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As 22 groups lined up at the council’s public forum yesterday to speak on water issues, Ms Hobbs said five-minute speaking times were to be strictly enforced, and councillors were not to ask questions of the speakers.
That could be done afterwards, she said.
Cr Hillary Calvert questioned whether standing orders allowed Ms Hobbs to stop councillors from asking clarifying questions of the speakers, as is normal practice.
After checking standing orders, Ms Hobbs said questions had to be asked with the permission of the chairwoman, which she would not give.
‘‘I don’t want this to become a filibustering exercise.’’
Cr Kevin Malcolm questioned how he would do his job properly if he was not able to ask questions.
When his preface ‘‘with respect’’ was interjected with ‘‘there’s no respect’’ by Ms Hobbs, some audience members gasped.
‘‘Yes, I’m tough, people,’’ she said.
This also led to an altercation with Cr Gary Kelliher, who rejected the ruling no questions could be asked.
After the meeting he said he was disappointed in Ms Hobbs for the decision.
‘‘The fact that those people travelled for hours, it’s not the norm. To me that’s not community engagement.
‘‘It caught me by surprise. In my view it was too regimented.’’
There was also a lack of communication, as some speakers thought they had 10 minutes, rather than five, to speak, he said.
Ms Hobbs said later she needed to get through many people in two hours.
The closed workshop in the afternoon was the time for debate and there was plenty of it, she said.
‘‘I am very bossy in the chair, but when I need to be.
‘‘I want us to make decisions and make them intelligently.’’