City's CEO 'went too far'

In his book Making a Stand, former city mayor David Braithwaite says then chief executive Tony Marryatt thought the mayor should play second fiddle

Last updated 23:45 19/12/2008

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David Braithwaite claims former Hamilton City Council chief executive Tony Marryatt came to his house the day after his mayoral election win with a note outlining which councillors should hold positions of power.

In excerpts from his new book, Making A Stand, Mr Braithwaite, who was mayor during the tumultuous 2001-2004 term, says Mr Marryatt overstepped the boundaries of his position. He wrote: "I was elected on a Saturday and on the following day I was visited by Tony Marryatt at my home.

"He presented me with a hand-written paper on which he outlined who should hold positions of responsibility on the incoming council, who the deputy mayor should be and that councillor Dave Macpherson should hold no positions of responsibility at all."

Mr Braithwaite said that the "chief immediate problem" when he became mayor "was the attitude of chief executive Tony Marryatt".

"My mayoralty began with what was essentially a threat from him, and a clear warning that he thought the mayoralty and its smooth functioning were in his gift and not in the gift of the electors of the city."

Mr Marryatt, who left Hamilton City Council last year and is now chief executive of Christchurch City Council, hit back at the comments, saying he was giving the mayor his "professional wisdom" after the election.

"What he does with that is up to him."

He dismissed the book as Mr Braithwaite rewriting history to suit himself but admitted the pair fell out over the Waikato Stadium and policy-making.

"He wanted me to recommend his policies. I won't do that for anyone."

He said Mr Braithwaite had not met his commit-ments relating to the stadium and at the end of his term had no support from other councillors. "He lost the council and then lost the community."

Mr Marryatt added that Mr Braithwaite was not used to leading a team; instead it was the then-mayor's custom to run a ship his way. Mr Marryatt would not be reading the book.

In the book, publicised as "200 damning pages of life as city mayor", Mr Braithwaite also said that Mr Marryatt "never lost an opportunity to tell me how powerful and important he was".

 "He was, he said, the best chief executive officer in New Zealand. Clearly in Tony Marryatt's view, he was the city's king-maker and infinitely more important than people who had merely been elected to their positions by the public. Council employees were at his direction, so why not the mayor and council as well?"

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Despite the barrage of criticism aimed at Mr Marryatt, Mr Braithwaite downplayed the more controversial content of the book.

"That part [about Mr Marryatt] is only a very small part of the book. I wrote the book to tell the story of my life in Hamilton and the contributions my family and I have made," he told the Waikato Times yesterday.

Mr Braithwaite would not reveal the cost of the book or how many copies had been printed.
He said he "took quite a range of advice from a number of people" before publishing the book but the Times understands it was checked by lawyers.

He said he released the book now because there had been enough time to "reflect" on the major and memorable events of his life.

Sales of the book so far had been "very good", but Mr Braithwaite would not say how many had been sold.

Mr Braithwaite said he had help putting the book together, with assistance from Auckland writer and historian Dr Nicholas Reid.

Making A Stand costs $35 and is available by e-mail order to contact@smf.co.nz 

 

- Waikato Times

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