By TRACEY ROXBURGH
Otago Regional councillor Michael Laws is stepping down as deputy chair to better advocate for Dunstan in the annual plan debate.
Laws says he’s written to chair Andrew Noone, and informed his council colleagues of his decision.
‘‘As deputy chair, you are expected to promote the council’s plans, even when you fundamentally disagree with them.
‘‘This year’s draft annual plan — with its 18% rates rise and $190/hour consenting charge — is a step too far.’’
Laws says he opposed the document going out last month, unhappy that ‘‘in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis’’ ORC was adding to it.
‘‘At that point, the proper thing to do is for me to step aside and advocate both publicly and politically for significant change.
‘‘I won’t defend the indefensible.
‘‘Sadly, this year’s annual plan is just that.’’
Laws says he’s got the ‘‘upmost respect’’ for Noone, who’s ‘‘done an amazing job in extra ordinarily difficult times’’.
‘‘But I need to advocate strongly and challenge the assumptions underlying the plan.
‘‘I can’t do that properly as deputy.
‘‘Hence, this decision.’’
A new deputy will be elected at the next ORC meeting on May 25.