Mayor strikes out at critics

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    Cartoon: Shaun Yeo

    INVERCARGILL Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt believes his critics want him removed because he is just like United States President Donald Trump — someone who speaks out and tells the truth.

    In his latest handwritten column for the Southland Express, personally delivered to the Allied Press office in Invercargill on Tuesday, Sir Tim hit out at his naysayers believing they thought he was too old for the job.

    “Yes, I know I’m an angry mayor at present and it’s not because I’m facing a barrage of criticism – I’m used to that.

    “It’s the nature of the criticism that I find so irksome. My critics are claiming that I’m over 70 and therefore too old for the job.

    “Worse still, they insist that at my age I’m unfit to serve in office.”

    He then sets a challenge to the four councillors, aged over 70, to a 100 metre sprint, 50m swim and a lap of the velodrome at ILT Stadium Southland.

    “Hopefully this will put an end to all these allegations.”

    He then goes on to say it is his outspoken nature which is upsetting those against him.

    “I believe the real reason they want to remove me from office is because my critics want to remove people like Donald Trump, [British Prime Minister] Boris Johnson and [New Zealand First leader] Winston Peters and myself is because we are prepared to speak out and tell the truth about what is going on in their respective countries.”

    Sir Tim, as well as the Invercargill City Council chief executive Clare Hadley and fellow councillors, have come under close scrutiny lately.

    The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) recently intervened after media articles and correspondence received by the department and Minister of Local Government highlighted “significant conflict” among elected representatives and the chief executive.

    The council is being evaluated by an independent reviewer in line with the DIA request.

    Sir Tim is also suing the council for $448,000 in relation to the defamation case former Invercargill City councillor Karen Arnold brought against him in 2015.

    In July, he defended his effectiveness as mayor. “I’m fighting fit,” he said at the time.

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