Michael Forbes at Stuff reports:
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown hailed it as a vote on which the city council would “show leadership”.
Councillors had spent more than two years arguing over the Basin Reserve flyover project, and yesterday – finally – was the day to declare whether they would support it to a board of inquiry.
But in the end, Ms Wade-Brown just couldn’t bring herself to do it – and she joined five other councillors in voting against the $90 million project.
She had barely left the strategy and policy committee meeting before her fellow councillors were accusing her of a “flip-flop”, of dithering and of being indecisive.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen such extraordinary behaviour over one council paper,” mayoral rival John Morrison said.
Ms Wade-Brown began the meeting by saying she would have preferred a tunnel, but the best way to show leadership was to negotiate as many design improvements to the flyover as possible.
After months of negotiations with the New Zealand Transport Agency, the council had done that, and she said she thought the agency would come up with a more pleasing design if the council offered support rather than digging its toes in and saying no.
Again, she’s right.
But then – after councillors had all made speeches, largely confirming their long-held views – Ms Wade-Brown asked to speak again.
“This is a lot better flyover [design] than we started out with,” she said. “But I just cannot support the flyover myself.”
So by her own words she voted against an act of leadership and her own recommended strategy!