Timaru mayor silent on rival's criticisms
Steve Earnshaw's comments about Damon Odey on Facebook were:
Unsuccessful mayoral candidate Steve Earnshaw has criticised mayor-elect Damon Odey on Facebook for not knowing the region's estimated population growth.
The final result of Saturday's local body election shows Mr Odey won the mayoralty with 10,660 votes, to Mr Earnshaw's 6013.
On his Facebook page Mr Earnshaw criticised Mr Odey for not knowing what the region's estimated population growth was, when spoken to by the Herald on a story about census population statistics earlier this week.
"Population growth in our district aligns closely with the predictions in council's long-term plan (0.5 to 5.3 per cent growth to 2021)," he posted.
"It's worrying that our new mayor doesn't know the contents of our central planning document and that despite being our 'fulltime mayor' he didn't have time to quickly check it before talking to the newspaper. Not a great start."
Two people posted in defence of Mr Odey and said that Mr Earnshaw should "support your leader" and not get into "personality politics".
Mr Earnshaw said his responsibility was to the public.
"My support is earned. I support only those whom I respect, trust and who I have a shared purpose with.
"Democracy relies on representatives having their own opinions, not on them all passively supporting whoever won the latest election - otherwise we might as well get rid of the council and the Parliament and just have a mayor and a prime minister ruling autocratically."
Mr Earnshaw denied it was sour grapes, as suggested by commenter Pauline Pulford.
"It's a pretty basic expectation for the leader of an organisation to be familiar with its strategic plan. As an elected representative of this district, it is my responsibility to hold our new mayor to account."
Mr Earnshaw was sticking by his comments yesterday. When asked if he would support Mr Odey, he said, "I will have to wait and see. I am there for the best of the community. I should not blindly follow and support Damon."
Mr Odey said he had no comment.
"I've run a positive campaign and I don't look on Facebook," he said.
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