Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau revealed this week she is getting professional help for a drinking problem.
The admission came as news of a second incident this year in which she was ‘visibly drunk’ circulated. Video of the incident, said to have take place at Wellington’s Havana Bar on the afternoon of 18 November is rumoured to have been made, though it is yet to surface online.
In July it was reported an intoxicated Whanau was refused service at the Old Quarter and left without paying the bill.
In a statement released recently she said:
‘I sought counsel from my friends, family and colleagues and have since sought professional help.
‘I am not a career politician, and leadership positions in public office are not built for regular people who may have struggles with addiction, mental ill health, or any other illness that has stigma attached. We have seen this play out with career-ending moments from politicians across the political spectrum in recent times.
‘I am a flawed person, but I care deeply about this city. I will continue to represent the hopes and aspirations of my local community and I will do so with the compassion and care of those around me and with the professional help required.
‘I would like to say to others struggling with alcohol issues that you can seek help and still commit to your passions, work, family, friends in a way that is meaningful. We are complex, layered people and deserving of love.’
Reaction to the latest incident was mixed. In a recent social media post Roger Young, owner of Havana Bar, said ‘All my staff said you and your friends were very respectful and were just having a good time. It saddens me deeply we can’t just go out and have a good time anymore. You guys were great and are welcome at Havana Bar a[ny] time.’
Councillor Nicola Young told the Mike Hosking Breakfast show today that while Whanau’s addiction issues were sad, ‘Wellington can’t go on hold because of her health issues.’
‘Her behaviour has become an embarrassment for the city…I’m getting clear feedback that she’s lost the trust and confidence of Wellingtonians.’