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Mayor pays tribute to councillor

24 January 2005

Mayor pays tribute to councillor

Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey today paid tribute to Councillor Pat Booth who has resigned from the Council due to ill health.

Cr Booth has been on extended sick leave for some months and has told the Council it may be many months before he is well enough to work again.

Mayor Harvey praised Cr Booth for his "extraordinary wisdom."

"Pat was a world-class investigative journalist who helped crush a criminal empire and also to release Arthur Alan Thomas from jail. That background gave him a very wide view on the world and a first class nonsense detector, which are great assets in local government," he says.

"He usually sat through our debates, sometimes for hours saying nothing and hearing all. He would generally have his say only when he had heard all sides of the story and weighed them all up and this was especially the case during the debate on the protection of the Ranges," says Mayor Bob.

"Always measured, he has made an excellent contribution during his time on the council and we are extremely sorry to lose him. However, his health must come first and we wish Pat and Valerie well as they head into a very well-earned retirement," he says.

Councillor Booth had indicated he felt he had to resign because his enforced absence was putting an extra load on other ward Councillors - Carolynne Stone and Penny Hulse - which was unfair to them, the Council and the electorate. In addition, he planned to shift from his four-level Laingholm residence, which put extra strain on his heath, to his holiday home in Rodney District and felt that a councillor working part-time and living outside Waitakere City was not what the people of Waitakere ward had voted for.

Councillor Booth was no stranger to local government when elected to represent the Waitakere Ward in 2004. He has previously been on the Far North District Council and Northland District Health Board before being elected to the Waitemata District Health Board and Waitakere City Council in 2004.

During his time as deputy editor of the Auckland Star he identified and helped to bring down the murderous Mr Asia crime gang. This syndicate was established by New Zealanders and became one of the largest illegal drug trafficking operations in the southern hemisphere.

He had previously run a tireless - and ultimately successful - crusade to have Arthur Allan Thomas released from jail and pardoned for the Crewe murders.

Pat Booth was also the author of 16 books including Mr Asia File, Deadline - My Story and Edmund Hillary: the life of a legend. He was recognised for his writing with a Print Industry Award for Outstanding Achievement at the 2001 Qantas Media Awards.

A by-election to fill the vacancy is likely to be held in April.


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