The Horowhenua District’s deputy mayoralty is up in the air after a meeting descended into farce.
Ross Campbell was voted out by councillors, mayor Michael Feyen moved to reinstate him, councillors voted to appoint Wayne Bishop and then Feyen said he would reappoint Campbell. The council will now seek legal advice.
“I will, after [the vote] is taken, be exercising my right to choose the deputy mayor that I think I need,” Feyen said, in a controversial and unheralded move on Wednesday.
The Local Government Act seems pretty clear to me, that the Mayor can not just appoint a new Deputy Mayor if his initial choice is removed by the Council.
Section 41A(3)(a) states:
A mayor has the following powers: to appoint the deputy mayor
Which he did. But S41A(4)(a) also states:
However, nothing in subsection (3) limits or prevents a territorial authority from removing, in accordance with clause 18 of Schedule 7, a deputy mayor appointed by the mayor under subsection (3)(a)
Which the Council has done. So what does Clause 18 say?
(1) At a meeting that is in accordance with this clause, a territorial authority or regional council may remove its chairperson, deputy chairperson, or deputy mayor from office.
Which they did
(2) If a chairperson, deputy chairperson, or deputy mayor is removed from office at that meeting, the territorial authority or regional council may elect a new chairperson, deputy chairperson, or deputy mayor at that meeting.
So fairly clear that the Mayor can not appoint a new Deputy Mayor if his original choice is removed from office.
However note 4(b)
A resolution or requisition must indicate whether or not, if the chairperson, deputy chairperson, or deputy mayor is removed from office, a new chairperson, deputy chairperson, or deputy mayor is to be elected at the meeting if a majority of the total membership of the territorial authority or regional council (excluding vacancies) so resolves.
So the meeting requisition needed to specify that they would elect a new Deputy Mayor, if successful. So long as they did that, the law is pretty clear.