Tuesday, April 23, 2024

“Reunited” Gore District Council vows to move forward

Gore District Mayor, Ben Bell and councillors today offered an apology to the community and each other for the “turmoil of recent days”.

In a statement following an extraordinary meeting today, the Council said that in a “move to restore trust with the public and amongst each other, elected members have agreed to put their differences aside and refocus on serving the people of the Gore District”.

The elected members said they had “reunited” following an “in-depth, transparent, and honest conversation” yesterday.

The talks followed a meeting last week, in which seven of the District’s 10 councillors, including Deputy Mayor, Keith Hovell, asked Mayor Bell to resign. The Mayor refused.

“We have agreed that we all need to communicate more openly and effectively so there are no further misunderstandings that could lead to an irreparable breakdown in trust,” the Council today stated.

Gore District Mayor, Ben Bell.

Given the Councillors’ desire to move forward, it was unanimously agreed not to proceed with the resolutions of a vote of no confidence and the request to remove the Mayor from all Council committees, sub-committees and joint committees, they said.

It was instead decided to work with LGNZ and Taituara to develop terms of reference for an independent review to renew confidence in the Council, the joint statement read.

“The issues relating to the Mayor and Chief Executive relationship were separate and would be addressed through mediation and an independent review,” it stated.

The Council resolved that to protect the integrity of the mediation process and the independent review, it would making no further comment on the topic until both processes are completed.

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