7 Dec 2016

Council votes out deputy mayor after month in office

8:33 pm on 7 December 2016

The Horowhenua District Council has voted to remove its deputy mayor from office, just a month after he took on the role.

Protesters outside the Horowhenua District Council office in Levin, ahead of the Council's vote to strip Ross Campbell of the deputy mayor role.

Protesters gathered outside the Horowhenua District Council's office in Levin today to support the under-fire deputy mayor, Ross Campbell. Photo: RNZ / Michael Cropp

Ross Campbell was stripped of the role after a vote by councillors in Levin this afternoon.

Mr Campbell was appointed by the new mayor, Michael Feyen, and had widespread community support.

A majority of councillors, however, wanted Mr Campbell out, saying he was not trustworthy.

Councillor Barry Judd said Mr Campbell had accused him of corruption and being guilty of insider trading.

Immediately following the vote, Mr Feyen declared he was reappointing Mr Campbell to the position, but officials said he could not do that.

Councillors Victoria Kaye-Simmons and Wayne Bishop were both nominated for the role, and Mr Bishop was voted in. Mr Bishop said he would be fully committed to the role.

Mr Feyen said he would seek a judicial review to see if he could remove Mr Bishop and reinstate Mr Campbell.

Protest to support deputy mayor

A small crowd of protesters gathered outside the council chambers in Levin earlier this afternoon, in a bid to support Mr Campbell.

Protesters outside the Horowhenua District Council office in Levin.

Protesters said the mayor should be free to choose his own deputy. Photo: RNZ / Michael Cropp

The protesters said they voted for change and Mr Feyen should be allowed to choose his own deputy.

One attendee, Lew Rohloff, told councillors their proposal was ill-advised and had the potential to polarise public opinion.

Mr Rohloff said getting rid of the deputy mayor was a travesty against the principles of governance and representation.