13 Jan 2021

Conduct cases costing ratepayers

12:01 pm on 13 January 2021

By Grant Miller of Otago Daily Times

More than $55,000 of ratepayers' money has been spent investigating Dunedin City Council code of conduct complaints since the 2019 election.

Dunedin City councillor Lee Vandervis.

Dunedin City councillor Lee Vandervis (R). Photo: RNZ / Tess Brunton

One case ($25,841) was when Cr Lee Vandervis was found to have behaved in an intimidating way when he confronted deputy mayor Christine Garey after a council meeting in July last year.

Another case ($14,148) related to a parking dispute involving Cr Vandervis before the 2019 election, but the matter was contested in court last year.

A third complaint ($12,003) stemmed from Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins disclosing information from a November 2019 meeting to former chief executive Sue Bidrose when he should not have.

The three cases have totalled $51,992 in costs to the council so far. The information was contained in a response to an Official Information Act request by The New Zealand Herald.

An August 2020 complaint by Cr Jules Radich against Cr David Benson-Pope cost $1202, but it was found to be without substance.

Two more complaints about online communication cost a combined $3668 but were found to be non-material.

The Dunedin council's cost for such matters was the highest in New Zealand.

This story first appeared on The Otago Daily Times website.