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Code of Conduct investigation concluded – Wellington Mayor’s response

The Code of Conduct investigation into the conduct of five councillors regarding a publicly excluded briefing on the Courtenay Place Precinct has found there were breaches to the Councils Code of Conduct policy.

In respect to whether there were any breaches to the Code of Conduct, the review found:

  • Crs Calvert, Young, Chung and Pannett breached the Code by failing to observe confidentiality when they responded to media inquiries.
  • Crs Randle and Young breached the Code by failing to show respect to other councillors when they made comments casting shade on the actions and motivations of fellow councillors who could not speak out in reply.
  • Crs Chung, Calvert and Young breached the Code by criticising Council staff in public statements.

The recommendations from the review were:

  • That the Mayor noted the report
  • refresher training be provided to all councillors (including the Mayor and Deputy Mayor) on sections 6 and 7 of LGOIMA, including practical guidance on where it is appropriate to withhold information from the public, in what circumstances it might be in the public interest to do so and how to maintain confidentiality in circumstances where information is being withheld; and
  • a workshop of all councillors (including the Mayor and Deputy Mayor) is convened, under the stewardship of an independent trained facilitator, in which this complaint can be discussed and all grievances about it aired. This workshop should be held with the public excluded.
  • Additionally, it was suggested that Council should consider expediting its planned review of its Code of Conduct.

“I’d like to thank Linda Clark for conducting this review. I will be accepting these recommendations and have asked our Chief Executive to provide advice on progressing these recommendations as well as bringing forward an update to our Code of Conduct policy in our work programme.

“As Mayor, I want to have a collaborative working environment where we robustly debate ideas, policy detail, and the decisions we make. That is critical for a healthy democracy and what our city deserves.

“The decision to appoint a reviewer to investigate the Code of Conduct complaint reflected the seriousness of the issues raised. I want us all to be delivering for the city in a way that always has good conduct at the heart of how we work, and I really do hope we can come together to remedy it.

“Now the investigation has concluded, I will review the Chair positions as I committed to a year into the role and to reflect the resignation of former Councillor Tamatha Paul. I did not want to review the Chair positions whilst the investigation was underway, as I felt that was unfair for those being investigated and the inquiry needed to run its course.

“There continues to be a majority in the Council that has worked constructively to drive a programme of work that has seen already great outcomes for the city we love. In saying that, I would like to see more collaboration across the floor, or at the very least, robust debate that is fair.

“In recent weeks we unanimously passed the key priorities for the Long-term Plan, I want us to continue to drive these outcomes in a way where all Councillors are constructive and arguing the policy.

“I’d like to acknowledge that this the release of this report comes at a time when I have recently displayed public intoxication because of issues with alcohol. Whilst a very different issue, it is clear is we must all lift our game and work towards being better stewards of the city and this is something I am deeply committed to.

“I know that our residents don’t want to see us distracted by internal spats or personal issues. I hope reviewing the Code of Conduct will help draw a line in the sand so we can focus on the issues that matter.

“All of us, despite our differences, bring strengths and expertise to the council table and I would like to see that harnessed. For instance, I’ve really valued the hard work and advocacy Councillor Pannett has brought to her mahi on ensuring we address earthquake prone buildings in the City.

“I look forward to all Councillors working more constructively for Wellingtonians in a way that is responsible and considered.”

 

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