5 Sep 2021

'An awful lot of improvement' in Invercargill City Council progress review - Deputy says

10:07 am on 5 September 2021

Leaders at the centre of the Invercargill City Council's progress review were able to provide feedback on a draft report weeks before other councillors can see it.

Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt's council came under scrutiny following an independent review late last year.

Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt. Photo: Otago Daily Times / Stephen Jaquiery

Last year, the Thomson Report found a leadership void at the council, with mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt increasingly unable to carry out his duties.

A six month progress report has since been completed but it was yet to be made public and most councillors hadn't seen it either.

Deputy Mayor Nobby Clark said he received a draft copy during early lockdown.

He confirmed chief executive Clare Hadley and Sir Tim had also received the report as they were most affected by the initial report.

The original Thomson report had been quite critical, focusing in on the mayor, deputy mayor and chief executive, and their relationship, he said.

"In this review, he's doing a review of what progress has been made between those players and like everything, he's based on what people are telling him.

"But that's, I guess in some ways, third party or hearsay and he just wanted to give us some initial insight into a draft report to see whether what he caught up in his report was actually an accurate picture from us."

He did not want to preempt the report by discussing its content.

"Given that the mayor's already said he is not all that happy with the report, I guess all I'll say - because I don't want to jump ahead of the report - is just to say I'm really pleased with the report.

"I think it shows an awful lot of improvement in the way we behave to each other - and that's not just the three of us. It's a much wider picture than that so that's really positive."

While councillors were keen to meet in person, Covid alert levels had prevented that from happening so far.

Clark said councillors wanted to see it first and have the opportunity to speak with Thomson before releasing the report publicly.

He expected it could be released by early next week.

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