2 Feb 2012

Protestors say next step could be rates revolt

5:11 am on 2 February 2012

The organiser of a 2000-strong protest in Christchurch says calling for a rates revolt is an option if the Government doesn't act on demands for fresh city council elections and a new CEO.

Peter Lynch says the protest group - 'No Pay Rise for Tony Marryatt' - has outlined its demands in a letter to the Prime Minister.


He says the grounds for their demands are that council chief executive Tony Marryatt has too much power and the council isn't getting on with the post-earthquake rebuild.

Mr Lynch says getting locals to forgo paying their rates is a last resort but such a call will be necessary if the Government doesn't act on its requests.

He says the council is divided, with one half serving the chief executive and the mayor and the other half fighting for democracy.

And another protester, the Rev Mike Coleman says even thought Mr Marryatt has turned down his $68,000 pay rise, it was just the tip of the iceberg.

He says the decisions that are being made are bad ones and cites $80,000 being put towards a communications review.

Mr Coleman says Crown Observer Kerry Marshall, who was appointed by the Government last week to oversee the council and help it sort through its issues, won't be able to fix the council's problems.

Among the protesters were six city councillors. One of them, Yani Johanson, believes the city council should be given six months to sort itself out before fresh elections are considered.

Mayor Bob Parker says the Government does not support new elections and the final decision rests there.

He told Checkpoint he would not be asking for Mr Marryatt's resignation since the majority of the council had re-employed him to do the job and voted for his pay increase.

And the mayor said he would not be resigning himself.