Today’s Herald on Sunday is headlining part of a speech that John Morrison made in Wellington more than a week ago. “Shower jibe stuns audience,” reads the Herald headline – not the kind of coverage that’s helpful to a Mayoral campaign.
His remarks – made when he was opening a Rotary art show at the CQ Hotel – were first reported on wellington.scoop. We quoted William Hunt, a Houghton Bay resident who was at the art show:
It was a packed house and there was also a fashion show with young women modelling dresses, standing on podiums amongst the crowd. John Morrison was invited to open the exhibition; at some stage in his speech he congratulated the models and said: “I will be meeting with one of them, in the showers, later on after the show”. My daughter was with me and she was very upset, and she was not the only one; this kind of “humour” is unacceptable from anyone and especially from a candidate for the mayoralty of the capital city.
The story was covered by the bloggers on wcc.watch, who said Mr Morrison “puts his foot in it again.”
The Herald on Sunday has uncovered more details. The Auckland newspaper says a model in body paint was publicly humiliated by Morrison’s statement that they would be showering together. The Herald names the model as Amy Cormack. It says she works as a programme manager for Plunket, and had given her time for the charity event where she was posing as an ice queen. She told the Herald she was not happy with Morrison. “Certainly the comments made were not appreciated.” People close to her said she couldn’t get out of the room fast enough.
There hasn’t been any mention of the incident, however, in the DomPost, which is continuing to position John Morrison as its favourite candidate. Though its reporters gave Mayor Celia Wade-Brown the top marks in this week’s mayoral debate, two headlines in Saturday’s paper made it obvious that the paper has returned to its bias against the mayor.
Saturday’s Insight section featured interviews with Wade-Brown and Morrison. The headline on the mayor’s interview included this negative reference:
Celia Wade-Brown offers
herself as the mayor on a
bike, pursuing a green and
progressive future for the
city. Her critics say she is
leading us nowhere
Across the page, the Dompost did it again. Its headline on the Morrison interview included more criticism … of the mayor:
John Morrison says he will
bring back Wellington’s
“swagger” after three years of
dithering by mayor Celia
The content of the two interviews was similarly slanted.
John Morrison’s career (councillor, cricketer, businessman, commentator, and recipient of the NZOM) was given four paragraphs. The mayor’s more distinguished career (honours degree from Nottingham University, systems engineer with IBM, programmer, analyst and educator with Databank, businesswoman running an international consultancy) wasn’t mentioned.
The DomPost repeated Mr Morrison’s claim that “perhaps his biggest coup” was persuading an Australian call centre company to set up in Wellington. The problem with this claim is that it has been challenged – by a Wellington.Scoop reader who discovered that the call centre announced in January it had set up an office in Wellington, whereas Mr Morrison says his first contact wasn’t till Anzac Day.
The Morrison interview also touched on his widely-reported plagiarism of a speech by the city council’s new chief executive but tells us, surprisingly, that he blames this on his wife. Anthony Hubbard reports: “He had circled some of the phrases in Mr Lavery’s speech and suggested to his wife that the ideas be incorporated into the piece. He had assumed she would rephrase them but this had not happened.”
Not a word, however, about the unsuccessful attempt at humour at the Rotary art show.
Mayor Wade-Brown gets the last word in the Herald on Sunday. She says: “John Morrison’s comments appear to be stuck in the 1960s along with his Basin Reserve fly-over policy. Even off-hand comments say something about a person’s fundamental attitude.” And Rotarian David Howden, who said he did not hear the remark but had heard disturbing reports afterwards: “If something was said that caused offence, then … our club is very apologetic for it.”
September 18: Morrison apologises, but …