Marlborough District Council

Whaleoil takes the win: Greater transparency in Marlborough

The Mex reports on something they should have taken an interest in earlier instead of toeing the council line.

We have, however, forced the council to take steps to be more transparent.

After a secretly-recorded discussion was leaked to a right-wing blog, the Marlborough District Council is seeking greater transparency in its chamber, with councillors now able to record meetings.

Under?new standing orders, the?public and councillors can now make recordings, with the permission of the committee chairman.

The council itself is also able to record meetings under the new standing orders, as long as appropriate signage is provided.

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett said while the new rules did not cover public-excluded meetings, which had to be kept confidential, he wanted as much information as possible to be out in the public arena.

“The more we have open to the public?the better, as far as I’m concerned. It’ll get rid of all this sniping,” Leggett said. ?? Read more »

Ratbag mayor wants people to act with respect and trust, chance would be a fine thing

One ratbag gets replaced by another ratbag, and he wants everyone to act within an environment of respect and trust?

He could have started by telling the truth about his real thoughts on the dodgy socialist?and world class theatre.

The new mayor of Marlborough District has made a plea for the new council to respect the decision-making process they have been elected to do.

John Leggett – the district’s first new mayor in 12 years, after Alistair Sowman stepped down at the election – told councillors at today’s swearing-in ceremony that he wanted an environment of respect and trust.

Mr Leggett was at the centre of confidential material leaked to an online website before the election, aimed at embarrassing him. ? Read more »

Marlborough’s new Boss Hogg still wants an investigation

The old boys network is back in charge and still throwing their weight around in Marlborough.

A full-scale inquiry into a?leaked recording made in Marlborough council chambers was cut short because it would have been too expensive, it has been revealed.

The inquiry ground to a?halt?before the elections last week, with no councillors or staff members identified as the source.

Newly-elected?Marlborough Mayor John Leggett said he would have liked the inquiry taken to the next step, so suspicion was lifted from?innocent councillors and staff.

However, chief executive Mark Wheeler said?it was dropped after?the likelihood of getting an outcome was weighed up?against the expense of carrying on.

Read more »

You’re welcome!


Apparently, I have encouraged closer scrutiny of local body candidates in Nelson and Marlborough.

A leak to controversial blogger Cameron Slater has sparked interest in who will be Marlborough’s new mayor.

Four well-known local men are putting their hands up to replace outgoing mayor Alistair Sowman, who’s hanging up the chains after 12 years in the job.

This Saturday’s election comes weeks after minutes from a closed door meeting on the future of the controversial new ASB Theatre were leaked the Whale Oil blog. ? Read more »

Boss Hogg and his vigilante arsehole mates need to pick on someone else


Outgoing Mayor and real Boss Hogg type character Alistair Sowman has unleashed a bunch of vigilante arseholes onto Marlborough.

They are searching for my source, the whistle-blower who busted Sowman’s Rosco P. Coltrane, John Leggett saying one thing in public and another behind closed doors.

Now their little witch hunt has escalated to violence.

A?councillor is outraged?about the?”defamatory” vandalism of her signs,?the latest in a spat about a?leaked recording which appeared on a right-wing blog.

Campaign signs belonging to Laressa Shenfield were vandalised between Thursday night and Friday morning.

Wallpaper was glued over the original?slogan, “Making a Difference”,?and was changed to “Making a recording”.

The vandalism?was?”malicious”, Shenfield said. ?? Read more »

Email of the day

With all the shenanigans going on in Marlborough, it has highlighted the Boss Hogg mentality operating in many small centres.

A reader emails:

Hi guys,

The more I’ve read about the going’s on with Mayor Sowman and the Marlborough District Council, the more it’s reminded me of the way Boss Hogg ran Hazzard County in the Dukes of Hazzard!In light of this, I decided to create an image of Mayor

In light of this, I decided to create an image of Mayor Sowman that more accurately reflected his perceived position.

A copy of the image is attached. You can use it on Whale Oil if you wish.

Read more »

They say Dirty Politics like it is a bad thing

Radio New Zealand is continuing on the witch hunt in Marlborough and Nelson. Instead of focussing on the issues they want to shoot the messenger and root out a whistle-blower.

Nelson councillor and mayoral candidate Pete Rainey said it amounted to gutter politics, which was unbelievable in local body elections.

The blog run by Cameron Slater was described in Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics, as having a history of running smear campaigns against MPs, health campaigners, environmentalists and others on behalf of Mr Slater’s political allies.

Mr Rainey, a city councillor for three terms, and co-owner of a local events management business, was recently accused of profiteering from his dealings with the council. He said the deputy mayor Paul Matheson asked for information on his business dealings with council, but Mr Rainey said it was later found to be wrong.

Whale Oil published the information.

“Look there’s definitely untrue claims made by Slater about a company I own and its dealing with the council. The information is incorrect – it’s quite clear it’s incorrect but the information is out in the public arena and I think the people of Nelson will have to make their own mind up about how that happened and who stood to gain from it,” Mr Rainey said.

Read more »

Dodgy theatre, dodgy council, dodgy media…why did no one act?


After we busted John Leggett and the Marlborough Express tried to ignore the story there still remain a number of unanswered questions that I am sure the ratepayers of Marlborough wants answers to.

For a start, let’s examine this “world class”?theatre malarky.

The council and the backers of the theatre must seriously think that the wine industry will continue to be strong there and “hopefully”, one day, all the “movie stars” of the world will just fly on in and while there doing their up-market shopping at The Warehouse and Farmers and the $2 shops they get so worn out that they want to catch a Broadway show direct from New friggin’ York.

There was never a valid business case for this white elephant. Now the council is committing more ratepayers cash after burning $5 million with the loan guarantee.

It took a brave staffer and some braver staff at the Mex to finally get some traction on this by leaking the audio of Leggett’s hypocrisy.

Then there is this comment in the article:

Public-excluded meetings were usually held for genuine reasons of commercial sensitivity.

“I have a view that using this sort of thing for political expediency is just despicable, and it is harmful to credibility – particularly for the person that actually recorded and released it,” he said.

Sowman?said it raised the question of how many other recordings were made. ?

Read more »

Despicable Me. As predicted the Marlborough Express ignores the issues and attacks me

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. ? Read more »

Marlborough Express still not publishing the mayor’s emails, but is publishing others