Former council candidate taking legal action to reclaim seat

By Taroi Black

Māori journalist Hinerangi Goodman is pushing to reclaim her seat on council by asking the public to help fund her legal fees through Givealittle. The former candidate for the Murupara/Galatea ward claims her spot was unfairly contested after her name was drawn out of a hat and then sworn in.

Goodman says her mana Māori was trampled on after the ceremony that initially swore her into the Whakatāne District Council.

According to the Whakatane Beacon, Hinerangi Goodman says, “This is a big insult to the people who voted for me and my own people who came down and took part in the pōwhiri at council."

The win was then contested by candidate Alison Silcock who initially congratulated her and subsequently ordered for a recount which determined Goodman’s fate in Council.

But Goodman was reduced to tears over the process to the extent she felt was unfair and unjust. On the Givealittle page she mentioned why the council rushed the process to swear councilors in when results were still uncertain.

Whakatāne Mayor Judy Turner responded, “We were under pressure to get things back to businesses usual as our annual report needed to be approved by October 31 and we required a full council that had been sworn in to be able to do that”.

The results have created drama among the public on social media, but Silcock’s husband told Te Ao Māori News they have experienced a high level of bullying from the Murupara Community and has caused stress and anxiety among their whanau.

However, Goodman feels “beat up and worn out” over the processes in council and is seeking for policy changes to ensure no one goes through what she experienced publicly.

Supporters are getting behind Goodman on the Givealittle page. “Council is just following the legislation and they are now caught between a rock and a hard place and are hoping we are too poor to afford this, and we'll just go away," she said.