November 30, 2023

Auckland Councillor says she’s doing ‘all right’ after receiving threats following comments by Mayor Brown

Watch: Josephine Bartley and Michael Barnett speak to AM

Auckland Councillor Josephine Bartley says she’s doing “all right” after receiving threats following comments made by Mayor Wayne Brown. 

Brown was quoted as saying Bartley was “pushing the boundaries” between being wholly good or wholly bad.

“I am very much someone who fits in at all levels of society. I can get into the boardrooms over there and know half of them, and I can go into most of the pubs in south Auckland and know half the drinkers,” Brown said in a feature interview with NZ Herald last month.

“No one is wholly good nor bad,” he said of his council, “although Josephine Bartley is pushing the boundaries, I have to say”.

Bartley responded to Brown’s comments saying the Mayor was just fuelling stereotypes. 

“There are just as many pubs in the CBD city centre and just as many boardrooms in south Auckland, way to perpetuate the stereotypes which we are trying so hard for our young people to not buy into and feel limited by,” Bartley said on Twitter. 

Bartley, who is the councillor in the Maungakiekie-Tāmaki ward, has been a vocal opponent of the mayor’s budget proposal and its wide-ranging community funding cuts.

Bartley posted a TikTok video last week saying she had received threats from “bullies” following the comments made by Brown.

She also confirmed on TikTok and to AM that she had filed a police report following a bombardment of attacks on social media. 

Bartley told AM on Monday she was doing “all right” after receiving threats on Twitter.

“It was on Twitter, so anything like that you send to the police straight away because you can never be too sure, especially with extremists,” she said. 

“That’s the problem when you kind of get singled out, it opens the door for this stuff to come through.” 

Bartley said she’s come a long way since first receiving negative comments on social media and in the media. 

“The first time I saw my name in a negative way in the media, I just froze, anxiety attack but I’ve come a long way since then,” she said. 

Bartley told AM she relies on friends and family to help her through difficult times and her dog has been a massive help.  

“The other counsellors who have been through this, they tell me, don’t read the comments, but I rely on my family and my friends, they’ve been pretty good,” she said. 

“I don’t have a partner to download to but I have my dog and even though he’s a therapy dog, he’s ended up being my therapy dog almost.”

Bartley has also been quick to receive political support including from Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson. 

“Protect her,” Davidson tweeted, while fellow councillor Julie Fairey tweeted saying, “It’s not OK to be singled out like that and I’m sorry it happened. I hope it will not continue”.

“You are an inspiration to me and one of the reasons I ran for council was to work with you. Long may that continue.”

North Shore councillor Richard Hills also came to the defence of Bartley saying it’s important she stands up for what she believes in. 

“I would just briefly say she is an excellent person, councillor and community advocate and should continue to stand up for what she believes in. That’s important in a democracy and in our city.”

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