Cull steps in over 'unseemly' council spats

Council chairperson Lee Vandervis. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Council chairperson Lee Vandervis. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull is stepping in to resolve "unseemliness" between two sparring Dunedin city councillors.

Mr Cull yesterday confirmed he would attempt to mediate a solution to a complaint filed by Cr Bill Acklin against Cr Lee Vandervis in September, alleging a breach of the council's standing orders.

However, a second complaint levelled against Mr Cull by Cr Vandervis would have to be considered by his deputy, Chris Staynes, Mr Cull said.

In response to Otago Daily Times inquiries, Mr Cull yesterday confirmed both complaints were headed to mediation.

The standing orders contain a code of conduct on the expectations of councillors, and punishments - ranging from apology to suspension from some posts.

Cr Acklin's complaint alleged Cr Vandervis broke standing orders by releasing confidential information relating to the Haka Peepshow public art project.

Cr Vandervis' complaint against Mr Cull targeted a range of issues, including the mayor's handling of points of order during council meetings.

Details of both complaints were first revealed in September, and discussed again in the non-public section of last week's full council meeting.

Mr Cull said yesterday standing orders allowed him to first try to mediate a solution, rather than refer complaints to the council's conduct committee.

However, he could not attempt to mediate a solution to his own complaint. That job would be passed to Mr Staynes.

The exact time frame for the mediation was not yet clear, but councillors were keen "to get it sorted out", he said.

"There was some disquiet expressed to me about the unseemliness of councillors bickering at each other in the public arena and raising complaints.

"I can understand that apprehension."

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