Nats proxy to contest Auckland mayoralty?

The Auckland local body elections have moved a step closer to being merged with national politics with the formation of Auckland Future to help the centre right contest the elections next year. It is closely linked with the National Party.

They will support a mayoral candidate “if, and when, a winnable candidate emerges”.

It seems almost certain that Phil Goff will stand for the mayoralty, giving his bid a strong Labour connection.

Bernard Orsman reports in NZ Herald – Nats back new Auckland ticket.

 Party figures drive centre-right platform created out of dissatisfaction with state of Super City

National Party figures are behind a new ticket, Auckland Future, being set up to wrestle for control of the Super City at next year’s local body elections.

Sources have linked National Party president Peter Goodfellow, former presidents Sue Wood and Michelle Boag, and Auckland-based ministers Nikki Kaye and Paul Goldsmith to the plan.

It is understood the National Party is prepared to contribute resources and fundraising skills to the ticket while keeping the National brand away from the Super City arena.

Prime Minister John Key was one of about 80 people at a fundraising event for the new ticket on October 14 at the Geyser Building in Parnell.

The ticket is the latest attempt by the centre-right to win control of the council after two poor campaigns and the failure of the Communities & Residents ticket, formerly Citizens & Ratepayers (C&R), to gain traction.

C&R president Karen Sherry, when asked if C&R could merge with Auckland Future, said “that’s a discussion that needs to be had” but added “sometimes competition can be healthy”.

Ms Kaye, MP for Auckland Central, said she wanted to ensure a strong voice around reducing rates and bureaucracy.

“There has to be change. It [the council] has been pretty fragmented and I’m very interested for a new entity to emerge.”

Campaign and fundraising experience should give this a major boost and the people involved and endorsing it give this an unmistakable National tinge. It looks like the Auckland mayoralty in particular will look closely related to national politics.

Joe Davis, a Browns Bay business consultant and National Party volunteer chairing Auckland Future, said the organisation was incorporated in September.

He said there had been a lot of conversation across the centre-right, including the National Party, about wanting to see Auckland run well, and with a vision.

“There is real widespread dissatisfaction with the current state of Auckland,” Mr Davis said.

“The city is too big and too important to have councillors voting in an ad hoc manner on key issues.”

Mr Davis said Auckland Future would field a ticket of councillors with a strong policy platform so voters would know what they were voting for.

He said the ticket did not have any candidates lined up and would embrace a mayoral candidate “if, and when, a winnable candidate emerges”.

So they aren’t saying specifically that they will support a mayoral candidate but one could presume that’s a major aim.

The Auckland mayor is seen as one of the most important elected officials in the country. The Prime Minister isn’t even elected as such, their party is elected with it’s leader becoming Prime Minister.

There may be good arguments both for and against national politics mixing more with local politics.

One benefit could be that the centre right in Auckland come up with a serious contender for the mayoralty. Last election Len Brown didn’t have much credible competition.

Phil Goff may stick with his proposal to remain an MP until/unless elected mayor. Campaigning for local body elections while a sitting MP is a major merge of national/local politics on it’s own, with the taxpayer funding his campaign time.

Judith Collins “focused on getting back into cabinet”

In a column in the weekend’s Sunday Star Times (shared with Phil Goff) Judith Collins wrote about the Auckland mayoralty. She bagged current mayor Len Brown, saying he “has not delivered for the people of wider Auckland”:

Judith Collins: Why I’m saying No to Mr Yes.

He’s had a lifetime of saying “yes” when occasionally he should have said, “no”.  He’s a nice, pleasant person who, unfortunately, has not delivered for the people of wider Auckland.

I knew  Brown was doomed when he stated that he was the second-most important person in New Zealand after the prime minister.  Really?  When Auckland’s mayor thinks his job is to have a foreign relations policy, you know it’s all over.  Where were his advisers? Who was saying, “Earth to Len?”

And so we come now to who will replace him.


