The Island Bay Residents Association is holding their AGM on Monday 7 March and if you live in Island Bay or Southgate you should get involved. There's a great selection of nominees for the committee and some interesting Notices of Motion to vote on. The AGM will be held at the Island Bay Bowling Club at 7pm (with a limit on numbers) but you can also vote by proxy so no excuses not to have your say!
There's lots more information about the AGM on the residents association's website. The very first thing you need to do is make sure you're a member before Saturday 5 March. If you want to become a member or are unsure if you are a member email firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your full name and residential address stating that you want to confirm your membership.
There's 18 nominations for up to 13 places on the committee and only 4 incumbent members are standing [note 1]. That means there will be at least 9 fresh faces elected which will be great and makes it really important that you vote. There are profiles of all the nominees here and more information on this Facebook page.
If you intend to vote by proxy make sure you carefully follow the instructions for that.
My general advice about voting is to vote for as many of the people standing for the first time as you can. While we should all acknowledge the hard work and commitment of the current committee there seems to be a genuine appetite for change out in the community so let's take the opportunity to do that. You can vote for up to 13 nominees but can vote for fewer than that if you wish so my 3 step guide to voting is:
The Notices of Motion
There are some interesting Notices of Motion to vote on. Here's my thoughts on each:
1. That any submissions IBRA makes will only represent the majority view of Island Bay residents.
Vote against this. IBRA's determination to exclude minority voices has always been a problem. For example, this would potentially mean minimising or excluding disabled, rainbow or tangata whenua concerns from submissions. It's impossible to accurately determine "the majority view of Island Bay residents" without doing expensive randomised polling anyway. It's also not necessary to do this - a residents association can simply make submissions that reflect the diversity of opinion of its members and leave it at that
2. That IBRA surveys the residents of Island Bay (including beyond the newsletter membership of IBRA) and then publish a paper on how the residents of Island Bay would like IBRA to meet the 8 Objects of its constitution.
Vote for this. Getting some direction from the people who respond to a survey on what they think is important is worth doing (with the caveat that it will only be the views of those who respond, not the whole community)
3. That IBRA Committee develops and publish a code of conduct for Committee members (in alignment with the IBRA Constitution), which is then signed by Committee members.
Vote for this. How could this not be a good, positive thing?
4. That all IBRA Committee meetings are open to all Island Bay residents and the community to attend and contribute, acknowledging the need for in-Committee business.
Vote for this. Like all good committees IBRA should be keeping non-public business to the absolute minimum required. This would bring greater transparency and make it much easier for the committee and the community to stay connected.
5. That the Island Bay Residents Association adopts and states an impartial position on the Island Bay Cycleway and the Parade Upgrade. In recognition of the diversity of views in our community and the divisive nature of these issues, we propose that IBRA leadership supports community diversity, and encourages all members to be kind and care for each other.
Vote for this. I understand that this motion was put forward by some of the church leaders in Island Bay and they're right. It's time to move forward. Voting for this Notice of Motion aligns very nicely with voting against 1 and for 6.
6. That IBRA Committee always undertakes an open and well-publicised consultation with residents and the wider community of Island Bay before making any submissions on our behalf, and document the consultation process undertaken.
Vote for this. This is the counter-point to Notice of Motion 1. The key words here are "on our behalf" and who that relates to. I think that in general IBRA should try and avoid making submissions on behalf of the whole community as that is almost impossible to do in a safe and robust way. IBRA should probably stick to consulting its own members and then presenting those results in an open and balanced way to council (or whoever is consulting). That includes recognising minority views.
7. That Clause 10(d) allowing proxy votes be deleted from the Constitution.
Vote against this. This is nothing but an attempt to make it even harder for residents to have their say on who gets to represent them on the residents association. It's undemocratic.
8. That a new clause 13 (c) be added to the constitution as follows: No member of the Committee shall reside at the same residential address as another Committee Member and in the event that a Committee Member commences residing at the same address with another Committee Member the said Committee Members shall determine between themselves which Committee member shall resign from the Committee.
Vote against this. I'm not sure why this is seen as a problem and if it is it would be better dealt with through having a Code of Conduct that requires committee members (and nominees for the committee) to declare any conflicts of interest. If residents think 2 members from the same household can add value to the committee then why shouldn't they have the option to vote for that?
9. That the newly elected Committee looks at reducing the number of Committee members to a more manageable number.
Vote against this. This appears to be a reaction to not having enough nominees in the past. That is not currently an issue and if IBRA does its work in a open, transparent and constructive way it shouldn't be an issue in the future. More members allows for a greater diversity of representation and more people to do the mahi, which is a good thing.
10. That IBRA changes its name to “Island Bay Business and Residents Association.”
Vote against this. I don't really have a strong view on the name. If anything a completely new name might be appropriate at this point but this Notice of Motion isn't about that.
11. That clause 12 should be replaced to read as follows:
Election of Committee and Officers of the Group
a) The Secretary shall not later than thirty (30) days prior to the Annual General Meeting of the Group call for nominations for the Committee and shall circulate such nominations with notices of the Annual General Meeting.
b) At the first meeting of the Committee they shall elect a Chair, Secretary and Treasurer from their number to hold office until the next Annual General Meeting.
Vote for this. On balance I think allowing the committee to vote for its own Chair, Secretary and Treasurer is simpler and makes the process of electing a committee much more straight-forward for residents.
Get into it folks. Exciting times ahead!
Note 1: The 4 incumbent committee members standing again are Jane Byrne, Lorraine Edwards, Bruce Gadd and Pat Vinaccia