2 Sep 2013

Mayoral candidate defends disrupting Dalziel campaign launch

7:28 am on 2 September 2013

The Christchurch mayoral candidate who disrupted the campaign launch of Lianne Dalziel on Sunday morning says she should have taken the opportunity to debate the issues with him.

Peter Wakeham ran onto the stage and started shouting at Ms Dalziel as she was several minutes into a speech before a crowd of supporters in the city centre.

Ms Dalziel, Labour's Christchurch East MP, was visibly upset by the encounter and watched as campaign staff tried unsuccessfully to remove Mr Wakeman from the stage at the Arts Centre.

He continued to interrupt Ms Dalziel several times during the 15 minute speech, in particular about Labour policies.

Lianne Dalziel's mayoral campaign launch was disrupted by Peter Wakeham (at rear)

Lianne Dalziel's mayoral campaign launch was disrupted by Peter Wakeham (at rear) Photo: RNZ

Finally Ms Dalziel had had enough.

"I'm finding it hard to address the people who gathered here to hear me launch my campaign. I am not running as a Labour candidate, I'm running independently to be the mayor of Christchurch.

"And you are upsetting everyone Peter Wakeman, please go away, please stop upsetting everyone."

Mr Wakeman later defended his actions, saying Ms Dalziel should have taken up the opportunity to debate with him.

"The way that I was treated, and people just wanted to drag me off and not address the issues that I raised and I thought any good person standing for office, whatever it happens to be, and someone talks about certain issues, they would address the issues that they were raising."

Local Government New Zealand President Lawrence Yule says although Mr Wakeman's actions were not against any rules, they were unfair, rude and out of line.

He says Mr Wakeman should have waited for a live debate between candidates to voice his opinions.

Despite Mr Wakeman's protests and attempts to talk over her, Ms Dalziel continued with her address, telling people that if she was elected the council would be more open and honest with the community.

She said people had had enough of decisions being made behind closed doors and the council she would lead would be open in all of its dealing.

Ms Dalziel also spoke of wanting to create a better partnership between the city council and the Government.

She also told the audience it was time for a positive change in Christchurch and the general feeling was that people have lost control of their destinies and the city's future.