Goff’s culture of bullying and vindictiveness

Phil Goff is in a spot of bother. Nine out of 18 active councillors (Dick Quax died and John Walker is on sick leave) have signed? a letter of no confidence in him.

On top of that two female councillors have now accused him of bullying and vindictive behaviour. The NZ Herald reports: quote:

Some Auckland councillors are ramping up their criticism of Mayor Phil Goff, accusing him of overseeing a culture of bullying and arrogance.

Councillors Sharon Stewart and Chris Fletcher have spoken out about a culture of bullying and disrespectful behaviour by Goff and his team.

A mayoral spokesman responded to the latest accusations with a statement: “Bullying is unacceptable and the Mayor takes any allegation of this sort of behaviour seriously. He has invited Councillor Fletcher to discuss her concerns with him directly today.”

Stewart told the Herald that a letter of “strong dissatisfaction” sent to Goff by nine of his 19 councillors over his leadership amounted to a no confidence vote in the mayor.

“It feels like a bit of a bullying culture,” said Stewart, who said she had experienced bullying but had always voted according to her conscience.

The Howick councillor claimed to have been bullied over the council’s regional fuel tax of 11.5 cents a litre, which she opposed.

And in a separate letter sent by Fletcher to Goff today she said: “Bullying in any form is unacceptable to me.”

The Albert-Eden councillor and former Auckland City Mayor said she signed the earlier letter not just because of the stadium strategy and PwC report, but rather the “arrogant and disrespectful behaviour by your team to some councillors which has led them to become hurt and marginalised”.

“I voted for you. I want you to be successful in advancing positive policy for Auckland but I want to see better process and an inclusive council workplace where all councillors are treated respectfully,” Fletcher’s letter to Goff said.

The councillors behind the letter cite Goff’s handling of the recent controversy over a proposed new downtown stadium for Auckland and his refusal to give councillors full and open access to a report by PwC costing about $935,000 as the reasons for the move.

Great, so after being accused of bullying, Goff invites one of his purported victims in for a “chat”. Wow, talk about tone deaf.

Christine Fletcher can be a bit of a sook at times, but generally she is well attuned to the rough and tumble of politics. Sharon Stewart is tough. If both of them are complaining about a culture of bullying then I believe them. Neither are snowflakes.

Yesterday, Goff played down any possible criticism in him, saying he had just received unanimous support in glowing terms for his 10-year budget, unlike former Mayor Len Brown’s last 10-year budget, which was passed with a bare majority.

Goff’s budget was carried at a governing body meeting on May 31, but seven councillors had their votes recorded against various clauses.

“On what matters to Aucklanders I have received strong support,” he said.

A mayoral spokesman said Goff was expected to formally respond to the letter today.

Goff is lying about the unanimous support for the LTP. There was considerable opposition during the process, he is dancing on the head of a pin by referring to the vote.

I’m not sure Phil Goff knows just precisely how perilous his position is. Most of those who signed the letter are left-wingers. Once councillors like Linda Cooper and Desley Simpson realise that the game is up on Goff and his promises of committee chair job inflating their pay then he is goosed. Simpson, if she lets her unbridled ambition take hold will swap sides. The fact she wasn’t consulted by the nine who signed shows a level of distrust on her intentions. Same goes for Linda Cooper.

The nine who signed have also written off Goff’s poodle deputy mayor, Bill Cashmore. His own interest may evaporate too when he realises that if Goff is tipped then he will no longer be in line to retain deputy mayor.

Goff, meanwhile, will be hoping he can have a few quiet chats and work a bit harder on his divide and rule strategy to managing council.