1 Apr 2010

Culture of arrogance at Canterbury council - farmer

12:25 pm on 1 April 2010

A farmer who complained to a government panel investigating the Canterbury Regional Council says there was a culture of arrogance at the council.

Documents obtained under the Official Information Act show the panel, led by former Cabinet minister Wyatt Creech, was advised about council staff making fun of the consents process and a 2005 case involving two Canterbury families.

The Government on Tuesday announced that the 14 democratically elected councillors would be sacked and replaced with commissioners, after a series of complaints and a highly critical report of the regional council's management of water issues.

Canterbury farmer David Clark told the government panel that investigated the council about a powerpoint presentation in 2005, which he says demonstrates a culture of arrogance.

The presentation, created by a senior council staff member, portrays one family's application to build a house, and their neighbour's opposition, as a hotpot recipe.

The final slide says both the submitter and the applicant are bitter and the staff's time has been eaten up.

Mr Clark says that reveals a contemptuous attitude and asked the investigation panel whether those staff should have kept their jobs.

Council chief executive Bryan Jenkins says Mr Clark misinterpreted a technical presentation and staff did not behave inappropriately.