Coun­cil­lor in con­flict

Matamata Chronicle - - Opinion -

The Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil is ask­ing for ratepayer sub­mis­sions on coun­cil fund­ing of the pro­posed Te Aroha Events Cen­tre, fund­ing that would have to come from more bor­row­ing.

The coun­cil en­vis­ages that the whole dis­trict would then be up for ex­tra rates to cover the costs of this project, not just Te Aroha ratepay­ers.

How­ever, one of the coun­cil­lors is a very high-pro­file mem­ber of the char­i­ta­ble trust rais­ing funds for this cen­tre and seek­ing money from the coun­cil. A huge con­flict of in­ter­est thus ex­ists. So what will this coun­cil­lor do at vot­ing time – ab­stain from vot­ing?

That is not good enough, he was elected to rep­re­sent Te Aroha ward ratepay­ers and by ab­stain­ing de­prives the same ratepay­ers from a voice in the coun­cil’s board­room.

Be­fore any de­ci­sion is made by the coun­cil on this fund­ing is­sue, be­cause there is a lot of money at stake and for the sake of good or­der and demo­cratic trans­parency, this coun­cil­lor should re­sign from the coun­cil im­me­di­ately and a by-elec­tion called.

It is not un­com­mon for an elected coun­cil­lor to have a con­flict of in­ter­est in a spe­cific is­sue. The con­flict may be fi­nan­cial or sim­ply per­ceived. In these cases the coun­cil­lor ad­vises the meet­ing that he/she has a con­flict of in­ter­est and they take no part in ei­ther the dis­cus­sion nor the vot­ing. In this spe­cific mat­ter the coun­cil­lor has for­mally ad­vised his con­flict and with­drawn from the process. Over the last 12 months there have been sev­eral de­clared con­flicts by coun­cil­lors.

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