08222017Headline:

Conflict of interest II: This time it’s personal

The youngest councillor, Jamie Gough, has gone in to bat for the youth of Christchurch, fighting against alcohol restrictions in the CBD. A valiant effort, but one that he should have nothing to say about due to his family conflict of interest. Just last week, big Uncle Tony, aka Jamie’s uncle Antony Gough, said that this policy would impact negatively on his new bar development.

‘‘The 1am door policy is totally unacceptable to us,’’ said Gough, who owns the portion of Oxford Terrace called The Strip.

He went as far as saying that if this was passed, some of the bar spaces would not be filled, and this threatened the viability of the whole project. So, less than a week later, little Jamie is faithfully defending his family’s economic interests.

The Press story says that Gough “hails from the same family as property magnate and Strip developer Antony Gough”; the story should stop here. A councillor is lobbying for a change in policy that will directly benefit his family interests. There could be no clearer example of a conflict of interest. For the Press to think this sentence somehow clears them from any accusations of a conflict of interest is laughable, but at least they vaguely mentioned the conflict, unlike the last time they covered Tim Carter’s opinion on convention centres, which his father might be building.

He should not be able to vote on this bill, and he should not be able to lobby support for it in the run up to the vote. The rebuild is already cloaked in secrecy and tied up in back-room deals; we do not need to tolerate such blatant conflicts of interest.

(For what it’s worth, I think the restrictions on bars are too restrictive, which I will blog about some other time)

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