Row flares over choice of deputy

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt is becoming embroiled in another spat with a city councillor over the city's deputy mayoralty position, with Darren Ludlow having a dig at him yesterday.

Cr Ludlow questioned the fortitude of Mr Shadbolt, saying the mayor had failed to tell him he was not wanted as the new deputy mayor.

Mr Shadbolt's report to next week's council meeting says he will be recommending Cr Carolyn Dean for the vacant deputy mayoralty role ahead of Cr Ludlow, who is having his third tilt at the job.

The council will vote on the issue at its meeting on Tuesday, with the race between Cr Ludlow and Cr Dean expected to be close.

After learning on Wednesday night that Mr Shadbolt wanted Cr Dean in the job, Cr Ludlow wrote on his Facebook page: "You would think when Tim saw me at 3.15pm this afternoon he'd have had the fortitude to tell me of his decision. THAT is disappointing."

Speaking yesterday, Cr Ludlow said he had gone to the trouble of telling Mr Shadbolt he would be standing for the deputy mayoralty and he was disappointed Mr Shadbolt had not reciprocated.

"It wouldn't have been hard and it would have shown good leadership," Cr Ludlow said.

However, Mr Shadbolt said yesterday it was all a miscommunication and he thought Cr Ludlow already knew he wanted Cr Dean in the position.

"I walked out happy as Larry thinking `gosh, he is taking it so well, it's fantastic he is not upset'. I assumed – I know what a hi-tech guy he is – that as soon as it went online he would be looking at it ... I thought he would have known by 3.15."

Mr Shadbolt had a massive falling out in 2009 with the then Invercargill deputy mayor Neil Boniface, with lack of communication a major factor in that dispute.

Mr Shadbolt said there would be blood on the floor in his bid to get rid of Cr Boniface, but the council voted to retain Cr Boniface against the mayor's wishes.

Cr Ludlow said yesterday he believed Tuesday's deputy mayoralty contest against Cr Dean would be close and the outcome could be determined by which of the councillors voted.

He believed it would be morally wrong for the departing deputy mayor, Cr Jackie Kruger, to vote.

"They might find some legal way to allow her to have a vote but if you are leaving a city, why should you continue to have a say in its future leadership?" he asked.

Cr Kruger's vote could yet be crucial to the outcomes of both the deputy mayoralty and finance chair jobs.

It is understood she will vote for Cr Dean as deputy mayor and Cr Ian Pottinger as finance committee chair.

Cr Kruger was yesterday standing her ground. She issued a statement saying she remained a fully-fledged councillor until the day she resigned and would be exercising her voting rights at Tuesday's council meeting.

"I will be making my decision in the best interest of the community of Invercargill, which is my moral obligation as a councillor."


Mayor Tim Shadbolt's desire to have more input into the governance of the council's trading companies will require him to jump through several hoops and be interviewed by a man he has snubbed for a senior role on the city council.

Mr Shadbolt announced this week he would be seeking a position as a director of the council's holding company, Holdco, at the Tuesday council meeting.

The chairman of Holdco is city councillor Norman Elder, who several city councillors want as the new chairman of the council's finance and policy committee. That position is up for grabs after incumbent Jackie Kruger announced she would resign.

Mr Shadbolt has instead nominated first-term councillor Ian Pottinger as his preferred choice for the finance and policy committee chairman.

Cr Elder said yesterday he would respect Mr Shadbolt's nomination and would not stand against Cr Pottinger at Tuesday's meeting.

But if the majority of the council did not vote for Cr Pottinger then Cr Elder said he would allow his name to be put forward.

Cr Elder said that he found it intriguing that Mr Shadbolt believed it would be a conflict of interest if he was the chair of Holdco and the chair of the finance and policy committee ... "but he doesn't see a conflict of interest for himself to be the mayor and also on Holdco".

Council policy determined that Mr Shadbolt would have to go through a selection process to become a director of Holdco, Cr Elder said.

The council would first have to accept Mr Shadbolt's recommendation for himself to go onto Holdco at Tuesday's council meeting.

Then Mr Shadbolt would be interviewed by a panel consisting of Cr Elder as Holdco chair, city council chief executive Richard King and an independent appointee. This was to "ensure the principles of good governance are understood and the candidate is suitable," Cr Elder said.

The panel would then make a recommendation to the full council as to whether Mr Shadbolt should be on Holdco, and the council would vote on the issue.

"That's council policy ... I would assume we will be following council policy," Cr Elder said.

Mr Shadbolt said that if he did get onto Holdco while being mayor he would get someone else to sign off on the Holdco director's fees.


Mayor Tim Shadbolt's former personal assistant Aisha Williams has joined the debate over who should win power on the Invercargill City Council.

Some of Cr Darren Ludlow's Facebook friends, disappointed Mr Shadbolt has opted to recommend Cr Carolyn Dean for the vacant deputy mayor's role, have suggested on Facebook that Cr Ludlow should stand against Mr Shadbolt in next year's mayoral elections.

Ms Williams posted on Cr Ludlow's facebook site: "Ludlow for Mayor."

Ms Williams did not respond to calls yesterday, and neither did Mr Shadbolt

However, council chief executive Richard King said Ms Williams had not been Mr Shadbolt's personal assistant since last Wednesday.

Mr King refused to comment further yesterday.

Nor would he say if Ms Williams was still employed by the Invercargill City Council.

The Southland Times