Let’s hear it for the Mayoress of Christchurch, Jo Nicholls-Parker, who is insisting it is “perfectly legit to take some perks” such as coffee and muffins because she works fulltime for the city for free.
Mind you, Alf wonders how much coffee and how many muffins have been consumed by Jo then put on the mayoral tab.
His curiosity is all in the interests of accountability, which he zealously champions, and to satisfy his deep interest in the cost of living.
Jo has responded to criticism of her role after the nosy news media published stuff about her sitting in on breakfast meetings with her husband, Mayor Bob Parker, and spending ratepayer money on muffins and coffees.
According to Stuff:
The couple later paid back more than $600.
This leaves Alf curious about the number of muffins and cups of coffee one can consume for that money.
But he agrees with Jo when she says some people have shown “mean-spiritness”, although she had generally been well-treated as mayoress.
“I’m working fulltime for this city without getting paid to do that, so I think it’s perfectly legit to take some perks, even if it is just a small muffin and coffee.”
She said she and Parker ate in the same cafe every morning, and it was a conscious decision to stall her art career to focus on being a fulltime mayoress.
She denied she stayed at breakfast meetings when confidential talks were held between Parker and council chief executive Tony Marryatt.
“I don’t need to be there for the sensitive stuff, but I do like to keep up to date with the issues of the city,” she said.
“I think it’s important I do that. How many coffees I have is beside the point.”
Alf happens to have a similar view when it comes to constituents wanting to know how much booze he consumes at the taxpayer’s expense, notwithstanding his views on accountability.
But back to Jo:
She said she was aware of the public scrutiny that came with the role, but she relished being mayoress.
The role had “grown” over the past three years. She attended many mayoral functions, often deputising for her husband, and was patron of several trusts.
An art auctioneer before Parker became mayor, she had been studying for a postgraduate degree in art curatorship, but that was put on hold after the 2007 election.
The lowest point of the term had been the media printing “misinformation” when they did not “translate Bob’s messages correctly”.
Alf does not have too much sympathy with her on this last point.
She should be bloody grateful the media are publishing Bob’s messages at all, regardless of the mistranslations.
Alf has been struggling for years to get any of his media statements published, and would be hugely chuffed if he saw one in print. In those delicious circumstances he would not get too excited about a bit of mistranslation or misinformation.
Moreover Alf seriously questions Jo’s judgement on two scores: for marrying Mayor Bob, and for wanting to live in Christchurch.
It’s a weird place as Alf has previously opined, and Mayor Bob is a weird bloke, as demonstrated when he applauded the demolition of property because demon-fearing citizens were spooked by it.
In short, it seems to Alf she is so fond of bloody muffins that she married one.