Timms to stay on as ES chairman

23:59, Jan 23 2013
Environment Southland councillors set to vote
Environment Southland councillors preparing for the meeting which will decide chair Ali Timms' fate.

Ali Timms has won the vote of confidence in her leadership of Environment Southland and will remain as chairman.

She won the motion of confidence 7-5.

Environment Southland councillors convened this morning to decide the fate of chairman Ali Timms.

Environment Southland chairwoman Ali Timms.
Environment Southland chairwoman Ali Timms.

Ms Timms faced a vote of confidence following her well-publicised prank call to Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt in December.

She has been on leave since the incident, in which she called Cue TV's City Talk show and impersonated a woman called Ruby in order to quiz Mr Shadbolt on the Auckland-to-Bluff yacht race, was revealed to the media.

All 12 councillors were present in the council chamber, which was set up for increased media and public presence.


Ms Timms sat alone before the vote, reading through the agenda and other councillors were talking among themselves, while acting chairman Nicol Horrell talked to council staff.


Ms Timms was able to vote on her own fate because under council standing orders, Ms Timms had one of the 12 votes on the confidence motion tabled today.

Acting Environment Southland chairman Nicol Horrell moved the vote of confidence in Ms Timms shortly after 9am.

Mr Horrell said he had sought a legal opinion on whether she would be allowed to vote.

He believed she was able to do so, but given the unusual situation - a vote of confidence as opposed to no confidence - he had asked for further advice.

A Local Government New Zealand spokeswoman said under typical council standing orders Ms Timms could vote on a motion of confidence or no confidence in her leadership.

At a behind-closed-doors regional council meeting on December 12, Ms Timms apologised for her actions and went on leave for six weeks until today's meeting.

Several councillors have publicly expressed opinions about Ms Timms' actions and her future as chairman since she went on leave.

Mr Horrell had said he would be reluctant to exclude anybody from the debate on the grounds of predetermination, provided they could say "with their hand on their heart" they would consider the issue with an open mind.

Earlier, he said whatever the result of today's confidence motion in Ms Timms, it was time to get the matter resolved and for Environment Southland to get on with its job.

Mr Shadbolt had said earlier that he did not want to comment on the fate of Ms Timms. "I believe it is up to the regional council to make up its mind without interference from me," Mr Shadbolt said. He did not want to influence any decision to be made by Environment Southland.

"If it was a member from my council facing a situation like this, I would not like it if other councils were interfering or trying to influence any processes."

Ms Timms declined to comment yesterday.

How they voted:

Ali Timms, Nicol Horrell, Marion Miller, Peter Jones, Grant Hubber, Ross Cockburn and Neville Cook.

Brian Mason, Rowly Currie, Robert Guyton, Jan Riddell and Maurice Rodway.

The Southland Times