Alf has no problem demanding the resignation of North Shore mayor Andrew Williams for being a clown. Or any other mayor who becomes a clown.
Demanding his resignation because he enjoys a bit of wine is a different matter. If Alf were to climb on to that bandwagon, he would be in grave danger of having his disparagers in Eketahuna (there are two or three) demand he do likewise.
Alf, of course, regards the capacity to sink a scuttle of suds as the mark of a red-blooded Kiwi bloke. Most critically, however, a red-blooded Kiwi bloke should never run amok, or become violent, abusive or otherwise anti-social as a consequence of imbibing.
Mayor Williams, maybe, fails that test.
Alf would strongly disapprove if a bloke in a bar, a restaurant or any building where others are gathered suddenly whipped out his willy to empty his bladder, except in the Gents, although using the Ladies would be allowable in an emergency.
When it comes to peeing outside, the rules change. Acceptability depends on what discretion the red-blooded Kiwi bloke might exercise.
There’s a big difference between ducking up a dark alley for a piddle at night, or blatantly piddling on the main street when it is well lit and there are lots of people around, especially children and Alf’s spinster aunt.
This would be a bad look, especially for a mayor.
But Alf remains open-minded in the case of the defiant Andrew Williams, who
…has denied he has a drinking problem and says he will not resign after allegedly urinating in public and driving home after drinking at a local restaurant.
Speaking exclusively to the Herald yesterday, Mr Williams said he did drink alcohol, but he did not drink excessively. “I’m like any other normal Kiwi male. I’m very mindful of being reasonable.”
Mr Williams, who was at GPK bar and restaurant on Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna, with friends on Thursday night, said he consumed a “very minimal” quantity of red wine with food from about 6pm to 9.30pm.
“I went to GPK at the conclusion of council business. This is my private time. These are friends who just want to meet up, have a bit of a yarn and catch up on things. They don’t have to get involved with the mayor’s business. They were acquaintances who invited me, end of story.”
Alf has just one quibble with this statement: the mayor insists he consumed a very minimal” quantity of red wine with food over three and a half hours.
This namby-pamby approach to liquor consumption would not pass muster among Alf’s mates.
There’s not much point in going out for meal in a restaurant if you are going to sip your booze. You might just as well duck into McDonalds for a Big Mac and one of this awful milkshakes.
If Williams did only sip the wine like a sad-sack wimp, there can be no disputing his right to drive home afterwards.
The problem with the story as Alf understands it so far is the bit about – allegedly – peeing in public.
Mr Williams admitted he drove home after drinking, but said he had “no comment” to make about reports that after leaving the bar, he urinated outside the North Shore council building on The Strand.
The Sunday Star Times reported Williams had been drinking at the bar and restaurant for about six hours.
But six hours on the piss makes a better story than three and a half hours of genteel sipping.
The paper said he walked from the bar to the council offices, where he urinated on a tree.
He then went into the council underground carpark, collected his mayoral vehicle and drove about 6km to his Campbells Bay home.
The newspaper does not say what sort of tree. Alf believes lemon trees thrive on pee, and hence would welcome a bit of mayoral attention.
It should be noted that Councillor Jan O’Connor has expressed confidence in Williams, saying the allegations that appeared in the Sunday Star Times were “about as low as you get”.
She did not condone men who urinated outside bars in Takapuna, but said Mr Williams would have been in the dark at the council.
“If he was up there and he watered a tree, he watered a tree.”
A very sensible lady. Betcha she comes from Eketahuna, or at least has stopped off in the town and absorbed some of its good-sense vibes.
If there were more like her, no pressure would be building for Williams to resign.
Glenfield Community Board member Nick Kearney asked councillors and community board members to join him in calling for the mayor to step down.
Mr Kearney said he had the signatures of five councillors – Chris Darby, Dianne Hale, Ann Hartley, Margaret Miles and Lisa Whyte – and five community board members on a letter calling on Mr Williams to go.
It will be presented to council chief executive John Brockies today.
Alf smells the pungent whiff of politicking.
The five councillors who signed the letter are not part of Mr Williams’ ‘A’ team of nine councillors who hold all the important committee jobs.
Local Government Minister Rodney Hide has got in on the act, to express concern at Williams’ alleged conduct.
Mr Hide said if the allegations of drinking and driving were true, Mr Williams was not fit to hold office and should examine his options.
He said Mr Williams might be a danger to himself and others.
Ha. Since when did bloody Rodney start worrying about the welfare of those who have been known to think unkindly of him?
But Williams can reasonably point out in rebuttal that Hide did not like his opposition to the Super City reforms.
Hence he is being subjected to a dirty tricks campaign.
Alf recognises that the Thursday night incident is just the latest controversy for the first-term mayor.
In December, Prime Minister John Key described texts from Mr Williams as “aggressive” and “obnoxious”. They were sometimes sent as late as 3.30am.
In August 2008, the mayor collapsed at a Devonport Naval Base function and lashed out at ambulance officers who took him to North Shore Hospital.
He blamed the incident on dehydration and exhaustion from an overseas trip.
Stop right there.
He simply needed a drink.
Alf has enormous understanding of Williams’ plight. He often suffers from the same complaint – a desperate need for a drink.