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.

The Taxpayer’s Union broke this story: QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED ABOUT PAYMENTS BY DUNEDIN CITY COUNCIL TO FORMER MP

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When I put it to Cull on Sunday (the story was released early and then withdrawn until yesterday) he responded: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

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/232761/dunedin-tipped-as-gas-exploration-base

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.”     

http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/287558/dunedin-urged-show-it-can-support-shell

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.

Confidence gone, Brown gone by Christmas?

At today’s Auckland council meeting the attempt to have a vote of no confidence failed. Some councillors said it would put them in an impossible position if Len Brown didn’t resign, they would have to work with him having expressed no confidence in him.

The censure motion went ahead and passed as predicted. Amongst other things it unanimously expressed “profound disappointment and disapproval”.

NZ Herald reports: Vote over Mayor Len Brown’s censure passed

The motion of censure was unprecedented and was one of the strongest motions a fellow politician could give, Mr Lee said.

“It means we have chastised the mayor for his failings, and a motion of no confidence means that we can’t work with him.

“Members, we have a choice here and we have to try and move forward.”

Councillor Dick Quax said the council would only be able to move forward when Mr Brown was gone.

“He has been the architect of his own dilemma.”

So councillors have now expressed views ranging from profound disappointment and disapproval to no confidence. This further entrenches the untenable situation Brown is in.

Metro editor Simon Wilson blogs: Len Brown: gone by Christmas?

Len Brown will soon resign. The governing body of the Auckland Council has been meeting since 10am, and it’s still not over, and it’s clear in the debate that the mayor has lost the support of most councillors. That will make it extremely difficult for him to do his job.

When he understands that – and how longer could that possibly take? – he will step down.

 So why will Len Brown stand down?

In the current issue of the magazine, I have suggested that Brown’s misdemeanours are not sufficiently serious to require resignation, but if he loses his ability to do his job, that changes. If he cannot lead the council, he needs to find the courage and grace to step aside.

He’s reached that stage.

Can Brown still do his job? Widely viewed as a disgrace and/or a laughing stock, his only salvation lies in his potential to harness council support to lay that reputation to rest. He needs their goodwill and support if he is to have any chance of re-establishing his claim to leadership. But councillors have made it plain that cannot happen.

Brown should not be confused about this. Most councillors will not support the explicit right-wing attack on him, at least partly because they do not want this to be seen as a right-wing victory.

But he should recognise that they want him to resign anyway. They are waiting for him to do the decent thing.

Len Brown will soon be gone. It’s hard to see him lasting past Christmas.

I think that sums it up well.

Support for Brown has been evaporating since yesterday’s NZH editorial – Editorial: Brown must go for the good of the Super City

The Government is sending strong signals that it is up to Brown (implying to resign).

Collins to Len: Do you have the moral authority?

A senior Government minister says Mayor Len Brown has to question whether he has the moral authority to stay on as mayor.

Judith Collins, who has known Mr Brown for 30 years, made the comment this morning ahead of a council meeting at which the mayor will face motions of censure and no confidence.

She told RadioLive the mayor had to question whether he should stay on.

“My advice to Len is this – Len, do you have the moral authority to do what is an extremely important job?”

Ms Collins said she had been hearing consistently negative comments around Auckland about someone who people used to think very highly of.

“And I just think it’s really going to be very tough if he wishes to stay.

“But if he does, obviously we will work with anyone when it comes to the mayor of Auckland, and we have to as a Government. But Len’s really got to think about it.”

Brown’s friends and allies are advising him it’s time to go.

Len Old Friend: This Is Why You Must Stand Down

By Selwyn Manning 

Sometimes our strength is not measured by what we strive for, or hold onto, but by what we give up… If you go, you do so for the team, by forcing an election the voters of Auckland will get to choose who will lead the City’s council rather than that choice being made by those who currently occupy the Beehive. 

His council have now officially censured him and want to be able to move on. It’s hard to see how they can do that with him as mayor.

Confidence in Brown is evaporating, and their are signs his own confidence has taken a major hit.

A Christmas present for Auckland will be Brown’s resignation. Early would be better.

Then in the New Year the city can set about choosing a mayor that they have confidence and trust in.

