'Unwelcome' councillor leaves with parting shot at council
An outgoing councillor who is challenging Brendan Duffy for the Horowhenua mayoralty told him they could have made "a great team" but that she had never felt welcome at the Horowhenua District Council.
While Cr Anne Hunt is running for mayor, she is not seeking re-election as a Kere Kere ward councillor so last night she gave a valedictory speech at the final council meeting of the term.
"There were times I dreaded coming to meetings but I came and did my best," Cr Hunt said.
She said that at each meeting she knew other councillors had prepared points of order to use to gag her but she had done her best to represent not just Foxton but the interests of the whole district.
The council would regret not listening to her in the years to come, Cr Hunt said.
"I believe this council will be facing a lot of litigation, expensive litigation, because they have not listened to my concerns."
That was particularly true when it came to tangata whenua who had been mistreated by the council throughout the district, she said.
Each of the four outgoing councillors gave a speech after Mr Duffy had spoken about them and presented them with a plant.
His words for Cr Hunt were less effusive than for the other councillors.
"It would be dumb of me to not acknowledge that we have had a testing time between us."
However, the people of Foxton had elected Cr Hunt three times, and over her nine years on council "you have contributed as you have felt you can contribute", Mr Duffy said.
In his speech, retiring councillor Nathan Murray gave an insight into how the council operated when he said "the pre-meeting meeting is often the most important meeting to be at".
In contrast, deputy mayor Barry Judd said the council did not pre-determine its decisions before meetings and that the council was "11 individuals" who made decisions based on the information before them.
He told Mr Duffy he "looked forward to seeing you lead this community for the next three years and that's how it should be".
Mr Duffy fought back tears at the end of his speech to Cr Judd when he told him he was sorry to see him go.
"You've been the best deputy mayor I could ever wish for and I'm so pleased to have you as my guiding light, Barry, I really mean it."
The fourth retiring councillor was Leigh McMeekan.
She would be remembered as someone who cared about the interests of young people, Mr Duffy said, and as someone who had put in countless hours behind the scenes.
In her speech, Cr McMeekan had some advice for the next council to be elected: "Stand up for your principles, you always know in your heart what the right decision is."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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