Community deserves to know if it paid towards defamation defence

Kāpiti Coast mayoral candidate Gwynn Compton is calling on the Kāpiti Coast District Council to be open and transparent on if and how much ratepayers may have been stung for in assisting Mayor K Gurunathan’s legal defence and subsequent settlement following the end of defamation action brought against the Mayor by Raechel and Vince Osborne of Waikane.

“Mayor K Gurunathan made local government openness and transparency a centrepiece of his 2016 campaign. With his apology being signed off as being in his role as Mayor, ratepayers deserve to know whether any of their money has been spent on the defence and settlement of this defamation case, and if so how much,” says Mr Compton.

“There has been some comment in media in the past that the Council carries defamation insurance, with a possible excess up to $10,000. With the Mayor’s full page advertisement in the Kāpiti News potentially costing up to $1,500, plus what could be significant legal costs on top of that, if we’ve had to help foot the bill for the Mayor’s defence we need to know what we’ve been forced to cough up.”

Mr Compton is also suggesting that Mayor K Gurunathan owes an apology to the wider Kāpiti Coast community too.

“Kāpiti deserves better than having residents needing to take defamation cases against elected representatives. Our Mayor should be able to listen and respond respectfully to criticism and disagreements from residents without it ending up in court.”