Rotorua Daily Post health and business reporter

Deputy mayor calls for councillors' resignation

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PHOTO/FILE
PHOTO/FILE

Rotorua deputy mayor Dave Donaldson has called for the resignation of three councillors who say they plan to skip tomorrow's council meeting - prompting angry responses from the trio.

The meeting looks unlikely to go ahead - the first time since 2008 Rotorua Lakes Council will have adjourned a meeting due to a lack of a quorum.

In a media release issued by the council in response to a story in today's Rotorua Daily Post, Mr Donaldson said he believed Rotorua's interests were being compromised by the decision of Rob Kent, Mike McVicker and Peter Bentley not to attend the full council meeting because they deemed it not worthwhile.

Mr Kent and Mr McVicker had said the meeting, the majority of which was confidential, would be pointless and just rubber stamping committee decisions. Mr Bentley confirmed today he would not be attending for the same reasons.

Mr Donaldson was to chair the meeting in the absence of mayor Steve Chadwick who is on council business in China with councillor Trevor Maxwell.

In today's release, he said if council business wasn't effectively conducted there would be "flow-on effects".

"I am appalled by what I have read in the paper today from some elected officials who are happy to keep their head in the public trough but not partake in the business. They should resign now and take their chances in the upcoming elections.

"As elected officials we are here to represent the community in discussions and decision-making. By choosing to not take part on the basis you believe you are wasting your time, you are not adhering to a fundamental of democracy."

He said councillors were paid to represent the community at the council table.

"In this term council has shown recommendations or decisions can change. Some of my colleagues have obviously forgotten full council democratically overturned a committee decision on the fluoride referendum," he said.

"This type of political grandstanding does nothing more than slow council down, drive in added cost and put at risk significant deliverables that need to be met around statutory frameworks."

Mr McVicker told the Rotorua Daily Post he was "aghast" at the comments.

"If he wants to get dirty I'll get dirty too. I've come to the end of my tether. Everybody has had enough of the spin doctor machine."

He said this morning he had been reconsidering his decision not to go.

"But given the abrasive attack we'll definitely not be attending."

Mr McVicker said he didn't believe he was grandstanding and he had no intention to resign.

"What a stupid suggestion."

Mr Bentley told the Rotorua Daily Post Mr Donaldson's comments came "right out of a spin doctor's mouth".

"A lot of what is in the confidential section [of the meeting agenda] shouldn't be in there. There are regional council issues that we have no say on so why waste our time?"

In response to Mr Donaldson's call for the trio to resign, Mr Bentley said he could issue the same challenge to Mr Donaldson.

In a written statement to the Rotorua Daily Post, Mr Kent said Mr Donaldson "publicly attacking" fellow councillors was in breach of the council code of ethics of the council and "inexcusable".

"Councillors McVicker, Bentley and myself have rightly publicly questioned why [confidential matters] are being hidden from public view, and protest at the waste of ratepayer funds and staff time preparing for, and conducting, council meetings with so little content of any consequence."

With apologies also received from Janet Wepa and Glenys Searancke (on leave) it is unlikely the quorum of seven will be met, meaning the 9.30am meeting would have to be postponed.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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