Wellington Scoop

Ian and John and Helene

by Lindsay Shelton
Ian McKinnon, standing down after nine years as a Wellington City Councillor. John Morrison, standing for mayor after 15 years as a councillor. Helene Ritchie, standing again after 27 years as a councillor.

Ian McKinnon’s decision not to continue as a councillor has reignited the debate about how long our elected representatives should stay on the council. Of course, everyone gets to participate in this debate – do the election results prove that Helene Ritchie’s length of service has popular support? Or do they just indicate name recognition in a long list of unknowns?

Institutional knowledge cannot be undervalued, says Helene Ritchie. Stephanie Cook, leaving after 18 years, agrees but says “there comes a time when councillors have been there too long.”

In his DomPost interview today, Ian McKinnon says councillors “need to learn when to call it a day.” He adds: “The risk of overstaying is that one can lose perspective on the issues in terms of the wider context.”

After his 15 years on the city council, what do we know about John Morrison’s perspectives? He supports a flyover at the Basin Reserve. He opposes light rail, and even seems unenthusiastic about public transport. On a Stuff live chat last year, he said: “Buses are dreadful things (and they are often empty), that’s why people like their cars and will continue to do so.” Today he has emphasised his support for private cars, with a statement that he wants to change the parking rules to create a “balanced public-private transport system.” Not of course that a mayor has the power to change the parking rules, without first getting support from a majority of councillors.

But by his own account, his main interests and a majority of his council achievements have been related to sport.

John Morrison’s focus on sport

Goodbye and thank you, says Labour candidate


  1. Donald McGregor, 1. August 2013, 11:22

    I think Cr Morrison’s new vehicle says more about his transportation views than he will admit in public. http://tinyurl.com/n78dwsp
    Hardly a sensible city runabout.

  2. nora, 1. August 2013, 11:46

    Thank you Donald. I can see that he parked it at the Botanical Gardens Begonia House/tea rooms for free! Of course he is used to that, as he has all day (7 days) in the Town Hall car park…….not to mention all the other perks.

  3. Maximus, 2. August 2013, 0:16

    The old brigade on the Council all need to retire and move on. Councilor Gill needs to move on and enjoy her retirement, she has had more than enough time on the benches – it’s time to go. Helene Richie is also way past her sell by date, has no respect for others at the Council table, and needs to move on. It’s good, and brave that Clr McKinnon recognizes that, and has started the move to get fresh blood in – Clr Morrison should do the same as well. Wellington needs fresh faces and abilities as our leaders.