Gore District Council takes step in the right direction

17 May 2023

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) and Taituarā commend Gore District Council for the movement today that sets them up on a positive path forward.

Councillors agreed to not go through with the symbolic vote of no confidence and two other unproductive recommendations, and instead work with LGNZ and Taituarā to ensure the Terms of Reference for the independent review is fit for purpose. 

“We know the last few months have been tough for the Gore District Council, Chief Executive Steve Parry, Mayor Ben Bell and the Gore community,” LGNZ President Stuart Crosby said. 

“The current situation at Gore District Council reflects poorly on everyone involved. 

“Although it’s primarily felt by the Gore community, it also does a disservice to local democracy and local government generally.  

“Communities have high expectations of their leaders and all parties have been subject to intense public scrutiny in the past few months, something the Council isn’t used to.

“We are very pleased that the Council has accepted that they need external support to get them through. 

“LGNZ’s National Council member, Mayor Campbell Barry, CE, Susan Freeman-Greene and Taituarā Vice President Jo Miller all spoke at the council meeting today to lend their support,” Stuart Crosby said. 

“As stewards of the sector, Taituarā and LGNZ are united in wanting the situation turned around,” Taituarā’s Vice President, Jo Miller said. 

“It will require all parties concerned to shift. And it’s incumbent on the entire Council, with our support, to deliver positive change for the future. 

“Today’s decision to work with us, I hope, will go some way towards restoring the community’s confidence in the council to seriously commit to working differently. 

“In the short to medium term, we will offer Gore District Council regular and ongoing support,” Jo Miller said. 

“The issues the council face are unique and complex,” National Council member Campbell Barry said. 

“However, where issues have arisen before in local government, the ones that successfully navigated their way through have had, and followed through on, outside support and advice,” Campbell Barry said.