No Email Search, No 'Gagging' at City Council

16 February 2009

No search of anyone's email accounts is under way at Wellington City Council, nor are City Councillors being 'gagged', says Council Chief Executive Garry Poole.

Mr Poole wishes to assure City Councillors, Council staff - and Wellingtonians in general - that no 'witch hunt' is under way at the City Council and no email accounts are being searched - despite the assertions in today's (13.02.09) Dominion Post lead story, headed 'Stadium appeal backlash'.

Mr Poole says he is deeply disappointed by the story. "The Dominion Post insisted that email accounts are being searched despite being told by Council staff several times yesterday that this is not the case. The story is irresponsible and incorrect."

Also contrary to the Dominion Post's assertion, no Councillors have been 'gagged' and told not to discuss the Indoor Community Sports Centre (ICSC) issue.

"I do not have the right, let alone the inclination, to impose such censorship. Councillors were in fact asked yesterday to not publicly discuss the Council's legal options in terms of our approach to the ICSC appeals. This is legally-privileged information and it would be highly damaging to the City Council if it were publicly available. We also never publicly discuss issues that are before the courts.

"Councillors are of course perfectly free to talk about any other aspects relating to the ICSC issue. Council officers have offered to provide all necessary information to Councillors so they can discuss the issue with Wellingtonians."

Mr Poole says the Council is absolutely not conducting a search through any email accounts. What staff are, in fact, doing is responding to a request under LGOIMA (Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act) from a member of the public for certain documents and correspondence (including emails) relating to the Indoor Community Sports Centre.

The Council's Issues Resolution Office is managing the request as it would any other request for information. This does not constitute a search of any particular email accounts.