Former council chairman ousted after racist remarks takes legal action to get his job back

Former Waikato Regional Council President Russ Rimmington hopes the judicial review can be seen as

Tom Lee / Stuff

Former Waikato Regional Council Chairman Russ Rimmington hopes the judicial review can be considered “emergency”, he said.

Russ Rimmington has confirmed that he is this month conducting a judicial review of the decision to remove him from the presidency of the Waikato Regional Council.

He told councilors during their today Thursday that the review is against council and councilor Fred Lichtwark.

The judicial review has been filed and documents are being served on council and Lichtwark, he said.

The action was related to the May 9 meeting where Rimmington was rolled and the “board’s decision to remove me from the presidency.”

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* More political heat arose over decisions to overthrow the Rimmington from the regional council
* Review puts extra pressure on Rimmington ahead of key leadership vote
* Offer to lift sanctions, regional councilor Fred Lichtwark withdrawn

Cr Barry Quayle has replaced Russ Rimmington as Regional Council Chairman - now Rimmington is taking legal action to reclaim the role (file photo).

Tom Lee / Stuff

Cr Barry Quayle has replaced Russ Rimmington as Regional Council Chairman – now Rimmington is taking legal action to reclaim the role (file photo).

Councilor Barry Quayle, who replaced Rimmington as chairman, thanked him for his advice and there was no further discussion of the matter.

Rimmington said Things During a break in Thursday morning it was hoped the High Court could consider the case “as a matter of urgency”.

He confirmed he was seeking to have the 8-6 vote to impeach him declared invalid and reinstated as president. Fees would also be sought.

Rimmington said he was unable to reveal further details of the action.

However, he has previously said that the board’s legal advice indicated that Lichtwark should not have taken part in the vote to launch it and, if Lichtwark had not done so, there might not have been enough votes. to dismiss him. It took eight of 14 councilors agreeing to oust him, Rimmington said, and the vote could have been 7-6 if Lichtwark had not participated, as recommended by a legal opinion given in a public section excluded from May 9 today.

Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, Rimmington said any judicial review would be privately funded, but he was unsure of the final cost.

The motivation behind the legal decision is “my integrity and my reputation,” Rimmington said.

Christel Yardley / Stuff

The motivation behind the legal decision is “my integrity and my reputation,” Rimmington said.

When asked during the break why he was sticking with the action given the limited time left on this council term, Rimmington said: “My integrity and my reputation is the most important thing to me in 30 years. of community service”.

While he hadn’t planned to run for regional council next term, he was “strongly considering” running again due to the significant community support he was receiving.

Rimmington’s announcement will add further stress to the board, which has at times been viewed negatively in the public eye over the past year due to issues with his leadership and Lichtwark’s suspension from a range of activities from the advice after a complaint about his behavior.

Rimmington was ousted after concerns over his leadership, including over comments he made about Maori at a Three Waters conference. He later apologized for his remarks and earlier this year councilors agreed to training related to the Treaty of Waitangi.

At a Three Waters forum last year, Rimmington spoke of “the Maori” taking control of the water and that farmers and horticulturists could be at their “entire disposal”.

However, at the May 9 meeting where he was elected president, councilors also raised a number of other concerns about his performance.

Elna M. Lemons