Thursday, December 9

Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt ‘baffled’ and waiting for an apology for email leak


Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt is disappointed that he has yet to hear from the council’s chief executive after an intercepted email was used against him.

Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt's council came under scrutiny after an independent review late last year.

Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt.
Photo: Otago Daily Times / Stephen Jaquiery

Last week, council staff caught Sir Tim by surprise when an email he sent to the media was intercepted and raised in a closed-door meeting an hour later.

On Monday, it was revealed that the content of the email, a response to a media request, had been raised as a late topic at a closed-door meeting of presidents by council executive director Clare Hadley.

Hadley has since admitted that he should not have shared the content of the email and said a review would be carried out.

But the man at the center of the crisis says he was not satisfied.

“I am waiting for an apology that I have not received. I do not know if it is still being monitored, I do not know what other councilors can monitor my email,” said Sir Tim.

“This could happen to any future mayor, so I’ve been fighting hard. It’s a sham of justice.”

Sir Tim said he had yet to hear from the CEO or any councilor following the saga.

“They assume that because I am a bit slow I have no right to protection. I am quite nervous about it, as you can imagine.”

On Wednesday, Hadley said an arrangement had been made for council staff to assist the mayor, elected members and executive staff with administration to ensure a timely response to messages.

She admitted that it did not include follow-up.

Invercargill City Council Executive Director Clare Hadley is ready for next year's challenges.

Invercargill City Council Executive Director Clare Hadley
Photo: ODT / Luisa Girao

Councilman Alex Crackett said the council had directed the executive director to ensure that councilors and executive staff received all communications from the mayor’s emails that were of full relevance to the council as a whole.

Speaking to the media, councilors expressed a variety of views on what had happened to the mayor’s emails.

Crackett said the council had missed important meetings due to the mayor’s negligence, while Rebecca Amundsen assumed the emails were visible due to the Official Information Act.

Ian Pottinger said important information about Three Waters that had been sent to Sir Tim by Waimakariri Mayor Dan Gordon had been lost but not passed on.

Peter Kett said he was wary of using his council’s iPad due to privacy concerns and had decided not to send emails with him.

Lindsay Abbott said she had assumed the emails were only intended for the recipient.

The results of a six-month follow-up to the independent governance review that took place at Invercargill City Council were scheduled to be released today, but have been postponed due to the shutdown.

A spokesperson for the council said staff were fully focused on the shutdown and would not comment until a review was carried out.

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