Anti-1080 campaigner 'entitled to be critical of council'

A code of conduct complaint against 1080 critic and Waikato regional councillor, Clyde Graf, has not been upheld.

Waitomo District mayor Brian Hanna's complaint related to Graf's opposition to the use of aerial pest control agent 1080, which the regional council uses.

The incident that sparked Hanna's criticism was a drop in May that is claimed to have led to the accidental death of two cattle and a deer.

It was allegedly publicised online by Graf, as one of The Graf Boys, who filmed and edited an interview with the farmer whose animals were apparently killed after they broke out of a fenced area into the drop zone. Graf alerted councillors and others to the clip's presence on You Tube.

Hanna alleged the activity was a "huge conflict of interest". However, law firm Brookfields partner Linda O'Reilly investigated the complaint and found Graf "has acted in a way that is inherently critical of the council, but he is entitled to be critical of the council". Yet O'Reilly said if use of aerial 1080 was to come before council for a decision then Graf may have to consider whether his past involvement as a campaigner against 1080 "may preclude him from having an open mind".

No further action relating to the complaint was required, O'Reilly said.

Waikato Times