Political fallout from the Tony Marryatt pay rise
controversy has spread to four Christchurch city councillors
seeking re-election who voted for his $68,000 increase.
Deputy mayor Ngaire Button, Crs Aaron Keown, Jamie Gough and
Claudia Reid say they have been unfairly targeted by Facebook
campaigns, on radio and with stickers on their election
They are the city councillors seeking re-election who voted
for the pay rise in late 2011.
A war of words has also broken out between Cr Button and high
profile Newstalk ZB morning host Chris Lynch.
She said his coverage was one-sided and had encouraged
callers to his radio show that were "slagging us off again."
Details of outgoing council chief executive Tony Marryatt's
$400,000 plus exit package were revealed last week. The Star
also revealed on Wednesday he had collected his $68,000 pay
rise which he had previously put on hold after it sparked
Lynch put photos of the four councillors on Facebook page
Canterbury Mornings With Chris Lynch last Friday saying:
"Councillors seeking re-election who voted for Tony
Marryatt's nearly $70,000 pay rise: Ngaire Button, Aaron
Keown, Jamie Gough, and Claudia Reid."
In an earlier comment on a post about the Marryatt payout
Lynch said: "Just remember those idiots who voted for his pay
rise and vote accordingly."
Said Cr Button: "The question I ask him is are you ever going
to be fair?"
But Lynch said he stood by his stance on Facebook.
"I stand by my principles and I'm against corporate greed,"
He said he put the post on Facebook to raise awareness of the
"I constantly get emails asking me who voted for the Marryatt
payrise. It is my job to raise awareness.
"I am being honest [on the radio] and telling the facts. In
the nine months I have been on the air I have not had one
phone call supporting those four," he said
But Cr Button called on residents to start "pushing back".
"It is up to the people to start pushing back on this. I
would like to think the people of Christchurch are a bit more
deeper in their thinking," she said.
It was time for people to forget the pay rise and look at the
good things done by city council "in a very difficult time".
"We made a mistake and hand on heart we have all admitted it
- if that is the only mistake they can get us for then we
have done a good job," she said.
"It's history now he's [Mr Marryatt] been driven out of town,
literally. We have apologised for it, it was a genuine
mistake and we were trying to do best by an employee."
Cr Reid said it was a "hateful campaign of revenge" which
could affect her chance of re-election.
Said Cr Reid: "I'm not surprised this is happening. These
people won't rest until they've extinguished anyone who holds
an opinion other than their own and that is their view of
"It is a hateful campaign of revenge on a decision that was
made more than two years ago. If it is the will of the people
to remove me for this reason then I am content with that. And
that is the only comment I have."
Lynch said Cr Reid was "out of touch".
"How could she ever think hard-working ratepayers of
Christchurch would feel OK with her continued support of Tony
Meanwhile Cr Keown said he has made a vandalism complaint
with the police after his, and Crs Button, Reid and Gough had
their billboards plastered with a stickers stating they had
voted for the pay rise.
Cr Keown said he still stood by his decision to vote for Mr
Marryatt's pay rise.
"He was looking after 2000 staff and I defended him because
he was our employee. We had to do what we thought was the
best for our city," he said.
Cr Gough said he had learnt from his mistake.
"The mark of a person is admitting when you stuffed up and
learning from it," he said.
- By Shelley Robinson of The Star