Archives for posts with tag: Tony Marryatt

Sterling endorsement of Parker’s mayoralty from his right hand man, Tony Marryatt, who remains at large:

Bob stood tall in the city’s darkest moments and I haven’t spoken to anyone who lives outside of Christchurch who doesn’t say what a great job he did and that they wish he was their Mayor.”

Interesting that his closest ally used the phrase anyone who lives outside of Christchurch: herein lies the problem. Parker’s popularity was greater anywhere but Christchurch, where people didn’t have to live under his dysfunctional governance. Images of him in an orange jacket might have reassured the 6pm news audience in the North Island, but they weren’t much consolation to those in the East who didn’t have power – and thus the TV to see him – for weeks after the quakes.

Aside from all the other things in this sorry story, I was interested in Tony and Bob taking their wives out for dinner on the council P card. They went to Saggio di Vino, one of Christchurch’s most expensive restaurants, and managed to clock up $289.70 between the four of them (all on us). This, on the day that they were made aware of the letter from IANZ that set off the consenting crisis and eventually cost both of them their jobs. Shouldn’t they have been, I dunno, working that night, to try and resolve the crisis at the organisation that they nominally run? Or maybe they wanted to take their wives out somewhere nice, so that when they passed on the news that they were both utterly incompetent, they at least had some nice food to soften the blow.

A couple of days ago, the Press reported the story about councillors who voted for Marryatt’s pay rise having their hoardings targeted. Jamie Gough was featured in the story, asking for forgiveness. You would have thought that would have been the end of the story. But remarkably, in yesterday’s paper, he was given pride of place, with the first letter to the editor, which he used to grovel. He’s grown as a person, as a councillor. He’s made mistakes. He deserves a second chance etc. It’s extraordinary that a politician running for re-election would be given such a prominent place to put their views, without any editorial interference. It’s the not the first time in recent months that Gough has been given the run of the letters page to use as a soapbox.

The Press seems to be quite a fan of the Gough family. Jamie’s uncle is Anthony Gough, the flamboyant property developer. Because of his prominence, Gough senior features readily in the paper. That’s fine, he’s a big part of the rebuild and thus very newsworthy. But that doesn’t mean they should be giving Gough junior such a soft run. A couple of months ago, I outlined what I believed were conflicts of interest. Before I blogged it here, I talked to a couple of reporters at the Press. They seemed interested, and thought there was a story. However, it was quashed by the senior news team, who didn’t think it was important. I obviously think there is a story there, and while the Press don’t think it’s an issue, would it hurt to run it, then let Gough respond to it? If there is no issue, he could put our minds at ease. That’s what the new, mature Jamie Gough, who believes in transparency and openness would do, right?

Far be it from me to level claims of bias at Christchurch’s only daily newspaper, but it does somewhat mirror a situation unfolding at the Press’s sister paper, the Dominion Post. High profile mayoral candidate and sexist dinosaur John Morrison has made what could politely be described as a series of gaffes, which seem to have been reported by anyone but the Dom. Interestingly, the WCC Watch blog links to a report in the Herald. The two stories I blogged about yesterday – Bob Parker’s bubbly spend up and Marryatt quietly taking the money he said he’d turned down – also came from the Herald. The story about the bubbly doesn’t it make this morning’s Press. I can understand if the newsroom at the Press is stretched, but it does seem odd that wouldn’t even bother to run a story about the Mayor of the city putting booze on the ratepayer’s tab, then obfuscating for over a year to prevent the information getting out.

As I said before, I understand that newsrooms are under a lot of pressure at the moment; I just hope that that is their reason ignoring certain issues, rather than laziness, or worse, taking an editorial line in favour of certain candidates.

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Tony Marryatt’s exit may mean a golden handshake for him, but it’s a golden shower for the people of this downtrodden city. After his exorbitant pay rise led to the biggest protest I can remember in Christchurch, he said that he would refuse the increase if the council promised to get on better. Well, it turns out that in one final “fuck you” to the people of Christchurch who he served so badly, he decided to take the pay rise after all.

But wait! There’s more!

The Star can reveal today that Mr Parker charged $219.25 on his ratepayer funded city council credit card for five servings of Moet et Chandon Brut champagne and a ham and cheese sandwich at the Hyatt Seoul while he was in Korea on council business last year.

He may have paid it back – or got the Israeli government to pick up the tab, but that’s almost immaterial at this point. It shows the attitude of these people, who aren’t elected to serve the people, but to be served themselves. In Parker’s case, with 5 “servings” of Moët. It’s not the first time he’s been embroiled in this sort of behaviour – remember when Jo Parker claimed that she was entitled to free muffins because she “worked for the city for free”, confusing “being married to someone” with “being employed in a role”. Here’s hoping that the image of Parker that endures is not the orange parka, but the five glasses of Moët and a ham sandwich that he thought he could put on the ratepayer.

The Press this morning was dominated by coverage of the end of the Marryatt error, as might be expected. This is the front page article, which describes Marryatt’s fall as him losing an ally.

Controversial Christchurch City Council boss Tony Marryatt has lost his closest ally as his career hangs in the balance, with Mayor Bob Parker no longer willing to defend his chief executive.

What bothers me about this is that Marryatt ever had an ally. He’s a public servant! He runs the council. His position – for which he was paid an astronomical amount of money to do, badly – should be judged on performance, not on political backers. 

Parker’s attempts to try and distance himself from Marryatt are laughable – they were so tied together that someone from out of Christchurch recently told me that when they first saw them on the TV, they thought they were an actual couple! The situation should never have got to this point, and it wouldn’t have, if Parker hadn’t backed Marryatt to the degree that he did. The Press article above contains some of the things that Parker has said about the CEO that you can bet will be trotted out ad nauseum throughout the election campaign. It’s also worth reminding people of the other councillors that renewed his contract and decided he was worth a $68,000 a year pay increase – Button, Wells, Gough, Corbett, Reid, Keown. They – like Bob – should be able to see that the writing is on the wall for them. They backed this donkey, and they’ll pay for doing so at the October local body elections.

Glenn Conway – senior report who has covered the council for years – has a very good opinion piece here, and the editorial is also worth a read.