Peter Winder who was abruptly terminated as Crown Manager at Kaipara District Council due to technical illegalities has now been reappointed, to the relief of council members.
His role will start again on June 20 to provide direction to council on a range of historic legal matters to allow councillors to focus on day-to-day work without the historic distractions arising from the illfated Mangawhai wastewater scheme and its $53 million cost blowout.
Associate Local Government Minister Jacqui Dean said Mr Winder’s role was originally terminated in April because the Department of Internal Affairs found there were potential technical deficiencies in the process used to make his appointment.
“I took a precautionary approach and terminated this role due to concerns about continuing his role when the process could have been challenged. There is no process for a reappointment under legislation so, once the Crown Manager was terminated, it was necessary to undertake a new process to make the case for and appoint a new Crown Manager. “This is an extensive process and required a full cabinet decision and consultation with several government agencies,” said Ms Dean.
Deputy Mayor, Peter Wethey said the decision allowed the council to move forward after the initial shock of Mr Winder’s departure.
“From a council perspective we were surprised that the role had been terminated however it happened quickly and the minister said it would continue to support the council with its historic issues but didn’t outline how the continued support was going to be put in place at the time.” Mr Wethey said the reappointment “is very pleasing. It means that there will be continuity as he had previously been a commissioner in the past and knows about the legal matters. The council believes it will be good and it means as a council we don’t have to get involved with matters that occurred long before we were in office.”
Mr Winder has been appointed to the role until the 2019 local body election but the government will review the need for this appointment in June 2018.
My Wethey hopes the legal issues will come to a resolution in the near future if not before Mr Winder’s review next year. Ms Dean said: “Kaipara District Council has made good progress and I see Crown support as a temporary measure. I wish to see the council use this period to strengthen its corporate and legal capacity.”