Ousted Whakatāne councillor decides to 'bow out graciously'

5:00 pm on 25 November 2019

The controversially ousted Whakatāne councillor will no longer be pursuing court action against the council in a bid to get her seat back.

Hinerangi Goodman rallies her supporters at a community meeting at the Murupara Motor Camp.

Hinerangi Goodman Photo: Charlotte Jones / LDR

Hinerangi Goodman was elected and sworn in following a random chance election but was then ousted after a vote recount in which she lost to returning councillor Alison Silcock by one vote.

In a statement, Mrs Goodman said Whakatāne District Council claimed that they were under pressure to have their annual report approved and required a full council sworn in to be able to do that, regardless of knowing that a recount was to follow soon after.

"The race was far from over and I have become the casualty of such rash decisions," she said.

After a public meeting earlier this month at the Murupara Motor Camp, the group decided they would fight the election results and associated legislation in court.

However, today - Mrs Goodman said after seeking legal advice she would not pursue legal proceedings.

"I have decided to concede and bow out graciously and will not pursue any form of court proceedings against the Whakatāne District Council."

Mrs Goodman said she would instead focus her energy in running for the mayoralty and also the seat of Councillor for Galatea-Murupara ward in 2022.

"My intention is to bring the heart back to Murupara (just like the vibrant bustling Murupara town it was when I lived there in the 1960s) and to ensure a stronger Māori presence on the Whakatāne District Council with the intention of bringing the heart back to Murupara and ensure stronger Māori presence on the Whakatāne District Council."

Meanwhile, the Whakatāne District Council representatives met with Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta last week to discuss the process about what happened with Mrs Goodman's tie and recount situation.

Mayor Judy Turner and chief executive Steph O'Sullivan said the meeting was productive.

"We explained to the minister how the election unfolded, the various deadlines and legislative restraints we faced, and the profound hurt caused to the two candidates, their whānau and supporters," Mrs Turner said.

"We also emphasised that the current legislation guiding elections does not adequately address Te Ao Māori requirements."

Mrs Turner is awaiting further guidance from her officials but is committed to taking action on this issue as soon as possible.

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