Crimes and Misdemeanours


We live in unprecedented times. We have ‘crossed the Rubicon’ to reach ‘a new low’. Politically-speaking, we now swim in unchartered waters and the only thing we know for sure is that they are shark-infested.

One scandal at a time. Len Brown had an affair. This I do know for sure. Online, in print, on television and on talkback, in extensive and explicit detail, I saw more than I needed to see and heard more than I needed to hear. My eyes need rinsing. My ears need washing. I’d never thought of Len in that way and don’t thank him for conjuring the mental image of his naked cavorting. But I don’t condemn him. This is a marital matter, not a mayoral one.  He cheated on his wife, not the voters. And that’s where this sex scandal runs out of steam. Adultery may be a sin but it’s not a crime. Unlike blackmail. Or election fraud for that matter. By contrast, these are very serious issues and their implications for the safety and sanctity of our democracy are profound.

After the tidal wave of tittle-tattle, the tsunami of ‘scuttlebutt’, the ‘maelstrom’ of mud, another story emerges, darker and more complex, as a sex scandal morphs into a political scandal. For an American reference, things have moved from Lewinsky to Watergate. The NZ Herald, the NZ Listener and Metro Magazine are now reporting on an attempted coup by character assassination in the last local body election.

According to the NZ Herald, “if events had gone to plan, the mayor would have resigned citing health problems,  [John] Palino would have had the highest vote of surviving candidates when the result was declared, Chuang, Brown and his family would have been saved public embarrassment and the public would have been none the wiser. If this sounds like an American political intrigue, it is. It is not the way things are done here. Our elections are decided by voters, not by underhand threats and warnings.”

It’s much the same in the NZ Listener: “Kiwi public figures have been caught out in affairs and hypocrisy, but never in circumstances that pointed so strongly to intimate details of a politician’s private life being used by rivals to nobble him. There is no doubt that despite denials about who knew what when, Brown’s profoundly ill-advised affair with a much younger political aspirant was covertly used against him. Pressure was applied to his lover, Bevan Chuang, to spill the beans before the local body election, in such a way as to prompt him to withdraw his candidacy.”

Metro Magazine asks the question “who stands to gain from the whole sordid mess?”, naming Auckland City Councillor and Brown opponent Cameron Brewer, Maurice Williamson and Judith Collins. “If any of them knew anything at all, they will have done their best to ensure that events played out, not just to the advantage of their party, but to their own political careers. Not surprisingly, as we went to press, accusations were flying about who orchestrated what. Brown got caught with his pants down. What’s also at stake, now, is control of the National Party in Auckland. Reputations are being made and broken.”

As with most things (if not everything), the PM denies involvement: “I don’t have any advice and I don’t believe the National Party has been involved at all. There may be people who knew about it who are members of the National Party, or at least vague sort of details, but there are also many people who knew about it that weren’t members of the National Party.”

He did however admit to receiving a lot of OTHER scandalous information. “I’ve had plenty of people who’ve rung me up with information about Labour MPs,” he said. “And I’ve done the same thing to every person that’s rung me. I’ve written it down, put it in my top drawer and kept it to myself. I’m just not interested in engaging in it.”

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Well, someone was very interested in engaging in it. Was it John Palino? Previously best known as the American front-person for a Japanese sushi chain named after a French saint, the former mayoral candidate denies all knowledge. To date, he remains on holiday in Australia. Palino campaigner worker, former young Nat and inveterate photo-bomber  Luigi Wewege has also left the country. “I was politically naïve” are amongst his last words on New Zealand soil. All he did was  “just get information and pass it on.”

Sensing the danger, Brown’s former mistress has “a legal opinion clearing her of criminal liability”. According to the Herald on Sunday, “barrister Simon Buckingham has provided a legal opinion to Bevan Chuang’s supporters” and “there appeared to be no evidence to implicate Chuang for any potential blackmail under the Crimes Act. Buckingham did not think Chuang had committed any criminality due to clear evidence she had been pressured into making statements that made the affair public. Blackmail is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.”

And there’s the rub: politics may be “a dirty, disgusting, despicable game ” but unlike adultery, blackmail is a crime, a serious crime, punishable by up to 14 years in prison. If there was a covert plot, a conspiracy to subvert and undermine the intention of the electorate, as is being widely reported in our leading print media, then those responsible must be brought to account.