 

The many problems with Brown

Len Brown will face his councillors and the public in a meeting today. It is obvious he has a serious problem with a severe loss of trust and credibility. It’s about far more than Brown, the credibility and the future of Auckland City is at stake.

While the lying and the ignoring of proper disclosure processes are serious there is major problem with the office sleaze factor. Brown has claimed his infidelity is a personal issue but he conducted some of his sexual affairs in his office and in other council locations.

People shudder at the thought of shaking Brown’s hand as mayor.

Females will feel uncomfortable meeting with Brown on their own in the mayoral office.

And ridicule hovers over Brown in public appearances. It is affecting his ability and willingness to carry out normal mayoral duties.

On top of this is the loss of trust. Brown has twice at least had affairs – and his Chuang relationship cannot be passed off as “a mistake”, it involved extensive contact over two years. And as pointed out, it involved Brown’s public as well as his private life.

Presuming his wife and family feel deceived and cheated it will be very difficult if not impossible for Brown to repair his marriage. Difficulties in his private life must affect his ability to focus on his job.

Brown has a history of “mistakes” as mayor. After his credit card misuse as mayor of Manukau he pledged to not err again, but he has failed to declare his hotel freebies, and he has failed to declare details of a trip to Hong Kong in January. They are basic and well known requirements. Brown cannot claim “lack of clarity” as an excuse.

And there is more hovering over him. The Ernst Young report precipitated the current escalation but it was relatively soft on Brown. There are still question marks over him giving Chuang written and oral job references, there are question marks over two Hong Kong trips, there are questions about Brown and his staff deliberately withholding information and deliberately misleading.

Brown has already been found to have lied in his denials.

There is a huge question mark about what else may emerge, there are strong rumours about Brown having more relationships. These rumours may or may not be true but regardless, Brown’s word means little and while he remains as mayor doubts will remain about the extent of his cheating and lying.

Brown has not been open and honest, and his apologies have been inadequate. He continues to divert blame, he tries to diminish his responsibility, and he tries to seek sympathy.

Auckland councillors have a difficult job this morning. Brown should never have put them in this situation, but so far he has put his own interests ahead of his council and his city.

This morning at the public meeting Brown will make a statement. If it is more weak apologies, more excuses, and more ignoring of the seriously compromised position he is in, then he will force the hands of the councillors. They will have to step up and express as much disapproval as they can.

But ultimately whether Brown remains as mayor is his call. If he declines to resign today Auckland City will go into the Christmas and New Year break hobbled and ridiculed.

Some are claiming that putting on Brown to resign, especially by NZ Herald, is undemocratic, but our democracy allows us all to express our opinions.

And a reality of democracy is that if an elected official has lost the trust of the people and has done nothing to give any confidence he accepts responsibility and properly recognises the problems then his position is untenable.

Today is too late to repair the damage for Brown. The best he can do is allow Auckland to start to repair the damage and recover. The only way Brown can do that is to resign.

Democracy means he will still be able to stand again if he chooses. At the very least he must put his future in the hands of the people of Auckland, let them judge his suitability for remaining as mayor. The way to do this is to have an election.

Or  Brown should hand over to someone else via a by-election. There seems to be no viable alternative for Auckland. The people must be able to decide what is best for their city, not a severely compromised mayor.

 

Quacks on Brown duck

@nzherald

Today’s lead is our Editorial: It’s time to go, Mayor Brown
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11174068

Herald Brown

Keeping Stock@Inventory2 

After two months of sticking up for Len Brown, the Herald now calls for his head. This is hugely significant…
http://keepingstock.blogspot.co.nz/2013/12/the-herald-on-brown.html

@nzheraldnznews 

Brown digs in over council bid to make him pay for conduct review: Mayor Len Brown is digging in his heels and…
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11174170

John Hartevelt@jhartevelt 

Fair call. Sky City stuff unfathomably dumb MT “@nzherald: Editorial: It’s time to go, Mayor Brown

Russell Brown@publicaddress 

Hmmm. This morning’s Herald editorial appears to be arguing that Len Brown going is the only way to prevent councillors doing democracy.

