‘Political sabotage, an act of lunacy': Cr Ahipene-Mercer talks about his colleagues

Pro-flyover city councillors made some powerful allegations at last night’s extraordinary meeting which voted to oppose the project and to seek alternatives.

The most outspoken was Councillor Ray Ahipene-Mercer. He successfully moved a motion to stop the meeting being held at its advertised time of 4pm. When it began again at 10.05, he spoke vigorously against the flyover’s opponents. Their opposition to the flyover was “an act of political sabotage,” he announced. There was more. “Despite the pathetic comments I’ve heard around this table, I don’t believe there are any options. It’s fictitious.” In his opinion, the approach taken by the anti-flyover councillors was “an act of lunacy.”

Councillor Ian McKinnon said he had received abusive emails saying he would lose his seat unless he voted against the flyover. But he was not intimidated. “I will not be supporting the recommendations.”

Referring to a letter from the Transport Agency, he asked: “Is the letter holding a pistol to our heads? No – they’re telling us where they stand.”

Councillor Swampy Marsh said his anti-flyover colleagues “live in la la land and don’t believe we travel in cars…The recommendations scare me.” (All six recommendations were approved by a majority of councillors).

Councillor John Morrison, who said he wasn’t speaking as a member of the ‘pragmatic’ Basin Reserve Trust, compared the council meeting with the rally of a political party. “I know some of you don’t want any cars or any roads … The recommendations are a road block.” They were also “mischievous and dishonest.” Looking to a future without a flyover, he asked: “What will we do if people can’t get to and from the airport?” What kind of road block is he expecting?

Councillor Coughlan said sinisterly: “I hope the public knows who the people are who want to stop this project. We should just be getting on with it.”

For the record, the eight councillors who voted to explore non-flyover options were: Wade-Brown, Foster, Cook, Eagle, Lester, Pannett, Pepperell, and Ritchie.

The public should also know the councillors who want the flyover to be built. They are: McKinnon, Ahipene-Mercer, Best, Coughlan, Gill, Marsh and Morrison.


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