Some of the seven Hastings district councillors excluded from voting on a gambling policy change have claimed the process was undemocratic.
Seven councillors and the mayor took part in Tuesday's decision to adopt a policy that would ban new pokie machines or venues but allow them to relocate them - but the other seven councillors declared conflicts of interest and did not vote.
For most, this was because they are trustees or board members on organisations that get funds from gambling.
Councillor Malcolm Dixon made his own submission and spoke on it at the meeting.
He said seven councillors not taking part takes away "balance"
as they had seen the benefits offered by gambling in terms of funding.
"They can make a decision but it doesn't represent the wider community, how democratic is it?" Dixon asked.
Previously, he said councillors would stand aside when a group or board they were a member of made a submission, a system he said "was fairer and more equitable" and he "can't work out why it has changed".
He challenged the fact that councillor Bayden Barber was part of discussions when his wife had made a written submission.
He said this was a conflict of interest as "under conflicts you're both considered to be the same person".
Barber said he had declared it is a conflict at the meeting and was asked if his wife had a pecuniary interest in gambling or associated organisations – which she didn't.
"As a member of the community she has a right to put in her submission, I didn't write her submission, those are her opinions."
He said councillors have to make the call to sit out individually, but "you certainly want more councillors at the table making these sorts of decisions".
Councillor Damon Harvey also did not take part as he is the chairman of Sport Hawke's Bay, but he was able to take part in the last review, which he finds "frustrating".
"My other roles in the community, one being Sport HB, is exactly the same now as it was then."
A council spokesperson said the current advice from the Ombudsman is that a member who is stepping aside because of a conflict of interest should step aside from the entire process.
The gambling review gave rise to possible non-pecuniary conflicts of interest and any decision to step aside rests with the member, not officers or the ouncil as an organisation the spokesperson said.