I give points to Mark Thomas who doesn’t have a huge profile – which really is needed to win.  At least  Thomas has had the courage to say he’s standing.  At least  he has had the courage not to pretend and insult the voters by playing coy.

She writes Thomas off and then targets Goff without naming him.

When I first stood for election during that terrible time (for National) of 2002, I was a lawyer.  I worked in a large law firm and I was chair of the Casino Control Authority.  As soon as I was selected for the then-marginal seat of Clevedon, I stood aside from both those positions.  I took unpaid leave from my full-time work.  That meant I really had skin in the game.

In those dark days of campaigning, when the winter election was called early, and our poll numbers dropped from over 30 per cent to just 20.7 per cent on election day, I can tell you that I had everything to win and nothing to lose.

Goff seems to be serious about standing for mayor but has indicated he won’t stand down as an MP unless he wins. So he would be campaigning for a local body election while being paid to be a Member of Parliament. That’s a cushy lark.

What will happen for this mayoral election?  Will  Brown stand? Possibly.  Will Phil Goff stand? Yes.  Will Thomas stand?  Yes.  Will others stand? Undoubtedly.  Does it matter? Yes, it does.

Auckland needs a mayor who is able to work with the Government. The mayor must be able to work with the Government to get the assistance with infrastructure that a growing Auckland needs.  The mayor should be focused on solutions for infrastructure, not on world leadership in the foreign affairs stakes.

Another swipe at Goff.

Auckland’s mayoralty needs, guts, determination, intelligence and presence. Who’s up for it?

Goff responded:

Aucklanders don’t need a lecture about what our city needs.

They deal every day with traffic congestion, unaffordable housing and the problems created when infrastructure investment fails to keep pace with population growth. It’s easy to be negative, to bicker and to be partisan.

But what people want is leadership. They want the elimination of waste, more efficiency and for the city and Government to get on with building an effective transport system. They want the benefits that they were promised under a Super City.

Auckland needs strong advocacy to make the Government understand that if the city does well, New Zealand as a whole will prosper.

Leadership is about presence, determination, integrity and commitment.  It’s also about having the skills to bring our community together and to work with Government so that we can realise our vision for a better Auckland.

It sounds like he’s campaigning already. It’s widely understood that Goff is standing and he doesn’t even give any token denials now.

But Collins’ comments provoked some speculation about her ambitions.

The Herald followed up on this and reports: No plans for run at Auckland mayor, says Judith Collins

National MP Judith Collins says she has no plans to stand for the Auckland mayoralty, saying her focus is getting back into cabinet.

Today, Ms Collins told the Herald the column “signalled her disappointment with the current mayor (Len Brown) and the fact as an Aucklander I feel very strongly we do need to have a good mayor to replace him.

“It is not a signal from me. I have always been focused on getting back into cabinet,” said Ms Collins.

She makes her ambitions fairly clear (for a politician).

Was she just stirring Goff up, knowing he had a commitment to respond?

Clare Curran for Dunedin mayoralty?

The ODT has a story about rumours that Labour MP Clare Curran may stand for the Dunedin mayoralty.

Mayoral hopes verified, denied

The fog of war is descending as Dunedin’s mayoral aspirants jockey for position a year out from local body elections.

While some candidates are already putting their hands up for the top job, including Cr Andrew Whiley, others, including sitting Mayor Dave Cull, are continuing to play their cards close to their chests.

But that hasn’t stopped the rumour mill kicking into high gear in Dunedin. Much of the early attention is focused on one woman _ Clare Curran.

Ms Curran, Labour’s sitting Dunedin South MP, has been linked to a tilt for the Dunedin mayoralty by a variety of sources speaking to the Otago Daily Times.

She sounds like an unlikely candidate for Mayor.

The rumour is said to have come from inside Ms Curran’s office, although she vehemently denied the ”mischievous” suggestion when contacted.

”You will not see my name on the ballot paper next [local body] election.

”I’m the MP for Dunedin South. I’ve got a job.”

