Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt clinging to leadership despite calls for vote of no confidence

Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt continues to cling to his leadership despite accusations of dishonesty, inept leadership, and a lack of accountability.

Councillors are readying themselves for a vote of no confidence, but Shadbolt says he's fully capable of retaining the position and puts criticism down to workplace bullying.

On Tuesday, a confused Shadbolt bumbled his way through a meeting and was unable to conduct basic council business. Councillors say they're feeling sorry for Shadbolt, who has held the position since 1998 - but they're fed up.

"It was confusing and uncomfortable for everyone," Councillor Darren Ludlow told Newshub.

Shadbolt's latest scrap with the Invercargill City Council is over his hoarding of personal items in council buildings. He was reportedly holding belongings in a farmhouse, classroom, basement, and even the toilet by his office.

The clash over the hoarding culminated in Shadbolt issuing a press release written by his partner, which he says is because he is incapable of using technology.

"We can't hold him accountable because he just can't recall the issues we ask him about - even when they're the same day. And he defaults back to, 'I didn't write that, my partner did'," deputy Mayor Nobby Clark says.

Nobby Clark.
Nobby Clark. Photo credit: Newshub.

Clark says it's time for a vote of no confidence, and some Invercargill locals say Shadbolt's time in office is up.

"Tim's done his dash now and I think it's about time he retired," one says.

"It must be an age thing… just bow out gracefully," another says.

Shadbolt declined an interview with Newshub, but later emailed a statement saying he was distracted in Tuesday's meeting by bullying and threats.

"I feel there is a strategic effort, behind closed doors, to break me, to which I won't give in. I am currently taking advice on the issue of bullying and how best to mitigate the damage to the reputation of the city by Nobby's regular and unnecessary media outbursts," he says.

"Workplace bullying is a serious issue and the effect on someone's psyche should not be underestimated."

He adds he believes his performance was fair given the intimidation had reached a pinnacle.

But Clark disputes Shadbolt's statement.

"He wasn't harassed or bullied as implied - that's a victim claim - and he knows he gets sympathy points for that victim claim," Clark says.

An independent review last year found Shadbolt was increasingly unable to carry out duties.

An update of that review is due next week, and Newshub understands it contains more bad news for Shadbolt.

"I'd just like the guy to retire with grace," Clark says.

Councillors can formally request his removal - a move that Clark won't rule out - but Shadbolt is adamant he'll be standing again in next year's local election.