Pecha heckle raises hackles

By Mike Dinsdale

4 comments

A councillor who heckled Stan Semenoff claims supporters of the Whangarei mayoral candidate took physical exception to the heckling.

However, Mr Semenoff's supporters say there was no rough stuff, and the heckler - councillor Aaron Edwards - and friends were rude and used inappropriate language when calling out during Mr Semenoff's presentation at a pecha kucha mayoral evening.

A confrontation involving Cr Edwards, a friend, and supporters of Mr Semenoff flared at the end of the mayoral Pecha Kucha event at Forum North on Wednesday.

Who did what to whom is not entirely clear, but a friend of Mr Edwards claimed to have been barged.

However, Jamie Semenoff, from Mr Semenoff's campaign team, said there was no physical confrontation and that Mr Edwards' group had been drinking alcohol and used inappropriate language in the presence of children.

Ms Semenoff said her group had no problem with Mr Semenoff being heckled.

"We wouldn't have enough hours in the day to do anything productive if we as a family went to bat every time someone bad mouthed Stan."

However, they objected to the language used during the heckling.

"As always, each person has their own understanding about what occurred," she said.

"After the event was over, there was no physical abuse as accused, nor intimidation. There were words exchanged from both parties."

Mr Edwards freely admits that he and his friends were engaged in some "robust" heckling but denies his group was obscene, abusive or intoxicated.

The man alleging he was barged, who did not want to be named, said he do not wish to take matters any further.

He invited Mr Semenoff and members of his family to apologise for their behaviour.

However, it appears that neither side thinks they have anything to apologise for.

- Northern Advocate

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