South Waikato will remain in three wards for another six years – a decision made without the vote of Terry Magill.
The Tirau Ward councillor had originally accepted a legal opinion that he remove himself from the vote after declaring a strong bias when he made a submission on the issue.
He then rejected that request, turning up to chambers on Thursday morning expecting to vote.
But before hearings even got under way, Mayor Neil Sinclair suggested that the entire review decision be handed over to the Local Government Commission because of Magill’s ‘‘conflict of interest’’.
‘‘Councillor Magill can decide to sit here and we will be open to legal challenge and I’m firmly of the opinion that that legal challenge will take place.’’
Sinclair could not get past the fourth point of Magill’s submission which had highlighted the fact that a number of Tirau residents had questioned whether the complete loss of democracy would warrant a move to the MatamataPiako district.
‘‘I believe that because the Tirau community for many years have had those feelings, and thought ‘hey we’re not too sure if we want [succession]’... we actually get the Local Government Commission who set up those boundaries originally to resolve it.’’
Councillor Marin Glucina said he thought the mayor was ‘‘going off on a tangent’’.
‘‘We don’t hand this off to some other outfit...We don’t have a conflict because we haven’t even had a hearing.’’
Magill said that he was willing to sit the vote out, if it was the ‘‘will’’ of the council. An informal vote amongst councillors saw this happen.