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Waitomo District Council has been undermining democracy, the freedom of expression and local community democracy according to ACT Leader David Seymour — he says that the new rules mean those that are elected by the people are gagged by the council’s bureaucracy.
“The code is an attempt to silence a single councillor and by bureaucrats to meddle in the relationship between voters and representatives,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The response to a Facebook post from councillor John Robertson has been to police councillors’ social media use and interactions with local media.”
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Seymour says that the social media section of the case says elected members who do want to have an official council Facebook page will now have it administered by council staff.
“That is completely unacceptable,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
The code of the social media section encourages the councillors to add filters to their comments when in front of media through comms staff.
“The local bureaucrats at the Waitomo District Council are getting in between voters and their elected representatives. Councillors are accountable to the voters, not the bureaucrats,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“It’s also completely unacceptable that some councillors are discouraging their colleagues from speaking directly to media.”
“This kind of meddling will limit the ability of politicians to have direct interaction with the voters and the media and will reduce transparency and accountability in local democracy.”