@PeteDGeorge 

What’s more important to @mayorlenbrown, his own super ego to remain as mayor or his not-so-super Auckland City?
http://yournz.org/2013/12/18/brown-or-auckland/

@FranOSullivan 

Herald’s compelling front-page editorial on Len Brown – Brown must go for the good of the Super City

Russell Brown@publicaddress 

@FranOSullivan @nzherald It’s a poor, anti-democratic argument that concludes with trite, inappropriate wordplay. Not impressed at all.

@FranOSullivan 

@publicaddress Funny, I didn’t notice word play. More interested Herald chose to couch argument on principle of saving the model.

Russell Brown@publicaddress 

@FranOSullivan Saving the model *from duly elected representatives* though. It’s a weird argument.

Peter McLennan@dubdotdash

That nzh editorial on why brown shd go and be replaced by candidate w similar views is a re-election pitch for John Banks as mayor. Subtle.

That’s a very strange claim. Banks is in no position to stand for mayor of Auckland.

Mrs Tweedie

@PeteDGeorge @dubdotdash NZHerald doesn’t care. They just want anyone else, preferably a Tory.

Another odd claim.

@rnz_news 

Herald calls for mayor’s resignation

@DavidSlack

“You’re a lame duck” “You’re a lame duck” “You’re a lame duck” “You’re being called a lame duck. You must go.”

Russell Brown@publicaddress 

@Inventory2 @FranOSullivan @nzherald Oh, sorry. Um, thank you! But I’m not impressed with Brown either.

@OneNewsAlerts

Is it time for Len Brown to stand down?: An editorial in the country’s largest newspaper adds to the debate

http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/time-len-brown-stand-down-5781478

The pressure is mounting on embattled Auckland Mayor Len Brown to call it quits.

Russell Brown@publicaddress 

The Herald’s argument that Len Brown must go or the democratically-elected councillors will win may not go down so well with councillors.

@MatthewHootonNZ 

Why do media etc say public figures MUST resign rather than SHOULD? @mayorlenbrown will do whatever he wants. There is no MUST

John Drinnan@Zagzigger

Editorial: Brown must go for the good of the Super City – National – NZ Herald News

Russell Brown@publicaddress 

Todd Niall is unusually blunt on RNZ: says the Herald’s Brown-must-go editorial is strangely-timed and its logic “doesn’t really stack up”.

Eggnogmistletoehoho@TheEgonomist 

I get it, Herald. It’s like Auckland’s own 9/11 pic.twitter.com/z5B3NKC5Bv

Sacha Dylan@kaupapa 

Herald editorial mistaken in thinking authoritative rather than inclusive leadership is key to Auckland Council success #tina

Keeping Stock@Inventory2 

If this morning’s NZ Herald front page was designed to create a stir, it has been a spectacular success…

http://keepingstock.blogspot.co.nz/2013/12/photo-of-day-18-december-2013.html

@Whaleoil 

Herald Editorial says Brown should go

http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2013/12/herald-editorial-says-brown-go/

Russell Brown@publicaddress 

@kaupapa@Zagzigger He’s been able to work productively with disparate groups on council. That was the key to his first term, really.

John Drinnan@Zagzigger 

@publicaddress@kaupapa Thats his main value? Is that viable now?

Russell Brown@publicaddress

@Zagzigger@kaupapa We’ll have a better idea of that after tomorrow.

How can @nzherald claim the high ground against Brown when it runs rape apologism, endorsement of police-on-women violence & suicide boasts?

IMO Brown is a person of little integrity and an average mayor, but the mayor isn’t @nzherald‘s to choose. Do you hate democracy now too?

But seriously, it must suck for the @nzherald‘s good writers (there are many) who have to share a platform with the Daily Mail-esque shit

@MorganGodfery the argument from many is democracy requires an informed vote: Aucklanders didn’t know these things at the election.

@GraemeEdgeler@MorganGodfery people are not obliged to follow Herald – trouble is not many people saying Len must start – apart from Len

I am still baffled about why Len Brown needed to stay at hotels so often, only 30minutes drive from his home.

