Friday, August 02, 2019


Back in April, the Remuneration Commission allowed local authorities to pay childcare costs for councillors and community board members. It promised to be a significant step forward for local democracy, which would enable parents and would-be parents (as opposed to grandparents) to stand for council. But councils have to vote to adopt it, and the Hurunui District Council has refused:

A North Canterbury councillor at the forefront of a campaign for childcare subsidies for elected officials says she is disappointed her fellow councillors chose to vote against the policy.

The Remuneration Authority introduced a childcare option after Hurunui District councillor Julia McLean and Nelson City councillor Matt Lawrey raised the issue three years ago. The policy allows councillors and community boards to claim back up to $6000 a year, plus GST, to cover childcare costs so they can attend meetings or events on behalf of the council.


McLean was the only councillor absent from last month's Hurunui council meeting, at which it was agreed unanimously to reject a childcare allowance for the district's councillors.

Its a disappointing move, and invites the question: why does Hurunui hate parents? Why does it think they should have no say in local government?

Local government has a real problem with gerontocracy, which distorts policy in all sorts of ways (notably on climate change, but its also why local elections are an endless parade of cookie-cutter pensioners promising to "keep rates low"). It desperately needs to be more representative. But I guess if there's one thing you can rely on from political establishments, its that they will fight tooth and nail to lock out everybody else and prevent proper representation. And that is exactly what is going on here.