Speaking of brought to account, former accountant Graham McCready should get a knighthood for his services to democracy. His solo-pursuit of John Banks will climax in a criminal trial, with the Crown Law office now heading the case.  So much for  cabbage boats! After all this time, it’s hard to disagree with Fran O’Sullivan: “John Banks is a political cot case. His credibility has been toast since Kim Dotcom’s all-too-plausible claim that Banks knew he had tossed a couple of big cheques his way at the 2010 mayoral election but failed to declare them.” Unlike adultery, election fraud is a crime, punishable by up to two years imprisonment. That Banks should maintain a vote in Parliament on any legislation, let alone legislation involving Sky City,  a material witness at his criminal trial, remains a scandal in and of itself.

As Banks’ star sets (finally one hopes) on the distant horizon, the sun also rises for at least two men with power on their mind. On Campbell Live, Simon Bridges shouted his way into television history. That deep sea oil explorers will soon move in alongside the whale watchers of Kaikoura seemed less important to him than making his mark and staking his claim. Oozing an almost fanatical self-confidence, Bridges fancies himself as a future PM. Over whose dead body, we shall see. And then there’s Colin Craig. Is he the answer to John Key’s coalition prayers? Conservative Christian Colin Craig? Colin ‘John Key-is-too-gay-for-Helensville’ Craig? As we have endured over the last three years, indeed over the last three weeks, stranger things have happened.

In other news, Meridian Energy sold to just 62 000 investors for a loss of over a billion dollars on a 2011 Treasury valuation. Selling any real estate in New Zealand for a billion dollars less than its 2011 valuation seems a singular achievement to be sure. One could ask (with good reason) ‘Who is managing the country’s portfolio and does he know what he’s doing?”


  1. Assets are only worth what the market is willing to pay for them. I may think something is worth 100 million dollars but if people are only willing to pay $10 it is only worth $10.

    • Oh please! Even an absolute moron would know that utilities are always valuable. The only reason people are reluctant is because of the Labour/Greens policies when they get into power in the next election. John Key just wants to get them in the public domain so he and his overly rich friends (probably American) can snap them up at bargain basement prices so they can sit back like the oligarchs he is trying to emulate. Then we will all be a massive underclass struggling to pay for power. He’ll be selling the water utilities next!

      • If that was in fact the case then the Labour/Greens played right in to his hands with their single buyer in the wholesale market electricity policy.

    • Now, if you changed ‘the market’ to ‘a market’ you might be right.

      The offering was to a very minor market of people amongst the too many who have already been singed by the long-running series of financial shenanigans in this country.

      There is no one market, Gosman. And the sellers know that.

      If they wanted to get the best value for their wares then they picked a rubbishing market.

      It wasn’t a ‘real sale in a real market’. It was an ideological farce and a political point-scoring. Plus a shameful display of incompetence.

      Once, maybe, when National Party people were well-educated in the control and management of enterprises and assets (so very long ago) they could claim to be the financially literate party compared with workers with minimal education.

      Now? How many of them are hands-on business and prosperity builders? Living in the mythic past or the fantasy present is more the truth.

  2. re the first scenario of brown resigning before being sworn in..

    ..if it is true that this was the ‘plan/plot/reasoning behind all this rightwing plotting etc..

    ..then we have the delicious anticipation of the fact of these clowns all running around on a fools’ errand.. the premise they were all acting on..that brown resigning would see palino sworn in.. palpably false..

    ..the brain-farter(s) obviously only read half the relevant act..

    ..and missed the bit where it is detailed that yes..that above dictum applies if councillors/whatever dropped off the twig/resigned/whatever in that interval..

    ..but this does not a apply to the mayor.. that scenario..

    ..a bye-election must be held..

    ..and if that above scenario is true..if these clowns ran this clusterfuck on this false-promise/impossible goal..

    ..that is just beyond funny..

    ..phillip ure..

  3. “Adultery may be a sin but it’s not a crime. Unlike blackmail. Or election fraud for that matter. By contrast, these are very serious issues and their implications for the safety and sanctity of our democracy are profound.”

    Yes, and this is where the investigations are now overdue, to question all involved, but sadly that Wewege chap has now left the country, to possibly never come back here, as he will have little chance to rehabilitate himself with the track record he has now.