As far as political denials go that’s a strongish one.

Political commentator Bryce Edwards, of the University of Otago’s politics department, said a mayoral bid by Ms Curran ”sounds unbelievable”, but Labour was ”going through some quite serious reorganisation”.

Declining support for Labour in Dunedin South during the last two general elections could ”absolutely” mean Ms Curran was a candidate for change, as the party looked to renew itself, he believed.

”No doubt there will be some MPs that are having pressure applied to them to move on. It’s entirely feasible Clare Curran is one of those people.

”Questions are being asked within Labour about the ability of incumbent MPs to hold their party vote up. That’s the real measure that the party is judging all of their incumbents on.”

Ms Curran’s name recognition and profile would give her ”a strong shot” at Dunedin’s mayoralty, and she would also follow in the footsteps of some prominent Labour colleagues, Dr Edwards said.

It needs more than name recognition, although David Benson-Pope was elected to council in 2011, presumably more on name than reputation as a failed MP.

Curran just seems like an unlikely mayor to me.

But her future in Labour doesn’t look great.

Brown eased out, Goff lining up

It looks like Len Brown is being deserted by his own team.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown loses backing of top campaign team

Advisers want Goff/Hulse to run for mayor.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has lost the backing of key members of his campaign team, who are turning their attention to other left-leaning candidates at next year’s local body elections.

The Herald has learned of a meeting last month where key campaign and mayoral advisers delivered the “blunt message” to Mr Brown that he has no chance of winning and should step down.

At least two of Mr Brown’s inner circle have held talks with Mt Roskill MP and former Labour leader Phil Goff about standing for the mayoralty.

There is also support for deputy mayor Penny Hulse, who has expressed interest but said she would never stand against Mr Brown.

It is understood Mr Brown was shaken by the actions of his campaign team and mayoral staff, some of whom are longstanding friends. He has not responded to their request.

All Brown could do was several over the top laughs when interviewed for 3 News – Len Brown tight-lipped on campaign team’s support.– while the currently have the wrong video linked they are displaying an uncomplimentary image:

LenBrown3NewsAnd Phil Goff is lining up to take his place – Goff considers Auckland mayoralty bid

Senior Labour politician Phil Goff says he is giving deep and serious consideration to running for the Auckland mayoralty.

The veteran MP for Mt Roskill, who has served for 15 of his 31 years in Parliament as a cabinet minister in portfolios including foreign affairs, defence and housing, said today he had received approaches “from right across the community” to lead the SuperCity but had yet to make up his mind.

“It’s something that I need to give some pretty deep thought to.”

Phil Goff says he can’t say and won’t say if he has had discussions with Len Brown’s team about standing for Mayor… (reads: yes he has)

It was likely Brown would have difficulty getting sufficient support to stand again.

And Goff has been suggested as a mayoral candidate for Auckland for some time. He would probably do well in a campaign and could make a good mayor.

And Labour get to bring someone new in to their caucus which is overdue for renewal.

It could work out well all round (apart from for Brown of course).

Dunedin’s Mayor Cull misrepresents fraud report

In response to the damning Deloitte report detailing a possible $1.5 million fraud (for as far back as was decided to investigate) Mayor Cull has made some very questionable statements.

On Radio NZ (Council under fire after fraud report) Cull says:

“Deloitte have concluded that there was no other staff member that benefited financially from the fraud.

“There were control failures and responsibilities but it was clear there was only one perpetrator in the council.”

That’s not what the Deloitte report concludes at all. Under Were other Council staff involved?


Cull is wrong on a number of counts.

  • Finding no evidence is quite different to “concluded that there was no other staff member that benefited financially”.
  • Obtaining vehicles at a discount to wholesale market value is a financial advantage.
  • Deloitte said that the police “may be interested” in staff members who paid for vehicles that the Council received no proceeds or was paid materially less than market value.

Some of the staff members at least will have known they were getting a bargain at the expense of the ratepayers. And paying Bachop rather than the council, especially in cash, was imprudent at best.

