Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Councillors slammed over meeting boycott

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Councillors Rob Kent, Peter Bentley and Mike McVicker were criticised today for their boycotting of last week's council meeting.  Photo/Ben Fraser
Councillors Rob Kent, Peter Bentley and Mike McVicker were criticised today for their boycotting of last week's council meeting. Photo/Ben Fraser

A group of Rotorua district councillors have roundly criticised three of their colleagues who refused to attend a council meeting last week.

Councillors Mike McVicker, Rob Kent and Peter Bentley did not attend a council meeting last week, saying there was nothing to discuss in public and most of the meeting was to be held behind closed doors.

Deputy mayor Dave Donaldson responded in a media release last week by saying they should resign for not doing their duties as elected representatives.

Today, at the rescheduled meeting of the Rotorua Lakes Council, the three were accused of political grandstanding and taking advantage of the fact mayor Steve Chadwick and councillor Trevor Maxwell were in China on council business and two other councillors were away on holiday.

Last week's meeting was postponed, the first time since 2008 a meeting had to be adjourned due to a lack of a quorum.

At the start of today's meeting Mrs Chadwick said she stood by her deputy mayor and "was disappointed at what I consider to be quite a side show from the business of council".

During the meeting councillor Charles Sturt asked the three to apologise to their fellow councillors and ratepayers for wasting council time and not properly representing their constituents, at the same time lightly banging his fist on the council table.

"I expect an apology, today's agenda was exactly the same as last week. "I believe they took an opportunity ... to try and embarrass this council. Stand each of you and apologise to the rest of us because you wasted half a day of our busy schedules," Mr Sturt said.

Councillors Janet Wepa and Trevor Maxwell also voiced their disappointment about the no-show.

However, none of the three apologised during the meeting after being given an opportunity to by Mrs Chadwick.

Mr McVicker said he would not apologise, saying they had made the point that they felt there was too much being discussed confidentially.

Mr Kent and Mr Bentley told the Rotorua Daily Post after the meeting they hoped the issue was now behind them.

Mr Bentley said: "There will be no apology from me. ... It's time to move on."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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