Conflict of interest on lignite issues no longer relevant
Gore district councillor Bevin Watt is looking forward to taking part in debating proposed lignite developments in the Gore district now that he no longer has a conflict of interest.
Since being elected two years ago, the Waikaka ward representative has been unable to be involved in discussion about lignite developments because of the relationship between Solid Energy and Ravensdown, of which he is a director.
Ravensdown, a farmer-owned fertiliser co-operative, and the Government-owned energy company had been joint venture partners in investigating the feasibility of a lignite-to-fertiliser plant.
However, a change in that relationship has opened the door for Cr Watt to sit at the table on lignite issues.
Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said Solid Energy had confirmed there was no on-going formal relationship with Ravensdown.
There was potential in the future for Cr Watt to be in a position where he has a conflict of interest but the Council would deal with any issues as they arose, Mr Hicks said.
Cr Watt said he was looking forward to participating in discussions about this exciting project and the prospects it holds for the district.
“I must say, that after having to come to grips as to why the book was closed in respect to me taking part in, not only the project itself, but all things to do with our Growth Strategy, to find the book suddenly open is quite a relief,” he said.
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