And there is major redaction of details.

In addition under Limitations the Deloitte reports says:

2.14 There is an inherent risk there are other material frauds at Council not identified in this investigation.

For Cull to put all the blame on one dead person and claim the report concluded no one else in Council benefited, when the report went as far as saying the police may be interested in staff members involved, gives me no confidence at all that the Mayor of Dunedin takes this seriously enough.

He seems more intent on sweeping embarrassments under the carpet.

His serious misrepresentation of the Deloitte report gives the impression he could be seriously misrepresenting the interests of the city’s ratepayers.

Dave Cull lacks transparency in secret deal

Dunedin mayor Dave Cull  seems to have so far escaped local scrutiny but is being criticised from further afield  for his “gentlemen’s agreement” payments to Pete Hodgson that have not been documented.

Timaru Herald (Stuff) Dunedin mayor defends MP deal

Dunedin Dave Cull is defending a “gentleman’s” agreement which saw a former MP paid $3400 for lobbying following a handshake deal.

Documents released under the Official Information Act reveal that former Dunedin North MP Pete Hodgson was paid by the council to lobby the Government not to strip core functions of Ag Research Limited from Invermay, near Dunedin.

The council said the main point of contact for the deal with Hodgson was Cull, but could not locate a single email, contract or any other document relating to the agreement. Hodgson had provided “lobbying and advocating” on behalf of council, and that he had “contributed” to a letter to Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and a submission written to the board of Ag Research.

“Mr Hodgson did not provide any reports relating to his services,” governance support officer Grace Ockwell said.

This isn’t a good look – especially for a mayor who has campaigned on improving transparency.


And: Payments by Dunedin City Council to former MP with no documentation

When I put it to Cull on Sunday (the story was released early and then withdrawn until yesterday) he responded:

What you are getting Pete is misinformation. I don’t negotiate contracts or employ anyone except our chief executive, and that with Council. Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of Local Govt in NZ knows that. And Mr Hodgson did considerably more in this instance than write a couple of letters: including researching, analyzing, attending meetings and giving reports. He is now assisting without payment.

It appears that the page on the Taxpayers Union site has now been taken down anyway. Perhaps they have realized that a good deal of what they are claiming is untrue.

It appears top be accepted as true.

Southern neighbours aren’t impressed. Christchurch Press editorial Gentlemen sign contracts too:

The standards that apply to council administration in the south should be no less rigorous than in Auckland city or the Whangarei district. Why should ratepayers in Dunedin tolerate a more easy-going attitude towards the spending of their money than anywhere else, just because of a romantic notion that southerners are somehow more honourable? Actually, they aren’t.

In matters involving public money, it is absolutely essential that the principles of transparency and accountability are upheld.

And this is a mayor who campaigned on a record of increased transparency.

The existence of the deal only became public when documents were released under the Official Information Act. It is obviously difficult to know if any other work has been paid for under similar gentlemen’s agreements because, by definition, documentation probably does not exist.

This is an important point. How many more “gentlemen’s agreements” might there be?

Southland Times editorial Time, gentlemen, please …

Could you smell the port and stale cigar smoke on Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull’s breath as he defended the “gentleman’s agreement” under which his council paid former MP Pete Hodgson for lobbying?

Mr Hodgson was paid $3400 for his work helping the council advocate that Invermay retain its core Ag Research functions. He was plausibly the best person for the job. But it was done on a handshake with nary a contract – and all that tedious accountability that goes with it – in sight.

Much as Mr Cull may apply a rosily nostalgic gloss to this as a gentleman’s way of doing business in the south, it isn’t.

Hasn’t been, we would like to think, for ages. Not since the days when distinctions were drawn between gentlemen and the rank and file.

A gentleman’s agreement, says Oxford, is binding in honour but not legally enforceable.

It may come as disappointing news to the council, but in these unmannerly times legal enforceability is not regarded as a tiresome detail, let alone a damned impertinence.

