lvn200319grey: Horowhenua Greypower committee member Lew Rohloff.
Horowhenua Mayor Michael Feyen will head to a Local Government New Zealand meeting early next month with a mandate from council at complete odds with his own agenda.
Feyen will be asked to vote on a whether or not a mayor should be able to appoint his or her own deputy mayor. He had always strongly advocated for the right to have his own choice of deputy mayor.
He had also found an unlikely ally in Grey Power Horowhenua, an organisation representing a large section of the community, who also believed any mayor should have the right to pick his own number two.
But the majority of councillors sent a clear message when voting to not support the motion, which would come up for discussion at the Local Government AGM on July 7 in Wellington.
All councillors, with the exception of Ross Campbell, voted at a meeting this week that HDC's stance should be that a deputy mayor should be democratically elected by council, in opposing the remit.
Feyen would be the HDC representative at the LGNZ meeting, although councillor Bernie Wanden was his understudy should he not be able to attend.
Grey Power Horowhenua representative Lew Rohloff spoke at the meeting before the vote to highlight the fact his organisation supported the right for a mayor to choose his own deputy.
Rohloff said his organisation "implored" council to support the proposed amendment.
"We believe, that if appropriately canvassed, public opinion would be that the remit should receive the support of Horowhenua District Council," he said.
"Clearly the law presently provides the opportunity for a mayor to appoint his or her own deputy mayor."
"In my organisation's opinion the provision elsewhere in the act indicating a council may dismiss a deputy mayor should not overturn the decision of a mayor, newly elected in an incoming administration."
"While my organisation as a responsible community advocate has respect for the institution of local government, elected representatives have an even more primary responsibility to recognise the preferences of their communities," he said.
"This reality behoves councillors collectively to recognise a mayor is actually installed by the confident support of the electors and it follows that the confidence thus extends to his or her preferred appointee."
Each year local authorities in New Zealand could submit proposed remits that addressed a range of major issues on a national level. Each delegate would vote on behalf of their council on a range of issues.
There were 24 items on the remit list for Feyen to take to the LGNZ meeting, ranging from a ban of parking on grass berms to the banning of the sale of fireworks, which a majority of councillors voted to "not support".