As predicted yesterday the Marlborough Express has written an attack piece on me. They didn’t even call for comment.
Political skulduggery has again rocked the council chamber in Marlborough as lawyers are called in to investigate a secret recording of a committee meeting leaked to a right-wing blog.
The leak to Whale Oil could see heads roll at the council, as councillors who attended the meeting are made to front up on Monday.
A recording of a tense behind closed doors discussion about the cash-strapped ASB Theatre was published on the blog site on Friday.
I love they used the word skullduggery. Bonus points for that.
Council chief executive Mark Wheeler said if a councillor had leaked the public-excluded discussion he or she could be asked to resign.
Maybe they will get voted out. But why the focus on councillors? I think they should be concentrating on running the council not conducting witch hunts.
Councillor Peter Jerram said the leak was “absolutely orchestrated” and smacked of “dirty politics” emerging in Marlborough.
“Party politics are definitely involved. But worse than that, it’s gutter politics.”
Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman said the post was a clear attack on mayoral frontrunner Leggett, after a “very successful” attack on Sowman himself.
A petition and poll about the theatre project appeared on social media in June, which Sowman believed were intended to discredit him.
Sowman also came under attack from Whale Oil in July, with the blog running a photograph of him with a superimposed pig’s snout.
Friday’s leak discredited both the council and the community, he said.
“There’s been nothing like this in Marlborough politics in my memory.”
Someone was working to derail Leggett’s mayoralty bid, Sowman said.
The council should be discredited…they’ve let a bad situation get worse and are now committing more ratepayer cash to the project. Leggett is a hypocrite. He got busted. That is not dirty politics that is shining sunlight from an honourable whistle blower.
Leggett would not speculate as to who was behind the leak, but said he was disappointed.
“We have a situation now where councillors can’t wholeheartedly trust their colleagues,” he said.
On the leaked recording, Leggett was highly critical of the financial management of the theatre.
Whale Oil said Leggett’s public support for the theatre contrasted with his private opinions.
Leggett said his critical comments were made when councillors were unexpectedly informed the theatre project was facing financial difficulties.
He was questioning how cost overruns had occurred.
The theatre was “very positive” for the town, he said.
The meeting took place two months before the Marlborough Civic Theatre Trust told the council it could not repay $5m in loans guaranteed by the council.
Sowman said each councillor who attended the community and finance committee meeting in April would be spoken to on Monday, and the council was seeking legal advice.
Witch hunts are never productive. Just as well Mr Trougher is not standing again.
It seems strange that the Marlborough Express would ignore the issues with the theatre and focus on some political argy bargy. Then again the Council is the Mex’s largest advertiser and the theatre is the third largest.
Why didn’t they run this story and leave it to me, from Auckland to hold ratbags to account?
Do I have to get in a plane and come down there and teach them how to do their jobs?
– Marlborough Express