The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has supported two Notice of Motions from Councillors at its monthly meeting today.
Tom Belford Notice of Motion
Councillor Tom Belford’s Notice of Motion related to a LGOIMA request from former Central Hawke’s Bay District Council Mayor Peter Butler for Councillor Belford’s communications to various parties relating to the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.
The Council voted 5-2 to support Councillor Belford’s decision to deny the request from Peter Butler regarding communications between Councillor Belford and several named private persons on the grounds that release of the information would violate the personal privacy rights of individuals and inhibit the conduct of public affairs through the free and frank expression of opinions by or to members of any local authority, both grounds permitted by LGOIMA.
The Council agreed to communicate and defend that denial to the Ombudsman. It also voted to seek the support of Local Government NZ for this position, given its potential precedent-setting significance to elected councillors throughout New Zealand.
Councillor Belford told the meeting it is vital the public feel confident they can communicate freely with councillors, particularly on controversial issues, without fear that their communications might be made public.
Paul Bailey Notice of Motion
Councillor Paul Bailey’s Notice of Motion related to genetically modified organisms and requested Council staff prepare a paper outlining the steps required to place a moratorium on the release of GMOs in line with that put in place by the Hastings District Council.
The Council agreed to refer the matter to the Regional Planning Committee for their consideration and that staff prepare a paper focussed on the legal issues associated with placing a moratorium on the release of GMOs in Hawke’s Bay.
Councillor Bailey says someone has to take the lead on GMOs and this is an opportunity for Hawke’s Bay to do that and reap the rewards on what he believes would create a competitive advantage for local producers.
14 December 2016
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