Councillor faces censure over dam claims

Last updated 05:00 26/07/2014

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A Hawke's Bay regional councillor is facing possible censure after claiming other councillors wanted the proposed Ruataniwha dam "at any cost".

Christine Scott has complained to chairman Fenton Wilson that Tom Belford breached the council's code of conduct in a blog.

Belford said Scott and four other councillors, including Wilson, as well as senior managers and the council investment company, "want a dam . . . at any cost".

"They fear the strong environmental protections required by the BOI [board of inquiry] will quash the dam, whose prime purpose is to promote intensified farming".

Belford also claimed the councillors had "worked mightily to undermine" the decision.

In her complaint to Wilson, Scott said the claims were "blatantly untrue". In response to her asking for a retraction of the blog and an apology, Belford had told a local newspaper he would not apologise.

She said Belford's comments were an "appalling breach" of the code of conduct.

The council will discuss the complaint at its meeting on Wednesday. Wilson has proposed an independent investigation to ascertain whether the code of conduct had been breached.

If it had, Belford could be censured or removed from some roles.

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- The Dominion Post

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