Mayor Barbara Arnott is reconsidering the wisdom of holding Napier City Council meetings at all after two councillors (BayBuzz cannot identify … name suppression order) punched each other out at a recent “practice meeting” of the Council.

Said Arnott: “Since the Council hasn’t met in nearly a year, and we have three new councillors, Neil (Taylor, CEO) and I figured we probably needed a “practice meeting” to familiarize everyone with my iron-handed approach. We thought we’d start them out with something easy, like elevating the status of Xuzhou, our Chinese “friendly city” to full-fledged status as a “sister city”. But it turned out to be more controversial than we expected.”

Arnott would comment no further on the specific incident.

But sources tell BayBuzz that one of the councillors, who has traveled often to existing full “sister city” Lianyungang, insisted that officials there would suffer a serious loss of face if another “punier” city was given the same status. Well, it turns out — what a small world! — that another councillor has a sister-in-law from Xuzhou, and was insulted by the “puny” comment. Words were spoken, and then one of the councillors pulled a Mallard.

Arnott, who has a notorious distaste for Council meetings, commented: “I’ve never been convinced that Council meetings amount to a hill of beans in the first place. Then, when you add this kind of juvenile behaviour, I just have to question the whole premise behind conducting them. Are the ratepayers well-served by wasting money on bringing these delinquents together? Wouldn’t that money be better spent on imprisoning marine mammals?”

Arnott disclosed she was seeking legal counsel on whether she could unilaterally eliminate Council meetings, or at least reduce them to a manageable number … like one per term.

BayBuzz will stay on top of this power play.

Councillors were unavailable for comment on this story, as they were visiting additional potential Napier sister cities … “Keep ’em busy,” as Mayor Arnott put it. Kabul and Baghdad are rumoured to be in the running.


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