Particularly where the expenditure of public money is concerned.

Mr Cull would have us understand that he isn’t, for one moment, saying he would be comfortable if the council always negotiated contracts verbally.

After all, not everyone’s a gentleman.

But when the agreement is with a sound chap like Hodgson, the mayor apparently cannot see the difficulty in the absence of either a contract specifying what would be required, nor any follow up report about what, exactly, was delivered.

Things are so vague that though his council says Mr Cull was the main point of contact with Hodgson, the mayor says he wasn’t.

Almost a shame, then, that somebody didn’t think to keep notes on a file, or something.

And will all due modesty Mr Hodgson says that as a former minister of research, science and technology he was better placed than anyone to lobby on behalf of the council.

Mr Hodgson says the fact that nothing was written up “would probably reflect their trust in me”.

As far as the public is concerned, what this should reflect is the untrustworthiness of all involved.

A council, a mayor and a former minister of the Crown should collectively and individually know full well that this was dodgy and then some.

The Taxpayers’ Union, while acknowledging that it isn’t an eye-watering amount, detects that the council isn’t applying the most basic internal controls.

Exactly. On this evidence, alone, the Auditor General should get involved.

The very real public concern has to be wider than this single, inglorious, incident.

Because Dunedin doesn’t lack for gentlemen.

What else has been happening down there in that stale old club of theirs?

Again the obvious question asked.

Brown “not totally focussed”

Auckland mayor Len Brown has said he was…

…”not totally focused” on the upgrades taking him over the $300 limit for gifts that must be disclosed under council rules.

That’s a nonsensical excuse for not following basic disclosure requirements. What does it mean? He was almost fully focussed but not quite?

It doesn’t explain whether he was too slack to follow procedures he must have been aware of. Or whether he deliberately chose to not disclose the hotel bookings.

This probably won’t be answered by the mayor any time soon because it is now subject to a private prosecution – Embattled mayor faces new date: in court:

Two charging documents sent to Auckland District Court by retired Wellington accountant Graham McCready state that between November 2010 and November last year, Mr Brown accepted for himself and his wife Shan Inglis three complimentary hotel rooms and five free room upgrades from SkyCity and SkyCity Grand Hotels.

The gifts, worth about $4600 by Mr McCready’s calculations, led to “favourable consideration” given by Mr Brown towards SkyCity and parent company SkyCity Casinos, say the documents.

“He subsequently voted on matters relating to those entities without disclosing the fact of the gifts in his register of interests, or disqualifying himself,” the documents say.

Since his re-election Brown has been “not totally focussed” on his mayoral duties, being notably absent from duties.

This prosecution will also hang over him, further not totally focussing him on his job.

Before Christmas Brown’s position as mayor was widely seen as untenable. That hasn’t changed. Brown’s holiday break has just been a lull before the pressure on him resumes, and it is unlikely to back off.

Dunedin mayor backs economic benefit of gas exploration

A surprise position from Dunedin mayor Dave Cull on the offshore gas exploration:

Dunedin mayor Dave Cull told Radio New Zealand’s Summer Report programme he personally favours the development of renewable fuels to combat climate change, but his council will try to maximise the economic benefit of the drilling.

Listen to Dave Cull on Summer Report

I and others tried to push him on this during the mayoral campaign and made sure it was a prominent issue. He tried to avoid it, he tried to appease both camps, and he flip flopped. He ended up sort of at this position but he wouldn’t clearly state it.

Good to see him back the economic benefits. It would have been very awkward for him to have opposed them today, with the announcement that Macraes mine to axe 106 jobs which is another blow to Dunedin and Otago employment.

And despite expected competition for the benefits:

Southland leaders such as South Port chief executive Mark O’Connor are celebrating the drilling plan but not expecting to benefit directly this time.

“It’s highly likely, depending on the final location they identify, that it may well be closer to Dunedin and therefore it makes sense to service that initial exploration project from Otago.”

