OPINION: Quit the fake outrage

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Feb 13, 2024 |

Paul Silk, the acting CEO of Christchurch City Holdings Ltd, deserves commendation for his forthrightness in addressing the reluctance of Christchurch councillors to further explore the option of partial asset sales.

The Press published an article on the head of the City Council’s investment arm reporting that he faced criticism for dispatching an email to six councillors.

The correspondence, described as “inappropriate” and “belittling,” was perceived by some as a critiques of their opposition to asset sales.

In an era where clear and principled leadership is increasingly rare, Silk’s willingness to confront difficult conversations head-on is not only refreshing but necessary for the city’s progress.

The newspaper, which has a tendency to be sympathetic to left-leaning politics and well as acting as campaign manager for Sara Templeton’s mayoral campaign, chose to frame Silk’s honest critique as a form of belittlement.

This portrayal does a disservice to the essence of Silk’s message and to the readers who deserve an unbiased account of civic leadership challenges.

The irony thickens with Councillor Melanie Coker’s reaction.

Coker seized the opportunity provided by The Press to feign outrage over Silk’s characterisation of council members as “young city leaders,” labelling the comments as “derogatory” and “extremely rude.”

This reaction is particularly rich coming from Coker, who at a December meeting, made pointed remarks about CCHL’s past hiring decisions, including the hiring of Tim Boyd, whose tenure ended in scandal.

Silk’s rebuttal to Coker, reminding her of the “hell our staff went through” due to Boyd’s actions and the steps taken to prevent a recurrence, was a necessary defense of his team’s integrity.

Silk’s stance that he is “entitled to push back against somebody that questions our integrity” is not just a personal defense but a stand for organisational respect and the importance of constructive, rather than destructive, criticism.

The true irony lies in Coker’s apparent belief in the sanctity of staff protection from criticism, a principle she readily uses when it suits her political narrative.

In this context, Silk’s response to Coker’s provocations is not only justified but commendable.

Our city deserves genuine dialogue and accountability that transcends political allegiances and focuses on the city’s collective well-being and not fake outrage for a shallow headline.

Silk’s actions should be seen not as belittling, but as a courageous attempt to uphold these values against unwarranted criticism and hypocrisy.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

Have you got a news tip? Get in touch here

got a news tip?