A Horowhenua District councillor has announced he has taken to wearing a personal camera to protect his "health and safety".

During a public and live-streamed Finance Audit and Risk Subcommittee meeting last week, Ross Campbell announced he would be wearing the bodycam on the advice of police, due to feeling threatened by another councillor at a previous meeting and during a dinner break.

"I was spoken to and threatened by a councillor in a very inappropriate and offensive manner so that my health and safety was compromised," he said.

"From this meeting forward I will, by police advice, be carrying a video camera to ensure my health and safety is not compromised ... and I will have this or other suchlike cameras with me, and [they] will be used to create a boundary of respect towards me."


Campbell then produced a pen-sized camera from his jacket pocket and showed it to other councillors, advising that it was recording.

Councillor Ross Brannigan said he was the person Campbell had an altercation with.

He called Campbell's camera-wearing totally unnecessary and "quite pathetic".

"It was a verbal altercation between the two of us, he gave as good as he got, there were no threats of violence - that is ridiculous," he said.

Councillor Ross Brannigan. Photo / File
Councillor Ross Brannigan. Photo / File

Brannigan said it was Campbell's announcement was grandstanding designed to bring the council into disrepute.

"I make no apologies for anything I said to Councillor Campbell, it was in retaliation to something he said, and that's what happens with grown-ups at times," he said.

Council chief executive David Clapperton called for more information on how the camera would be used, citing privacy concerns for council staff.

"There are considerations for privacy ... and I want comfort that's not going to be used in an inappropriate way," he said.


Campbell said he had been advised to wear it and have it turned on at any time he felt necessary for his health and safety.

He did, however assure councillors he would not use it during in-committee, or public-excluded, sessions of council.

Councillor Barry Judd asked for clarification around where the camera would be used.

"If we are at other parts of the building and the councillor thinks he is going to film when he feels it's appropriate, and I'm present, I wouldn't give authority to do that and I'd think it would be inappropriate."

"We need some clear rules around what this actually means - it's highly unusual and I'm not comfortable that he would carry a camera at all times and think it was okay to film people or councillors. I don't care what the police say," Judd said.

Mayor Michael Feyen said the situation the camera's implementation arose from was an embarrassment and a "circus".

Horowhenua District mayor Michael Feyen, foreground, and chief executive David Clapperton. Photo / File
Horowhenua District mayor Michael Feyen, foreground, and chief executive David Clapperton. Photo / File

"If we all just started talking properly to each other with some manners, then this type of situation wouldn't even arise," he said.

Feyen said the previous meeting had involved members of the public "having a go" with councillors.

"It was just a flipping disgrace," he said.

He accused fellow councillors of rolling their eyes and similar mannerisms when listening to somebody with a different point of view.

He also said he wouldn't like to see anybody walking around the building with a camera on at all times, but that he could understand why Campbell might want to wear it at certain times.

Judd said if there was an issue about safety, and the police had been informed, he was sure they would deal with it appropriately.

Clapperton said seeing as there were concerns around privacy, more work would need to be done around the issue, and asked the meeting chair to close down the discussion.