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Michael Laws
Michael Laws
Otago  Regional Council deputy chairman Michael Laws says outspoken councillor Marian Hobbs should either withdraw her comments or leave the council, as promised.

Following a contentious decision around freshwater last month, Cr Hobbs stated publicly she would step down if Government commissioners did not take over council affairs.

Councillors heard from Environment Minister David Parker yesterday, and there had been no threat to sack councillors, Cr Laws said.

‘‘Cr Hobbs should either put up or shut up. That’s what it really is.

Marian Hobbs. Photo: supplied
Marian Hobbs. Photo: supplied
‘‘She either goes, or she says: ‘I’ve made a mistake; I apologise; I’m staying’.’’

Those were the two options she had, Cr Laws said yesterday.

‘‘I’m mystified as to the thought process that says, ‘I’m off,’ but says, ‘No, I’m not off.’

‘‘You could use that logic until election day next year.

‘‘It’s destructive of our work.’’

The council formally received a letter from Mr Parker yesterday that addressed a series of issues facing the council.

Mr Parker said he shared the concerns of others that the council’s decision of August 25 to delay noting minimum flows for the Manukerikia River would impede council progress towards new rules for the region by 2023.

He wanted reassurance a comprehensive flow regime for the Manuherikia would be included in its plans.

He asked when the council would make a decision on those flows.

He also wanted written confirmation the council remained committed to delivering its freshwater plan on time.

While he said he would talk to Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta about the council, it was premature for him to step in to sort out its problems.

‘‘By the same token, I am keen to receive assurances from you that will provide me with a high level of confidence that a robust freshwater plan will be notified as agreed,’’ Mr Parker said.

Cr Hobbs was one of four councillors who, in a letter to Mr Parker, alleged conflicts of interest, predetermination and unnecessary delays in noting minimum flows for the river before the meeting.

After the decision last month, Cr Hobbs went on to say she had signed a petition calling for elected councillors’ dismissal over the decision.

She said Mr Parker’s letter was clear ‘‘we have some work to do’’.

The issue of sacking the councillors remained on the table, Cr Hobbs said.

‘‘Contrary to what some councillors believe, particularly Michael Laws, that hasn’t been resolved yet,’’ she said.

‘‘Until it’s resolved, I’m here.’’

Instead of noting minimum flows for the priority river last month, councillors voted 6-4 for more scientific work to be done, including habitat modelling, and a scientific peer review of the hydrology work, before setting minimum flows.

Yesterday, council strategy, policy and science general manager Gwyneth Elsum said the Manuherekia Reference Group’s technical advisory group, of which she is the chairwoman, would provide a progress report to councillors next month.


Laws is obviously having a laugh — no socialist ever gives up power, or a well-paid job, voluntarily.

Mr Laws , talk about hypocritical statements and taking the moral high ground, you are the last person that should make comments on others.

This farce would be very amusing if it wasn’t a fact that these clowns have increased our rates by 72% to finance their circus!

Mr Laws and fellows ...supporting the financial interests of a Few.... against the Wellbeing of our Rivers and Waterways and the Many who want that to be ORC focus.
Good on you Marian Hobbs and others for standing up !