Horizons chairman Bruce Gordon has belatedly apologised for blasting his own staff over their algal bloom warning at Dudding Lake.

The apology and a late declaration of conflict of interest is recorded as an amendment to minutes of the regional council's environment committee meeting on December 11.

On December 6 Gordon told the Whanganui Chronicle Horizons Regional Council staff should "keep their nose out" of issuing warnings against swimming at the lake.

"They stick their noses in sometimes where they are not wanted," he said.


The staff "didn't contribute anything except for putting out warnings that are doing a lot of damage", he said at the time.

In early December Horizons scientists found levels of blue/green algae at the lake that exceeded national guidelines. Swimming in it had given the caretaker's children a stinging red rash that lasted for two days.

Gordon is both Horizons chairman and operations manager for Dudding Lake Motor Camp and Picnic Park. Bookings there had been cancelled after signs warning against swimming were put up.

On December 6 he said there was no conflict of interest between his council role and his role at the lake, and that Rangitīkei District Council had better ideas about how to handle the lake than his own staff.

The December 18 amendment records that a conflict of interest can be noted, and that Gordon apologised "for any harm caused over his actions relating to Dudding Lake".

Cr Nicola Patrick said she was glad the amendment was made.

"I am always concerned that staff are supported to do their job and give frank and fearless advice. Clearly there's a lot of tension created if the chair is critical of their role."