29 Jun 2012

Local politicians brawl in Bluff

8:35 pm on 29 June 2012

A foul-mouthed expletive-laden tirade is the latest in an on-going saga as factions on the Bluff Community Board battle each other over issues in the town.

The result of a by-election will be known at noon on Saturday, while behind the scenes a defamation case looms and many in the port community are wondering how the fighting will affect the public image of the town.

Comments on a blogsite by board member Brent Procter have shocked many in the seafaring community.

Mr Procter used one of the most profane words in the English language, directed at Kylie Fowler, the partner of a fellow board member, Charlie Te Au.

Since the five members of the Bluff Community Board were elected un-opposed two years ago, the local authority has been dogged by in-fighting.

Chairwoman Jan Mitchell has brought a defamation case against local fisherman John Edminston, following a heated exchange between the two at community board meeting last year.

Mr Edminston is one of the candidates in Saturday's by-election.

Invercargill city councillor and Bluff community board representative, Graham Lewis, says the tension is unfortunate, but if the board asks for help to resolve the issues then the council may step in.

Last month board chair Jan Mitchell was banned from performing official duties at the Bluff Oyster Festival.

The festival chairman is John Edminston and Mr Procter says if he is elected to the community board the fighting and expletives will only get worse, not better

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt is calling for calm, while the board and its newly elected member will meet for the first time in six weeks.