The Regional Council under Fenton Wilson never fails to disappoint when it comes to matters of due process.

With scarcely four months remaining in its current term, the Regional Council voted 4 to 4+1 to award Murray Douglas the seat just vacated by Eileen von Dadelszen.

Fenton ‘Strong Arm’ Wilson needed to use his threatening chairing style as well as his chairman’s casting vote to overcome a 4-4 division of councillors and close the deal to install Douglas (who won the highest number of votes amongst losing Hastings candidates in 2010).

The four councillors who voted to make this appointment — Fenton Wilson, Kevin Rose, Alan Dick and Christine Scott — had only goal in mind. That was to protect their anti-amalgamation and pro-dam agenda, on which their political futures rely, by giving an election advantage to a sympathetic presumptive candidate a few months from now. They’re banking on support around the table in the next term.

Of course, the reason they gave was that the Council’s workload over the remaining pre-election months desperately required the two extra hands.

But let’s cut to the chase. Can anyone seriously imagine that these four councillors would have offered an interim appointment if Tom Belford were the candidate polling next highest in 2010?! [I was next behind Murray.] Yeah right!

So two councillors from Napier, one from Wairoa, and one from Hastings (Kevin Rose) chose to install their candidate, over the strenuous objections of an equal number of other councillors (including two from Hastings), who preferred to let Hastings voters choose their own representative in about 120 days.

Kevin Rose was the chief ball carrier for Team Douglas. Indeed, the last time I saw Councillor Rose this energetic in Council deliberations was when he introduced his controversial motion congratulating the All Blacks for winning the Rugby World Cup … in between these bursts of accomplishment has been a long snooze. Councillor Rose is awakening just in time to seek a 6th term on HBRC.

You can now witness the debate firsthand online, given that the HBRC’s delayed webcasting is now functioning. This is politics in full fury (caution: rated V and M), viewable in four installments starting here (about 45 minutes of total viewing pleasure).

Meantime, the Regional Council welcome mat, a bit tattered, is out for Murray.

The public is now notified of the proposed appointment, which must be be ratified at the HBRC’s June 10th meeting.

Tom Belford

P.S. As for Murray, he does bring three assets to the table, however briefly: 1) he’s new; 2) he lifts the Council’s Intelligence Quotient; and 3) he can spare Fenton Wilson from making more tie-breaking votes.

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  1. Accepted practice with casting votes is that they are used to preserve the status quo, not change it – on the basis a tie is insufficient backing for change. I’d suggest the vacant seat was the status quo; therefore Wilson should have kept it vacant, since not to do so introduces a completely new element (Murray). Poor chairmanship.
    (and yes, in my own career I can recall twice when I used the casting vote to vote against something I myself supported – on this principle.)

  2. I would hardly call Mr Douglas anti-amalgamation. I wonder if there is also a conflict of interest given he has also come out in favour of the dam?

  3. Fenton Wilson is a bully.

    ‘This is an adult conversation,’ he says to Councillor Remmerzwall, and he threatens to kick her out, same condescending treatment of Tim Gilbertson, and threatens to kick him out. Why? Because they had the audacity to hard questions, and Fascist Fenton abuses them.

    Look at the video, and you’ll see this odious little man in action.

    Let’s hope someone with mana challenges Fenton Wilson for the Wairoa seat. The sooner he’s gone the better.

  4. Surprise, surprise, the three councilor directors of HBRIC all voted in favour of pro-dam Mr Douglas . Gosh, if it wasn’t such a convenient ‘convention’ it might be called ‘gerrymandering”! More ways to grow the perception of conflicts of interest…… Not saying there is, of course, just that it keeps looking like it!

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