A former mayor and lifetime friend of Sir Tim Shadbolt is “begging” Invercargill City Council not to trash the memorabilia of New Zealand’s longest serving mayor.
Sir Bob Harvey, who was Waitākere mayor for 18 years, has also offered his services as a mediator in the unfolding saga at the council.
This week, tensions boiled over when Shadbolt labelled the organisation a “regime” and claimed he had been left humiliated by staff going through personal documents.
The comments followed the revelation he was storing personal items in council-owned buildings across the city, and that boxes of old papers had been thrown out.
Harvey Bob is pleading with the council to treat Shadbolt’s history with respect, and sort out the disagreement.
“I consider Tim’s memorabilia priceless to this nation’s heritage.
“I’m not talking about crap, and I’m not talking about hoarding.
“But his lifetime of stuff should be given to the Alexander Turnbull or Waitākere City Library for storage.”
Sir Bob Harvey pictured during his final term as mayor of Waitākere City. Photo / Supplied, Waitākere City Council
Shadbolt has stored personal items across three council-owned sites in Invercargill, but the council could not confirm how long the arrangement had been in place.
The items include furniture, bedding, an appliance in bubble wrap, and boxes of documents.
Shadbolt said the documents included minutes, letters and reports accumulated in political life, many of which he claimed were consigned to a skip, overseen by deputy mayor Nobby Clark.
It is unclear how much of the mayor’s personal history is still stored in council buildings following a March clear-out with Clark, but the deputy believes there are still some.
Harvey said he was saddened by the thought of any of Shadbolt’s history getting binned, and said someone needed to step in to mediate the relationship between the council and mayor.
“Into this big bloody pile go all his minutes [and] letters,” he said.
“Those kind of things, I believe, are priceless to the longest serving mayor in this country’s history.”
Harvey believed there was a way forward for both parties, if they were prepared to negotiate.
Sir Tim Shadbolt has been storing personal items at three council-owned addresses including the Awarua Farmhouse towards Bluff. Photo / Matthew Rosenberg, LDR
He said the mayor and his deputy should be “joined at the hip”, and issues needed to be sorted behind closed doors because it was a difficult situation for both parties.
“I would gladly mediate for Tim and the council, if invited.
“I think that’s what is needed, is a mediator,” Harvey Bob said.
“I feel very sad [about] what is happening. And sadder by the day that there’s a vote of no confidence in the air.
“That should not happen to any city or mayor.”
On Tuesday, Clark indicated a vote of no confidence could be in the pipeline.
The following day, Shadbolt accused his fellow councillors of bullying.
Council chief executive Clare Hadley said council staff had not been involved in sorting through the mayor’s possessions, but did not wish to comment further.
A six-month progress review against the recommendations of the Thomson Report is expected within the next two weeks.