Media release

Statement on water planning paper withdrawn from Council agenda

Wednesday 12 February 2020

Chair Marian Hobbs said today, “Transparency is a fundamental part of good governance, which is why we had to delay decisions today until the Audit Office clarifies the status of Councillors. This left the Council without a quorum to consider a paper on changes to the current Water Plan at today’s meeting.”

The Chief Executive, with the agreement of the Chair, has therefore withdrawn the paper.

“The community has an expectation of the highest standards of integrity when it comes to participation in decision making around the Council table,” Cr Hobbs said.

There are strict legislative procedures managing the process. Councillors had recently taken legal advice from top constitutional and public law expert Mai Chen, and had met with the Office of the Auditor General to help with this process.

Although Councillors have raised issues around potential conflicts of interest with respect to the Council’s water work, the overall work programme will not stop. Staff will continue to progress policy across a range of areas.

At the same time, Council will work with the Office of the Auditor General as quickly as possible to work out how best to manage the potential conflicts in the water space, which in some cases may result in requests for an exemption to the law regarding pecuniary interests.