Open Letter to Haydn Oriti:
I write in response to your article in the July edition of Focus Magazine, in particular comments made about me concerning the council portfolio system.
I was disappointed to read that you had said that you had asked me a question during the “meet the candidates” in relation to this system. Haydn, you have never asked me a question at any event about anything, and, if fact whenever our paths cross we have not spoken.
I offered the attendees at the forum my views on the portfolio system during the course of the general discussion. I did not then and do not now agree that councillors need to represent a certain section of the community through a portfolio. This is local government not state or federal politics where ministers are given portfolios.
Your assumption that I wish to abolish the 13 committees that represent the community interests are unfounded and just that an assumption. To be clear if elected, I have no intention to suggest such a thing.
Committees are a valuable way to gain an insight into broader opinions of the wider population of our LGA, given that residents and ratepayers of the community are involved in them.
The community elected nine individuals to represent their best interests and they should be able to approach any councillor to discuss any concern they may have and likewise councillors should be across all relevant issues of council as part of their elected duties. Finally, in your position as president of the Port Macquarie Hastings Chamber of Commerce I would have expected you to remove yourself at a personal level from making comments involving a local government election given that the chamber is an apolitical organisation.
I welcome the opportunity to discuss this and other matters if you are inclined to meet me personally in order to know about my policies and the direction I would like to see council take should I be elected on July 29.