Councillor apologises after verbal stoush
A first-term Christchurch city councillor has apologised to his ward colleague after a public verbal stoush that erupted from long-running tensions over plans for a waterpark in the city's east.
In the brief exchange last week, Burwood-Pegasus councillor David East allegedly verbally attacked fellow ward representative Glenn Livingstone, calling him "the C-word". East denies he used that word but confirmed he used inappropriate language. Livingstone maintains the word was used.
East immediately apologised and the pair both say they have moved on.
The incident, witnessed by at least two members of the public, happened at a Christchurch East by-election meeting last Tuesday night. Mayor Lianne Dalziel said she was "absolutely delighted" two mature men had sorted out the issue and were "behaving like adults".
Livingstone and East were reluctant to comment when approached yesterday.
Livingstone said: "I just want to let it go and move on because I want to keep the unity of the council going."
East said he had "let myself down and I let my standards down".
The flare-up happened after Labour's by-election candidate, Poto Williams, responded to a question at the meeting about the water park. She expressed concerns about the cost of the project, which East is backing.
This angered East, who believes the Labour Party has an agenda against the project. Livingstone is a Labour Party member and well-known supporter of Williams but denies he or Labour oppose the project.
Livingstone said East was clearly agitated after Williams' response.
He was surprised at the outburst, saying East seemed "pretty riled at the time".
Livingstone told East he was willing to "let it go this time" but warned he would bring a code of conduct charge against him if it happened again.
"He just kept on coming at me. I was trying to defend myself. It was a bit like being in a boxing ring and being on the ropes."
He said East used "that (C) word" but East denied that yesterday.
Livingstone said he tried to explain to East he would support the project if the costings showed it was feasible but "he wouldn't listen". He suspected East was under pressure to get the project started.
East confirmed "sheer frustration generated over several months" was behind the incident.
"I used some inappropriate language at the time and I don't think I need to expand on that a lot further. I had a conversation that was somewhat heated but I believe I had grounds for the consternation and I make no apology for the subject."
But East said he apologised soon after he used the bad language.
"I got pretty worked up about the whole thing. I did say something I shouldn't have and I did apologise immediately. As far as I am concerned, the matter has been dealt with. It got out of hand on my part."
Both men said they enjoyed a good working relationship.
"We get on well apart from that little incident. We've always had an easy relationship," Livingstone said.
East said it was a private conversation and he was surprised anyone had heard it.
The pair had both moved on, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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