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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

But Grant, you've not read the article...


"It is always nice to start the day with a smile and the article "Guyton suggests conflict of interest" [December 17] certainly bought a smile to my face.

The irony of this statement was humorous. Mr Guyton's suggestion that there is a conflict of interest in Environment Southland with the farmers on the council voting on the water and land plan, is a bit like the pot calling the kettle black.

Mr Guyton is well known for his views on the environment and farming. My recollection of his views would hardly put him in a neutral position with a clear and open mind.

I guess this is the benefit of living in a democracy, where everybody no matter how radical their views has the opportunity to speak up.

Let's hope common sense prevails and we get an outcome that works for all parties."

Grant Heatherington


Dear Grant, I delighted to have given you something to giggle about this Christmas. You have failed though, to grasp the message of the article you mentioned. I'm asking if the farmer-councillors have a potential pecuniary interest in the matters we will be voting on. If they do (I believe they do) they are required to abstain from voting. It's in our rules. The courts look unfavourably upon councillors with a pecuniary interest in a matter, voting on that matter.
This is not a complicated concept.
This is not difficult to grasp.
By all means laugh, Grant, and enjoy the humour, but for goodness sake, for the sake of Christmas and all the little children lying expectantly in their beds on Christmas night, for the sake of all the elves and for Santa's sake, grasp the matter at least a little better than you seem to have to date. Oh, and tell Shirley Hudson. She's missed it by a country mile as well :-)

Merry Christmas to all.


Philip Todd said...

An interesting debate. In a perfect world elected people would always act in the best interests of the position they are elected to and other things would come second. I do believe organisations like ES need a wide spread of people from as many sectors and interest groups as possible. All to often debate seems to be one person talking and the rest agreeing. You have put forward something that perhaps does need some debate and others need to make sure they do so in a manner that is about the ball rather than attacking the ball carrier.
The need to toe the accepted line rather than encourage open and transparent debate is selling Invercargill short and we seem in an age of lethargy. It is not easy swimming against the current and I commend you for being prepared to say things how you see them. Progress does not come from an idea, it comes from the clash of many ideas

robertguyton said...

Thanks, Philip. I agree with you regarding the need for open and honest debate. The tactic of burying uncomfortable issues is a counter-productive one, but is used regularly at ES, in my opinion. In this case, I would be more than happy to accept that I have it wrong, if someone could show me how I'm mistaken. Refusing to discuss the issue, not asking for legal advice, something "we've" done at the drop of a hat in the past, and throwing spurious claims into the chamber, "everyone has an interest" is, and this seems a strong descriptor, corrupt, in my view. I'm not especially het-up over this particular issue, I would like to point out, it's just another of a series that I've watched play out since I began at the council, all of which I've tried my level-best to resolve. The method is well-entrenched. Central government is leading the way in this "art" and their supporters feel justified in doing as Big Brother does.