Horowhenua council rebukes member for leaks
A councillor has described a decision to publicly censure her and remove her from all committees as the work of a "kangaroo court".
Councillor Anne Hunt, from Horowhenua District Council's Kere Kere ward, has had two code of conduct complaints against her upheld.
Mayor Brendan Duffy said the complaints were lodged due to her leaking confidential information, which was spoken about in-committee.
Cr Hunt has lost her positions on the strategic grants special committee, major events and local events market grants subcommittee, as well as the civic honour special judging panel, but will still sit in council meetings.
Fellow Kere Kere ward councillor David Allan said he was fully behind the decisions.
"An independent inquiry convinced me and every other councillor, and the mayor, that she breached confidentiality.
"It's bad for council but especially bad for the people of the district."
He said the punishment dealt to Cr Hunt was harsh enough.
"She was elected by the people, so she has every right to sit on full council and I would never ever challenge that."
Cr Allan said there would be little disruption from Cr Hunt losing her seats on various committees.
"Some of the committees only meet once or twice a year."
Cr Hunt said the code of conduct process was a "kangaroo court".
All her code of conduct hearings were in-committee, which she said she had been banned from attending.
But Mr Duffy contended she had never been banned.
"A councillor has every right to go to in-committee meetings. The only time they won't is if they declare a conflict of interest," he said.
Cr Hunt said the circumstances around the alleged leaks were easily explained.
The first alleged leak took place before she was given the in-committee notes for a meeting the information related to, she said.
The second piece of leaked information was in a sealed envelope, sent by Cr Hunt to the auditor-general's office.
She said she sent it as she was worried about negotiations relating to the purchase of land for effluent disposal, but a staff member at the office sent the information straight back to council chief executive David Ward.
Mr Ward was contacted by the Manawatu Standard but said he was unable to talk because he was about to board a plane.
Cr Hunt said a third complaint was "pure hearsay" and the whole procedure was a way to keep her quiet on issues the council did not want to talk about.
She had taken her case to the Ombudsman but said she did not see an end to her struggles at council any time soon.
"They are determined to get me off council and I'm determined for them not to."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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