation in Long-Term Plan (LTP) hearings. Ayling submitted criticisms of council spending, and according to guidelines, councillors who submit should not deliberate on the same submissions to avoid perceived bias.  If she is excluded, the Free Speech Union (whose CEO is Ayling’s husband, Jonathan Ayling) hinted they may pursue legal action. 

Read more over at Kiwiblog and Wairarapa Times-Age

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