This seems to signal that Dunedin is likely to get the most benefits.

Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Woodhead welcomed the news and echoed Mr McIntyre’s comments the city needed to make the best of the opportunity to show it could provide the required infrastructure.

”Port Otago has been in communication with Shell and its partners over the years. Again, there is a long lead-in period to this, so we are not getting overexcited.

“But we have the mix of a safe deepwater port and an engineering base in Dunedin. The mix of infrastructure and expertise in and around Dunedin would make the city the logical choice.”

This all looks promising for Dunedin.

But it won’t be without significant protest. Radio NZ:

Anti-drilling protest

Anti-oil activists are running a protest summit this weekend in Dunedin, and a spokesperson for Oil Free Otago, Niamh O’Flynn, says Dunedin should be seeking jobs in cleaner, greener industries.

Ms O’Flynn said the protest will include a symbolic blockade of part of Otago Harbour. “We need to be standing our ground and saying ‘no we’re not having this industry here and and we need to be looking for jobs in sectors that are going to be long term and actually provide jobs for our people.”

A generally wary post  Shell and the Great South Basin bsrpout points out the positives alongside his (genuine and reasonable) concerns:

 If the industry is as successful as Taranaki, around 800 new jobs will be created. 

That would be significant in Otago (or Southland).

I wonder if they change their name to Gas Free Otago. Shell don’t expect to find oil.

How now down trou Brown?

Len Brown has been caught out with his trou down, literally and politically. His mayoralty lies crumpled around his ankles with virtually no chance of his political career being raised again. (Presumably his marriage is also in tatters too but it’s not known what sort of relationship Brown had with his wife and what the current state of matrimony is.)

Pants downBrown seems to have no one but those whose jobs rely on him remaining mayor on his side.

The media have turned against Brown, with NZ Herald notably scathing and damning:

The light has gone out in the mayoral office and Brown is left stumbling in a black hole of his own digging. John Roughan:

People who have had dealings with Len Brown of late say it is awkward. The light has gone from his eyes. He can see what they are thinking. If they are meeting in the mayoral office and he invites them to take a seat, he probably notices their hesitation. We have all had too much information.

Whale Oil blogs Awkward is the best you can say:

I had a call from someone the other day from the Ngati Whatua room saying no one was sitting down. Just awkward people standing around…sniggering.

Councillors have done all they can to express there disappointment, frustration and disgust. Roughan:

They voted 15-5 to continue working with him. But most of the 15, including loyal Mike Lee, made it clear during the debate that the only reason they were doing so was they had to work with him, they could not force him out.What kind of man would stay when he has clearly lost the respect of even his closest allies? Lee said Auckland would be “officially dysfunctional” if they voted no confidence in the mayor. Lee had no illusions that Brown might do the decent thing.

So they settled for a “censure”, accepting the extraordinary advice that the council’s standing orders give them no right to vote no confidence in the mayor.

When the council members go to the barbecues they can say they have censured him. I don’t think they will find anybody impressed.

There is a little support and excuse making on blogs but the overall tone is overwhelmingly negative.

It is as though people are only now getting together to discover what almost all of them think. At some point in every barbecue somebody will say, “What do you think of Len Brown?” Eyebrows rise, heads shake in disbelief.

When it is quickly clear that nobody has anything to say in his favour, the question becomes, “do you think he can survive?”

Only Brown can decide if he stays as mayor, but the bigger question is how well will Auckland City manage with a crippled leader.

 The mayor is no longer respectable, he has become a joke and not a particularly funny one.

It looks like the very unfunny situation is set to continue. Bernard Orsman:

Yesterday, Mr Brown was on holiday and not responding to questions. It is understood he is taking a break to spend time with his wife, Shan Inglis, and family as part of trying to “redeem and rebuild myself in the eyes of my wife and children and wider family”.

The Brown family are planning to spend Christmas and New Year with relatives, then possibly take a family holiday overseas.

