Tory Whanau: Extraordinary moment New Zealand mayor is forced to admit she has a drinking problem – as footage of her in a drunken stupor emerges online

A major city mayor has admitted to having a drinking problem after images of her drunk were again found to be circulating online.

Tory Whanau, the mayor of New Zealand’s capital Wellington, made headlines in July when she reportedly left a restaurant without paying the bill after telling a waiter, “Do you know who I am?”

The latest incident involving the mayor took place on November 18 at the city’s Havana Bar, during which she and another person were ‘visibly’ drunk.

Ms Whanau said in a written statement on Wednesday that she had a problem with alcohol and indicated that the incident was recorded to her “great shame and embarrassment”.

“I sought advice from my friends, family and colleagues and have since sought professional help,” the mayor said.

Tory Whanau (photo), the mayor of the New Zealand capital Wellington, has admitted to having an alcohol problem

She added that “leadership positions in public office are not for everyday people struggling with addiction, mental health issues or any other illness that carries a stigma.

“We have seen this happen recently with career-ending moments from politicians across the political spectrum,” her statement said.

“I’m 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 this with the compassion and care of those around me and the professional help that is needed.”

After speaking out about her problem and saying she plans to stay on as mayor, Ms Whanau said others struggling with alcohol problems can “get help and still commit to your passions, work, family and friends in a way that makes sense.

“We are complex, multi-layered people and deserve love,” she said.

Another Wellington councilor, Diane Calvert, told the radio station Newstalk ZB she hoped Ms Whanau got the help she needed.

“As a council we need to make sure we have the right resources because as mayor you have certain responsibilities, especially in emergency situations and disaster response, and of course we have our long-term plan in the works. ,’ she said.

Ms Calvert said councilors were surprised by Ms Whanau’s statement.

“We had no idea, although I have to say we haven’t seen much of the mayor in recent months,” she said.

In July, video emerged of Ms Whanau's interaction with a waiter while holding a bottle of wine (pictured)

In July, video emerged of Ms Whanau’s interaction with a waiter while holding a bottle of wine (pictured)

Roger Young, the owner of the Havana bar, said he was at the scene when the images of the mayor were filmed.

“All my staff said you and your friends were very respectful and just having a good time,” he wrote on social media.

‘It makes me deeply sad that we can no longer just go out and have fun. You guys were great and you are always welcome at Havana Bar.”

Ms Whanau responded and thanked Mr Young for his expression of support.

Tamatha Paul, who was elected to the New Zealand parliament for the Green party in last month’s general election, said on social media: ‘This changing of the world is cruel. Especially if you are a wahine (female) Maori.

“I send all my love and support to our mayor, who is kind, courageous and has a lot to offer our city,” Ms. Paul said.

In July, Ms Whanau strongly denied asking a waiter: “Do you know who I am?” or that she was drunk at the Old Quarter Vietnamese fusion restaurant.

But the 40-year-old did admit she was ‘tipsy’ and left without paying the bill due to a ‘miscommunication’ with friends that left her feeling ‘mortified’.

After speaking out about her problem and saying she planned to remain mayor, Ms Whanau (pictured) encouraged others struggling with alcohol problems to seek help

After speaking out about her problem and saying she planned to remain mayor, Ms Whanau (pictured) encouraged others struggling with alcohol problems to seek help

She said she was “a bit cheerful after a few wines and a hearty meal” but the fact that she wasn’t wearing make-up was mistaken for drunkenness.

Andrew Jenkins, the waiter who served her, claimed at one point that she was holding a bottle of wine as she asked him, “Do you know who I am?”

He didn’t know who she was but suspected she was a politician, which would have led to Ms Whanau saying: “I’m the mayor, can you do your thing?”

The mayor dismissed the interaction, saying, “I just wouldn’t say that. I deny that I said that.’