Mayor swears to roll Hayes

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Waikato Mayor Allan Sanson swears to strip Tamahere councillor Wally Hayes of his committee chairmanship after alleging a relationship breakdown.

Tamahere Councillor Wally Hayes at Monday's meeting (Photo: Waikato Times)
Tamahere Councillor Wally Hayes at Monday’s meeting (Photo: Waikato Times)

Sanson fingered Hayes for leaking a confidential report into his conduct at an Infrastructure Committee meeting to the media, according to council sources.

But at Monday’s full council meeting Sanson denied publication of the story around his use of the salty expletive “wanker” had anything to do with his motion, the Waikato Times reported.

The mayor sought to appoint councillor Dynes Fulton as chairman of the Infrastructure Committee in Hayes’ place.

Councillors were initially asked to decide Hayes’ fate, as Sanson said he would not use his executive mayoral powers to have him removed, but he changed his tune later in the meeting when councillors voted to seek more information and adjourn the decision until December 14.

“This will be deferred to December 14,” Sanson said. “I will indicate that unless something comes out of it I will be using my mayoral powers to remove councillor Hayes.”

Councillor Lionel Petersen was puzzled by the motion, which Sanson said little about before the item was opened up for discussion.

“Why? I would like to know why?”

Allan Sanson
Allan Sanson

Sanson answered: “The fact of the matter is that the mayor and the council at any time can actually choose to change delegations. I have decided not to use my mayoral powers, at this stage, and actually go to council for support in the change in the delegations, so that’s why it’s actually here today. It doesn’t necessarily have to have a reason, it just needs to be in front of the council.”

Hayes, who has chaired the committee since the beginning on this electoral term, told his fellow councillors he was devastated by the mayor’s move.

“I have put my heart and soul into this role . . . There’s been a significant workload go through this and I am very proud of the work that has been achieved over my chairmanship.”

The first he knew of the mayor wanting him out was when he heard from Sanson on October 30.

“You advised me that you wanted to remove me as chair due to an alleged relationship breakdown and I asked you if it was due to a trust issued between us,” Hayes said.

“The reply was no, not at all. I asked why is there a breakdown in relationship when there is still trust? The foundation of a relationship is trust.”

Hayes said he was “bitterly disappointed” by the mayor’s approach.

“Don’t judge me councillors on what you’ve heard in one-on-one telephone conversations. Judge me on what you’ve seen in meetings and workshops.

“I know some of you are sitting around the table here today thinking I have leaked information to the media that has caused negative consequences for this council recently. I swear on my wife’s grave that I have not shared the report, or evidence, with anybody. No media. No one.”

But Sanson replied and said it had “absolutely nothing to do” with releasing of information to the media.

Councillor Rosemary Costar rushed to Hayes’ defence.

“To ask councillors to pick between our mayor and one of our chairs is a no win situation. It’s only going to cause more friction and more distrust among us and I firmly believe that we shouldn’t be put in this position.

“When we were elected we swore an oath to act in the best interests of council. I fail to see how removing a chair who’s done a really good job would be in the best interest.”

Councillor Moera Solomon was the first to say she needed more information.

“I know nothing about what is going on,”she said.

Councillor Clint Baddeley backed her, before members voted to adjourn the decision.

“We do need to take some time to thoroughly investigate some of these issues, get some clarity. I hear a colleague say she needs more time.”

Earlier story: Waikato Mayor’s profanity sparks probe

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