Support grows for ORC Chair Marian Hobbs

Jul 01, 2020

From the Central Otago Environmental Society.

"A new challenge has been issued to the attempted deposing of Otago Regional Council Chairperson Marian Hobbs.

A group of 9 ORC Councillors announced on 15th June their intention to unseat the sitting Chair Marian Hobbs, claiming she was failing to lead the ORC adequately. Led by Cr Michael Laws, they headlined their intention to vote her out of office at a special meeting to be held on 8th July.

The Central Otago Environmental Society (COES) has pointed out to Chief Executive Sarah Gardner that this may constitute a conflict of interest, given the association of many Councillors with farming interests, and their campaign to subvert the National Freshwater Policy being implemented in the Otago region.

Chair of COES, Ray Wright, says “There has been a sustained move by a cabal of Councillors to resist the implementation of previous decisions by the ORC to protect Otago waterways. This has already led to the Minister of the Environment ‘calling in’ the matter, after dissension in the Council.”

He points out that in 2010, the then National government sacked the members of the Canterbury Regional Council and installed Commissioners, amid similar political manoeuvring. “We may have reached the point where this is necessary in Otago,” says Wright.

 “We hope our recent letter to the CE of the ORC may help to show the true intentions of a divided Council.”

 COES primary aim is: “The protection and preservation of the ecological function and natural landscape and character of Central Otago – Our ecological life support system.”

Editor's Note: Crux has also made a specific complaint to the ORC regarding legal threats received from Michael Laws, using his official ORC email address.

You can read the full COES letter to the Otago Regional Council here.

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