After two years in office the self-confessed "black sheep in council," Tararua District councillor Ernie Christison, resigned in dramatic fashion at Wednesday's monthly meeting.

In the council chamber Christison said his focus was now going to be on his volunteer role with the Dannevirke Cactus committee and he was resigning from council, before he stormed from the council chambers, vacating what he often called his naughty chair, refusing any further comment.

Despite being pursued down the council hallway by the Dannevirke News, Christison refused to comment.

Council chief executive Blair King confirmed to the Dannevirke News he had Christison's handwritten resignation.


Tararua District Mayor Tracey Collis said Christison had resigned "for personal reasons".

"He would have given this deep consideration," she said. "Ernie had been in a council workshop on Wednesday morning before the council meeting and he gave added value.

"It was a surprise when he resigned at the meeting in the afternoon. I was a bit lost for words because he'd had such a great meeting Wednesday. He could have simply not turned up for the council workshop, but he showed loyalty to the district by doing so."

Collis said she was at a loss to understand the accusations Christison yelled as he left the council building as it didn't marry up with his attitude in the council meeting.

However, she said Christison had spoken of his possible intentions earlier and in a text message to the Dannevirke News in March this year he said, "I won't be part of this bullshit by Christmas".

Collis acknowledged it was always difficult balancing business commitments with the role of being of a councillor.

"If like Ernie (a contractor) you are in a Long Term Plan workshop all day and you know you should be doing your own work, it's always a challenge," she said.

"But Ernie certainly added diversity and value around the council table and I wish him well."


This is the second time a district councillor has resigned in this way. Former councillor Warren Davidson of Eketahuna suddenly resigned on July 29, 2015, blaming abuse and bullying from the then mayor Roly Ellis and chief executive Blair King.

The council subsequently announced an external review of procedures and processes by Local Government New Zealand.

Co-incidentally, Ellis was in the public gallery on Wednesday, on a different matter, when Christison resigned.

In 2015 a byelection was required and Woodville's Peter Johns was elected to replace Davidson.

However, King has confirmed this time the council isn't required to have a byelection, as Christison's resignation comes within the 12-month period of the next local body elections.

"This gives council and our electoral officer, Sandy Lowe, two options," King said.

"We can either leave a vacancy or appoint someone to fill the vacancy. We will consider the options and a report will come back to council at a later meeting."

During his time with council, Christison held the youth portfolio and admitting he was probably one of Tararua's oldest boy racers, he opened his Rua Roa premises to get young people off our roads and doing donuts and burnouts legally.

Word of the pad spread and Christison was soon talking to Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking before Seven Sharp arrived to cover a night of skids.

That night $800 was raised and donated to the Cancer Society's Relay for Life by the SLOT (Sustained Loss of Traction) Club.

However, later an abatement notice from his own council put the brakes on the burnout pad, which closed down.

In March last year Christison found himself on the "naughty chair" in council, needing to sort a conflict-of-interest situation before he was dismissed from council.

It appeared Christison was in breach of the Local Authority (Members Interest) Act 1968, relative to payments from council exceeding $25,000 a year, and his situation was being assessed by the Office of the Auditor-General.

Christison was stood down from council on April 27 and his council iPad turned off, but despite the breach, in May Christison was back in council.

He was required to make an application to the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) for a retrospective dispensation after exceeding the allowable limit of $25,000 for work done for the district council, insisting he was "never guilty of anything anyway".

The incident saw council chief finance officer Raj Suppiah present a draft conflict-of-interest policy to councillors to strengthen the procedures and guidelines for councillors, to emphasise elected members are disqualified from office, or from election to that office, if they take part in any council discussions or vote on any matter in which they have a pecuniary interest, without prior consent from the Office of the Auditor-General.