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Councillors to discuss empty seat at the table

South Wairarapa councillor Ross Vickery resigned last month. PHOTO/FILE

South Wairarapa councillors will decide this week whether they will fill a vacancy resulting from the resignation of Featherston ward councillor Ross Vickery last month, or leave it empty until the next election in October.

Vickery’s resignation was effective from October 18, 2021.

The next local body election is October 8, 2022.

Because the vacancy was created within 12 months of an election, it is no longer an option to hold a by-election.

Councillors can choose to appoint any South Wairarapa resident over the age of 18, as long as they are not on the regional council.

If they choose to fill the vacancy by appointment, a process for selection needs to be determined and be publicly notified.

A report to councillors said the criteria could include: “A Featherston ward candidate that stood for election for the 2019-2022 triennium but was not successfully elected; an elected Featherston Community Board member; someone who is considered to have the necessary skills and experience to undertake the role; someone who represents a sector of the community that is not represented or well represented around the council table to better achieve equality of representation”.

In the 2019 election, the highest polling unsuccessful candidate was Colin Olds.

Vickery threw his support behind Olds as his replacement shortly after resigning.

“[Olds] gets his hands into local matters, rolls his sleeves up, and continues to work hard for the community,” Vickery said last month.

Olds was previously a South Wairarapa councillor for the Featherston ward.

If the position is not filled, the remuneration from the vacancy must be reallocated among the remaining councillors.
Councillors are to discuss this today. – NZLDR

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