Wellington Scoop

Councillor Morrison’s shower joke makes headlines in the Herald

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 …


  1. William Hunt, 15. September 2013, 17:21

    I was at the Massey Great Hall mayoral debate. I got on the microphone at question time and related precisely the event at CQ Hotel; then I asked John Morrison if he thought this was appropriate acceptable behaviour from a man who pretends to be suitable for the position of mayor of wellington. Someone turned my microphone off and I was reprimanded by the mc, but then someone said: “let him answer the question” and he said i was having a cheap shot at him. Then someone said: “aha! you don’t deny it though?” and then the mc went to another question.
    At the end of the show, John came to me and said: “look, i apologize to you; i should not have said that; i got a bit carried away; i am a sportsman and we do tend to say stuff like that.” I replied: “i appreciate your apology John but i urge you to contact the DomPost and ask them to give you the opportunity to apologize to the whole public.”

  2. Lee, 15. September 2013, 18:55

    John Morrison blames his nasty remarks on being a sportsman? How sleazy. That is not anyone’s idea of good sports.

  3. Rufus Sixsmith, 17. September 2013, 17:28

    The DomPost has been forced to publish the story, presumably after the Herald ran it and it has gone viral on social media.


    The DomPost has taken the line that “It’s making it right that counts” but mentions that Mr Morrison hasn’t contacted the victim of his humour.

    Mr Morrison is getting lots of practice at apologising. Perhaps he should prefix every speech with “For those I’m about to offend, I’m truly sorry!”

  4. Phil C, 18. September 2013, 4:35

    If a man in his position is unable to judge the fitness of his comments for an audience then he is clearly not suited for the role of Mayor. His remark reflects the vanity of the aging sportsman who perhaps once used to charm the ladies at the bar by mentioning he was a cricketer.