We need a “Brown’s Law”

http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2013/12/need-browns-law/

“Len Brown’s behaviour and refusal to resign has highlighted council and public impotence in the face of serious transgression by a mayor.”

https://homepaddock.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/need-for-brown-law/

Len Brown should quit – paper

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9530273/Len-Brown-should-quit-paper

The mayor’s office this morning declined to comment on the editorial but said Brown would be making a full statement to tomorrow’s meeting of the council.

@dylanhorrocks@kaupapa@Zagzigger That will be clearer *after* we’ve heard from the councillors tomorrow. The editorial’s timing is strange.

Because the councillors will publicly indicate their willingness to continue working with Brown.

The belief that they will try – and that that would be bad – is the basis of the editorial’s argument.

But as Todd Niall pointed out, that’s a premature and illogical assumption.

tho -they know the editorial opinion of the local paper – for what its worth

Time to pack up, Len ~ EDITORIAL@nzherald

When the Herald, a generally reasonably balanced paper, has a front page, huge headline telling you to quit, you get second thoughts right?

former Mayor in the Docks, current Mayor in the dog house… Auckland, when are you going to take responsibility for who you actually elect

Len Brown says it’s been his “annus horribilis” and he’s been copping “a fair old whack around the ears”:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11174170

Auckland mayor Len Brown has lamented his ‘annus horribilis’ in an interview this morning and reiterated that his failure to declare hotel freebies was due to ‘a lack of clarity’.

“Secondly, I just didn’t bring my mind to it clearly enough … if you received an upgrade, or a complimentary [room], if it was over $300, then you should declare it.

“I’ve put my hand up to that and said `hey, you know we could have been much, much clearer and lucid around that and got better instruction and understanding.

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

“I’m wiser in hindsight, well chastened and I suspect that it’s just not me, there’d be many sitting around the council table who’ll be thinking back on their declarations and wondering, ‘hey, did I declare that upgrade in the aeroplane?’.”

‘Lack of clarity’ is bollocks, the mayor should know basic disclosure procedures and be aware of potential conflicts of interest.

“Certainly the last few weeks have provided something of a reflection for me … It’s been really, really tough and not just in the public eye obviously, [but also] for us as a family, for me as a husband and a dad – it’s been really difficult to confront that and that’s where the damage has been most profound.”

The damage has been most profound for Brown at home where his wife can sack him, but where he can’t be sacked, Auckland City Council, the damage continues to accumulate.

Haven’t we heard enough of Len Brown’s dirty talk aready? Now he’s telling us about his annus. Just stop.

Herald calls for mayor to step down

http://www.3news.co.nz/Herald-calls-for-mayor-to-step-down/tabid/423/articleID/325618/Default.aspx

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has lost the support of his home-town newspaper.

NZ Herald: Disgrace to democracy
http://thestandard.org.nz/nz-herald-disgrace-to-democracy/

So, once again the NZ Herald editors show their right wing leanings.  The front page of the hard copy today is pure partisan propaganda.

The NZ Herald is trying to preempt and manipulate the outcome of tomorrow’s public meeting. Their front page is pure propaganda and (pre) electioneering.

Shame on them!

On left wing blogs NZ Herald is called right wing, on right wing blogs it’s called left wing.

Surely at this point we need more information about who contributed to Mayor Len’s election campaign

First it was Jesus, now he is channelling the Queen

http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2013/12/first-jesus-now-channelling-queen/

The Queen’s annus horribilis: separation of the parents of four of her Grandchildren, and her home burning down. Len Brown’s: re-election.

The councillors so far planning to vote no confidence in Len Brown are from the right. So its really about politics, not morality or ethics

Wow. NONE of the five councillors who want to sack Len Brown made their own declarations of interest last year:

http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/SiteCollectionDocuments/aboutcouncil/localboards/councillorsdeclarationofinterestsummaries.pdf

Mayor lacks ‘honesty, integrity and credibility’ – five Auckland councillor
http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/mayor-lacks-honesty-integrity-and-credibility-five-auckland-councillors-150210

A quarter of Auckland councillors have signalled they will try to pass a no-confidence motion about the mayor at tomorrow’s 10 am governing body meeting at the Auckland Town Hall, according to a just released statement by councillor Cameron Brewer.

