Andrew Williams (New Zealand politician)

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Andrew Williams
JP
Andrew Williams, 2011.jpg
Andrew Williams in 2011
5th Mayor of North Shore
In office
2007–2010
Preceded by George Wood
Succeeded by Council abolished
Personal details
Born 1959
Waipukurau, Hawke's Bay
Nationality New Zealand
Political party New Zealand First
Spouse(s) Jane
Children three
Residence Campbells Bay
Website www.andrewwilliams.co.nz

Andrew Bruce Forbes Williams (born 1959) is a former New Zealand politician. In 2007 he won election as Mayor of North Shore City, New Zealand's fourth-largest city. Williams served on a community board during 2004–2007, and as a city councillor in the term before that in 2001–2004. North Shore City Council was abolished in October 2010, becoming part of the Auckland "Super City". Williams won election to the New Zealand Parliament on 26 November 2011 as a list MP for the New Zealand First Party.

Political career[edit]

Local Government politics[edit]

Williams served as a city councillor between 2001–2004, and on a community board between 2004–2007.

In 2007 he won election as Mayor of North Shore City, New Zealand's fourth-largest city. North Shore City Council was abolished in October 2010, becoming part of the Auckland "Super City".

Williams, an outspoken critic of the "Super City" amalgamation process for Auckland instigated by the National-led government in its first term of 2008–2011, considering the proposed "Supercity" unnecessary and undemocratic. He called the political moves towards forced unification a railroaded process and a power grab.[1] Personal relations with Auckland City's mayor John Banks reportedly turned very sour, with Banks calling Williams "a lunatic" in a text-message Banks accidentally sent to Williams himself, after Williams had accused Rodney Hide of misleading the Prime Minister on the amount of consultation with local authorities on the "Super City" proposal.[2]

On 15 August 2008, Williams collapsed while attending a Devonport naval base function. While being treated by ambulance workers, Williams is said to have "lashed out" at those helping him. The ambulance staff filed an incident report, but did not recommend further action to be taken.[3] Williams' wife Jane claims her husband was suffering from "Chinese lurgy" after an exhausting 10-day trip to Korea and China. She described the incident as an unconscious reaction of Williams as the medics treated him, and expressed regret that the media had been told of it even though it should have been covered by patient confidentiality.[4]

Local newspapers were critical of Williams' first year in Mayor's office, with one paper asking the question "Is the mayor mad?" and noting that his behaviour has been described as "overbearing, controlling, heavy-handed". Williams defended himself as not having "a lot of patience for fence-sitters and procrastinators".[5]

Andrew Williams has been involved in a number of incidents where his temper apparently flared up – such as during a meeting of a committee of the North Shore City Council, where he was asked to leave the meeting after referring to a councillor, Chris Darby, as a "smart-arse".[6]

In 2010 Williams had been drinking red wine at a Takapuna bar. Six hours later he left the bar alone and headed down Hurstmere Rd towards the offices of the North Shore City Council, where he had been mayor since 2007. On his way he stopped, pulled down his trousers and urinated on a tree outside the council offices. Williams then headed for the council underground carpark, collected his mayoral vehicle and drove home to Campbells Bay, a 6 km trip.[7][8]

Regarding the then-proposed Super City, Williams instead called for retention of the local Councils as they existed as of 2009, with a stronger Auckland Regional Council that could allegedly be made more accountable by being made up of local authority councillors instead of being elected separately and being forced to "work in a silo", "with insufficient funding".[1]

Williams has been accused of making a number of "obnoxious and aggressive" late night text and email messages to other politicians, including former Prime Minister John Key, and of leaving "abusive rants" on the answering machine of previous mayor George Wood.[9] He has later defended himself saying that overwork as well as prescription drug-taking and sleeplessness after an accident some weeks beforehand were partly to blame.[10]

In July 2010, he announced that he would stand in the 2010 mayoral election for the new 'Supercity' and for the Albany ward on the new council.[11] He was elected to neither, and retired as the final Mayor of North Shore City after a Council Meeting on the last day of the City's legal existence.

Member of Parliament (2011–2014)[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate List Party
2011–2014 50th List 3 NZ First

He represented New Zealand First in the North Shore in the 2011 general election.[12] Although New Zealand First won no electorate seats, Williams was elected as a list Member of Parliament as New Zealand First's 6.8% of the party vote entitled it to eight seats in Parliament.[13] Williams himself only received around 900 votes.[14]

In March 2014, it was reported that two employees of New Zealand First received compensation after complaining about the way they were treated by Williams.[15]

On 26 August 2014, New Zealand First released their parliamentary list for the 2014 New Zealand general election. Williams was excluded, effectively ending his parliamentary career.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Andrew Williams: Downsize this Super City madness, The New Zealand Herald, Friday 8 May 2009
  2. ^ "Banks calls Williams a lunatic as Super City debate gets ugly", The New Zealand Herald, Monday 13 April 2009
  3. ^ Savage, Jared (17 August 2008). "Sick mayor and ambulance staff run-in". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  4. ^ "Mayoress concerned about patient confidentiality". Stuff.co.nz. 20 August 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  5. ^ "Is the mayor mad?". The Aucklander. 30 October 2008. 
  6. ^ "Mayor defiant over council name-calling". The New Zealand Herald. 13 November 2008. 
  7. ^ "Embattled mayor to make announcement on future". The New Zealand Herald. 
  8. ^ "Call for North Shore mayor to quit". Stuff.co.nz. 
  9. ^ "Mayor's rude texts target John Key". The Sunday Star-Times. 13 December 2009. Retrieved 14 February 2010. 
  10. ^ McCracken, Heather (20 December 2009). "Mayor: Drugs responsible for late-night texting". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 10 July 2010. 
  11. ^ Orsman, Bernard (10 July 2010). "Andrew Williams: I want to be Super Mayor". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 10 July 2010. 
  12. ^ Vance, Andrea (2 August 2011). "Andrew Williams to contest North Shore seat". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  13. ^ Peters back from wilderness, Fairfax Newspapers, 27 November 2011
  14. ^ "He 'only got 828 votes' - Maggie Barry takes swipe at ex-mayor". 28 November 2011 – via New Zealand Herald. 
  15. ^ Hurley, Bevan (23 March 2014). "'Bully' MP drives women out". The New Zealand Herald. 
  16. ^ Rutherford, Hamish (26 August 2014). "NZ First wipes Andrew Williams from list" – via Stuff.co.nz. 

External links[edit]