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Sir Tim appears to fall asleep as performance comes under spotlight

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Wed, 4 May 2022, 3:24pm

Sir Tim appears to fall asleep as performance comes under spotlight

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Wed, 4 May 2022, 3:24pm

Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt appeared to shut down for a couple of minutes this morning as his performance came under the spotlight. 

Sir Tim though has denied he was asleep at a council meeting and simply did not want to go over the issues being raised. 

The situation happened during today's council project governance group meeting where elected members were having a discussion of its legacy report and whether it should be included in the open agenda. 

The report was the official response from council to a letter from the Department of Internal Affairs in 2020 that raised concerns about the council's performance and leadership. 

Sir Tim, who was present at the meeting, initially indicated he would oppose a motion from deputy mayor Nobby Clark asking for the report, that originally was tabled in the public excluded part of the meeting, to be made public. 

However, later he said although the report would be a "celebrity roast of the mayor'', it was appropriate to go to the public as the council needed to be as transparent as possible. 

After some discussion over the table, acting chairman external appointee Jeff Grant put the motion on the table to be voted upon. 

When asked if anyone was against it, Sir Tim said "no". 

Then Grant explained to him the item on the table was the motion to put the document into public, which he thought he was supporting due to his comments earlier in the meeting. 

After no answer and observing Sir Tim apparently with his eyes closed, he tried to engage again: "Sir Tim, are you against putting the legacy report into public? Sir Tim?" 

All members in the room started to look at the mayor and at each other. 

"We would note then [that] Sir Tim has now chosen to not approve the report going into public. Is this correct Sir Tim? [silence] 

"Thank you. So on that basis, the majority have supported the report going into public.'' 

Sir Tim then was seen opening his eyes and picking papers on the table about two minutes later. 

When the meeting finished, Sir Tim kept sitting at the table and chief executive Clare Hadley went to speak to him. 

Sir Tim contacted the Otago Daily Times more than an hour later and said he was not asleep. 

He said he had raised the issues he needed to and was being asked to repeat issues. 

He would make further comment later today. 

The meeting was live streamed and the situation happened at about the 38-minute mark of the video.