Wellington Scoop

Morrison leaks colleague’s email, says council wants “to stop everything”

Mayoral candidate John Morrison has issued a press release in which he links “the unhelpful attitude of council officers” with what he describes as a “triumphant email” sent by one of his fellow councillors about the Environment Court decision refusing demolition of the Category One Harcourts Building in Lambton Quay.

Press Release – John Morrison
The unhelpful attitude held by council officers towards its residents and ratepayers has permeated down from the top as highlighted by a triumphant email from Greens councillor Iona Pannett on the Environment Court decision on the Harcourt’s Building.

Mayoral candidate John Morrison has slammed the Greens candidate for Lambton for her congratulatory email to council officers for achieving a further stalemate on the Harcourt’s Building.

Pannett’s email was addressed to council officer Warren Ulusele and said: ‘Thanks Warren, fantastic outcome. Well done to the team, staff, experts and lawyers. Kind regards. Iona.’

“The current Mayor and the rest of the Greens want to stop everything, do nothing. There’s no attempt at an imaginative solution for investors who want to get the city moving again,” Morrison said.

“This is a classic example of a ‘them and us’ mentality and culture that exists in the council at the moment. Anyone trying to do anything will run into it when they have to come face-to-face with the council.

“The current leadership and the behind-the-scenes manipulation by the Greens has encouraged councillor officers to stop everything and do nothing. They pat themselves on the back when they have a ‘win’ against a citizen or ratepayer. The staff has forgotten their job is to provide a service to the people of Wellington and they’ve forgotten how to do good positive things,” Morrison said

Good examples of council in conflict with its citizens included parking, planning issues, building consents, dog control, and encroachment licences.

Morrison said the seven out of 10 Wellingtonians who had not yet voted had until mid-day on Saturday to fill in their papers and he urged them to put (1) next to his name, or face three more years of the same.

In the case of the Harcourt’s building Ulusele informed councillors:

“We have received a decision from the Environment Court (copy attached) regarding the proposed demolition of the Harcourt’s building. We have not had time to read through the decision in detail but the Court has upheld the Commissioners’ decision to decline consent for the demolition.

“We will need to review the decision more fully and consider the implications of this decision in terms of earthquake strengthening of the city’s buildings and the balance with owners’ needs for financial viability.”

Read also
Harcourts Building saved again – Environment Court refuses demolition


  1. Ron Beernink, 8. October 2013, 13:06

    Isn’t this the same John Morrison who recently and to great fanfare unveiled a heritage protection plan for Wellington? Isn’t this the same John Morrison who said that he’ll do great things for cycling including promoting a new BMX track, but forgetting that as a councillor it was his portfolio that failed to do anything in this area over the last few years including putting to action the BMX track which has already been approved? Isn’t this the same John Morrison who said he would oppose the Basin Reserve Fly-over and then voted for it?
    His nickname Mistry is very appropriate.

    I also want to congratulate the council on protecting the heritage and beauty of our city, even if it is at the cost of some business people wanting to just bowl their way through the heart of Wellington in the supposed hope that it will make us a better city. Yeah right.

  2. Katie Francis, 8. October 2013, 15:28

    Bad heading Scoop – the email is hardly ‘leaked.’ And the release says it is the Greens, not council in general, that want to stop everything – and I agree.
    And yes Ron Beernink, it is the same John Morrison who unveiled a heritage protection plan – which involves working with building owners to find win/win solutions, not forcing them into impossible situations where everyone loses.

    As for the rest of yor comments, they are so far out of context that they are not worth further comment!

  3. lindsay, 8. October 2013, 15:45

    Katie: Three questions.
    1. Did John Morrison have Iona Pannett’s agreement to release her email?
    2. How many of Wellington’s 14 councillors are Greens?
    3. After all his years as a councillor, is John Morrison really so antagonistic towards council staff? To quote his press release he says they have an “unhelpful attitude … towards residents and ratepayers” and they have been encouraged ” to stop everything and do nothing” and also “the staff has forgotten their job is to provide a service to the people of Wellington and they’ve forgotten how to do good positive things.”

  4. Rosamund, 8. October 2013, 16:49

    What silliness to think that elected reps. are behind the independent decisions of either Commissioners or the Environment Court.

  5. John Clarke, 8. October 2013, 17:09

    And I’d add a fourth question to lindsay’s – if John Morrison has done such a fabulous job with this “heritage protection plan”, then how come he hasn’t unveiled some magical win/win solution to the Harcourts building problem on the front page of the Dominion Post? Could it be because he’s good at throwing rocks at other people’s ideas but not so good at actually thinking up the solutions to difficult problems himself?

  6. Nora, 9. October 2013, 7:33

    Talking of “leaked” emails, many of us have not forgotten the charming one sent by Cr Morrison with the demise of Mr Poole CEO and the new appointment:
    “A new CEO appointed in June next year (2013) is not going to do anything good or bad until he is at least 12 months into the job (and is this council capable of appointing a decent CEO – I dont think so – so huge risk we finish up with a prick of a guy cosy with Celia.”)
    Charming but then of course we remember he didnt mind plagiarising the new CEO’s ideas though he has since blamed his wife.
    One has to wonder why the team running his campaign did not put a zip on his mouth.

  7. John Daniels, Historic Places Wellington, 9. October 2013, 13:24

    It is a bit hard to understand exactly what Cr Morrison is objecting to. Surely the Council, and particularly Iona Pannett in her role as Built Environment portfolio leader, is obliged to uphold its district plan in the hearings on the Harcourts case? Both the hearings commissioners and the Environment Court weighed the case for demolishing Harcourts against the district plan and found that the case did not stack up.

    Certainly the building needs strengthening and this will cost a lot of money. However, evidence at the hearings showed that other parties have shown interest in buying the building, but could not make it work (in the Court’s words) because of “a handicap imposed by a rigidly set bottom-line figure demanded for the land and building”.

  8. CC, 10. October 2013, 6:26

    No doubt Cr Morrison will crow about how a good deal was done when the Harcourts building bites the dust next year… The Council and owner still have a few legal games to play that will undermine the consent hearing process and the Environment Court. Nothing stands in the way of developers and their aiding and abetting council buddies for long.