Councillors at odds over representation

A sedate debate turned heated as Crs Teresa Stevenson and Colin Weatherall traded claims of rural bias and points of order at a Dunedin City Council planning and environment committee meeting yesterday.

The stoush came when Cr Stevenson appeared to suggest an advisory group of three councillors - being set up to work on a second generation district plan - contained too many from ''rural'' areas.

It members are Crs Colin Weatherall, from Brighton, Kate Wilson, from Middlemarch, and Andrew Noone, from Waikouaiti.

However, Cr Stevenson's suggestion prompted a broadside from Cr Weatherall, who interjected to insist he was elected in the central ward to represent the entire city's interests.

''I live in the greater Dunedin city. I do not live in a rural area - Brighton is part of the city.''

Committee chairwoman Cr Wilson agreed, saying the only time wards counted was during an election.

''They are all councillors for the whole city.''

Cr Stevenson attempted to clarify by confirming she was sure the group would have the necessary skills, but then urged them to ''see the city as a whole''.

That prompted Cr Weatherall to launch into a list of some of his council experience over the last 15 years, including working on the first district plan and - together with Cr Syd Brown - helping resolve more than 200 objections.

''I would suggest our experience suggests we represent the whole city from all aspects.''

Earlier, councillors received an update on the second generation district plan from city development manager Dr Anna Johnson, who advised public consultation was expected to begin in August and public notification would occur by June next year.

She also suggested councillors wanting to make personal submissions on the plan might need to step aside from formal deliberations.

Councillors voted to accept the report and the advisory group's membership.

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