Mayoral ambitions adding to problems: Clark


The man about to become deputy mayor has pointed the finger at three councillors who want to wear the mayoral chains adding to systemic problems within the Invercargill City Council.

Councillor Nobby Clark confirmed there were factions within the council yesterday.

“This is a systemic problem which has been going on for years.

“We have at least three councillors that want to be mayor — Ian Pottinger, Becs [Rebecca] Amunsden and Darren Ludlow — so that creates a little bit of an issue.”

With co-councillors lining up to do Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt’s job, it created problems, he said.

“If the other councillors want to resolve it, they can resolve it.”

He believed the way forward was for councillors to “fully focus” on outcomes for the betterment of the city.

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In an email to Sir Tim, deputy mayor Toni Biddle and Lindsay Abbot on August 24, Cr Clark raised concerns about ICC chief executive Clare Hadley’s “several discussions” with the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).

In documents released to the Otago Daily Times, Ms Hadley confirmed discussions with the DIA regarding the council began in January. The initial conversation led to another in mid-late January where the DIA was seeking to understand “the lay of the land”.

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Mr Clark’s letter says Ms Hadley also had a planned meeting with the DIA during the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) AGM conference in Wellington, scheduled for July.

Cr Clark said he no longer had concerns about her contact with the DIA, but did wonder why council was not informed earlier about these discussions.

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In an email from Ms Hadley to an unknown recipient, it also confirmed about August 11, councillors were talking about the performance of council, “and in discussing this with Cr Pottinger, he wanted to understand what options for support for council there may be, and the mechanics around crown observers”.

It was he who thought contact should be made with LGNZ.

Earlier this week Cr Pottinger said he believed people were imagining factions and toxicity and they (councillors) were all there to do a job.

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He suggested the situation had been sensationalised in the media.

When contacted by the Otago Daily Times, Ms Hadley said it would not be appropriate she comment on matters which related to the review now under way.

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