Horowhenua District Mayor, Michael Feyen says the fight over the council's email interceptions isn't over.

"It's got to be looked at. I can say I'm under huge pressure to let this go, but I'm not letting it go."

Last month an internal audit revealed the HDC Chief Executive had been intercepting the Mayor and Councillor Campbell's emails for 18 months prior to the local body election in September last year.

The council chose to keep that audit secret and get it reviewed by KPMG, at a cost of $22,000. And last week KPMG delivered the review, with good news for the underfire Chief Executive. KPMG couldn't find the auditor's working papers so couldn't confirm his findings.


"That was probably the surprising factor, in that a good internal process would have had good working papers and KPMG identified that as a real short coming that the auditor went through," Mr Clapperton says.

On the more contentious issue of email interceptions, KPMG says they shouldn't have been included in the audit in the first place, leaving the email interceptions unresolved according to the Mayor.

"The report that we got from the KPMG the other day clearly leaves it in the extreme risk category. It wasn't really looked at by them because it was seen as out of the terms of reference. So things that really bother me about this is that the internal auditor was never really given the opportunity to sit in front of the Council and explain the original draft report.

"He could have been subpoenaed but I'm sure he would have come here on his own free will. I'm very certain of that," Mayor Feyen says.

The Council has voted to release the KPMG report but not the original audit and in the meantime the Chief Executive has agreed to stop intercepting emails...for now.

"The recommendation of the KPMG report suggested we take everyone off the quarantine list until such time as we have a review of the current policy inplace," he says.

But Mayor Feyen isn't ready to put the issue to bed. "The ombudsman office is already looking into it and I understand that individuals and organisations are going to the Privacy Commission. This has got court written all over it, make no mistake."

It seems to have become a matter of trust between the Mayor and the Chief Executive. Somehow they have to work together.

Mr Clapperton says, "the electorate has spoken and the Mayor is the Mayor. I have to work with the Mayor as the Chief Executive of the Council."


Mr Feyen says "New Zealand is watching Horowhenua and they're watching because they've seen that local government isn't working."

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