Ben Hill is a reporter for The New Zealand Herald

Auckland Council by-election to cost ratepayers more than $100,000

Former Howick Local Board member Lucy Schwaner with husband and National MP Jami-Lee Ross. Photo / Norrie Montgomery
Former Howick Local Board member Lucy Schwaner with husband and National MP Jami-Lee Ross. Photo / Norrie Montgomery

An Auckland Council by-election is set to cost ratepayers more than $100,000 after a local board member resigned at the board's first meeting.

A by-election will be held to find a new representative for the Botany subdivision of the Howick local board after Lucy Schwaner resigned.

Schwaner lost the vote for the role of board chair 5-4 to incumbent David Collings, and subsequently stood down amid accusations of bullying and intimidatory tactics.

Auckland Council has estimated the cost of the by-election to be more than $100,000.

Schwaner, who is married to Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross, said it was "unfortunate that there is a cost for appointing a replacement".

"However the cost to the community is far greater if the Howick local board were allowed to continue unchecked and without its deep problems or poor leadership highlighted for the public.

"Leaving the board was the most honourable course of action given I have no confidence in the leadership of David Collings."

Schwaner said the cost of the by-election could be avoided if the next-highest ranked unsuccessful candidate Mike Turinsky was to run unopposed.

In her resignation letter Schwaner alleged that under the chairmanship of Collings in the past term the board had become a "toxic environment".

At the time Collings said Schwaner's decision was "disappointing" and a surprise given they both stood on the Vision and Voice ticket.

- NZ Herald

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