Fraser signals change of focus

HAMISH FRASER: Will see out his term as district services committee chairman.
HAMISH FRASER: Will see out his term as district services committee chairman.

Hamish Fraser is vowing to change the focus of his work as a councillor, after Mayor Janie Annear challenged the amount of time he could devote to the role of district services committee chairman in yesterday's council meeting.

Mr Fraser, who previously served as deputy chairman of that committee, was nominated to fill the chairman vacancy left by the death of deputy mayor Michael Oliver.

On his personal blog, Mr Fraser wrote that his new position meant that the fight for ''a better governance culture'' would no longer be his primary focus as a councillor.

There ''seems to be no desire for changing or concept of changing this term,'' he wrote. But ''I now have an opportunity to demonstrate some of what I've been talking about and participate without so easily being marginalized.''

Mr Fraser received the nomination after Mayor Janie Annear put forward new deputy mayor Richard Lyon for the position. Her nomination was challenged by councillors Kennedy and Earnshaw.

Her nomination was an "insult" to deputy chairman Hamish Fraser who might have been "young and inexperienced, but had been thrown into the role", Cr Terry Kennedy said, nominating him. "He should carry on to September."

Cr Fraser had done a lot of work to get up to speed with the role, said Cr Steve Earnshaw, and he had no doubt he would do an excellent job.

Mrs Annear said she had not thought Cr Fraser had enough time for the role (which included meetings in Christchurch) as he had "missed quite a lot of meetings and workshops".

"How are people going to learn if the same old faces are rolling up to do the jobs?" Cr Kennedy asked. "I believe the jobs should be shared out. We have got to get away from under your (Mayor Annear's) reign and that of your predecessor, of town and country, we need to get over that."

"I have not been asked by you what I can do," Cr Fraser told Mrs Annear. " I would have thought I would have been asked whether I could rearrange my life around this."

The Timaru Herald