Dave Brugess at the Dom Post reports:
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has accused Deputy Mayor Ian McKinnon of betrayal in a furious rant in the public reception area of the city council’s offices.
The minute-long verbal spray on Thursday was aimed at Mr McKinnon for supporting calls for an extraordinary meeting of the council to confirm its full support for $2.4 billion of government roading projects.
Ms Wade-Brown had already told councillors that she would schedule a meeting within six weeks. But nine councillors, including Mr McKinnon, sped up the process by signing a resolution forcing the council to schedule the meeting for Wednesday.
The transport issues loom as the biggest threat to the leadership of Ms Wade-Brown, who does not support big roading projects, since she took office six months ago.
The reality is that Celia is in a minority on her own Council on transport issues. The NZTA has warned funding is at risk if the Council keeps sending mixed messages, so the Council is acting to make its formal position clear.
Ms Wade-Brown’s flash of fury after the committee meeting in the council offices was seen by councillors, staff and members of the public. One witness said: “She just totally lost her rag.”
A source said: “Everybody is talking about it in the council building. It is the only topic of conversation.”
Witnesses said Mr McKinnon appeared incandescent with rage at the public dressing-down as Ms Wade-Brown accused him of betrayal for not trying to stop councillors from setting up the meeting, and for supporting it himself
Ian McKinnon made clear when he became Deputy Mayor that he would vote with his conscience on policy issues – and this is a policy issue.
Councillor John Morrison said Mr McKinnon had worked tirelessly to help maintain the integrity of the office of the mayor.
“So for him to be attacked in public and accused of being disloyal to the mayor is totally out of order.”
Councillor Ray Ahipene-Mercer, who saw the mayor’s outburst, said: “It was an aggressive confrontation in a public arena.
“It was inappropriate because staff, visitors and the public were present. The deputy mayor tried to reason with her but was unsuccessful.”
Celia is very silly in attacking Ian like this. Ian is an old fashioned gentleman who has gone out of his way as Deputy Mayor to protect Celia. He has told numerous people that he doesn’t want people to attack her personally or portray her as unsuited to the office, as she deserves respect as the incumbent. He has said that any opposition should be to her policies (when warranted), not to her personally.
I doubt Ian will hold a grudge – he isn’t like that. But if I was Celia, I’d consider apologising. Having a public slanging match with your deputy in such a public area will not engender confidence in her – and it may especially make her Council colleagues less supportive.Tags: Celia Wade-Brown, Ian McKinnon, Wellington City Council