THE credibility of controversial Christchurch council leader Ray Nottage has been “washed out” after a contentious leadership challenge.

That’s the view of opposition leader, Independent councillor Colin Bungey, who said Christchurch residents need to start thinking about who is representing them and what they are doing.

Cllr Bungey, who has been a councillor at Christchurch council since 1983, said Cllr Nottage’s credibility had been ‘totally reduced’ following the divisive leadership challenge on Tuesday evening.

As reported in the Daily Echo yesterday, Cllr Nottage narrowly survived a leadership challenge by Conservative colleague, Cllr David Jones.

All 22 Conservative councillors met behind closed doors to discuss the challenge but a secret ballot revealed the group were split down the middle, 11-11.

Cllr Nottage then used his own casting vote as chairman of the Conservative group to win – effectively voting twice – and forcing Cllr Jones to concede.

Cllr Bungey said: “In my opinion, his credibility is totally washed out.

“If half of his own group do not support him and he has to use his casting vote to retain power that totally reduces any credibility.”

He added: “Had they brought it to full council as a vote of no confidence, they would have had my support as well, which might have changed the situation.”

Commenting on the voting rules, Cllr Bungey said it “seemed odd” to him but he understood those were the rules of the Conservative party.

Leader 'not weakened'

After the vote on Tuesday night, Cllr Nottage said he had not been weakened by the knife-edge vote.

“It doesn’t leave me in a weak position at all because we’re all Conservatives and once we've made a decision, we follow through on that decision.”

When approached by the Daily Echo, constituency agent for the Conservatives, Judy Jamieson said: “The rules which the group abided by are the model rules of the Conservative party.

“Therefore the group abided by the rules which are set.”