Why is the Marlborough Express focused on leaks?

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The Marlborough Express is breathlessly reporting on the witch hunt at the council where mayoral candidate John Leggett told us what he really thought about the “World Class” theatre.

Instead of running stories about what a giant waste of money the “World Class” theatre is, and how badly mismanaged the entire project has been, they are concentrating on the witch hunt.

Outgoing Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman said by not signing the declarations the councillors were prolonging an issue that he described as “absolutely despicable”.

“I wanted to leave on a positive note, so to leave with this hanging over the council and the other councillors is extremely disappointing,” he said.

How is it absolutely despicable to let a candidate explain their position in their own words? And how it is it despicable to spend more time trying to hunt down people who leak rather than addressing the fundamental problem, the totally mismanaged “World Class” Theatre project.

What is despicable is a mayoral candidate who says one thing in public and another in private. This is hypocrisy at its worst.

  • symgardiner

    Why would a councillor even think of signing such a thing? Councillors are accountable to the voters, not other councillors nor the council CEO. It’s a bit like Helen Clark who could quite legitimately say she never leaked. She was the boss and the boss can release info.

    • peterwn

      It is possibly a practical rather than a legal requirement. A councillor probably cannot be ejected from Council for refusing to sign, but could be taken off committees and denied access to information except council papers relevant to the meetings he can attend or what he is entitled to (and pays for) under OIA. This assumes the Mayor and a majority of councillors support such an action.
      There are difficulties in the immediate instance since the council is in the twilight of its existence, two have refused to sign making the exercise inconclusive and it could be that neither of them is responsible anyway (noting that a council staffer has warned that anyone who falsely signed the declaration would be referred to the police). A councillor (or staffer) at the meeting would be daft if he or she used a council owned device to clandestinely record a conversation or meeting.

      • Bling Bling

        There is no legal requirement. It seems from a MEX blog comment yesterday (not the MEX itself) that the witch hunt is botched, so any Police action would be useless. It is the last bash of the Old Boys Bully club tactics as one of the non signers has said, Like the w/class theatre getting declarations was a stupid course of action. You can’t expect any better.

        WO has done a great job here but the MEX is impervious to the big picture and runs with the bullies. It hasn’t troubled itself with digging deeper but swallows everything the council’s spin Dr hands out . Recycling articles on the issue isn’t going to change its view.

  • shykiwibloke

    Well done WO on this thread. Not becuase I am particularly interested in this specific council though. I think this just proves there is nowhere that WO sunlight can’t get, and it will make incoming troughers everywhere think twice before doing something dodgy. So thanks to WO, councils, health boards and other snout fests will be that little bit more honest and open. A contribution of value to the community.