Mayoral report misses mark?

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    Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt at a committee meeting last month. PHOTO: LAURA SMITH

    A MAYORAL report presented by Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt includes references to Tasmania’s convict history, slavery and Alex Lithgow’s statue but made no reference to the closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter.

    Each month, the mayor furnishes a report to council.

    Although he did not provide one last month, citing Covid-19 as the reason, this month’s report tabled at the Invercargill City Council meeting on Tuesday, contains a bullet-point list of events he had attended but also has references to political protests and Alex Lithgow’s statue, then discusses slavery, including that “the Shadbolt’s [sic] never owned any slaves”.

    It then discusses the mayor’s visit to speak at a conference in Tasmania, its convict history, and how his great grandfather was before fleeing to New Zealand. It references the shooting of two police officers in West Auckland, before ending with, “I was raised on a small orchard in Massey.”

    At the meeting, Sir Tim said he assumed councillors took the report as read and then recommended two books, a biography of former Invercargill Mayor Eve Poole, and a book on the history of Tiwai Point.

    There was no mention of the Rio Tinto-owned New Zealand Aluminium Smelter’s closure in his report, however, he did confirm after the meeting he was writing another report about Tiwai.

    At the meeting, Deputy Mayor Toni Biddle tabled a report which outlined different aspects of council business and city interest including the Air New Zealand jet returning to Invercargill, the smelter closure, her appointment to a ministerial regional skills development group and commentary on other visits and meetings she had been present at.

    Since the committee restructure resolution was passed in May, she had provided feedback to the council and councillors, Cr Biddle said.

    “It was part of the resolution that that was expected,” she said.

    After the meeting, Sir Tim said he thought his report was perfectly fine, and that it was actually written a month ago.

    He liked to include world affairs in his report, he said.

    “I like history of course, so I always like to present historical items of historical influence.”

    He was also surprised Cr Biddle had tabled a report at the meeting.

    Cr Peter Kett agreed the items contained in Sir Tim’s report had nothing to do with the city council.

    “I don’t know why he would put something like that in the report.”

    Cr Kett said the mayor was struggling at times but was getting help from the deputy mayor and councillors to get the job done.

    “He has slowed down a bit.”

    Cr Nobby Clark said some of the mayor’s commentary was peripheral but he was a colourful character and had listed his activities in the report.

    Cr Clark still had confidence in Sir Tim to lead the team of councillors.

    “He does that in his own way. Tim gives us a profile.

    “He is a compassionate man. I admire him for that and reliable elected official.”

    There was publicity before the election about the mayor struggling to follow what was happening at times “but the community still wanted him that’s democracy”, Mr Clark said.

    Of the councillors contacted since Tuesday’s meeting, Crs Alex Crackett, Lindsay Abbott and Nobby Clark all said the report was fine, Allan Arnold said it was his duty to support the mayor, Rebecca Amunsden said it was no different from normal and Peter Kett said the report’s content did not have much to do with council.

    Cr Biddle would not comment on Sir Tim’s report.

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