Why I don’t care about Len Brown’s audit

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Yawn, listen to the right wing squeal about Len Brown needing to resign. Here’s Government mouthpiece, David Farrar hopping up on his high horse…

Having now read the EY report commissioned by the Auckland Council Chief Executive, I believe Len Brown must resign as Mayor of Auckland. I only formed this view after reading the report, and did not believe what had previously been disclosed was substantial enough to warrant resignation.

But the report makes Clear that Len Brown publicly lied to the media and the public, and also that there were ratepayer resources used for his affair. Taking the findings one at a time:

…blah blah blah, right, so the Government’s pollster demands Len’s resignation. What a surprise. Seeing as the Brown smear was cooked up by the right and now we know how closely connected the PMs office is with a hate monger like Slater, I have zero interest in the bleatings of the right in this case.

Are they seriously trying to wash their sewer drenched hands in all of this with claims over phone calls, texts and upgraded hotel rooms?

Really?

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Here are my thoughts.

Auckland’s issues: underfunded public transport, urban poverty, affordable housing

Shit that doesn’t matter: Texts & phone calls to girlfriends.

Len shared his perks with his mistress, that’s barely graft, that’s barely corruption, that’s barely news.

I say this as someone who didn’t vote for Len. I thought he was spineless over the Ports of Auckland dispute and his needing to be dragged to a living wage announcement was hardly inspirational local body political vision.

Len is responsible for implementing a mandate for the people of Auckland to get some bloody money out of Wellington for our groaning infrastructure. Who he has consenting sex with is none of my bloody business, that’s between him and his whanau.

I’m not in any way shape or form condoning Len’s behavior, what I am refusing to do is play along with this vicious right wing smear that allows the Government’s proxies to delay paying for Auckland’s bloody infrastructure!

I am constantly stuck in traffic, how many times Len Brown called his girlfriend is not what I give a flying damn about.

Len – here’s my message to you. Take the holiday season to heal with your family. In January set a council of war within your department and hit 2014 in election year to force Auckland’s needs to the top of the political agenda.

Do what Auckland voted you in for and restore our faith in you.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Hi in my opinion Mr Brown has fallen well below the ethical standards that a Mayor must maintain at all times in a Mayors professional or private life.

    He has failed in this ethical responsibilities in many ways. [1] He has effectively lied about his private live to the public, and this is the most serious issue. [2] He has used his Council resources for his private interests, in a way that would not be acceptable to any other staff member of Auckland City Council; [3] He has not satisfactorily disclosed gifts of a significant nature to the Council probity register; and finally [4] he has lost the respect of his staff and the rate payers of Auckland.

  2. If the new “gold standard” for resignation is that politicians lie to the media – perhaps Farrar should look a bit closer to home. John Key’s countless acts of mendacity spring to mind.

    And having affairs isn’t a hanging offence either (well, maybe in Iran – but only for women). If it were, Muldoon and Brash should’ve been dumped by their own Party, early on in their careers.

    I don’t particularly care who politicians are rooting. Not my business.

    What I do care about is this country’s chronic economic problems, high unemployment, growing social inequality, etc. Those are the things that really affect us all.

  3. @ Bomber , I understand your position on the slavering , sniveling , self righteous hypocrisy of the Neoliberal Darksiders ( I don’t believe NZ politics has Wings anymore . )
    However , what len did was seedy . When one lies about where one pokes around with ones penis , that’s seedy . When a partner cheats and lies about what/who they did ? That’s seedy . When a mayor lies and spends public money/ time and pokes about with his little woody , that’s seedy .
    Does Auckland need a seedy mayor ? I don’t think it does . The reason for that may be that , len in this case , might have become compromised . For all we know , he might well be compromised as I write . If these ghastly revelations had not come out but had instead went on to become a means of manipulating the horny little rooter for say a favourable nod to Sky City Casino and a ‘ Yes Please ‘ to a stupid ‘ convention center ‘ AND that had come out until later , after the money was spent and during at risk people spending their mortgage money on the pokies , what would we have said then about len ?
    len should have followed the good and strident advice of others and stuck to fucking himself , then none of this would have happened .
    Now that len’s been outed , shamed and in dire need of a holiday , he should resign . The fact that he hasn’t is telling in my view and reminds me of Rob Ford . Mayor of Toronto . Len and Rob dragged public respect and trust to a cliff and pushed it over . Len has to go . While it is true to say that it’s no ones business who he shags , he still has to go . That’s the price you pay for being in Public Office .

    Speaking of compromise …
    Perhaps that’s why the Darksiders want him gone . With everybody watching Lens every move now , he’s redundant . Sprung . Of no further use . That is after all the nature of politics .

  4. According to what the report has released, I cannot agree with Martyn on this one:

    “• Mr Brown received nine free hotel rooms not registered as gifts, valued at $6,130.
    • He received free upgrades to hotels not registered as gifts valued at $32,888.50.
    • Other gifts not registered included an NRL Grand Final ticket and an iPad.
    • Council paid for Mr Brown’s dinner with a personal friend in Shanghai.”

    The old NZ Herald has the report online by the way:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11172021

    Going over it, the Bevan Chuang “issues” appear somewhat trivial, after all, but what has now surfaced besides of that, is not a good look! Len already had his credit card spending issue a few years back, and he said he would not make such mistakes again.

    Getting free hotel rooms and so-called “upgrades”, incl. at Sky City, and then not declaring them, now makes the former credit card “scandal” look comparatively minor.

