Napier City Council has released further information about a review into its trawl through councillor Facebook pages to search for code of conduct breaches.

The independent review will be led by the Wellington-based Peter Chemis, a senior partner at Buddle Findlay.

According to his biography on the Buddle Findlay website, Chemis specialises in employment law, industrial relations and related areas, and is a Harvard-trained mediator.

He has no links with Napier City Council.


The review has been launched after council staff went through the Facebook pages of four "renegade" councillors, all of whom disagree with the new $40m-plus Napier Aquatic Centre.

The Facebook trawl included council staff going through some councillors' Facebook pages at the request of NCC chief executive Wayne Jack.

Acting Mayor Faye White said the aim of the review was to create a positive platform with the incoming councillors and mayor and "for the good of the people of Napier".

"The review will either confirm that council's current processes and practices are appropriate, or else it will make recommendations for change.

Acting Mayor Faye White announced the investigation after meeting with councillors. Photo / Paul Taylor
Acting Mayor Faye White announced the investigation after meeting with councillors. Photo / Paul Taylor

"Either way, I am optimistic that the outcome will restore people's confidence in council's internal processes."

She met with councillors last week to discuss concerns over the Facebook investigation, and today met with Jack, who has since returned from leave, to inform him of her intention to initiate a review into NCC's process around viewing councillors' Facebook pages.

RNZ reported that councillors had been muzzled from speaking about the review, citing legal concerns.

A 2014 study conducted by Massey University found NCC's code of conduct is one of the few in New Zealand which prohibits councillors speaking negatively about the council.


RNZ reported a second review into the culture at NCC as an organisation had also been requested by councillors, but it has been decided to leave it for the incoming council.