Horowhenua's mayor has called for an investigation into "hate speech Facebook pages" he claims his own staff and councillors are contributing to.

Michael Feyen posted a video to his own Facebook page last week to say he had submitted a notice of motion on the issue for Horowhenua District Council's next meeting, to be held this week.

Horowhenua's local political situation has been a hot topic on social media, with several Facebook pages taking opinionated stances on issues and personalities in the district.

Anonymous page The Cold Hard Truth is prominent among local pages in its opposition of Feyen's actions as mayor, although many posters use what appear to be pseudonyms.


There are also other pages supporting Feyen's mayoralty or opposing the council's actions.

Several councillors and the council's official Facebook account have commented on some of the pages, although Feyen did not specify which comments or online actions he had concerns over or wanted investigated.

He did not say whether he considered the alleged comments to be concerns under the Harmful Digital Communications Act.

He confirmed he considered The Cold Hard Truth to be a "hate speech" page, however a statement from the page's administrator supplied to the Horowhenua Chronicle denied it was.

"Our page is a place for people who are unhappy with the current mayoralty to express their opinions in a safe environment," the statement said.

"If The Cold Hard Truth is identified as the only 'hate page' is it because we challenge his behaviour and performance by demonstrating the truth through information legitimately obtained through the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act [LGOIMA] process?"

Feyen said he believed the LGOIMA requests from the page had been made by people that "don't even exist" as they had used pseudonyms.

Horowhenua District Councillor Victoria Kaye-Simmons said her home was visited by local police in March this year, and she was asked if her husband was an administrator of a local Facebook page that targeted the mayor's actions.


"[My husband] offered our computers up to be forensically audited to prove that we were not involved with the page. They did not deem this necessary," she said.

She said other people had been questioned by police regarding the same Facebook page.

"Michael's plan is to target certain pages and certain people," she said.

"Who would do a forensic audit and at what cost? He is leading by his own example of his use of social media."

Feyen told the Horowhenua Chronicle he had not made any complaints to the police about the issue.

Horowhenua Deputy Mayor Wayne Bishop. Photo / File
Horowhenua Deputy Mayor Wayne Bishop. Photo / File

Deputy Mayor Wayne Bishop questioned what an investigation of social media behaviour could achieve as an outcome, and what would be gained from it.

He said Feyen's own page was more of a problem.

"Why does he harbour the worst comments in the district on his site?" Bishop said.

He said social media, which he did not participate in himself, should not be part of local government.

"It's an echo chamber of madness," he said.

"I've spent far too many hours of this term trying to protect council's exposure to this from [Feyen's] own page."

Bishop said the council's focus should be moving the district forward.

Feyen said any offensive comments on his own page were deleted as soon as they were seen.

The call for an investigation was one of four notices of motion the mayor was putting to his council.

The others were that livestreaming of council meetings should be "uninterrupted and unedited", that he should have access to all draft council agendas before they are publicly released, and that the council's chief executive should accept an offer from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to conduct further structural assessments of the council building in Levin.