'Up to voters': Invercargill MP supports embattled mayor

National MP Penny Simmonds is a long-time friend of Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt. Photo:...
National MP Penny Simmonds is a long-time friend of Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt. Photo: Luise Girao
An Invercargill MP is showing support for embattled mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt, saying it's up to voters to decide his future.

National’s Penny Simmonds, a long-time friend of the mayor, has previously remained tight-lipped about his suitability to the role as tensions mount in the southern city.

Sir Tim is in his ninth term as mayor of Invercargill. Photo: ODT files
Sir Tim is in his ninth term as mayor of Invercargill. Photo: ODT files
Amid a rocky ninth term for the mayor of 28 years, Sir Tim's leadership capabilities and mental capacity have been called into question.

But Simmonds is now showing solidarity for Sir Tim, saying she would not support an intervention - a move that has been angled at by some of his constituents.

“I have been a friend and supporter of his worship Sir Tim for many years and it is ultimately up to him and the voters to decide his future", she said.

“I don’t support any intervention other than next year’s local government election.”

Talk of a vote of no-confidence against the mayor gained traction at the council last month when deputy mayor Nobby Clark said things were heading in that direction.

Such a move would be largely symbolic, as Sir Tim would still be able to continue as mayor.

Despite ongoing criticism, Sir Tim has indicated multiple times he plans to see out his term and stand again at the October 2022 election.

“If I can survive this, I can probably do another three or four terms,” he said in June this year.

Simmonds and the mayor developed a close working relationship during her tenure as chief executive of the Southern Institute of Technology.

During that time, Sir Tim was a paid ambassador for the education provider.

In June, he confirmed he was still an ambassador, but said SIT had “lowered the level”.

“Now Penny has gone, it’s more orthodox now."

Asked if they were still in contact, he said they were not, especially compared to how close they once were.

matthew.rosenberg@odt.co.nz

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