The mayor’s office said the mayor would resume public engagements in early to mid January.

That’s a sad non-joke, the mayor has been avoiding engagements to avoid embarrassment.

And the public doesn’t want to engage with down-trou Brown. They want a divorce.

In the meantime the city suffers.

Threats of more Brown revelations, Auckland crippled

Len Brown may have survived censure yesterday…

… but are there more revelations to come? Questions are still being asked, rumours and accusations abound, and there are gaps and inconsistencies in Brown’s explanations.

Brown already said there was nothing else but has now admitted that to be false.

“In this context I should not have accepted the free rooms offered to me, and should have disclosed this fact when I was asked about it in October.

“This was an error of judgement and I apologise to the people of Auckland.”

It was more than “an error of judgement”. Brown lied. Yesterday Brown again claimed there is nothing more.

RadioLIVE Newsroom ‏@LIVENewsDesk

Auckland Mayor Len Brown is adamant there are no more skeletons in the closet after a stern telling-off by councillors today.

Cameron Brewer during the public meeting yesterday:

Mr Brewer called for the Attorney General to investigate the hotel issue, which he says was only “glazed over” by the EY report.

He also called for full and final disclosure by the mayor: other perks, other girlfriends, other hotels, he says. He was disappointed by his fellow councillors who would not ask the mayor for final disclosure in today’s motions.

Dick Quax told 3 News yesterday the saga is not over.

“He’s been so badly damaged, and it’s my belief that there will be more revelations as well, of further unbecoming behaviour,” he says.

“I have heard that.”

And before yesterday’s meeting Whale Oil posted SOME IMPORTANT QUESTIONS COUNCILLORS NEED TO ASK

Once I had them there I’d ask a few more questions.

  1. Did the mayoress really make the bookings as claimed by Mayor Brown on television?
  2. How were the majority of bookings made? Internet or phone?
  3. Did the mayor solicit any of the upgrades himself?
  4. Of all the room bookings, how many were for daytime and how many for at night?
  5. What other information came to light during the investigation that fell outside the scope?

That then would lead onto questions for the mayor to answer:

  1. Why would the mayor need to book a hotel room in the middle of the day?
  2. Wasn’t he supposed to be working for the city 24/7?
  3. Why did you solicit the upgrades yourself?
  4. Why did you answer differently to Campbell Live?
  5. Do you ever tell the truth?

Then I would call in his driver and ask him just one question:

  1. How many times have you driven the mayoral car to 14 Tawa Drive, North Harbour?

There are, as the mayor’s former mistress says, many more questions that are required to be asked of the mayor and answered by him with some honesty for once in his miserable life.

There are still questions remaining over the secret trip to Hong Kong and the breaches of the code of conduct.

Two Hong Kong trips haven’t yet been fully disclosed. Brown and his staff have tried to keep details secret and have misinformed on these trips.

Some of Brown’s explanations have been inconsistent and incomplete. In a statement after the release of the EY report last week:

“My reason for staying in the central city is that I often work until late in the evening – attending meetings, functions or civic events – and I start work early the next morning.” 

On Wednesday on 95bFM:

“I was also thinking, ‘hey, look this has nothing to do with the council, this has nothing to do with spending ratepayers’ money’.

Last Friday on Campbell Live in response to the questions about why his wife arranged accommodation Brown said:

“because she loves me and I love her and she’s been basically looking after me by arranging through my office….”

Brown has claimed the hotel bookings were nothing to do with the council, but also says his wife booked them through his office.

Until all these questions are fully and clearly answered this scandal will haunt Brown. This will affect how he can do his job. And that will adversely affect Auckland City.

Of course more revelations and more proof of Brown not being open and honest, and lying, will surely mean he will have to resign.

But until that happens a lame duck mayor will cripple Auckland.

UPDATE: Christine Fletcher has just said on Firstline that while she has heard rumours tolerance has reached it’s limit, there must be no further revelations and Brown must show genuine contrition or his position is untenable.


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