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The Invercargill City Council has changed its governance structure but councillors said the move did not "strip out" power or the role of Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt.
A report prepared by council chief executive Clare Hadley was presented at an extraordinary council meeting yesterday proposing to scrap the previous four subcommittees and create two new ones — policy and partnerships and infrastructural services performance.
The frequency of meetings would also change from six weeks to four weeks.
Cr Lindsay Abbott, who attended the meeting via audiovisual link, said the move was "an effort to discount the mayor and to discredit him".
"I’m going to ask everyone ... how would you feel if you have no say or no part on the decision making? So I’m going to ask again: Where is loyalty to the mayor?"
Cr Nobby Clark agreed with him.
"The problem is not the structure, it is a people thing."
The report was prepared after a request from councillors, including Cr Ian Pottinger who said the model of the meetings held during the Covid-19 period was more inclusive and efficient.
In the new structure, all councillors would be able to vote on matters from the sub-committees.
Cr Darren Ludlow said the duties of the mayor and deputy mayor would continue the same.
"Getting things through on a monthly cycle is doable, faster, everyone is involved and has a better outcome for the ratepayer."
The proposal was approved with opposition from Crs Abbott, Allan Arnold, Peter Kett and Sir Tim.
Cr Pottinger will chair the infrastructural services performance committee. Cr Alex Crackett will be deputy.
Cr Ludlow was named chairman of the policy and partnerships committee. Cr Rebecca Amundsen will be deputy.
Sir Tim said after the meeting it was "pure politics" and it was now a "wait and see" exercise.
"I’m feeling optimistic. I think people’s hearts were wanting to improve the situation. I think it was good to have a strong opposition.
"I would be more worried if all the votes were the same. This is important for our democracy to work."