29 Oct 2020

Feedback on Invercargill council's governance to be behind closed doors

5:28 pm on 29 October 2020

Invercargill councillors will give their feedback on the council's governance standard behind closed doors.

Clock tower at Invercargill, New Zealand

Photo: 123RF

The Department of Internal Affairs requested information from the council in August following rising tensions.

The council has since engaged an independent evaluation of governance in response to the request and feedback is being sought on a draft report which includes future recommendations.

The Invercargill City Council confirmed an extraordinary meeting will be held tomorrow morning as part of the briefing process.

The public will only be able to stay for the apologies and interest register before moving into a public excluded session for the remaining item.

The council's independent governance advisor, Bruce Robertson, and independent evaluator Richard Thomson will provide a briefing on their review of governance at the council.

Office of the Chief Executive advisor Jane Parfitt and communications consultant Amanda Healy will be allowed to stay for the briefing.

"The report will be finalised within the next fortnight, then considered formally by the full council," the council said.

"Once the council has considered the report and made decisions on the way forward, the outcome and next steps will be shared with the Department of Internal Affairs and the community."

This month, documents released under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act showed that Southland businesses have serious concerns about the Invercargill City Council being fit to govern.

The Southland Chamber of Commerce believed there was a vacuum in leadership around the council table and many councillors didn't understand their governance role, its president Neil McAra said.

However, the Chamber did express confidence in the council's independent governance expert and were encouraged to hear the council was taking the matter seriously.

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