Manukau City Council refuses to reveal dinner attendees until after election

October 6th, 2010 at 5:36 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Secret details of an $810 dinner Manukau mayor Len Brown charged to his council credit card are unlikely to be revealed before this weekend’s local body election, the says.

Why not you ask? Do they not have to obey the law?

In what was possibly the most memorable part of this year’s local body election campaign, Brown gave an emotional and passionate address to his council colleagues about the dinner. He punched his head and chest and said he would “never” reveal who attended.

“Will I give you the names? Never. I want to tell you that, I feel so intensely strong about this.”

So Len’s position is clear – he will never ever voluntarily reveal the names, despite ratepayers paying for the dinner. But knows and they can be ordered to do so under the Official Information Act.

The Ombudsman received a number of complaints about Brown’s refusal to name those who he took to Volare.

It was hoped a decision would be made by the end of this week, but that is now unlikely.

“We are pushing this as fast as we can,” an Ombudsman spokswoman said today.

“There has been huge controversy around this. We understand people wanted to know about this before they voted.”

However the Ombudsman was required, by law, to consult with the before reaching a decision.

This week commissioner Marie Shroff asked a set of questions of Manukau City Council about the dinner.

She wanted to know “whether the attendees knew they were accompanying Brown in his capacity as mayor” and “did they know the dinner was being charged to his mayoral credit card”.

Reasonable questions to ask. And very easy to answer.

But the council’s chief executive told the Ombudsman there would not be enough time to answer the questions before the election.

Outraegous. My God – this involves around 30 minutes of phone calls, and they have 500 or so staff. One has to suspect this is a deliberate obstruction. Why are they so desperate to not name those who had dinner shouted?Is it because their identities would be in conflict with the reason giving for paying?

Auton was first notified of the complaint against his council in August.

It is understood an urgent telephone conference was being held this afternoon between the Ombudsman and Auton.

Sadly, even if it comes out tomorrow, it will be too late. But the Ombudsman should not reward the Council for stonewalling, and order the names released this week.

Tags: , , , ,

48 Responses to “Manukau City Council refuses to reveal dinner attendees until after election”

  1. jaba (2,089 comments) says:

    can’t wait to find out who was at his birthday party

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    Odds on it was a stripper. What ya reckon?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    I’m starting to think he was entertaining a couple of Sikhs, one of whom was willing to do anything in order to get a position on the Labour ticket.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    davidp beat me to it

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. jaba (2,089 comments) says:

    Lenny B’s refusal to disclose his eating/drinking companions flies in the face of his TV ads .. specking of which, they must be costing him a packet. It was suggested that he would have limited funds so maybe the others were donors??

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Inky_the_Red (734 comments) says:

    At least the people of Manukau eventually get told. Under Sideshow Bob us in Christchurch have been kept ignorant of Council spending and decisions for the last 3 years

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    Will the Manukau City Council even exist after the election?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Pongo (371 comments) says:

    And of course Brown refuses to reveal the huge payout his CEO Auton will recieve. This is pretty much as close to corruption as you can get and if he wins the mayrolty…well Aucklanders you are as mad as us daft Cantabs.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Nick R (497 comments) says:

    A nice example of how to tie up the Ombudsmen in knots to delay the outcome of an inquiry. I am impressed.

    My real worry is that the actual names turn out to be an anti-climax after all this. I’ll be very disappointed if it isn’t someone really incriminating…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    kk… If Brown had been meeting with anyone even on the borderline between acceptable and unacceptable then he would have confessed months ago and voters would have forgotten by now. The only conclusion is that the people for whom the ratepayers bought dinner are so completely unacceptable that Brown’s chances in the election would be zero. Arranging voter fraud? Taking bribes? Promising the deputy mayor’s position to Andrew Williams? Using Manukau Council resources on the campaign? I’d love to know.

    Did you notice that the outgoing Manukau CEO has just had a park named after him? That’s the pay off for delaying the Ombudsman. That and an actual cash payoff that has been kept secret.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    And doesn’t the secrecy make a mockery of Labour’s open government promises?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Comapre and contrast this with Bob “The next National candidate for Christchurch Central” Parker, with his refusal to name his financial backers prior to the last mayoral election, declaring all would be revealed after the election. Well, even after he won, he refused to name names, but by their deeds ye shall know them revealled the sly hand of Dave Henderson was one of those backers.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    This P.O.S. leigh auton is about as disgusting a disgrace as you could find.
    He gets a park named after him.
    Ive never seen him but i would bet that he is shorter than Len Brown.
    He would have to be the greatest brown nosing crawler ever.
    How else would a p.o.s such as that get in that position.
    He and Len have worked together well. They have looked after each other.
    I must take my dog for a walk in that park so he can leave a token of his respect.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Rex Widerstrom (5,254 comments) says:

    Obstructing police is a crime. Hell, in this over-regulated, over-policed country of ours it’s a crime to obstruct just about any “official” going about his “duties” (cf the list of upstarts who can march on to your property without a warrant).

