A war of words has erupted between a well-known businessman trying to oust a long-term city councillor in October’s local body elections.
And the battleground involves where the businessman lives – and an unrelated pile of shingle.
Maugers Contracting Ltd boss Phil Mauger is standing in the Burwood Ward against three-term city councillor Glenn Livingstone.
Mr Mauger lives in Avonhead, but grew up in the eastern suburbs.
Last month, The Star’s community newspaper in the eastern suburbs, Pegasus Post, reported on the Coastal-Burwood Community Board’s bid to try and have a pile of shingle removed from a car park, alongside the Avon River, near the intersection of New Brighton Rd and Wainoni Rd.
The article prompted Mr Mauger to get his staff and a digger to clean most of it up.
He posted a photo of the clean up on his election Facebook page, which Cr Livingstone said was “electioneering.”
Mr Mauger, when interviewed later by The Star, said it wasn’t.
But The Star then learned the day after it was cleaned up a Maugers Contracting truck appeared at the site with a sign saying “Vote Mauger For Burwood.”
Interviewed again by The Star this week, Mr Mauger said a staff member made the decision to take the truck to the location.
“I just said to my guy on the truck, ‘you drive where ever you like’,” he said.
When asked what Cr Livingstone would think of this, Mr Mauger told The Star he was sick of criticism (from Cr Livingstone) about the way he was running his election campaign and the fact he lived outside of the Burwood Ward.
Cr Livingstone previously questioned the impact Mr Mauger could have living outside of Burwood if he was elected. Mr Mauger said this would not affect the job he would do.
“Glenn’s about to get a rocket right up his a*** very soon in the next couple of days, because I am sick and tired of hearing about the fact that I don’t live in the ward,” said Mr Mauger.
Rather than criticising him, Cr Livingstone should “do door-knocking and just do commonsense electioneering,” he said.
Cr Livingstone responded to those comments by saying door-knocking had played a much bigger role in his campaign than criticising Mr Mauger had.
“Maybe he’s just been caught up in a moment of passion, which is quite understandable because campaigns can be stressful at times,” Cr Livingstone said of Mr Mauger’s comments.
“It’s not the approach I’d take myself. I think there is a propensity in campaigns for candidates to try different things to attract votes and I really have to leave this one up to the community to judge for themselves.”