Wanganui councillor Jack Bullock has received diversion after being charged with cannabis possession as part of a region-wide drugs sting.
Bullock, 23, of Durie Hill, briefly appeared before the court registrar at the Whanganui District Court yesterday, represented by Peter Brosnahan. He did not enter the dock and was silent during his two-minute appearance.
The registrar remanded Bullock - who was arrested on November 22 - until January 22 to complete diversion.
In a press release following his appearance, Bullock said he would complete a drug and alcohol counselling course and work hard to restore his reputation in the community.
He said he was not proud of the charge, adding: "I am ashamed of the stigma it has brought upon myself, my family and importantly the wider reputation of Wanganui."
While he acknowledged he hadn't set a good example to those he represented on Wanganui District Council, or to those who "look up to me as a public figure", he wanted to reassure the public he could still perform his role as an elected official.
"This is a bump in the road to growing up and life experience."
He said he had done well in his role as an elected member and would continue to do so.
"I'll make it clear, as I have already, I will not be resigning."
He also thanked family and friends for supporting him, referring to fallout on social media following the news of his arrest.
"I need to acknowledge what they have gone through these past few weeks, it hasn't been nice for them, being the target and subject of online bullying and essentially keyboard warriorism by some.
"I have lost support and votes, but I'm sure over the next three years I can prove myself and restore my reputation with those that I have lost that with, as well as noting the support gained by many different people in the community and throughout New Zealand."
Bullock was not present for the final council meeting of the year, held yesterday afternoon, and sent his apologies.