    Yet obstructing the Ombudsman isn’t? Then it bloody well should be, as his or her role is to hold to account those very same officials.

    Note to our “representatives”: fix this immediately.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Fot (252 comments) says:

    MNIJ

    What the hell does it matter if Parker (the soon to be reelected Mayor) was backed by Henderson?, AFAIK Henderson was not using rate payers money.

    That is the thing with you lefties, you see nothing wrong with corruption just as long as it achieves the goal of a left wing Mayor or Government.

    If only the media in NZ did their job you people would never get the reigns of power.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Inky_the_Red (734 comments) says:

    MNIJ,

    I thought it was Henderson who had paid for Parker however Parker named someone else as his main benefactor (the owner of the triangle centre).

    Parker will not stand in Chch Central for National, the Nat will still with Wagner she has been campaigning ever since she lost the last election. Neither Wagner no Parker have a chance of Winning Chch Central

    Disclaimer I have known Dave Henderson for over 20 years. I used to heckle him when he was involved with Zenith Applied Philosophy (ZAP). Despite his offers I never accepted his offers to fund me to stand for Parliament or City Council.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Inky_the_Red (734 comments) says:

    Fot,

    Henderson got plenty of rate payer money from the CCC under Parker. So that does matter

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. toad (3,669 comments) says:

    Who gives a shit, DPF?

    You are running a desperate attempt to attempt to revive Banks’ failing campaign. The reality is that Banks’ track record (if you look back further than the last 6 years) is about on par with Paul Henry’s. He styled himself as a bigoted racist and homophobe, and voters for the Auckland Council remember that.

    In Auckland City last time, Banks got in due to Dick Hubbard’s incompetence and the ongoing ructions on the centre-left between Hubbard and Hucker. No such scenario now, and I think Banks is dog tucker.

    As, no doubt do you, DPF, or you wouldn’t have posted a thread like this. You seem to be pretending the Privacy Act doesn’t exist. Attendees at the function have their right to privacy, and Mayor Brown is totally correct in supporting that. To do otherwise could put him in a position where attendees at the function would have cause for a complaint under that Act about his actions.

    You know this, DPF, and I can’t help but conclude this is a last ditch effort to get Banks into the Mayoralty when all polls are indicating he is dog tucker.

    BTW, I’m no great fan of Len Brown. But under FPP, I have to support the least unfavourable viable candidate.

    [DPF: If the ratepayers are paying for your dinner, there is no right to privacy. MCC's own rules clearly state that names of those paid for must be supplied for reimbursement - otherwise how do we not know it was not just someone shouting their mates to a free nosh]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    Inky
    We are talking about Brown and his activities which are very suspect but you keep going back to Parker. If you can’t keep with the subject fuck off

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Inventory2 (10,092 comments) says:

    @ toad – I give a shit. Brown was caught bang-to-rights misusing his credit card. He refused to disclose who he dined with, in contravention of Manukau City Council policy. He also refuses to disclose Auton’s golden handshake. And if the Privacy Act is his defence, why has the Privacy Commissioner sought answers on behalf of the Chief Ombudsman?

    You might be able to countenance the leader of the new Auckland being led by a man who refuses to provide information which he is legally bound to furnish. I cannot.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Rex Widerstrom (5,254 comments) says:

    Sorry toad, I wish Aucklanders had a better option than Brown or Banks but saying Brown’s guests had a right to privacy when they were dining on the ratepayers’ dollar is a nonsense.

    I’ve dined at formal occasions at Parliament, paid for by the taxpayers. Do you really think I have a right to privacy in those circumstances? I don’t, and I doubt Brown’s guests did either… unless of course he misled them about the source of funds or the nature of the dinner, in which case their claim would be against him and not the Council, which would be (and ought to be) complying with a request from the Ombudsman.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. jaba (2,089 comments) says:

    come on I2 .. Lenny’s TV ads are all about honesty .. oh, I also give a shit because as a Franklin resident, he could be my mayor for goodness sake. We even got our new Auckland council recycle bins today

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Inventory2 (10,092 comments) says:

    @ Rex – I can only think of two alternatives. Either Brown was dining with someone who it would be embarrassing for him to have been publicly linked to, or his guests thought that Brown had picked up the tab when the ratepayers of Manukau City did. What other explanations could there be, and why is this his “die in a ditch” issue?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Fale Andrew Lesa (473 comments) says:

    I have to be honest here because kiwiblog’s coverage of the Auckland Super City Mayoral campaign has been a joke from day one.

