Councillor avoids drug prosecution
Whanganui District councillor Jack Bullock says he is relieved to have avoided prosecution for possessing cannabis, and will not be stepping down from council.
In the Whanganui District Court this morning, Judge Dugald Matheson granted the youngest current member of the council diversion on one charge of possessing the Class C drug.
Bullock was arrested last year as part of Operation Valley, which saw 17 people arrested after police executed 15 search warrants at properties across Whanganui.
His attendance at court was excused today, but away from court he told the Manawatu Standard it was a relief to have the court action over and done with.
The diversion process involved sessions with a drug counsellor to address any possible drug problems, which were useful, he said.
''I already had processes and strategies in place, so [the counsellor] was quite comfortable with where I was at.''
When arrested, he said he would not be standing down - a stance which has not changed, despite some in the community calling for it.
''The community has put me in this position for a reason.
''They will understand that we all make mistakes and that we are all human beings.
''As long as we learn from mistakes, it is a positive in the pattern of life.''
Bullock said some of his fellow councillors had not been impressed with the charge, but all of them had been supportive of him since.
''We have worked through that, and are still working together as a team.''
He admitted the court action did not make him look like a good role model for young people in the community, but said he would now work to turn that image around.
His father is a high-ranking member of the Whanganui chapter of the Hells Angels, and Bullock said he did not want to go down that path
''In 2009 I could have followed my father's footsteps and got into gang life, but I thought 'no, I'm going to go off and do my own thing'.
''I'm saying to young people, and the general public, that I stopped that gang cycle and can now be a role model.''