Len Brown’s personal reputation has been severely damaged and his mayoralty is also at serious risk.
He claims that his affair was a personal matter, but if allegations are true his dalliances were very closely associated with his mayoralty, his time on the job and in his office.
Brown highlighted this association inadvertently in his Campbell Live interview “I’ve loved that job with a passion and I love this city and I want to stay in that job” – love and passion in his mayoral office in more than one way.
Apart from that, so far Brown’s public handling of the scandal has been pretty much by the political playbook, as detailed by ‘kiwi in america’ on Kiwiblog:
This is playing out pretty much in line with the left’s ‘how to manage a major sexual scandal’ play book with the exception of the initial denials – Brown knew this was coming hence the hurried confession to wifie.
* Admit allegation but minimize it (“only a coupe of times”) – check
* Find sympathetic media outlet to do a soft interview – check. Campbell played out the agony of the leftist activist coping with the shock of their hero falling from grace. Imagine if a National Cabinet Minister was outed rooting a one time staffer – assuming of course that he had brazened it out far enough to be still in office – just picture the demeanour, body language and questioning from John Campbell and you’ll get some sense of the sycophantic stance he took with Brown.
* Resolve to stay in office boasting of accomplishments and the need to stay on “for the people of Auckland” – check
* Impune the motives of the victim of his grooming – check
* Lash out at the source of the story – check
* Fail to answer questions on inappropriate use of Council property (Len refused to answer whether he’d shagged her in the Ngati Whatua Room) – check
* Cite family privacy as to why he won’t answer any more detailed questions – check
I generally agree with “How to deal with a scandal” playbook, so far. But there are problems with what KIA lists “To follow”.
* Time off on gardening leave to ‘spend time with my family’ again citing intrusion on his family’s privacy as to why he will not front the media any more.
With all the work involved in organising an incoming mayoralty and council it’s probably the worst possible time to take time off. There are things that have to be done.
* After 6 weeks another soft interview this time with wifie at his side squeezing his hand and more strategic blubbing for the camera. Talk of forgiveness, what I’ve learned and moving on will predominate.
In most marriages this sort of betrayal can’t be forgiven. The broken relationship can’t be fully repaired. If the forgiveness and moving on is attempted I think most people will question how genuine it is.
Brown may get forgiveness and acceptance of what he’s done as just one of those common things that happen from some of the public but his family situation will never be the same.
In the Campbell interview last night there was a major contrast between Brown’s family situation:
And it is now there where I need to go and do some extraordinary repair work, and show my family that I am worthy of their trust and love.
Once broken trust on something like this can never be fully repaired in a marriage relationship, and more often than not it is irreparably broken (although I don’t know what sort of relationship Mr and Mrs Brown had).
Brown also has a major problem due to the allegations of where some of his dalliances occurred. If it had all happened in private, in hotels, then it would be easier to pass of as simply personal.
I’ve loved that job with a passion and I love this city and I want to stay in that job, so yes, it is my intention to stay as the mayor.
A pity that attitude didn’t apply to his marriage and family.
But his passion and love was not just for his job and his city. It was for another woman as well. Brown did not keep it a private affair. His mayoralty seems to have been an integral part of the affair.
Any meeting in Brown’s office, and any event Brown is involved with in the Ngati Whatua room, risks reminders of what might have taken place in those council locations.
Many people who have future dealings with Brown will now think differently about him. His integrity and credibility have been severely challenged.
And this is based on what is known now. We don’t know yet if there will be further revelations – apart from what has already been subsequently claimed on Whale Oil. This could get even dirtier for Brown, and more difficult for his family and his mayoralty.
There are more chapters to come in this playbook. Some are likely to cover more of recent history, and some are yet to be written.
One thing is certain, as @Zagzigger (John Drinnan ) tweeted yesterday, “The old Brown mayor he ain’t what he used to be”. We are yet to see whether this Brown mayoralty is destined for the knackers yard.