    It is obvious who David voted for, but I guess others were expecting a more impartial coverage of the Auckland mayoral race. Instead, we have much of the same partasan styled nonsense. I don’t think I’ve ever read a blog piece from this site praising Len Brown for any of his good deeds.

    [DPF: I tend to whack politicians, not praise them. How often I do so depends on them. I have whacked Banks/ACC when they deserve it - history book, liquor sale hours, Olympics etc. I have whacked Len Brown more than I expected I would be, because of his expenses and assorted handling. I have whacked Andrew Williams exactly the amount of times I thought I would be]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Inventory2 (10,092 comments) says:

    @ Fale; actually, David hasn’t voted for any of the Auckland candidates, unless he was enrolled by Mr X ;-)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    Confession. Last night I dined with Steven Joyce and paid my own way with my tax paid dollars.

    Len B your turn !!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    Fale AL>I don’t think I’ve ever read a blog piece from this site praising Len Brown for any of his good deeds.

    I’m happy to praise him. Brown’s bizarre head slapping episode was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time. And since I don’t live in Auckland, it didn’t cost me a cent. Cheers Len for providing such good comedy!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. reid (15,912 comments) says:

    “And of course Brown refuses to reveal the huge payout his CEO Auton will recieve. This is pretty much as close to corruption as you can get and if he wins the mayrolty…well Aucklanders you are as mad as us daft Cantabs.”

    Pongo heard on the news the govt’s asked the A-G to become involved and they have to tell him. Of course they couldn’t single out Manuaku so it’s all of them. But that’s another thing that stinks, doesn’t it. A rate-payer funded handout.

    So what are these “good deeds” of which you speak, Fale?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. jaba (2,089 comments) says:

    “I don’t think I’ve ever read a blog piece from this site praising Len Brown for any of his good deeds”.
    like what .. it has to be something that someone else wouldn’t do better Fale.

    The more I think of it the more I think the diners were his money men/woman

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. Ferdinand (93 comments) says:

    I think DPF should tell us whether he has ever had dinner at the taxpayers’ or ratepayers’ expense and, if he has, he should also tell us who else was there.

    [I am certain I have never had dinner at ratepayers expense. When I worked in Parliament I was in theory eligible to claim cost of dinner as one was working until midnight, but never did. However when I was out traveling around NZ as part of my parliamentary job, I would claim back my meal expenses. so there are expense claims for $15 meals in Matamata and the like.

    Since I left Parliament I doubt I have had dinner paid for by the taxpayer - have been to the odd function at Prlt with food, but not dinner per se.

    Now seeing I have been open and transparent, lets start with your surname?]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. toad (3,669 comments) says:

    @Rex Widerstrom 7:04 pm

    I’ve dined at formal occasions at Parliament, paid for by the taxpayers. Do you really think I have a right to privacy in those circumstances?

    So have I, Rex. I expect the expenditure to be disclosed, and the reason for Parliamentary expenditure. But not my name.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. paul henry (49 comments) says:

    Lol DPF, you’re a guy with pretty good judgement, don’t you think it’s fantastic that that nauseating gargoyle John Banks is about to be assigned his place as little more than an irritating pin-prick in history? You must do, surely. Let it go, let Banksie go, the man is of no use to Auckland, and the rest of New Zealand (two thirds of New Zealand) will be much happier with Banks dead and gone.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. Fot (252 comments) says:

    Strange that Mr Toad has a problem with something Banks might have said years ago but he does not seem to bother being in a political party that is openly racist or who includes an MP who once championed the Kymer Rouge and Pol Pot.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. Banana Llama (1,105 comments) says:

    lol i am not going to vote for John Banks, i don’t want Len Brown either, to be quite frank i don’t even want this supercity so i think i will just tell them all to fuck off.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    Toad, you’re pushing a losing argument on this.

    Whether you want your name disclosed or name is irrelevant if you are the beneficiary of a free meal (or other entertainment.) It is the council’s policy for dinner guests to be named. Just as it is the policy of every (large) commercial organisation I know of to require the guests to be named in order for the dinner or other entertainment to be claimed as a reimbursible expense.

    The difference for the council, Parliament or any other public org? They are subject to more general disclosure rules outside of the management of their organisation.

    So the fact you thinking you should have anonymity if you are a guest is simply not a factor to be considered in a case like this. If you really want that anonymity you must never accept any form of hospitality from a public sector organisation.

    The other simple fact is that you well know that and are just trying to deflect and obfuscate. Back in your hole toad (or is it toadie?)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. Radman (129 comments) says:

    Toad, how do you shave in the morning without looking in the mirror? Because I simply don’t know how you can look at yourself.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. Rex Widerstrom (5,254 comments) says:

    toad:

    I expect the expenditure to be disclosed, and the reason for Parliamentary expenditure. But not my name.

