Animosity with Brownlee 'history' - Dalziel

Last updated 05:00 20/06/2013
Dalziel on the mayoralty
Fairfax NZ

MOVING ON: Christchurch mayoral hopeful Lianne Dalziel says she and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee will "just have to set everything aside" if she is elected.

Gerry Brownlee
Fairfax NZ
GERRY BROWNLEE: Lianne Dalziel - the outgoing Christchurch East MP - has had her relationship with Earthquake Recovery Minister Brownlee blighted by attacks that she says became personal.

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Lianne Dalziel tried to call a truce with Gerry Brownlee earlier this year.

The Opposition earthquake recovery spokeswoman contacted the minister after a series of well-publicised stoushes, keen to bury the hatchet for the good of Christchurch. Brownlee was receptive, but stressed the bad blood went both ways.

Now, the political opponents could be thrust into a partnership if Dalziel - outgoing Christchurch East MP - topples Mayor Bob Parker in October's local body elections.

Her relationship with Brownlee for about 18 months had been blighted by attacks Dalziel believed had become personal.

Dalziel said yesterday she spoke to Brownlee earlier this year to "put a line" under the personal battles.

He felt the conflict was "two-way", she said.

"I accepted that's how he felt, but I feel I'm able to establish a good working relationship with him, and I have a reasonable working relationship with him now.

"People only see what is available to be seen in the public arena."

Last year, Brownlee said in Parliament that Dalziel was "grumpy" about not getting more taxpayer money for her red-zoned Bexley property, a comment she labelled "underhanded". She described his later apology as insincere, saying he could not have been "more offensive if he tried".

Dalziel told The Press in December she tried to "establish a relationship" with Brownlee when she became the Labour Party's earthquake recovery spokeswoman, but had been "singularly unsuccessful".

Those stoushes were now "history", she said yesterday.

"The relationship between the mayor and the minister and the question of the recovery of the city - both of them are bigger than the both of us put together.

"We just have to set everything aside."

Brownlee could not comment yesterday, but told The Press this week the mayoralty was "for the voters of Christchurch to cast a vote and determine - not me".

He had worked well with Parker, he said, "despite what everyone likes to think", and had doubted Dalziel would run.

Former Wigram MP Jim Anderton, who has worked in Government with Dalziel and with Brownlee on the Christchurch Stadium Trust, said it should be "relatively easy" for the pair to put aside their differences if Dalziel was elected mayor.

"They don't have to like each other; they don't have to go to dinner on a Friday night; they don't even have to share jokes. They have to get on with the business."

For 13 years, Anderton was a "fairly lengthy distance" from Helen Clark but was able to form a three-term coalition government with her as prime minister.

"In the interests of the country, we buried a hatchet in the ground, instead of each other's head, and joined forces.

"In the interests of Christchurch, can mature politicians put aside any grievance they might have had? The answer is, of course they can."

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- The Press


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