Shazly Rasheed has become the second councillor to quit in a term, citing a lack of faith in the Hutt City Council’s leadership.
Rasheed handed in her resignation to council chief executive Jo Miller on Friday morning, severing herself from the role effective immediately. Her letter to the council boss raised concerns that councillors were not free to express their views without fear of punishment.
“I have never worked in such an unhealthy environment. What I have seen is undemocratic and bullying.”
In June last year, councillor and former deputy mayor David Bassett resigned because he felt the council’s leadership was stifling his ability to carry out his duties.
Rasheed said elected officials were divided into two groups, “people who ask questions and people who say ‘yes’ to everything”.
The split had created a toxic environment among councillors, with little to no communication between the two camps.
Councillors who raised concerns about proposed policies and governance issues were liable to find themselves being punished, or ignored when requesting information, she said.
“It’s been almost impossible to perform my governance duties. I’m not going to be bullied and treated like a second-class councillor any more.
“We need to be able to answer questions from the public and to inform our own decisions.”
The tone set by Miller and mayor Campbell Barry was bad for democracy, she said.
The Hutt Council sounds a terrible place to be. They are not meeting statutory consenting targets and Councillors who ask questions are bullied off the Council. Hutt residents deserve better.