Wellington Scoop

On the same page, with the same words – John Morrison echoes Kevin Lavery

When Councillor John Morrison contributed an opinion piece to the Dominion Post last week, he described Wellington as being “open for business”. Which was exactly the wording used by the Council’s CEO Kevin Lavery in his speech to the Chamber of Commerce the week before.

Good news, you may think. An aspiring mayoral candidate is on the same page as the new Chief Executive, which might bode well for Wellington’s future. But a closer reading reveals that Morrison is not only on the same page, he’s using the same words in the same order. And he didn’t stop at a single phrase.

Here’s Kevin Lavery talking to the Chamber:

“I also want to make sure that ‘open for business’ is a reality not just a slogan for WCC.”

And John Morrison the following week:

“I want to ensure that “Wellington is Open for Business” is an absolute reality not just a nice slogan slapped on City Council websites and emails.”

Morrison agrees with Mr Lavery even more emphatically on the subject of unemployment and growth. Here’s Mr Lavery’s view:

“Unemployment is high at 7.3%, incidentally higher than the area of England I recently left. There are very few cranes on the skyline and growth is at a standstill.”

And the peculiar echo that is John Morrison’s opinion piece:

“Unemployment is high at 7.3 per cent, there are very few projects on the go in town at present and growth is literally at a complete standstill.”

Mr Lavery and Mr Morrison are also in near-complete agreement on a comparison with Auckland. Here’s the Chief Executive:

“We don’t want the unadulterated growth of Auckland here in the Capital. We want managed growth, with a growing tax base, allowing us to invest sensibly to make Wellington a real Living City. This is good for business, good for our environment, good for culture, and most importantly good for our people.”

And here’s the Councillor dutifully following in his footsteps:

“We don’t want the unruly growth of Auckland; we want managed growth with a growing tax base, allowing us to invest sensibly to make Wellington a really great capital city. This is good for business, good for the environment, good for culture and most importantly good for our people.”

Even the phraseology sounds remarkably similar. Here’s the Chief Executive:

“We also need to shift the public debate from grant to investment, from problems to solutions, from dependency to self sufficiency.”

All laudable goals … which Cr Morrison agrees with so strongly that he repeats them:

“We must shift our focus from dependency to self-sufficiency, from problems to solutions, from hand-outs to investment.”

John Morrison’s devotion to the new CEO’s written style is all the more impressive given that he wasn’t a fan of appointing Mr Lavery in the first place, having voted to keep the old Chief Executive and then declining to turn up to Mr Lavery’s interview with the Council.

But perhaps it’s not so much a meeting of minds on the fine details of the city and its future; perhaps Cr Morrison simply recognizes that plagiarism is an easier path than genuine creativity. And come October, Wellingtonians can decide whether a mayor needs a greater range of skills than merely the ability to copy and paste.

Kevin Lavery’s speech
John Morrison’s article


  1. Pollyanna, 20. June 2013, 8:34

    John will have to borrow speeches from others because over the years it has been very apparent that he rarely has read all the agendas for Council meetings.

  2. John Clarke, 20. June 2013, 9:31

    John Morrison obviously doesn’t have an original thought in his head if he needs to “borrow” speeches from other people.

  3. Rufus Sixsmith, 20. June 2013, 10:04

    It answers the question raised in the campaign ads about leadership and integrity.

    Obviously, Kevin will lead and John will go to the after match functions.

    Integrity?: absent!

  4. CC, 20. June 2013, 10:50

    John Morrison should follow the lead of Wellington City Council’s former director of strategy, planning and urban design. She had the decency to leave when her plagiarism was uncovered.

  5. Simon, 20. June 2013, 10:54

    Imitation is a form of flattery, by flattery I mean plagiarism.

