I worked for someone who ran a country on meetings that never lasted longer than an hour. With Prime Minister John Howard in the chair you could guarantee that the discussion would be focused, the agenda results-driven and outcomes understood by all parties. The four-hour gab-fests known as Area Committee meetings are the exactly the opposite. The only items that draw in the crowds, the planning decisions, are always taken last. How many times has some poor applicant sat through 360 minutes of puff and wind before hearing his case turned down - or approved - in the time it takes to read the agenda out loud? Today's News has noticed this.
In 2009 taxpayers spent £195.70 per person to take part. As Andy Bower said then, "The Area Committees need the axe."