The Chronicle has come across a few instances of a mayor or council leader attempting to defend their staff even when they have stuffed up.

But it is rare indeed to find one attacking council staff for doing their job.

That seems to be the unhappy position Horizons Regional Council chairman Bruce Gordon finds himself in this week.

The monitoring of water quality is an important part of the work of our regional council and, not for the first time, the blight of algal bloom has caused staff to warn the public about taking a dip in Dudding Lake.


Public health and safety are priorities, and so the "Don't swim" signs have been erected around the lake which lies between Whanganui and Bulls, near Marton, and is a regular stop for tourists.

The staff appear to have acted correctly - algal bloom can cause painful rashes on swimmers, as the children of the lake's caretaker found out.

The warnings are undoubtedly going to keep people away from the lake - that is their intention - and that has upset Gordon who is also the operations manager for the nearby motor camp.

His concern at the lack of visitors has prompted him to tell his staff to "keep their noses out", and looks to have put him at odds with his own council's policy.

It should be pointed out there are no problems with the camp or surrounding area; it is just the water that poses a danger.

It has been suggested there is a conflict of interest for the Horizons chairman with his roles as local authority leader and motor camp manager, but he does not see it that way.

We must hope the algae quickly dissipates, the signs come down and all can fully enjoy the lake's attractions this summer.