Call for Lee to step down

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - TOM CARNEGIE

A ratepayer lobby group is call­ing for an Auck­land coun­cil­lor to step down while she cam­paigns for Par­lia­ment.

In early March Denise Lee was elected by the National party as its can­di­date for the Maun­gakiekie elec­torate.

Lee, who has lived in the elec­torate for 20 years, is cur­rently the Maun­gakiekie-Ta­maki ward.

Auck­land Ratepay­ers Al­liance spokes­woman Jo Holmes said Lee should stand down while she cam­paigns in the lead up to the 2017 gen­eral elec­tion.

‘‘In the same way many called out Phil Goff for draw­ing an MP’s salary while cam­paign­ing to be­come mayor, it is to­tally in­ap­pro­pri­ate for coun­cil­lor Lee to con­tinue to be a coun­cil­lor by name, while ab­sent cam­paign­ing,’’ Holmes said.

Holmes said ratepay­ers were pay­ing for her to be a coun­cil­lor, not to fund her par­lia­men­tary am­bi­tions.

In­for­ma­tion ob­tained by the Auck­land Ratepay­ers Al­liance from the coun­cil shows the es­ti­mated cost of a by-elec­tion would be $115,000.

The Auck­land Coun­cil web­site says coun­cil­lors are paid an an­nual salary of $105,800.

Holmes said Lee should fol­low Hast­ings mayor Lawrence Yule, also stand­ing for Par­lia­ment, who was stand­ing down as mayor.

‘‘We are call­ing on coun­cil­lor Lee to do the same, so ratepay­ers in the Maun­gakiekie-Ta­maki Coun­cil ward con­tinue to have a full-time rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the coun­cil,’’ Holmes said.

Cur­rent Maun­gakiekie MP Sam Lotu-Iiga an­nounced in De­cem­ber he would be quit­ting pol­i­tics.

Lee, who is look­ing to take his place, said she had a public track record of per­form­ing well with her coun­cil du­ties.

‘‘Had I known Sam was re­tir­ing be­fore I ran for coun­cil, I more than likely would not have run and in­stead fo­cused on run­ning for Par­lia­ment,’’ Lee said.

Lee said she was con­fi­dent ratepay­ers would still get the ser­vices they ex­pect from her dur­ing the cam­paign.

‘‘As a work­ing mum, I know what it’s like to jug­gle a lot of things while still giv­ing them my all,’’ she said.

If Lee is suc­cess­ful in her cam­paign, a by-elec­tion will be held for her coun­cil­lor po­si­tion. Pre­vi­ously Lee said she had been ap­proached by sev­eral peo­ple in­ter­ested in fill­ing her coun­cil­lor ward seat.


Coun­cil­lor Denise Lee.

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