Councillors should reveal vax status, Kett says

An Invercargill city councillor wants his colleagues to disclose their vaccination status, believing they need to set an example for the community.

All but two elected members told the Otago Daily Times yesterday they were fully vaccinated.

During a debate about vaccination passes in council facilities at an extraordinary performance, partnership and policy council meeting earlier this week, emotions ran high when Cr Peter Kett asked fellow councillors if they were vaccinated.

Chairman Darren Ludlow, under standing orders, shut down the question, saying it was not related to the matter being discussed.

Cr Kett showed frustration at the time, and speaking yesterday he shared the same feelings.

He said he had good reasons to ask for the information.

"I have a wife who had heart failure few months ago, and other family members who have health issues.

"I can’t put them at risk."

When in chambers or in workshops, councillors sat "shoulder by shoulder", so it was important to him to know the risks, he said.

The Invercargill City Council did not reply to questions about its policy for staff and elected members, but deputy mayor Nobby Clark said he had sent emails to all councillors earlier this week asking about their status and vaccination passports.

He had done so in order to organise future meetings as vaccination passes would be mandatory for entering the council’s chambers, he said.

Cr Clark also said chief executive Clare Hadley was leading a risk and assessment review of all council facilities.

Councillors needed to show the vaccination passport by Sunday, but the information would be kept private, he said.

"I have emailed all my fellow councillors as one of the leaders of the elected members group. I do have some replies, none negative at this stage.

"I will hold this information confidentially because this is personal information.

"Whether individual members want to disclose it to colleagues or members of the public it is up to them."

Cr Clark, Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt, Crs Lindsay Abbott, Rebecca Amundsen, Alex Crackett, Peter Kett, Graham Lewis, Darren Ludlow, Marcus Lush, Nigel Skelt and Lesley Soper confirmed they were fully vaccinated when asked yesterday.

"My personal view is that all elected members should disclose their vaccination status as part of being leaders in the community," Cr Soper said.

Crs Allan Arnold and Ian Pottinger said they preferred to not comment on their vaccination status.

Cr Pottinger said the "outburst" from Cr Kett at the meeting was out of line and against the rules and etiquette of meeting.

"Based on that, I’m not giving him the satisfaction of a reply."