Two former senior Hamilton City Council figures, well known for their stormy working relationship, are doing battle again - this time in earthquake-ravaged Christchurch.
A group of "influential" business leaders has enlisted former Hamilton mayor David Braithwaite in their battle against the reappointment of Christchurch City Council chief executive Tony Marryatt.
The group, which is largely anonymous, said it wanted to make the public aware of concerns raised during Mr Marryatt's time as Hamilton City Council chief executive.
Group spokesman Mike Dormer said the collection of "very influential businessmen" and public office-holders, who he would not name, had "a considerable amount of dissatisfaction" with Mr Marryatt's performance in Christchurch.
The group was concerned that Mr Marryatt would impede Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive Roger Sutton.
"If Roger tries to get things done, they won't get done, because he [Marryatt] has a record of delaying things or tipping them up."
Mr Braithwaite, who frequently clashed with Mr Marryatt during his mayoral term, spoke with the group on Thursday.
Mr Braithwaite said Mr Marryatt had "created an environment of fear and bullying" in Hamilton, and was often referred to as "the 14th councillor".
"Shortly after I was elected, he told me that he was running the city and not me ... he was an unelected bureaucrat who interfered with the order and management of the city."
Mr Marryatt had given incorrect advice to the council about standing orders and made decisions without consulting him, Mr Braithwaite claimed.
The Christchurch council needed to lengthen the appointment process to find a better candidate, he said.
Mr Marryatt described the Braithwaite claims as "absolutely untrue". The mayor had been part of a minority faction during his time with the council, he said.
"I work for the council, not the mayor. He feels I should have done exactly as he decided, but as you know, the mayor has only one vote."
Mr Marryatt said Mr Braithwaite had failed to win re-election after one term, while his CEO contract had been extended by the next council.
Mr Marryatt declined to comment on the business group's claims, but said there were "two sides to every story".
The council was ultimately responsible for whether he would be reappointed, Mr Marryatt said.
"That's the world I live in: I live on five-year contracts, and if the council says, 'Tony, there's someone better than you', that's absolutely fine."
Council human resources manager Chris Till defended the short application period for the Christchurch job, which opened on June 10 and closes on June 27. Mr Till said the time frame was "a normal application phase for such a position".
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you think four new schools in Hamilton's northeast is 'excessive'?Related story: Principals say four new Hamilton schools unnecessary