Elected Christchurch board members in spotlight after leaving meeting early

Timing issues are set to be addressed by a Christchurch community board after half of the members in attendance left the first meeting of the new year early, cutting it short.

The Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board did not reach the final two items on the agenda - the area report and the elected members’ exchange - at its meeting on February 15.

The 5pm meeting began with apologies from chairman Mike Mora for absence and from Debbie Mora for an early departure.

Debbie Mora left the meeting at 6.30pm, followed by Anne Galloway and Gamal Fouda.

The departure of Catherine Chu left only four board members remaining and the meeting ended at 7.04pm.

Greater Hornby Residents Association chairman Marc Duff has raised the issue in an email to Christchurch City Council and asked what action would be taken.

"As paid elected members, we think it is important members are reminded of their obligations to the communities they serve."

Board members needed to work other commitments around meetings, he said.

City council head of community support and partnerships John Filsell said staff would discuss the issue with Mike Mora.

"Solutions include ... seeking agreement from board members on how agenda items will be managed to ensure they are covered, managing the content of the agenda to conclude the meeting before the scheduled time, and asking members to stay if needed."

The meeting ran longer than scheduled, Filsell said.

"Board members had pre-agreed commitments.

"The Waipuna Area Report [city council staff report on ongoing issues] will be added to the agenda for the board meeting on 1 March 2022, and will be presented to the council on March 10, 2022, as scheduled."

Duff said he is grateful the city council is addressing the issue.

Mike Mora was unable to attend the meeting for health reasons following a recent hospital visit.

Members "drifting off" later in the meeting is an issue for the board, he said.

The board will discuss the issue and will consider changing its meeting times.

Debbie Mora said she left for a personal commitment and this was prearranged with staff.

She agreed members should prioritise board meetings, but some members also had other commitments and did not expect the meeting to take so long, she said.

Galloway said she left to attend a committee meeting.

It was the first meeting back and the first livestreamed meeting, and people needed to be kind and make allowances for mistakes, she said.

Chu also left to attend another meeting.

"The meetings need to be run far more efficiently," she said.

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