  6. Elaine Hampton, 20. June 2013, 11:33

    John Morrison has been a trustee of the Basin Cricket ground for years and has watched it become more and more run down. The museum is dilapidated, the children’s playground just disappeared one day. It used to be a public venue as well as a cricket ground – but now it lacks TLC.
    We should take into consideration what John Morrison hasn’t done as well as what he says he will do

  7. Ron B, 20. June 2013, 12:31

    He reminds me of one of those seagulls at cricket matches at the Basin; sitting around waiting for action to happen, and squawking incoherently in the meantime

  8. Rufus Sixsmith, 20. June 2013, 13:02

    Well done Wellington.Scoop for breaking the story: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/wellington/8820098/Wellington-councillor-apologises-for-plagiarism [There’s no acknowledgement in the DomPost, and we’ve received no apology from Cr Morrison]

  9. peter@southwelly, 20. June 2013, 13:45

    John Morrison doesn’t make promises on things he can’t deliver on – a classic case – light rail.

  10. Richard, 20. June 2013, 18:54

    I would like to know why John is now such a terrific supporter of our new Chief Executive when he was so vociferous in his support for the last Chief Executive and voted against the new one who is so worthy of plagiarising and is such an enormous improvement for us poor ratepayers.
    Answer please, John!!!

  11. Donald McGregor, 21. June 2013, 9:29

    @peter@southwelly. So we will see John produce the “… ”well known cricket fan” who had offered to fund maintenance of the new stand for its first ten years.”

    That will save some rates.


  12. Nora, 21. June 2013, 9:36

    Now we know why he is called Mystery Morrison!

  13. Jack Ruben, 21. June 2013, 19:52

    How ironic, and sad, that mayoral candidate John Morrison, who reputedly led the opposition to Kevin Lavery’s appointment, should find it necessary to plagiarise his vision for Wellington as part of his campaign! In the literary world, plagiarism is a crime punishable by hefty penalties, and subsequent apologies only after discovery don’t mitigate the action.
    I hope John Morrison will now withdraw his candidature. Wellington needs leaders with integrity, vision and experience, not individuals who have shown they lack these essential qualities. His actions will haunt him throughout his campaign, so he should do the honourable thing now and withdraw from the race. Furthermore, absenting himself from the vital vote on the future of Wellington on such a flimsy excuse is a warning to every voter which we won’t forget,
    John, it saddens me to have to write this, but Wellingtonians deserve better than someone who indulges in such deceit and hopes to get away with it – until he is found out. Your feeble excuse fools no one.

  14. Michael Gibson, 22. June 2013, 8:39

    I think that John could redeem himself by putting his weight firmly behind one of the other candidates for Mayor.
    Which candidate? Any suggestions?
    And whom does he support to be his replacement as a Ward Councillor?

  15. Polly, 22. June 2013, 11:37

    Well said Jack….Have to admit when I read the Morrison article in the Dom/Post Opinion Column, I made the comment to my family “wonder who wrote it for him?” and now we know…….

  16. Jack Ruben, 1. July 2013, 18:34

    “Old habits die hard” as the expression goes. Councillor John Morrison has again demonstrated the accuracy of his nickname “Mystery Morrison”. Ever since mayoral candidate Morrison was outed plagiarising Kevin Lavery’s perceptive comments about Wellington, John ‘Mystery’ Morrison has disappeared from view. Could it be that his (obvious) media backers are becoming embarrassed by his behaviour?
    The next few years following the upcoming elections will be the most vital in deciding the future of Wellington. Our Council is probably one of the most important and influential financial organisations in Wellington. We need an experienced person as mayor who will be prepared to fight for our city, has a successful business/administrative record, and is capable of original thought, – not someone who mysteriously disappears from sight every time there is a problem, such as Cllr Morrison did when absenting himself from the vital vote on the future of Wellington.
    Meaningless excuses and platitudes are no longer credible, and many businessmen I have spoken to are not impressed.
    I look forward to having a selection of electable candidates to choose from, but currently the list is very limited. Wake up Wellingtonians! – this is our last chance to have any influence on our future. .