Marborough Council: Killing the messenger and starting a witch hunt

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Marlborough’s Mayor has called in lawyers over a leaked recording of a confidential council meeting earlier this year, which has been made public via a right-wing blog.

Alistair Sowman said he was sickened by the action and councillors were horrified a colleague potentially leaked it.

The closed meeting was about finances surrounding the troubled ASB Theatre in Blenheim, and the audio and transcript has appeared on the Whale Oil blog.

The $23 million theatre opened in March this year, despite last-minute financial problems that saw the council step in to help.

Blogger Cameron Slater claimed it was council staff who leaked mayoral hopeful John Leggett’s views on the theatre funding.

Mr Sowman said it was more likely to be a councillor and if that was proven then he or she could be asked to resign.

“We need to go to all councillors who were at that meeting on the day and get them to sign an affidavit to say it wasn’t them that did the recordings. And then we need to work from there and whether we’re looking at recording devices that councillors may have had, I don’t know, that’s something we need to determine.”

Mr Sowman, who is stepping down this year, said it was gutter politics of the type he had not seen in a career spanning several terms on council.

Nelson mayoral candidate Pete Rainey has also recently appeared in an unflattering piece on the Whale Oil blog.

Unflattering it may be, but that’s what happens when you shine some sunlight into small towns in New Zealand.  Locals don’t dare speak out because their lives will be made hell.  Local news doesn’t dare speak up because their commercial viability is under threat if they speak up against their biggest advertisers.

So they act like they are violated, scream “Whaleoil” and hope that voters will forget what it is really all about.

What an utter waste of rate payers’ money to try and figure out who helped the truth get to the public.

Stop screaming my name, and start taking responsibility for your own words and actions.



  • Kendall

    Nothing elected officials say to other elected officials, about a public resourse(s) should ever be private. It just screams of hiding things in the first place. Elected by the people for the people, removed by the people for the people.

  • Bob Dazzler

    I recall an old piece of advice for those giving sermons, your message is weak, shout louder!

  • biscuit barrel

    Get the councillors to sign an affidavit ? Tell him hes dreaming. Other than kick a councillor off a committee they have no power to remove one – only the voters can do that. The whole council should refuse this silly attempt by the outgoing mayor to overplay his cards

  • Roscoe

    Nothing elected officials say to other elected officials should ever be private? Seriously? Would this also apply to parliament or is it only local government politians that would be subject to this imposition?

  • Kerry

    This is just unbelievable, the pricks have been caught out telling lies and want to punish the person who leaks the truth. These fools have been sucked in by the trusties who in my mind always knew they would get the ratepayers to stump up, these councillors were all to stupid to see it. I wont be voting for any of these dishonest buggars.

  • Dave

    Late to the party sorry, but I think the MEX-Icans need to really think about hat they have done. Now the story has been published in the MEX, the references to WO will be there do more and more Blenheimers, I would love to see the WO viewership stats if they could drill down to towns easily, as moraine more visit to by the facts, MEX have succeeded in shooting themselves in both fee over and over for their part in a lazy cover up. WO is now the talk of Marlborough, I bet a few more are clicking and getting the truth.

  • Bling Bling

    Sowman has been the problem and his mates in the staff and out of council.
    He and the CEO (and with the previous one) have too much power. There are new candidates who want this to change ASAP. Some current Councillors have almost despaired, one or two have thrown in the towel at having been frustrated by council’s senior management and the Mayor. Well done WO.