A Hamilton city councillor is using his last confirmed week in office to attend a governance course at a cost of $5200 to ratepayers.
Hamilton East Ward councillor Ryan Hamilton is attending a five-day company directors course on Waiheke Island from Sunday afternoon to Friday afternoon.
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Less than 24 hours later, the final votes will be counted and Hamilton along with 19 other hopeful East Ward candidates will learn whether they have been re-elected for a second term.
But Hamilton said he didn't want to wait and see if he was re-elected next term to do the course because he would have "lost" that year's allocation. Each councillor is allocated up to $6000 to spend on professional development each year.
He had "skin in the game" because the balance of the $8160 course, which covers food and accommodation, is coming out of his own pocket. He will also pay transport costs.
Hamilton said although Waiheke Island was a nice place, he solely chose that location due to timing and availability and because it didn't clash with council business.
Hamilton, who also chairs the Hamilton Christian Night Shelter Trust, admitted that although there was a risk he would not get to use his newly gained skills in council if he wasn't re-elected, he would also have skills gained from attending a highly regarded governance course if he did.
He had no plans to repay council if he wasn't re-elected because it covered the time he was on council.
Hamilton said he had not got much value from a two-day Local Government New Zealand course he attending in Christchurch last year so had been very selective this time.
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The two courses were his only expenses and he hadn't claimed any mileage, phone or internet expenses since being elected in a byelection at the start of 2018.
The course was signed off by Hamilton City Council governance manager Becca Brooke in consultation with chief executive Richard Briggs in May 2019.
Brooke said there were no rules around when councillors could carry out the training as long as it fell within the period for which they were elected. Any training or conferences needed to be relevant to council business or governance.
Hamilton was elected in a byelection at the start of 2018 after seven previous failed attempts at becoming a councillor.
Hamilton City Council confirmed no other councillor expenditure had been approved for October.