The Horowhenua Mail - - FRONT PAGE -

There’s a line be­tween pro­tect­ing staff from abuse and med­dling in demo­cratic func­tions, and Horowhenua District Coun­cil’s chief ex­ec­u­tive David Clap­per­ton has crossed it.

This week’s sen­sa­tional rev­e­la­tion that, ac­cord­ing to a leaked au­dit re­port, Clap­per­ton was snoop­ing on emails, is in­ex­cus­able.

His po­si­tion is now un­ten­able and he must step aside – at least for the mean­time – and al­low an of­fi­cial in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion into mal­prac­tice at the coun­cil.

The Of­fice of the Om­buds­man or a Gov­ern­ment-ap­pointed in­ves­ti­ga­tor must move in to re­port to a public that has lost con­fi­dence in the coun­cil.

Horowhenua’s lo­cal body pol­i­tics is un­usu­ally ro­bust, but Clap­per­ton’s de­ci­sion a cou­ple of years ago to "black­list" email ad­dresses, in­clud­ing one be­long­ing to now mayor and then coun­cil­lor Michael Feyen, was wrong.

Just why a busy chief ex­ec­u­tive would think such snoop­ing is a good use of his time is hard to fathom, as is the fact he granted him­self the power to look over po­ten­tially con­fi­den­tial cor­re­spon­dence.

An of­fi­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion needs to start now.

- Jimmy Elling­ham, News Di­rec­tor

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