Knowing your constituency

Waitaki District mayoral candidate Fliss Butcher is angry and showing it:

Oamaru Rotarians have been labelled ”rednecks” and ”like a meeting of the clan” by Waitaki mayoral and council candidate Fliss Butcher and her husband, Ian.

The outburst followed a candidates’ meeting last week, organised by the Rotary Club of Waitaki, when Mrs Butcher was refused extra time to introduce herself after she used most of her allocated one minute to deliver a mihi (greeting or welcome) in Maori. . .

Last Wednesday’s public meeting was for Oamaru and Corriedale ward candidates for the Waitaki District Council.

Yesterday, chairman and meeting adjudicator John Walker said after candidates started speaking for their minute, Mrs Butcher passed him a note asking for extra time so she could speak in Maori.

”After careful consideration, including equality for all candidates and especially those who had already spoken, I decided against it and wrote back to say she could use her minute as she wished,” he said. . .

I wasn’t at this meeting but at an earlier meet the mayoral candidates forum Butcher chose to begin her introduction with a mihi.

I am familiar enough with them to get the gist of what she said but from comments afterwards am sure I was one of very few who did. Lots of people said if she’d known her audience she would have given a brief translation.

Maybe she was going to do that at the Rotary forum which is why she requested extra time.

However the report gives the impression it wasn’t about the audience but about her:

. . . ”We have the Treaty of Waitangi and if I want to speak in Maori to ground myself and feel better before making my introduction, I am entitled to do so, as the other candidates are.” . . .

We do have a treaty and she is free to speak in any language she chooses and do what she wants to ground herself – within the time allotted.

If she needed more time she ought to have consulted the organisers before the forum and she admits that:

Mrs Butcher acknowledged it was ”probably my fault” she had not raised the extra time before the meeting, but said she was granted extra time during a Waitaki mayoral forum. . . 

Federated Farmers held a forum for mayoral and Corriedale ward candidates last night.

She didn’t do a mihi but she was asked a question over a dispute she’d had with the community water scheme some years ago.

The ODT rated Dunedin City Councillors, gave her 5/10 and noted:

Erratic performer who started the term by walking out part-way through the incoming council’s first meeting and launching a scathing attack on mayor Dave Cull’s appointments, accusing him of gender and political bias.

Took a leave of absence while grappling with personal issues, and skipped part of the 2011 budget process for ”nanny duties”, but fended off calls to resign by announcing she would not seek re-election.

Bounced back later in the term but remained prone to sudden outbursts of snarling criticism, applause and even hissing in meetings. . .

Her reaction to her request for extra time does nothing to contradict the impression this gives that she wouldn’t be a good mayor or councillor.

Knowing your constituency is a basic requirement for people seeking election and her behaviour show she doesn’t.

6 Responses to Knowing your constituency

  1. Neil says:

    Can’t see why Fliss wants to be mayor/councillor in the WDC after being on the DCC.
    She seems to be one of these “hand wringing maori wannebes” who try to be more maori than Hone Heke.They condemn their audience to a diatribe that few understand and want to hear.
    I think Fliss might be on enforced leave from public service after her brushes with local government.
    Her reaction is that of one of those pc people who are so unpopular.

  2. TraceyS says:

    5/10 was generous.

  3. JRM. says Fliss B. attitude is not really needed in North Otago Her views on sustainability would be a disaster for our region.

  4. Richard says:

    Fliss Butcher is Ngai Tahu? Really? Never heard her pronounce on Maori issues as a Councillor.
    “However the report gives the impression it wasn’t about the audience but about her”
    Agree.
    It is quite easy to give a brief mihi- FB should learn how to do it.

    It is also bad manners and silly, in my view, to address an audience that clearly has no working knowledge of Maori te reo – the language

  5. Lindsay Coulter says:

    Yep at best a Maori activist with a racist agenda. How dare she push her Maori wheelbarrow at a venue she was asked to attend as a speaker, no one there wanted any part of her racist agenda. One would presume the audience actually wanted to hear and UNDERSTAND what she had to say.

  6. homepaddock says:

    I wasn’t at the meeting but from the report in the paper and speaking to people who were, I don’t think she’s a Maori activist or racist. She just made a fuss that could have been avoided has she asked before the meeting and done a brief mihi.

    I’m with Richard who describes it as bad manners but that’s not racism.

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