Hobbs not prepared to give up

Marian Hobbs
Marian Hobbs
Otago Regional Council chairwoman Marian Hobbs says she has no show of holding on to the role but she will not quit.

Most councillors are set to request a meeting to vote on removing Ms Hobbs from the position.

A letter signed by a majority could reach the chief executive’s desk as soon as today, the Otago Daily Times has been told.

Ms Hobbs said yesterday she would not stand aside and, though almost certain she could not head off a challenge, she wanted the public to witness her removal.

"My chances are nil," she said.

Any vote could not happen for three weeks, however.

Councillors had called for Ms Hobbs to stand down and some expressed disappointment that the transition would be needlessly prolonged.

The matter came to a head after it was revealed Ms Hobbs asked Environment Minister David Parker if he might bring in a commissioner if she lost a key vote.

A clash with Federated Farmers is another prominent factor.

The ODT understands a comfortable majority wants a change of chairmanship at the council.

Cr Hilary Calvert said Ms Hobbs’ determination to carry on could make the council dysfunctional for three weeks.

"We need to be getting on with things," she said.

In March, seven councillors called for a 12-month re-evaluation of the council’s policy and finances, including the withdrawal and suspension of plan changes in progress and a review of its Regional Policy Statement.

The March 26 letter to Ms Hobbs was signed by Crs Calvert, Michael Laws, Carmen Hope, Gary Kelliher, Kevin Malcolm, Andrew Noone and Kate Wilson.

Several councillors said yesterday they did not believe full advantage was being taken of the experience and competence available at the table.

Cr Kelliher said he did not have confidence in Ms Hobbs.

Asked if she had confidence in Ms Hobbs, Cr Wilson said there were "issues that need to be addressed on that count".

"We need change in the way we are currently being led," Cr Malcolm said.

"The majority of councillors feel something needs to happen," Cr Noone said.

Crs Bryan Scott and Alexa Forbes said they did have confidence in her.

"Our region, along with others is facing significant environmental challenges and she understands that — she is endeavouring to work with the community, the region and central government," Cr Scott said.

"There have been some mistakes on all sides."

Cr Forbes said she was sad and disappointed.

"Frankly, we don’t have the numbers to keep her there."

Ms Hobbs, a former minister for the environment, said she thought councillors did not appreciate her "New Zealand-wide perspective" about progress.

"I want Otago to catch up."

Cr Laws, the deputy chairman, said he wanted speculation to end as quickly as possible.

Otago councillors were as talented as any he had worked with.

Cr Michael Deaker said the organisation was functioning well but councillors had to get their act together.

"My concern is that the council is effective."
 

Comments

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At 72 years of age, she should stop being so greedy and enjoy her retirement!
We have 1000's of smart Kiwi's out of work because of the Wuhan Virus, I'm sure most of them could easily do Ms Hobbs job.

Crs Deaker and Scott can follow Hobbs down the road. If anyone took the time to assess their contributions to Otago, they would find many many years of seat-warming with a litany of poor decisions i.e the RPS or Plan Change 6A. Both were shockers and cost ratepayers millions. This Council is one of NZ's most disfunctional run by incompetent staff from CEO, principals and team leaders. Time to clear the deadwood thanks

It's not about you Hobbs... it's about the Otago. The other councilors have lost faith in your leadership skills. The people have lost faith in your leadership skills. You cant work with the members of your staff. You've made everything about YOU. You've made it personal. You need to go. You really want to continue to work in a job where everybody hates you and doesn't want to work with you? Are you that vain? Bow out gracefully and go ride the electric bike you talked about. Everybodys career has a shelf life with an experation date, yours has passed. Nobody wants to listen to you winge about how unfair it is. If you have an ounce of dignity, youd just resign rather that have history record you as the one who was dragged out kicking and screaming. Your mediocre political career is over!

Marian Hobbs was elected by us to work in the ORC for Otago Region, not for her own career, not to force her own views ahead of the other people we elected at the same time. A risk of appointment to "highest among equals" is contracting Acute Hubris, a condition that requires a long period of quiet rest attending to only the basic necessities of the sufferer's home and work roles. Otherwise the entire group's functioning is impaired, which I am sure the unfortunate person with AH would not have intended pre the onset of the condition.

500 words, and not one dedicated to explaining why Hobbs should go.

I don't like the smell of this at all. It would be really interesting to know why these councillors have no confidence in Ms Hobbs. It would be the most important part of this article wouldn't it?
How many of these councillors are in with the lobbyists, Federated Farmers? How many of these councillors have a truly independent ability to do their job? For the sake of a healthy democracy, they should have to publicly explain exactly why they want Hobbs gone, and to divulge any wining, dining or kick backs they've got from Federated Farmers or their ilk.
But they can't can they, because it would all look a little bit too crooked. How much money is being spent by farmers to undermine the environment and democracy do you think?

It's very difficult to take Hobbs seriously given the constant winging to the media. Let’s be clear, Hobbs is capable of accomplishing very simple tasks with proper supervision and coaching. But, she is not ready to be the chair of the ORC. If you look closely at her past performance, she lacks the ability to follow-up or learn from previous mistakes. Hobbs is administratively challenged and doesn’t work well with others. Consequently, there is a lot of friction amongst her and the ORC staff causing replication of work. This has created a considerable drain on ORC resources. Hobbs is unable to multitask in the ORC environment and has demonstrated a complete lack of planning and knowledge. As far as green policies; Hobbs is an Environmentalist; she consistently converted oxygen to carbon dioxide allowing plant life to be sustained. That’s about the best I can say about her! She needs to go!

The overall outcome, whichever way it finally goes, MUST be for the good of the region and not for any sort of political gain or ambition...

I can't believe how many commenters are happy to refer to Councillor Hobbs' age. Totally irrelevant. What is relevant is the reason why she should go. Why have others 'lost confidence'? Without that, there is still nothing to comment on or debate. Snozzman, TheFizz, FrankieC and K of the South have offered nothing to add to the discussion, except being ageist and name calling. Meanwhile, we still don't know why she should go.
The law of nature applies; a vacuum will be filled. It's hard to believe vested interests aren't behind this. I suspect quite strongly that Hobbs, Deaker and Scott are the only councillors who won't be bought by strong farm-funded lobbyists. Elected to do a job, she should stay. Unless of course someone can articulate a reason why not.
Transparency please...

A voice of reason.

You're on the wrong forum unfortunately. Welcome to the rabid, anti-anything club.

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