Monday, August 15, 2016

Intimidation in Opotiki

Back in April, Opotiki Mayor John Forbes publicly suggested that no-one should stand against him or incumbent councillors because elections were a distraction. And then, when someone announced they were running against him, he turned up at their house to try and bully them out of it:

One of New Zealand's longest-standing mayors went to a rival candidate's home in his mayoral car and told him the region could save $50,000 if he continued in office unopposed.

Mayoral candidate Les Keane says incumbent Opotiki mayor John Forbes knocked on his door this week to discuss Keane's decision to challenge him for the mayoralty - and there would be no need for a costly local body election if no one opposed him for a sixth term.

When approached by the Herald on Sunday yesterday, Forbes admitted he used the mayoral car to pay a visit to Keane's house on Thursday, and he went there specifically to discuss Keane's candidacy.

This is undemocratic bullying, plain and simple. And Opotiki voters should respond to it by voting out the bully.

Meanwhile, in Palmerston North, the fear that Grant Smith, the meathead mayor, would be elected unopposed are unrealised. Unfortunately, his sole "opposition" is a four-time convicted child-beater, so its not really any competition at all. Which means I'll just be spoiling that part of my ballot, because I can't stomach either of them.