Yesterday I wrote about HB Regional Council Chair Rex McIntyre, his ratepayer-subsidized rental home in Napier, and his “too bloody bad” retort to ratepayers who might not support this particular benefit.
I invited Rex’s fellow Councillors to forward their positions on the matter. So far, Regional Councillor Ewan McGregor has responded, as follows:
Tom, I’m happy to respond on this matter.
Firstly, I am acutely embarrassed by the “too bloody bad” statement. Further, I’m not going to disagree with your assessment of the Chairman’s leadership style.
However, it is my view, and I’m sure that of other Councilors, that any member of the Council should have the opportunity to lead it with out being prejudiced on the basis of geography (providing of course that he/she is a resident within the region). This means at least some significant consideration in the case of a chairman living clearly beyond daily commuting distance.
Perhaps the best arrangement should be along the lines of a non-Wellington M P where an accommodation allowance is paid, and left to the individual to make their own arrangements. Given the HBRC chairman’s salary a bench-mark could be $1000 a month, which would cover, or at least largely so, a four-nights-a-week and eleven-months-a-year basic motel accommodation. Walk in on Monday; walk out on Friday. If a Chairperson wanted something more up-market then they can make up the difference.
The question of accommodation was not brought before Council, and accordingly members have expressed dissatisfaction that this was so. The renting of a three bedroom house I consider unnecessary and the move to a cheaper unit is welcome. This is a matter that we should have debated openly at the outset. I intend to raise it at our February meeting.
Ewan McGregor, Member, Hastings Constituency, HBRC
I pretty much agree with Councillor McGregor. What about you?