Horowhenua District Council has voted to retain the Foxton Community Board.

In a vote at Wednesday's Extraordinary council meeting, seven councillors voted against a proposal to shut the board down, two voted for its disestablishment and two were absent.

It is the third time the council has attempted to remove the board, with reviews in 2007 and 2012 turned back by the Local Government Commission, which has the power to make the ultimate decision over its existence.

The idea of canning the board was put forward under the council's six-yearly Representation Review, with community consultation invited on the proposal.


It was suggested Foxton was over-represented by the existence of the board, it would save money to disestablish it, and that there were other ways the Foxton community could communicate with the council.

"Other communities have interest groups talking to council and those work well at no cost to the council," Mark Lester, Horowhenua District Council's Group Manager Corporate Services, said in May, when the proposal was being discussed.

The council also cited direct costs of $55,000 per year for the board, along with indirect costs amounting to $150,000 to $160,000 per year, which could be done away with if it was dismantled.

However, submissions from the public were overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the community board, and impassioned pleas from the board itself outlining its achievements were heard by the council.

Mayor Michael Feyen reiterated these achievements at Wednesday's meeting before the vote, listing Foxton's swimming pool, the footpath between the town and beach, Te Waiora Health Centre, the pump track and Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom cultural centre as projects the board had directly driven or contributed to.

During the consultation period, the board also advocated with Horizons Regional Council regarding the proposed rates burden that may result if a drainage scheme for Foxton east goes ahead.

The board also has a role in allocating funds from the Foxton Beach Freeholding account.

Feyen said the board had saved rates dollars for many who don't even live in the town.


"I don't believe we should take away democratic right over the Foxton Beach Freeholding Fund," he said.

"The people spoke."

Councillor Bernie Wanden said while he was voting to keep the board, he did not accept some of the criticisms that had been levelled at the council after its proposal to shut it down.

He said the board was not needed "to keep this table honest," and that council had not put forward the proposal because it wanted to get its hands on the Freeholding Fund.

He said if these negative things were the case, then they would support him voting for the disbanding of the board, which he was not doing.

Councillor Neville Gimblett said ahead of the vote that if the board was retained he would like to see a community forum at the beginning of each of its meetings where people could speak without a restriction to agenda items or having to call the district council first for permission.

"I'd like it to be more proactive [in managing] local issues instead of passing them back to council officers to action," he said.

Feyen said the Foxton Community Board would have both Kere Kere ward councillors appointed to it with full voting rights, and there would be no boundary changes at this stage.

Councillors who voted to retain the board were Ross Brannigan, Christine Mitchell, Victoria Kaye-Simmons, Bernie Wanden, Neville Gimblett, Ross Campbell and mayor Michael Feyen.

Barry Judd and deputy mayor Wayne Bishop voted for it not to be retained.

Piri-Hira Tukupua and Jo Mason were absent from the meeting.