    No, the explanations he gave on Campbell Live and One News last night, they did not convince me. This sounds a bit like a soft version of a John Banks saga. Paying for some rooms and not for others, saying his wife paid for the rooms, and so forth, it looks bad and unconvincing. I did not like the look on Len’s face, I do no longer trust him at all.

    I am sorry, but Len Brown is too damaged now. Having him to step up and do electioneering for Labour and for Auckland, that will not work well at all. He is a damaged “brand” now, and if he would do that, it will not help Labour at all.

    Len will already be known for his escapades with Bevan Chuang, for the wrong reasons. Him taking free rooms from a gambling corporation, that is already criticised by Greens AND Labour for the convention centre deal and getting a long extension of their lease, that does not fit into any election campaign to advance the causes for Auckland.

    Bye, bye, Len, I give you a few weeks, perhaps a month or two, and I think the pressure will force you out.

  5. I’m with Fran O’Sullivan in today’s Herald. This is not a righ/left issue. It’s a right/wrong issue.

    I’m hardly a hard right-winger (not that I believe in the stale old right/left dichotomy anyway) but I see Len Brown as no longer fit to hold his position as Mayor. He simply hasn’t met the exemplary standards that should be expected of someone privileged enough to hold such high office.

    The polarizing on the basis of political alignment is a result of some successful spindoctoring. Many narcissists evade being held to account for their actions by attacking the person trying to hold them to account. “Did you steal from that church box” “that’s the sort of question I’d expect from a church who covered up for paedophiles. If they can divert attention away from their own wrongdoing, they win

    My challenge for you, Bomber, is to rewrite this article substituting John Key/PM for Len Brown/Mayor (plus any consequential adjustments) and then reconsider whether you think the whole affair is irrelevant to his high public office position.

    • It took a mere second to re-write and I stand by my position that vicious smears intended to humiliate and engender a moralistic backlash have little place in adult discussions regarding politics.

      Is that clear enough for you Nikki?

      • I thought this was about the EY audit?

        If this was just about an extra marital affair carried on in his own time, I’d be inclined to agree with you, even though I might still think he was a sleaze bag. Let him be judged by the women of Auckland next election.

        But hasn’t the independent audit moved things on now? There is now enough evidence to show an alarming sense of entitlement and exploitation of his position. At the very least, accepting freebies from the likes of Sky City (!!) shows the poorest of judgements. In other places with stronger laws, it could even come close to “corrupt conduct”. In NSW for example, CC is defined as
        “conduct of any person … that adversely affects, or that could adversely affect, either directly or indirectly, the honest or impartial exercise of official functions by any public official, any group or body of public officials or any public authority”

        Would it help to focus the discussion and take the political sting out of things if we had an Independent Commission Against Corruption to investigate these matters?

        • I don’t find phone calls, text messages and hotel room upgrades as eclipsing an issue because it was a right wing smear job from the start.

          My concerns are Auckland gets its rail and forces Wellington to cough up for our infrastructure.

          I find claims of corruption a tad twee and Nu Zilindish.

  6. Not declaring hotel upgrades I can understand when privacy comes to mind – noone needs to know the details of his life to the extent he wants you to know. Still support him because like the trivial credit card spending in Manukau this did not cost ratepayers and I agree with decisions he makes in council. He can continue to work hard without the limelight this term – the ground work has been done.

  7. We should forget Len Brown the class collaborator and build a campaign and a design for how we want Auckland around a new candidate for the next elections. I know I want someone who will take on POAL, who will stand with the evicted tenants of GI, who will not play at Sky City. I want someone who will not complain that sorting out the Supershitty mess is too hard and the legalities are complicated. I want someone who will stand with a mobilised working class population of Auckland and their allies to actually do something. Len Brown is compromised and not being able to keep his pants on, while maybe not all that serious in the scheme of things, doesn’t help.

    Oh, and Farrar can go and hire a hooker. He’s just jealous. All that power he thinks he has and he can’t even emulate a little of Kissinger.

  8. Good post Martyn. I am amazed at the moral indignation so many people have been expressing over this; it wreaks of a nation that is politically & emotionally naive.

    So what if Brown didn’t declare all his perks – whether he declared them or not he still got them; the report said he had not misused council resources in relation to his affair. Further it shouldn’t matter whether he used the perks on his family or his affair yet it seems most only care those perks he used with Chuang. Which means the main cause behind this faux outrage is his choice to cheat on his wife.

    Well if people want to stipulate fidelity as a prerequisite for public office or ANY high profile position then I think it is fair to say that there would be few people not only wanting to apply, but who would actually be eligible.

    It takes a certain kind of person to run companies, run councils, run political parties etc, the kind of person who often operates under the adage ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’; the kind who isn’t always the personification of what the average person might consider moral & decent & who often has a bit of the mongrel streak in them. The reason being of course that these people have to make decisions we don’t want to – that’s why WE choose THEM to represent us. They are often doing a job most of us don’t want to do – whether because of the tough decisions that have to be made or because of the sacrifice you have to make in your personal life (as in zero time for personal bar 2 mins on the office couch!).

    So no I don’t think Brown will or should resign over this & if the non declaration of perks is declared as a reason for his dismissal then I hope his last act as mayor will be to order an audit of the entire council. Let’s see how many councillors have been getting perks or not paying for personal calls. Let’s see how many of them skived off during the work day to do personal errands…whether intimate or merely shopping.

    I bet if that was to happen you would see the little troughers back-pedalling faster than you could say “stand down Len Brown pants down”

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