But Barry, who is seeking re-election, said that the city was always his priority – not the party.
“When I was elected mayor in 2019, I swore an oath and signed a declaration to serve in the best interests of Lower Hutt,” he said. “That was my number one commitment then, and that remains my number one commitment now.”
Barry had previously said he had not signed “anything that requires me to follow parliamentary party policy” and that his track record showed it was “nonsense” to claim otherwise.
The track record is being one of only two Mayors in the region who supports the Three Waters reforms.
Both Labour and Greens require their local body candidates to sign a pledge that they will vote as the party wishes them to – to follow their policy platform. this means these candidates don't represent voters to the Council but effectively represent their parties to the Council.
Barry is splitting hairs by stating he is not required to follow parliamentary party policy. He is required to follow Labour Party policy, and it is naïve to think there is a significant difference between the policy of the parliamentary wing and the policy of the party. He also misled in a debate on 12 September with the transcript below:
Tony Stallinger (Mayoral candidate):
I think it is a big issue. I as people know, I have a team of candidates also standing with me. We have been upfront from day one, what we stand for. It's only four things, four principles. They're available on the website. They're on our flyers, they're everywhere. There are no secrets. I am concerned that the Labour Party Constitution has a requirement of candidates to sign a pledge. Now a pledge to faithfully observe the party policy and the public policy platform of the party. I don't know if Campbell has signed that but the Constitution says he must. Now I don't know what policy platform Labour Party is going to come up with over the next three years. I don't think there should be any party endorsed candidates, whether it be from Labour, National or other ones, they should be free to advocate for the interests of the city.
Campbell Barry (Labour Mayoral Candidate & sitting Mayor):
Can I just give an example of why that statement is such a nonsense I've already been talking about why how myself and the council has been opposed to the government's reform around blanket intensification of the city. [Interjection – did you sign it?] No. [Interjection – then why does the Constitution say that?] Let me be very clear, there is no obligation on me to follow the parliamentary party and the policies that they have. I absolutely put the people of our city first and all the decisions that I make and the and the values that I run on and I have a track record now three years of doing that, and no one around the council table has ever questioned me until we get to an election. Okay, another, another question.
He said no when the answer was yes.