Rumour that there may be an attempt to derail his choice of a deputy has been called "divisive" by Whanganui's mayor-elect Hamish McDouall.

The Chronicle has been told from sources close to some councillors that there could be a bid to toss out Mr McDouall's nomination.

The new mayor and councillors will be sworn in next Wednesday afternoon.
Under the Local Government Act, the appointment of a deputy-mayor is one of the statutory powers of a mayor.

Mr McDouall said there is a loophole in the Act outlining a process by which a majority of council can remove a deputy from office.


"I would be very disappointed if some councillors chose to ignore my clear democratic mandate - almost 3000 votes - to exercise a statutory power," he told the Chronicle.

"They would need a very good reason to do that and it would be unnecessarily divisive at a time when the community wants to move away from the negative politics we saw during the campaign.

"The council has a mandate to push economic development and I want to spend my time doing that, not refereeing petty personal politics."

Mr McDouall said he assessed a number of candidates for the deputy's role and will announce his appointment at next Wednesday's meeting.

"I'll be appointing the person who I consider to be the best for the job; someone who is articulate when public-speaking, has credibility with the community, someone I can trust, and someone who is not afraid to offer me both advice and criticism," he said.

New councillor David Bennett, who led the four-strong Whanganui Beyond 2030 group, said he had advised Mr McDouall to consult widely with other councillors and that he should choose "an acceptable deputy".

He had heard the rumour about a potential coup and said it would be "a PR disaster" for the mayor-elect if he could not find an acceptable person.

Former mayoral candidate and now second-term councillor Helen Craig said she had not heard the rumour.

She said the mayor "had the right to choose their deputy", but she was aware of the part of the Local Government Act that could see that decision overturned.