Dunedin City Council staff are to hold high level talks with
one of the city's new councillors, Doug Hall, who remains
locked in a long-running legal dispute with the organisation.
Mr Hall, a Dunedin businessman who was elected as a city
councillor on Saturday, has been embroiled in an Environment
Court battle with the council over the realignment of State
Mr Hall has fought the council's designation process for the
highway realignment, which was built ahead of the opening of
the Forsyth Barr Stadium, because of the impact it had on his
neighbouring transport yard.
By last year, the council's bill from the legal tussle had
already risen to $485,000, and was still climbing.
And, in August, Mr Hall indicated it might need to climb much
higher if the council eventually opted to buy him out -
something he expected could cost up to $8 million.
With no sign of a resolution, council chief executive Paul
Orders yesterday confirmed he and corporate services group
manager Sandy Graham would meet Mr Hall later this week to
discuss the situation.
Mr Orders would not comment on the details of the talks until
after the meeting was held on Thursday.
Ms Graham said it was usually up to elected members to manage
any conflicts of interest, but a decision on whether outside
advice was needed would be made after meeting Mr Hall.
She also declined further comment until after Thursday's
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said it was ''not ideal'' to have a
councillor locked in a dispute with the council that was
costing ratepayers money.
''But it's also not ideal to have a councillor who finds
himself conflicted on so many things because of that, who
can't get involved in probably rather a lot.''
In the meantime, Mr Hall and the rest of council would have
to ''very carefully'' consider ''how we handle the inevitable
conflicts [of interest]'', Mr Cull said.
He hoped there was an opportunity to ''re-look at whether we
can resolve the differences'' between the council and Mr
''If that could be resolved without a long, drawn-out court
battle, then it would make it so much easier.''
Mr Hall, speaking to the Otago Daily Times on Sunday,
acknowledged he would have to withdraw from some debates
because of his ongoing legal challenge, to avoid conflicts of
interest, but said: ''That's life''.
His priority as a councillor would be honesty, but he
expected to be able to work well with his colleagues.
''I can work with anybody if they tell the truth,'' he said.