15 Jul 2015

Board loses patience with absent member

8:30 pm on 15 July 2015

A Christchurch community board has lost patience with one of its members who no longer lives in the area he is supposed to represent, and is asking for him to resign.

Adrian Te Patu

Adrian Te Patu Photo: RNZ/ Conan Young

Adrian Te Patu insists he can continue to provide effective representation for the Lyttelton Mount Herbert Ward, even though he now lives in Whanganui.

Mr Te Patu, said he was surprised his colleagues wanted him to quit.

He said he was a citizen of the world and with the help of modern technology he was able to do as good a job from the North Island as he would be capable of if he lived in the community he represents.

"The rules state you don't have to live in the ward. I know what's going on around the community.

"I see the stuff that's coming up electronically, all of the different media messages come through and people are communicating with me all of the time."

Mr Te Patu, who is paid $12,000 a year as a board member, said he only missed the last meeting because he had to attend a tangi, and planned to attend for the rest of year.

He said he paid for his own travel between Whanganui and Christchurch and insists he was not hanging on to the position for the money.

"It's $300 each way from Whanganui. What we get in a stipend is about $100 a week and that doesn't even pay for the kind of things we do."

However the chairperson of the community board Paula Smith said being a board member was not just about attending meetings.

"For the rest of us it's really important we live in our community, that we're attending meetings in the community, that we're having those face to face meetings.

"The board's view is we're not sure that somebody who doesn't live in the community can bring that to the table when they're making decisions."

She said Mr Te Patu's absence was creating an extra workload for the board members who are there and while the board could not force him to step down, it would like him to resign.

Mr Te Patu said he would reassess his position in October.

He said if he waited until then to resign, the board would not be forced to hold an expensive by-election and could leave his position vacant until next year's local body elections.