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Porirua Chief Executive's role in Mayor's campaign

Fri, 10 Sep 2004

Auditor General to Consider Porirua Chief Executive's role in Mayor's election campaign*

The Controller and Auditor-General has been asked to consider the role Porirua Council Chief Executive Roger Blakeley has in the Porirua mayoral election campaigns.

Councillor Robert Shaw said he decided to proceed to a formal request for an investigation after discussing several matters with the Audit Office. "It is important that the council chief executives avoid any possible perception, or possible implication, that they are working for one candidate or another."

Cr Shaw said two actions by the chief executive had surprised him and raised questions about what was the proper role of a chief executive in a mayoral contest.

Dr Blakeley asked council officers to analyze the advertisements of mayoral candidate Mr Murrell and to report to the mayor on their accuracy.

Cr Shaw said officers do not normally do research to assist one candidate against another. <>

<><>"There are questions of impartiality and what is the proper use of ratepayers' money" Cr Shaw said.

"Dr Blakeley eventually made the information available to all councillors but that does not justify the expense."

"My second concern is Dr Blakeley's protracted public fight with Mr Murrell's campaign manager.

Dr Blakeley's dogged defense of extant council policy conceals the Mayor's role in the sorry affair over the Contact Energy call centre.

The Mayor and Dr Blakeley kept councillors in the dark as a negotiation with Contact Energy failed.

The Mayor should have called the Council together to consider options, try divergent thinking, and to alter policy if necessary.

This was a major opportunity for Porirua and many councillors have skills and creativity that could have assisted.

Now Dr Blakeley defends the Mayor's inaction and the existing policy.

"In an election campaign it is the Mayor who should speak. "

ENDS

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