16 Dec 2016

Local board member who quit within minutes paid $1600

7:21 am on 16 December 2016

An Auckland local body politician who resigned within minutes of being sworn-in has been paid nearly $1600.

Lucy Schwaner resigned from the Howick Local Boar within minutes of being sworn in.

Lucy Schwaner quit when she wasn't chosen as chairperson. Photo: Supplied / Auckland City Council

Lucy Schwaner was elected to the Howick Local Board, but when she failed to be chosen as chairperson after being sworn-in she quit, triggering a $104,000 by-election.

Auckland Council said Ms Schwaner was paid $1592.32 after tax, for the almost three weeks between election confirmation on October 16 and quitting on November 4.

Ms Schwaner, who is married to Botany's National MP Jami-Lee Ross, would not discuss with RNZ whether it was appropriate to keep the salary, but pointed out she had attended several meetings.

After she quit, Ms Schwaner took out a full-page local newspaper advertisement outlining why she felt unable to continue under the chair who was elected over her, David Collings, a member of the same ticket, Vision and Voice.

She wrote she was "forced to resign", and outlined lengthy criticism of Mr Collings' past chairing of the board.

"It is because of the unprofessional and seemingly poisonous environment that has developed, as well as the groundswell of negative feedback from local organisations, that we sought to make much-needed change," she wrote in the Eastern Courier ad.

"The council ended up engaging outside paid consultants, in an attempt to work with David, to implement reform and sort out problems," she said.

Nominations close next week for the February by-election to replace her.