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Disgruntled councillor resigns in election year

Tracey O’Callaghan. PHOTO/FILE

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
[email protected]

Carterton district councillor Tracey O’Callaghan resigned from council on Wednesday, saying it was a matter of personal integrity.

O’Callaghan was elected to council during the 2016 local body elections.

She said she had been excited by the prospect of using her experience to aid the community but felt she could no longer continue.

“It is a matter of personal integrity. I feel I cannot keep taking ratepayers’ money when I feel unable to make a positive difference.”

She said she had been frustrated by the rigid line between the governance and operational branches of council.

“It [felt] like a solid concrete wall at times,” she said.

One of the most recent examples included the chief executive review at the last council meeting, where the council proposed forming a sub-committee to make the decision.

“I felt that was not appropriate process. It should be the whole council’s decision.”

She said she felt that she had a different way of thinking.

“I think more on a strategic level than a detailed level. I’m looking more long term than at practical, do-now things.”

O’Callaghan said she was unlikely to consider running for local body government again and would be turning her attentions to her life coaching business and the bed and breakfast she runs, The Summit Lodge.

Carterton Mayor John Booth said it was disappointing to have a councillor leave before the end of their term, but he was confident the resignation wouldn’t impact on the council.

“We have achieved a tremendous amount during this term and have been making innovative decisions,” he said.

“We look forward to continuing with business as usual and with our new initiatives.”

Just eight months away from the next local body elections, councillors will be asked to decide at the next ordinary council meeting on April 3 whether to appoint someone to the vacancy or carry through to October, as the Local Government Act does not allow for a by-election.

O’Callaghan was a member of the Economic Development Advisory Group, Audit and Risk, Policy and Strategy and Wairarapa Library Services committees.

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