Waipā district councillor Elwyn Andree-Wiltens has resigned from the council effective immediately.
Her resignation follows a series of exclusive stories published in The News which revealed she is a shareholder in a company operating a large sand quarry on the banks of the Waikato River without a resource consent.
At today’s council meeting, mayor Jim Mylchreest said Andree-Wiltens’ situation was a real lesson. “Conflicts of interest (are) a serious issue that we all need to bear in mind every day.”
Even if the conflict was not actual or a “perceived” one, the perception in the community was that there could have been.
“We need to bear that in mind when we make those declarations.
“It’s a teachable moment I would suggest.”
On Friday, Mylchreest told The News he had called on Andree-Wiltens to resign and she did yesterday (April 25).
In a statement to The News, Andree-Wiltens apologised to the mayor, councillors, staff and Waipā district for her involvement in an activity that did not have the required authorisation.
“It has always been my intention to engage with the community by being respectful and taking into account their concerns. I have always intended to provide an environment of integrity and trust to the community. A space that people know they can come to voice their concern and know they will be listened to.
“I have appreciated my time being on council and to experience the amazing work that has been achieved and the development for the future. We have an amazing council in Waipā District Council and a leader in the region and across the nation.
“The future is challenging at local government level but stand strong and stand as one unit,” she said.
The council will need to decide whether to appoint a replacement for Andree-Wiltens or leave the Maungatautari ward position vacant.
“I have appreciated my time being on council and to experience the amazing work that has been achieved and the development for the future. We have an amazing council in Waipā District Council and a leader in the region and across the nation.”
Andree-Wiltens is the only councillor representing the largely rural ward. She chairs the Maungatautari Reserve Committee, sits on the Cambridge Community Board as Maungatautari ward councillor, is a member of the Heritage Fund advisory group and is part of the Waikato-Tainui and Waipā District Council Joint Management Agreement.
Several councillors including Susan O’Regan, Roger Gordon and deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk said they would be happy to pick up on any Maungatautari ratepayer queries.
Andree-Wiltens has been nearly two terms on the council and prior to that was on the Cambridge Community Board.
Community board chair Sue Milner said Andree-Wiltens had been an excellent board member for nine years.
“She is one of those members always willing to put her hands up.”
While Andree-Wiltens did not say much in meeting “when she does say something, it’s always worthwhile,” said Milner who acknowledged her work and that she would be missed.