Stevenson subject of conduct inquiry

Teresa Stevenson
Teresa Stevenson
"They're going to do me like a dog's dinner."

This was the reaction from Dunedin city councillor Teresa Stevenson yesterday when asked about disciplinary action being taken against her by the council.

Cr Stevenson confirmed she was the subject of a code of conduct inquiry alleging she leaked to the Otago Daily Times details of a confidential letter to the Government, written by Mayor Peter Chin and Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Cairns.

The letter sought Government funding for the Otago Stadium project. Its contents were eventually disclosed earlier this month and revealed Mr Chin offered the Government a share of equity in the council's $70 million social housing portfolio in return for funds.

Action against Cr Stevenson over the leak was discussed "in-committee" at the end of Monday's council meeting.

Cr Stevenson attempted to have the in-committee item - "compliance: standing orders and code of conduct" - dealt with in the open part of the meeting, claiming the item "covers matters already in the media".

"I don't think the parties involved would have any objection and I move it be put in the public part."

Mr Chin said he would not accept the motion because part of the item "deals with other people" and that needed to be dealt with in the confidential part of the meeting.

Cr Stevenson questioned who the people might be.

Mr Chin responded: "I have ruled."

Yesterday, Cr Stevenson said the process of dealing with an alleged breach of the code of conduct would involve a commissioner, and she would probably engage a lawyer.

Cr Stevenson considered an expensive investigation was justified where theft or corruption was alleged.

"However, a leak is more to do with asking just a difficult question, which I would say is about as minor as you can get. Is it worth the cost?"

Mr Chin had no comment.

The code of conduct is not on the council's website and the ODT was unable to obtain a copy late yesterday.


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