More infighting in Horowhenua

The Herald reports:

District councillors have passed a vote of no confidence in their mayor .

Deputy mayor Wayne Bishop initiated the move against first the term mayor at an extraordinary meeting of the council this morning.

The vote was carried seven votes for and one against, with two councillors absent, and followed a report in which Bishop said Feyen’s leadership was “divisive, unprofessional and frankly dishonorable”.

The report accused Feyen of making decisions within the mayoral office rather than around the council table, and using the media to advance agendas and “vendettas”.

 “As elected members we have no confidence in mayor Feyen to lead us, the Horowhenua District Council to represent us, or our community,” the report said.


Bishop said the mayor had since his election “either failed to understand his role and that of his office or has chosen to ignore and disrespect the trust, confidence and powers bestowed on the position of mayor and the mayor’s office”.

“The mayor has failed to understand or chosen to ignore the importance of governance versus management and, instead, continually undermined the management of the Horowhenua District Council and in particular our chief executive.”

It seems clear the Council has a crisis, with the CEO and the Mayor unable to work together, and the vast majority of Council also lacking confidence in the Mayor.

The NZ local council website states: “mayors, like councillors, are elected by their district for a three-year term. Mayors cannot be removed from office by the council”.

On Monday afternoon, Local Government New Zealand spokesperson confirmed this:

“A vote of no confidence carries no statutory weight and therefore no legal consequences for the person involved.”

I agree Councils should not be able to remove elected Mayors. But maybe there should be an ability to petition for a recall election. Say 20% of eligible voters can trigger a public vote to sack a Mayor?

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