Horowhenua mayor calls for council CEO to step down

Horowhenua's mayor has called for his council's chief executive to stand down in a spat over emails being screened.

A leaked audit of the council reveals chief executive David Clapperton screened ratepayers and staff members' emails.

Mayor Michael Feyen wants Mr Clapperton to step down.

"Huge breaches of privacy in the emails, misuse and redirection - the whole lot."

The audit, which the mayor wouldn't show to Newshub, says 10 email addresses were redirected over a short period - but Mr Feyen claims the screening has been running for years.

"How many decisions have been affected by emails that haven't found their way to the right place?"

The mayor wouldn't meet Newshub at the council, preferring Lake Horowhenua as he didn't want some staff to listen in.

"I'm not paranoid, I'm not paranoid at all," he says.

The council says the audit hasn't been released because it's not up to standard and will be peer-reviewed.

Mr Clapperton says some emails were redirected to protect staff from inappropriate criticism and racism.

The mayor planned to discuss the audit last night but a council meeting was cancelled. Most councillors said they couldn't make it.

Mr Feyen says he has the support of just one of 10 other counsellors.

Deputy mayor Wayne Bishop wasn't available to go on camera but told us this was a personal crusade by the mayor to get rid of the chief executive.

He wouldn't comment further until the report had been released to the public next month.

Residents say they just want everyone to get on with job.

"I just want to put them all over my knee and give them a good spanking," one local woman says.

Local government minister Anne Tolley says she's following any developments.