Say sorry, move on

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

It was the shot heard around the world, well, at least around Porirua City.

Mayor Nick Leggett’s ‘‘shut your mouth’’ re­buke of his deputy Liz Kelly has be­come quite the term of con­tention since it es­caped his lips at a com­mit­tee meet­ing on Valen­tine’s Day, par­tic­u­larly in Taka­puwahia, where it has fes­tered into con­tempt from lo­cal iwi Ngati Toa.

Iwi kau­matua coun­cil chair­man Thom Kenny gave Mr Leggett both bar­rels in a pub­lic dep­u­ta­tion last week, mak­ing it clear Ms Kelly was Ngati Toa’s ‘‘proper rep­re­sen­ta­tive’’ on the coun­cil and should be treated ac­cord­ingly.

It’s an in­ter­est­ing procla­ma­tion. We would con­test Ms Kelly is an elected rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the west­ern ward. Her can­di­dacy may have been en­dorsed by Ngati Toa but her pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity is to her con­stituency.

But was that all Mr Leggett was bank­ing on when he put her for­ward for deputy mayor in 2010? Or did he see Ms Kelly as a means to shore up iwi sup­port? If so, it’s hard to be­grudge the ad­di­tional sta­tus af­forded Ms Kelly by Mr Kenny. The mayor can’t have his cake and eat it too.

Of course, the plat­i­tudes cut both ways and the one that comes to mind for Ms Kelly is: You reap what you sow.

Ms Kelly is no stranger to cross words, both at coun­cil meet­ings and in the com­mu­nity. Her be­hav­iour in the cham­ber dur­ing Jenny Brash’s term as mayor was of­ten ob­served as dis­re­spect­ful – and we doubt Ms Brash took um­brage against Ngati Toa for it.

Pas­sions run high, tempers flare. So? Bet­ter a lively de­bate with a lit­tle de­ri­sion than 14 yes-men in uni­son.

Among all the self-serv­ing speeches, con­de­scend­ing quips and bully tac­tics we have wit­nessed at the coun­cil ta­ble over the years, nei­ther Mr Leggett’s put-down nor Ms Kelly’s reg­u­lar lid­blow­ing would rank in the top 50 most of­fen­sive.

Sticks and stones, peo­ple. Say sorry and move on.

As for the other pub­lic dep­u­ta­tion against Mr Leggett’s loose tongue, from as­so­ci­ates of Ms Kelly who tried to link the mayor’s re­mark to vi­o­lence against women, a more lu­di­crous, inane ar­gu­ment is un­likely to have been made at a Porirua coun­cil meet­ing.

Shame on them for whit­tling a se­ri­ous so­cial is­sue into a po­lit­i­cal chess piece.

Matthew Dal­las, Ed­i­tor.

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