[November 16, 1929 – New Zealand Herald] The action of the Mayor of Mount Albert, Mr. L. E. Rhodes, in sending a telegram to the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Coates, asking him to oppose the amendment to the Transport Bill, was criticised at a special meeting of the Borough Council on Thursday. It was contended that by doing this Mr. Rhodes had contributed to the defeat of the proposed legislation to make the Auckland Transport Board elective. A motion was carried, however, expressing appreciation of the Mayor’s work on the board, and continued confidence in him as one of its representatives.
Mr. B. Brigham, deputy-mayor, said that the boroughs of Mount Eden, Newmarket and Mount Albert wished to have the Transport Board made elective to assure a more satisfactory administration. The bill had been practically promoted by the outside local bodies, all of which desired to have the term of the present board terminated, and an election held. In view of this fact, and because the Mount Albert Borough Council had passed a resolution in that direction, it was most unfortunate that the Mayor should have telegraphed to Mr. Coates asking that he should use his efforts to oppose the measure.
It had been heard on good authority that the telegram was the means of stopping the passage of the bill, Mr. Brigham continued. When it was produced in the House by Mr. Coates, some of those had made up their minds to support the bill changed their minds immediately. “You have turned down your colleagues, and I am afraid, placed yourself in a very awkward position,” he said. “It is a regrettable thing that the consequences of your action were so disastrous.”
Mr. Brigham then moved a motion that the council disagreed with the action of the Mayor, who was also one of its members on the Transport Board, in sending a telegram to Mr. Coates to oppose the amendment of the Transport Bill, and that it in its opinion the bill should have been amended as brought before the House.
In seconding, Mr. A. A. Buckley said he thought that a grave mistake was made, and that if the Mayor had considered the position he would not have despatched the message. He should have known the attitude of the council in respect to an elective board. As it was, the Mayor had probably prejudiced his opportunities when the board was eventually made elective, whereas he believed that if the bill had been passed untouched Mr. Rhodes would have been among the first members elected.
The motion was carried, and it was decided to forward copies to Mr. Coates, the Minister of Transport and the members of Parliament for the district. The Mayor said that he had sent the telegram as a member of the board. It was in the belief that the members of the board were being slighted, and that the constitution of the board was being altered without their consent that he had sent the telegram, which had caused the trouble. It had all been accomplished within five minutes, but he realised now that he had acted hastily. Had he thought it over carefully, he would probably not have acted as he had done. He failed to remember the resolution passed by the council favouring an elective board. “I will be the first one to resign if the other members see fit to resign and place themselves in the hands of the ratepayers,” he concluded.