'Delicate situation' for council

Several Clutha councillors yesterday expressed their disappointment with comments from one of their own as the mayoral race heats up.

In announcing his decision to stand for the mayoralty, deputy mayor Hamish Anderson ruffled feathers with the statement ''I had been actively encouraged to stand for the mayoralty by a majority of current councillors''.

At the Clutha District Council's meeting yesterday, Cr Stewart Cowie said he had enjoyed his first term on the council, but was very disappointed to read Cr Anderson's comments in the media.

He wanted to make it clear he was not one of the councillors reported to have approached Cr Anderson.

Cr Ron Davis said the comments had put the council in a ''delicate situation'' as they implied a division within it. Several residents had asked Cr Davis if it was divided.

''One thing I have liked about this council is that we have been cohesive.''

Cr Ken Payne expressed his ''unease'' about the comments.

In response, Cr Anderson said he stood by his statement.

''You should never fear the truth, or read too much into the truth...

"There was no insinuation that council is divided in any shape or form.''

He said his statement was ''just a reflection'' of councillors exercising their free will.

Mr Cadogan said he had visited 11 of the 13 other councillors to ''ascertain if such a problem existed'', and apologised to Crs Mary Johnstone and Geoff Blackmore for not visiting them.

He was proud to say no such issue existed.

Mr Cadogan said he feared the council's reputation had been put on the line, and that it was his final statement on what he believed was a ''damaging time''.

Both Mr Cadogan and Cr Anderson discussed the issue in the opinion pages of yesterday's Otago Daily Times.

- helena.dereus@odt.co.nz


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