“This is not the end” – Councillor removed after a week in office

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Hinerangi Goodman has lost her seat on the Whakatane District Council after a recount in which she lost by one vote to Alison Silcock.

IN what may be one of the shortest terms for a councillor, Hinerangi Goodman is out after just one week.

A recount of votes following a random chance election has changed this triennium’s Whakatane District Council line-up.

An initial count of votes for the Galatea-Murupara ward showed newcomer Mrs Goodman and previous seat-holder Alison Silcock had tied.

The stalemate was broken by drawing names out of a hat and Mrs Goodman was in by random chance.

However, a week after being sworn in, Mrs Goodman is out following a recount of votes in which she lost to Mrs Silcock by one vote.

Mrs Goodman said this wasn’t the last the council would see of her.

“I’m tired, worn out and beat up, but this is not the end,” she said.

“We are looking at several avenues of action. I will not take this lying down.”

Despite being disappointed at the result, Mrs Goodman is philosophical about the outcome and said perhaps she was meant to be making change outside of council rather than at the table.

She said the New Zealand Maori Council was now involved and she was working to ensure this situation didn’t affect another Maori candidate. Mrs Goodman was the first Maori woman to represent the ward.

“We need to think about the whole process and what can be done better,” said Mrs Goodman

“It’s about rising up or shutting up and we’re rising. There is work to be done and this is a time to quieten down, reflect and see what needs to be done to change the legislation.

“If an injunction does happen it needs to happen now.”

Many of Mrs Goodman’s supporters have been outraged by the outcome and have labelled it white privilege, racist, rigged and a circus.

Some have taken the step of writing to the Minister for Maori Development and Local Government Nanaia Mahuta to demand she take action.

While personally disappointed, Mrs Goodman said the recount following the swearing in ceremony also trampled over Maori tikanga which was an added insult.

“This is a big insult to the people who voted for me and my own people who came down and took part in the powhiri at council,” said Mrs Goodman.

“The significance of that ceremony … it means everything is good, sealed and done. It really cuts across all boundaries of our culture, our tikanga.

“This whole thing exposes the weakness of legislation which governs local government and for Maori even more so. It insults the very processes of tikanga that they asked us to perform.”

Electoral officer Dale Ofsoske said the recount process was carried out under strict conditions and under the supervision of a district court judge.

“A very prescribed and transparent process was undertaken to determine the outcome of the recount,” he said. “Both candidates had appointed scrutineers to observe the process.”

Mrs Silcock, who requested the recount, will now be sworn in at the next council meeting on November 7.

As for Mrs Hinerangi, she said for now she’ll enjoy being at home in paradise, allowing the wairua of her home to soak in.

Mrs Silcock was unable to be reached for comment at this time.