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Minister Saddened At LGNZ Team Resignations

MONDAY 28 AUGUST Media Statement

The Minister of Local Government Hon Sandra Lee said today she was “saddened” to learn of the resignation of the LGNZ Presidential team .

Ms Lee said while Local Government New Zealand was an independent lobby group, she believed that the outgoing LGNZ Presidential team was “a good mix of voracious advocates for local government”, comprising the North Island and South Island dynamic as well as a rural provincial component.

The Local Government Minister said she hoped that she would be able to have as meaningful a working relationship with the incoming LGNZ Presidential team as she has had with the outgoing team. She also pledged to work cooperatively with the incoming Presidential team.

“I appreciate the fact that the former LGNZ leadership, who are politicians in their own right, have been gracious enough to acknowledge that at all times ‘this was an internal employment matter and at no time did any parliamentarian give any suggestion or instruction with regard to the employment of any Local Government New Zealand staff member’,” Ms Lee said.

“I regret that highly respected local government politicians like Phil Warren - Chair of the Auckland Regional Council, Gordon Blake –Mayor of the South Waikato District Council, and Louise Rosson –Chair of the Otago Regional Council, have been lost to the LGNZ leadership,” she said. “In my view, the members of this team are as much the victims of a political media beat-up as were the Prime Minister and myself at the time the issue first arose. While I have sometimes disagreed with the outgoing Presidential team’s views, I have always appreciated their political commitment to democracy and their willingness to err on the side of the rule that says the majority should have its way.”

“What’s obvious is there are no winners from this affair: neither the Government which continues to aspire to the partnership principle between central and local government, nor Local Government New Zealand, and definitely not Carol Stigley whose professional career has been used as a ping-pong ball by the Opposition,” Ms Lee said.

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Note: Ms Lee will not be available to make further comment this morning due to her prior commitments with Youth Parliamentarians

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