    And I add Palino to that, sitting in a car at Mission Bay for 90 minutes, supposedly only talking with Bevan Chaung about some allegedly “threatening” text messages, that is totally unbelievable. Maybe he also had a bit of a “fumble” with Bevan there?

    Well, I do not want to go down that lane on this, but they surely must have talked about a lot of stuff for that long time.

    Palino is a dodgy character, and he looks exactly like so many dodgy US Americans, that try to combine business with other opportunities, be this politics, media attention and whatever else. He will not shy away from crossing the line to criminality I suspect, as that is the kind of guy he looks like in my eyes.

    Sadly he got a lot of votes, and that is a great worry, as too many New Zealanders do not read, research and inform themselves about information that matters. They fall for the nice guy and nice chap or woman, with a smile and nice clothes on, who say “nice” things, and promise so many other “nice” things, it is naivety that one finds in few places that abounds here.

    I see no chance for Palino to run for mayor again, he will waste his time now. As for the other characters, they have a lot to answer, and I demand a police investigation into all this.

    Indeed, New Zealand politics is now like a raft floating on a shark infested pool. There is going to be a wild frenzy and rampage with any drop of blood dripping out of any wound that may open up.

    Expect the worst, the sewer is deep, and I am sure Cameron Sewer (that Whaleshit chap) is working on another agenda while you read this. Cover your back, political aspirants and candidates, and the ones in office, same as all others, the knives will be out more often in future, at all levels, and that “100 percent pure”.

    • @Marc – Well said. And another interesting point in the John Palino sideshow, is that none other than John Key himself, supported Palino’s pitch for the mayoralty! Wonder where that leaves the PM now?

      With both Palino and his PR mouthpiece Luigi Wewege having now gone overseas, is evidence neither are able to handle the heat when the going gets tough! Not good qualities for an aspiring mayor!

  4. Polino seemed like an alright guy on his old TV show. Gotta be suspicious of any guy with a mail order bride though

  5. Len Brown cheated on the woman who loved him and in a world of loveless fucking , classless environments and where everything must have a dollar value or it’s of no value , Brown committed the most serious crime of all . A crime of trust .

    When one writes a cheque it’s a request to be trusted by the issuer . Needless to say the cheque itself has no real value . It’s a piece of paper smeared with ink . It’s the signature of the issuer that is the value .

    Len Brown was trusted by Aucklanders to behave in a manner befitting a man in power who requested you to trust him with that power . He was paid to behave in a manner befitting a mayor . He was married by his wife who expected at least that much from him .

    The fact that he’s still prepared to be the Mayor of Auckland , despite his flagrant disregard of trust is precisely why he should step down and fuck off . If he doesn’t , he’s a soulless fucking creep who can not be trusted .

    His wife can’t trust him with his penis and yet Aucklanders trust him with his political intentions ? Where is the Rubicon there ? At what time did Len cross over . Is he in fact able to be in two virtual places at once . At once able to be trusted and unable to be trusted .

    For all I could care , Len could be rooting goats so long as they were at the age of consent . Honestly , I really don’t care .

    What I do care about however is the weird , abstract view of what and who is trustworthy as expressed here and elsewhere . He needs to go . His psychological methodology is very , very dodgy which opens him up to being manipulated and blackmailed at the very least .

    With a six figure income and 1.5 million or so people in the cup of his hand he has to be beyond reproach . You Aucklanders need better than this .

    And he allowed himself to get caught too . That makes him un trustworthy …. and stupid .

    As for Chuang , Palino and Wewegi ? They’re barely worth a mention other than they’re just the flies hovering around the stink .

    • Oh, pleeze! Most Aucklanders “trusted” the few complete strangers who did take the time to vote to select wisely for the city. They lost their right to influence anything when they, as fully grown adults, elected not to vote at all.

      You assume that Len Brown cannot be trusted, but ironically this is the time in his life he can be trusted more than ever before – that man isn’t going to stray anytime soon.

  6. If I were a National Party or some other right wing poli, I’d be mightily pissed off at Slater and her cronies. This kind of muck-raking works both ways and Tory politicians are just as partial to a bit of hanky-panky as Brown.

    So we might expect revelations of “moral turpitude” from left wing bloggers about certain National Party MPs/Ministers and their affairs.

    Yes, they know who I’m referring to…

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