23 Nov 2017

Mayor labelled 'dictator' after councillors quit meeting

7:12 pm on 23 November 2017

The mayor of Horowhenua district has been called a dictator following a council meeting that fell apart when councillors staged a walk-out.

Horowhenua mayor Michael Feyen

Mayor Michael Feyen. Photo: RNZ / Michael Cropp

The mayor, Michael Feyen, criticised a group of councillors for their approach to governing, during which Mr Judd and other councillors left.

Only the mayor, one councillor, and members of the public gallery stayed.

Barry Judd, who led the walkout, said the mayor had not followed correct processes when he made a report reflecting on the year.

Mr Judd said Mr Feyen talked in his mayoral report about councillors coming with a pre-determined position to vote on matters.

"He wouldn't allow us to challenge his position. Under standing orders he is required to do that. He should run a fair and due process of natural justice, he did not do that."

Mr Judd said at the next meeting he planned to move a vote of no confidence against the mayor.

"If he comes and looks to be the dictator ... and I use that term, he was dictatorial last night, he had no observation of what democracy was and he did not lead in a democratic manner.

"He had an agenda that was not about leading this community in the right manner in my view.

"If he continues to lead in that manner I will not support him."

Mr Judd said he did not believe the council was fractured.

However, Mr Feyen said he was quite entitled to make the mayoral report. He said most of the members of Horowhenua District Council had never supported him being mayor.

"I just see total submissiveness of nine councillors to everything the CE [chief executive] says," he said.

"I can't even have a meeting with the CE without councillors being present. It's ridiculous."

He said on 95 percent of things at the council there was agreement, but there were some underlying issues he had inherited from the last mayor.

"It's not my fault but I intend to be transparent the whole way, which is what I promised people.

"Nobody expected me to be voted in as mayor and I can say it hasn't been well accepted by councillors, so it's been a hard year, a real hard year."

Mr Feyen said he was going to seek advice from the Minister of Local Government over the problems his council was facing.

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