Time will tell whether Dunedin has a united or divisive
council this term, but most councillors believe the group will
be able to work together.
Cr Lee Vandervis said this week he thought Mayor Dave Cull's
appointments to council committees would lead to a divided
council because they did not make best use of experienced or
But other councillors do not appear to share his concerns.
Sitting councillors spoken to said they believed all the
elected councillors had the potential to work together
constructively, including Cr Vandervis, who Crs Andrew Noone
and Chris Staynes said had already proven he could work as
part of a team last term.
''We probably didn't always agree all the time, but that's
not necessarily a bad thing,'' Cr Noone said of Cr Vandervis,
who served as his deputy on the infrastructure services
committee for three years.
Cr Noone and Cr Kate Wilson said it was time now for everyone
to just get on with the job at hand.
''At the end of the day everyone puts their hand up because
they want to serve their community and try and make a
difference, and that's the main motivation and we've got a
responsibility to do that,'' Cr Noone said.
Incoming councillors in the main said they thought there
would be a good set of skills around the table, which would
lead to some interesting discussions, but it was too early
for them to assess how well everyone would get on.
Aaron Hawkins said it was hard to say before even having one
meeting, but it seemed the majority of councillors were
prepared to make decisions based on the evidence and put in
the work that required.
Mike Lord and Doug Hall both said while they might not always
share the same views as others, they could still get on with
Neville Peat said he felt there was a positive feeling within
the new-look council and he expected councillors would pull
Having six new people with a range of experience on board
would provide a diversity of views, which was not unhealthy.
Personality disputes, however, were.
''If councillors just focus on the business of council, I
think it will be a positive time.''
Ms Calvert was the only one to express some caution.
The council would stay working constructively as long as it
recognised that people had voted for some change, she said.
Mr Cull appeared to have surrounded himself, on committees,
with people he was comfortable with, which was
understandable, but if that reflected a discomfort with
voters' choices, and people began to feel it was simply
business as usual despite them voting for some change, then
that could lead to issues.
But it was early days yet.
''It'll be interesting and I think there's a lot of really
useful contributions people can make to this council and it's
always a difficulty early on for the mayor to please
everybody. Although my preferences may not have been his
choice, I appreciate he has the right to make them and he has
Mr Cull gave Cr Vandervis no responsibilities and has said it
was because he lacked confidence the outspoken councillor
could maintain effective working relationships with staff and
Other councillors asked about that this week said it was time
now for everybody just to get on and do the job they had been
elected to do.
Crs Noone and Wilson said they were concerned the media
continued to focus on Cr Vandervis, when the focus should be
on the job at hand.
Cr Richard Thomson said he liked Cr Vandervis, but working
with him was, at times, ''frustrating and infuriating''.
''I think he's immensely capable. It's just unfortunate that
to achieve things you've got to take people with you.
''I think Cr Vandervis needs to look at how he is doing
things and how easy it is for people to work with him.''
Crs Jinty MacTavish, John Bezett and David Benson-Pope did
not return calls.