Note: this post originally appeared on ‘Douglas to Dancing’, a blog I maintained from 2007-9 on the ACT New Zealand political party. The blog was an extension of the thesis I wrote about the Act Party in 2007, From Douglas to Dancing: explaining the lack of success of ACT New Zealand and evaluating its future prospects (PDF).
The Otago Daily Times reported today that former ACT MP and now Otago Regional Councillor Gerry Eckhoff was annoyed about being excluded from a workshop on air quality, because he had made a submission to council on the matter in a private capacity prior to being elected:
As a former Act New Zealand MP, and having sat on a select committee, he had more than illustrated he could not be accused of predetermination or bias, he said.
It was ‘‘insulting’’ to suggest otherwise.
‘‘Councillors say it’s not personal. It’s just a matter of process. I do not see it that way. It’s pedantic in the extreme.
‘‘I will reassess my position on council as a result of this judgement. I’m no quitter. But if I’m excluded on a regular basis, what is the point?’’
These are strong words indeed from Eckhoff – particularly the last paragraph. I suspect it is his immediate frustration coming through rather than a serious threat to resign from council, however. I have no doubt that Eckhoff genuinely cares about the environmental and rural issues that he promoted as an ACT MP and afterwards and it is good to see him becoming (or at least attempting to become) so vigorously involved in the ORC.
Seeing he is excluded from the air-quality debates, perhaps Eckhoff would like to concentrate on bringing some ACT-like fiscal responsibility to the ORC’s proposal to build an extravagant glass palace headquarters for itself on the Dunedin waterfront?!