Corbett admits swearing at fellow councillor

TINA LAW
Last updated 14:09 10/12/2012
barry corbett
ANGRY: Councillor Barry Corbett.
Glenn Livingstone
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ
NO UNITY: Christchurch city councillor Glenn Livingstone.
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Christchurch City councillor Barry Corbett has outed himself as the person who called a fellow councillor a term ''from the gutter''.

A verbal altercation between Corbett and Glenn Livingstone in the council car park after a council meeting last Friday came to light when Livingstone posted a message on the Twitter social media site.

Livingstone tweeted: ''I've just been called an Effin A hole by another Cr in the Council basement carpark, because I didn't vote their way. Unity at the CCC!''

In a letter to the editor, Corbett said Livingstone made a lone vote against an agenda recommendation, but said nothing during the discussion on the issue and did nothing to convince other councillors to oppose it.

Other councillors did not realise he was not happy, Corbett said.

After the meeting, Corbett had a ''private one-on-one conversation'' with Livingstone in the car park, where Corbett said he explained "why I thought his negative vote, without explanation, was  a dereliction of his elected position''.

''His reaction was to go and bemoan on social media, which I think proves either that the words I used about him in the discussion were apt, or maybe not strong enough!''

Corbett said he had written the letter owning up because other councillors have been ''queried as to whether they were responsible for the naughty words that have been made public''.

''Not fighting for your convictions in front of everyone in the debating chamber, or using swear words in a private conversation, both obviously unacceptable, but which one is worthy of a newspaper headline?''

Corbett said today he did not want to comment further on the matter.

He would not say what the vote was on because it was in the public-excluded part of the council meeting.

Livingstone said today nothing justified the name calling and he tweeted about the comment because he believed it was important for the community to know what was going on.

''It's the fact that it's seen as okay and it's not okay.''

Livingstone said he had moved on and his focus was on housing and insurance issues.

The letter

Dear Sir,

Re 'Councillor claims vote led to abuse' Press Dec 8.

In the movie 'Twelve Angry Men' a juror convinces the other 11, through the power of debate, why he believes the defendant was not guilty.

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At Friday's council meeting Cr Livingstone was the lone vote against an agenda recommendation.

Unfortunately he said nothing during the discussion, which meant that not only did the other councillors not realise that he wasn't happy, he didn't try to convince us to oppose it.

Afterwards, in a private one on one conversation in the car park, I explained why I thought his negative vote, without explanation, was  a dereliction of his elected position.

"If you strongly believe in something use your chance in the debating chamber to convince your fellow representatives". I emphasised this using a term 'from the gutter'.

His reaction was to go and bemoan on social media, which I think proves either that the words I used about him in the discussion were apt, or maybe not strong enough!

I've written this letter owning up, because other councillors have been queried as to whether they were responsible for the naughty words that have been made public.

Not fighting for your convictions in front of everyone in the debating chamber, or using swear words in a private conversation, both obviously unacceptable, but which one is worthy of a newspaper headline?

Barry Corbett (Cr)
Cashmere

- The Press

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