Mayor's rude texts target John Key

16:00, Dec 12 2009
John Key
JOHN KEY: 'The messages were in an aggressive tone.'

THE PRIME minister has become the latest target of unwelcome late-night missives from aspiring Auckland supercity mayor Andrew Williams.

An exasperated John Key has confirmed that Williams, mayor of Auckland's North Shore City, has on several occasions sent "aggressive" and "obnoxious" texts as late as 3.30am.

Williams has gained a reputation for firing off intemperate emails, text messages and voicemail to adversaries and colleagues until late into the evening.

In October, Williams emailed his mayoral predecessor George Wood at 11.34pm on a Saturday, describing Wood as a "buffoon" and a "disgruntled, failed has-been". He also left abusive messages on Wood's voicemail.

Key told the Sunday Star-Times that he had not replied to any of Williams' messages. He said they had arrived at "anything up to half past three in the morning. It's certainly nocturnal.

"I never reply to them , they're never worthy of a reply. The messages were in an aggressive tone... I'm not going to respond to obnoxious messages at this time of the morning."

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The text messages were on a "variety of issues" related to the coming amalgamation of Auckland's four councils into a single local authority.

Williams, who has been dubbed the "Clown of Campbells Bay", was unrepentant for waking the leader of the land, saying he enjoyed a text message relationship with Key.

Asked whether Key responded, Williams said: "I don't really want to go into my discussions with the prime minister... it's not really for the media to be aware of my communications with the prime minister."

Revelations of after-dark communications with Key come as Wood releases on the internet the abusive rants Williams left on his answer phone in October.

Blogger Cameron Slater – who has feuded with Williams in the past – is from today hosting the recordings on behalf of Wood on his website whaleoil.co.nz.

Williams told the Star-Times that "just because the likes of George Wood might be tucked up in his bed at nine at night doesn't mean to say that everyone works to those same hours does it?"

Williams' bedtime varied but "can be very late, sometimes before midnight, sometimes after".

"I will wake up in the middle of the night and think to myself that I can get up and do a few more hours extra work... I have always worked long hours and at all times of the day and night."

Williams' critics have suggested alcohol might be playing a part in his behaviour. Last year, he had an altercation with an ambulance officer who was treating him after he collapsed during a Navy function. He also gave away Christmas gifts of "Stop Banks" wine to show his dislike for Auckland City mayor John Banks.

But Williams last week said he had not been drunk since his 21st birthday party.

Asked how late was too late to text people such as the prime minister, Williams said: "Are text messages time-sensitive, are they?

"Sometimes something pops into your head and you send off a message, not really knowing what time it is."

Sunday Star Times