    Why? If I expect to dine at your expense (as a taxpayer) why shoudn’t you be entitled to know you were feeding me? And whether I had the fish or the chicken, for that matter. He who pays for the diner calls the tune.

    OTOH I’ve had many a political meeting over a meal I don’t want to divulge and don’t have to, because I or my host used our own hard-earned cash to pay for it.

    Len Brown can indulge in a night of sploshing* for all I care, and I don’t care who with, as long as it’s not somebody’s rates paying for it.

    * Don’t go there if easily offended.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. berend (1,630 comments) says:

    Well, Auckland can enjoy South Auckland style back rubbing between mayor, selected councillors and its CEO for the next three years.

    And Papatoetoe was not a first. It’s only now we get one city that people are getting interested in this sort of thing.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    Just fine and DANDY for people to spend taxpayers money and not be accountable.

    If it was the moneymen, why didn’t they pick up the tab at Volare?

    My guess is a lot more obvious, and less juicy than we can imagine.

    I reckon it could be something as mundane as his Shrink, or Heart Specialist, or Gay Lover?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. RightNow (6,646 comments) says:

    The issue is so simple even toad should get it. Len knew the rules, broke them and is still breaking them.

    The dinner occurred in September 2009, so he’s been breaking the rules for over a year now. Banks isn’t likely to get much traction from this at such a late stage, in fact managing to keep it suppressed for so long would only seem to be great fortune for Brown.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    LATEST BREAKING….

    [Stuff] “Mr Brown is benefiting from a successful campaign to motivate ratepayers in his South Auckland stronghold to cast their votes and Mr Banks is trying to counter it with appeals to North Shore residents to close the gap. ”

    Yes, he’s put them all up in lodgings to make it easier for them to vote and have ‘their’ say on how Auckland is run. Probably had them around for dinner too…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. Grendel (950 comments) says:

    it still amazes me at the disconnect of some people where they will defend to the death corrupt act after illegal act after dishonest act of their side, but will then go into a furore and demand all manner of heads be rolled for an infraction caused by the other side, that is more often than not a) legal, b) minor, c) the same thing they refuse to accept as a problem for their guy/girl.

    Had Banks bought a newspaper on council money and been caught it would be on a billboard now and repeated ad nauseum on radio and tv, but Brown won’t obey his own rules and reveal nearly $1000 of spending of rate payers money and apparently its muckraking to mention it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    Grendel,

    It is because the Right are focused on doing the right thing, whereas the Left are obsessed on being SEEN to BE right (and therefore cannot allow any tarnishing or besmirching of the image & ideology.)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. James Stephenson (2,010 comments) says:

    In Auckland City last time, Banks got in due to Dick Hubbard’s incompetence and the ongoing ructions on the centre-left between Hubbard and Hucker. No such scenario now, and I think Banks is dog tucker.

    Banks was returned last time because the city had an instant and massive case of buyer’s remorse as soon as Hubbard started his term – Banks was only defeated in that election because he was in favour of the Eastern Corridor project through part of his key constituency.

    John Banks is about to be assigned his place as little more than an irritating pin-prick in history?

    Only the second Mayor in the city’s history to be re-elected after a defeat? Whatever.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. david (2,531 comments) says:

    Toad, so your name on the guest list (which should be in the Public Domain) is false by your own admission.

    Is that a normal situation for official functions?

    Are you a real Kiwi Toad?

    What is the false name you use for these occasions Toad? Surely it is not “Toad”

    Are there any security checks on the guest lists to ensure that people are who they say they are?

    Did you get placed by Momentum by any chance?

    I’m really concerned.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. Rich Prick (1,538 comments) says:

    Some here question why we are being so hard on Brown for failing to disclose reasonably requested information. Given that Councillors are responsible for the public’s money, but without an opposition to keep them in check (nor too much media scrutiny either), when the public asks for a little transperancy the public should rightly expect an answer to questions asked.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. sooty (53 comments) says:

    What’s the bet that after the election all of the info will disappear, the people are no longer working there etc, etc.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. NeillR (347 comments) says:

    While Brown’s dinner guests are a bit interesting, the REAL story is this:

    After this election, someone needs to enquire into Super-City voting from rest homes in South Auckland. The voting papers should be looked at from a cross-section of rest homes in the area. In particular, close attention should be paid where a number of votes have been recorded from people who live in the same rest-home. They should ensure that the same pen, writing style and vote patterns are not so close as to have be beyond what could be considered a margin of error in terms of similarity.

    I suggest a Royal Commission is assembled and all voting papers are locked in safe-keeping until this can be completed.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.