Support group to stay in place

An informal support group intended to help Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt will stay in place until this year’s local government elections.

Last year, councillors had endorsed the creation of a group "to provide the mayor with ongoing support for wellbeing", and in February, the Invercargill City Council governance group was frustrated by lack of progress around the matter.

Councillors Nigel Skelt and Graham Lewis met Sir Tim and had considered the first meeting successful.

Sir Tim, on the other hand, said he had some frustrations which he has previously raised.

It included the issue of having a personal assistant for only 14 hours a week.

Crs Skelt and Graham said they told Sir Tim if he needed more support, they could make a recommendation to the council but they needed to understand and identify the need.

"I believe we put some good stepping stones for His Worship and crew around timeframes, content and meeting structures. We left in a positive mood," Cr Skelt said.

"His [Sir Tim’s] indication to me — apart from access to a full-time PA — was that everything else was in a good shape so I’m a little bit surprised we are relitigating that particular point again," he said.

The councillors said if Sir Tim did not want their support, it would be fine.

After the discussion, chairman Bruce Robertson said although Sir Tim was uncertain about what he needed, the council should still consider if they could put systems in place to help him.

He suggested to the governance group to mandate the informal group to maintain its presence and be available to support the mayor’s general wellbeing should he request it.

The recommendation for the group to continue was approved by the majority of the members.

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