Thames Coromandel Mayor Refuses to Follow Council’s Majority Decision on Climate Change

Finally, after two years of willful obstruction of climate action by the Thames Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie, and the High Court finding her actions to be unlawful, the current Council has put an end to this embarrassment.  On Tuesday the council resolved that the mayor should join 65 other councils and sign the Local Government Climate Leaders Declaration. 

This is a total vindication of the legal action taken by Hauraki Coromandel Climate Action against the mayor and previous council, Even more important is that the current council has resolved that it agrees with the actions in the Declaration and has undertaken to develop an ambitious emission reduction program.  This is a great outcome – now we need to see these fine words turned into real action.

This followed a recent public consultation required by the High Court in which 94% of submitters agreed with this option.

We have now gone full circle and come to the point we should have arrived at in 2019.  The blame rests squarely with the mayor for this utter shambles, for two years of delay with no climate action and for the waste of ratepayers money.  She denied the urgent need to take climate action, refused to consult with the public, and it was her actions that were found by the High Court to be unlawful. 

True to form her outrageous behaviour continues, because the mayor is refusing to follow the strong 6/3 majority decision of her council and immediately sign the Declaration  

Equally disgraceful is that she and 2 other councillors are showing total disrespect for their constituents who by a massive 94% margin want the Declaration signed and ambitious emission reduction action taken.

The mayor needs to be brought to heel by her council and reminded that we live in a democracy and the majority still rules.   The council is not her personal fiefdom.

The council’s Code of Conduct requires all elected members to show support for decisions once they are made.  The High Court said in its judgment that a resolution passed by council “requires” the mayor to sign the Declaration ( CIV-2019-419-173  [2019] NZHC 444 para [29]).  And the mayor herself agreed the signing of the Declaration was a matter for the Council.  Her own report to TCDC in March 2019 said, “we have not signed the … Declaration as a Council”.  When asked at an election meeting in Thames in September 2019 whether she would sign the Declaration she told the audience she “would take back to the whole of council to decide.”

It is nonsense and scandalous for the mayor to suggest she can refuse to sign the Declaration when she has been directed to do so by her council.

This is the second time this week that the mayor has refused to follow the majority decision of the council.  A unanimous decision of TCDC elected members to support the government’s vaccination programmes was ignored when the mayor then spoke at a local anti-vax meeting and promoted anti-vax conspiracy groups in an interview. This has led to a code of conduct complaint against the mayor.

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