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Council e-petition dog’s breakfast for lobbyists

Nov 6th, 2009 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

A WELLINGTON dog lobby group is worried its e-petition may not be lodged in time for Wellington City Council’s upcoming vote on a new dog policy.

But the council can’t see what the problem is and says the petition won’t be ignored.

Dogs Are Wellington’s Great Secret (DAWG) spokesman Doug Wilkins says the council’s computer system only allowed him to extend the e-petition until November 25 – two weeks after the scheduled council meeting.

Mr Wilkins, who has two terrier crosses (see video, above), says he is petitioning because Wellington may become like an office factory without people and their animals.

He would like Waitangi Park to be an un-prohibited area, and for poo bag dispensers and rubbish bins to be made available in the city.

“I refer you to page 161 of Jane Jacobs’ book Death and Life of Great American Cities – CBD’s are duds. It’s very important that urban cities be liveable.”

He has gathered more than 600 signatures so far. He hopes to have 1000 by Wednesday, November 11.

Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean says the council is baffled by Mr Wilkin’s claim about the online petitioning system.

“That’s the first time we’ve heard that [lodging an e-petition] is very complicated. Most people don’t seem to be overwhelmed.

“Councillors never ignore them. Generally, if completed on time, they are tabled.”

Mr MacLean says councillors are obliged to take any petition into account, but they are not obliged to acknowledge them in their voting.


RULE KEEPER: City councillor Ray Ahipene-Mercer abides by the city centre dog bylaws and keeps his dog in the car.

Wellington City Council’s Strategy and Policy Committee has agreed to include amendments to its draft dog policy and animals bylaw to allow for new dog exercise areas and to ease inner city restrictions.

However, most of the proposed changes still exclude the inner city. New off-leash exercise areas have been proposed for suburban areas in Ngaio, Newtown, Worser Bay and Seatoun.

Councillor Iona Pannett acknowledges that dog owners should not have to drive to take dogs for a walk.

“No, I don’t think that should be the case at all,” she says.

“Obviously, there are issues about making parks available. There is also the question of public transport, but that is outside the current policy.”

She says the council is committed to looking at the issue of specific dog deposit bins.

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