  They are expected to debate and vote on a motion that says: “The governing body notes that Len Brown lacks the essential leadership credentials of judgement, honesty, integrity, and credibility and, as a result, councillors have lost confidence in his ability to carry out his duties as mayor of Auckland.”

The five councillors, Dick Quax, Linda Cooper, Mr Brewer, Sharon Stewart and Denise Krum have told other councillors of their intentions. They want more councillors to join them tomorrow in supporting the stronger motion, according to Mr Brewer’s statement.

Len Brown says he won’t resign over breaches of the council’s code of conduct, and wants the city to let him get on with the job

Len Brown affair: Reader reaction: Today the New Zealand Herald took the rare step of running our editorial

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11174623

Goin, going… Len Brown: Councillors call for no-confidence vote – National – NZ Herald News http://nzh.tw/11174578  via @nzherald

Am told Auckland Council has been polling people on their confidence in Auckland Council

If the PM can ignore nearly a million voters Len Brown can be cool ignoring a major crowd of twenty from Remuera

@TheNBR 

For first time, Brown does not rule out resignation

http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/first-time-brown-does-not-rule-out-resignation-ck-150220

RAW DATA: TVNZ’s Lisa Owen questions Len Brown:

LO: What do you think of the views of these people [street protestors] here, behind you?

LB: They’re expressing their own view democratically and I accept that and acknowledge it.

LO: How determined are you to stay in position as the mayor of Auckland?

LB: Oh, I think that we will just, um, await for an assessment of the council tomorrow and then we’ll go from there.

LO: Are you determined to stay on in your job or are you considering resigning?

LB: Look, I’m just listening to what has been said and then we’ll reflect on the final decision tomorrow from the council

LO: Are you leaving the door open then to resignation, it sounds like you are?

LB: Look, I just think that it’s important for the… (heckling) it’s going to be really hard to get interviewed here

@OneNewsAlerts 

Len Brown ‘will go’ – commentator: The embattled Auckland mayor will go sooner or later, says a political comm…

http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/len-brown-go-commentator-5781478

Mr Trotter said he thinks Mr Brown will go.

“He should resign, I believe because he can no longer lead Auckland effectively,” he said.

Brown or Auckland?

What’s most important to Len Brown, his own super ego to remain as mayor or his not-so-super Auckland City?

NZ Herald have laid it on the line in an editorial.

Brown must go for the good of the Super City

A change of face, voice and reputation will give Auckland a far better chance of fulfilling Mr Brown’s ambitions for the city.

The affair and all the apologies are one thing but the lax accountability over grace, favour and entitlements and the potential emasculation of his office by the council leave little chance of him regaining the respect of Aucklanders.

This is a major call but it’s not surprising, Herald journalists have been signalling this reality since the EY report was released on Friday.

lame-duckBrown is already a lame duck mayor.

He is referred to widely and accurately as a lame duck.

He is ridiculed and laughed at (“down trou Brown”), and he is not performing his duties adequately. This is unlikely to change significantly. On it’s own that’s bad enough for the city.

And now his council wants to clip Brown’s wings.

Tomorrow, Auckland councillors will not only formally censure Mr Brown but begin a process designed to clip the wings of the mayoral office. If that happens, the Super City may no longer have a leader with the independent authority to drive things forward.

The only means of avoiding that outcome is for Mr Brown to resign. He must go in the interests of Auckland and Aucklanders.

Can Brown put the interests of Auckland and Aucklanders? So far there’s been no sign of him doing that, but the pressure is mounting for him to see beyond his own selfish ambitions.

Brown or Auckland?

Brown – another piss poor apology

Statement from Mayor Len Brown

Press Release: Office of the Mayor of Auckland

16 December 2013

Statement from Mayor Len Brown

“This morning I met with Auckland Councillors to discuss the chief executive’s report into the mayoral office.

“We had a full, frank and robust discussion and I have offered a full and unconditional apology to Councillors.

“I understand the frustration and disappointment that Councillors feel. I realise that I have a good deal of work to regain their trust and rebuild our working relationships in the interests of Auckland. This is my focus, starting today.”

Another piss poor apology.

Trust lost over a number of months, a number years, cannot just be dismissed with ‘whoops, I’ll work on that in the future”.

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