Former mayor appointed to commissioner role

By Sadie Beckman

Former Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy.
Former Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy.

Horowhenua's previous mayor has been appointed to the Local Government Commission.
Brendan Duffy, who served as mayor for 12 years, was a "welcome addition" to the commission, said Local Government Minister Anne Tolley.

The role, which is contracted until February next year, sees Mr Duffy join three other commissioners whose main task, according the commission website, is to "make decisions on the structure of local authorities and their electoral representation".

He said the appointment was a "significant surprise" and his main focus would be on deliberations over the potential amalgamation of Wairarapa's council - hearing submissions from the community and helping prepare a recommendation.

Mr Duffy said it would be highly unlikely he would be personally involved with anything to do with Horowhenua District Council should the need for commission involvement arise during his tenure.

"If the Horowhenua District Council was in a position - which I don't think it is - where the performance of the council was not being run democratically, or raised sufficient concerns with the Minister of Local Government that there were performance issues, then the minister would make a decision about what she thought might be appropriate to resolve the issue.

"It's the Minister of Local Government who makes the call," he said.

Mr Duffy was also a speaker at the recent NZ Society of Local Government Managers Chief Executive Forum in Auckland.

The conference featured Mr Duffy presenting a segment titled Help! My new mayor campaigned against me and my council staff and was voted in! - Workshop strategies to deal with the post-election trauma when your new mayor or councillor has campaigned against you (or even if they haven't!).

He said the segment was well received.

"The brutal reality is that the dynamics in Horowhenua at the moment are an example of the challenges that can occur anywhere in New Zealand, and when those dynamics become as challenging as they seem to be here, it's a useful discussion to have around how people may or may not be able to respond," he said.

"We were talking in general terms about how you build relationships with individuals who are democratically elected, and the challenges around that, and how we continue to provide services and values to communities who democratically elected them."

- Horowhenua Chronicle

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