The billboard probe

December 14th, 2010 at 1:36 pm by David Farrar

Matthew Dearnaley in the NZ Herald reports:

Prime Minister says he supports a proposed inquiry into a donation by a Manukau trust to Auckland Mayor ’s election campaign.

Mr Key yesterday said he supported the view of Local Government Minister “that it may be appropriate for the to look at the nature of whether the entity that actually gave [Mr Brown] a donation is capable of doing so or whether it’s within their rules to do so”.

He was referring to a donation of billboard space worth $3375 from the , which runs the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre.

One issue for the Auditor-General might be whether the value of the space is correctly recorded. I know of no billboard space in Auckland that goes for $1,000/mth. $2,000/mth is pretty much the minimum for an average billboard, and my understanding is the size and prominence of the trust billboard is such that the commercial value would be at least $3,000 + GST a month.

So if the billboard was up for three months, then the value of the donation and associated expense should be $10,125.

If the billboard was up for more than three months, then the associated expense for the Brown campaign would remain at $10,125 (as only last three months count), but the donation value would be even great – would be $20,250 if it was for six months.

So these two facts need to be established – the commercial value of the billboard space, and the length of time the billboard was up.

“We are a community charitable trust,” he said. Trust chairman Sir said no costs were incurred or revenue lost by providing Mr Brown’s campaign with billboard space, which his board had made a decision to provide free to any mayoral candidate who approached it.

This is spin of the highest order. The trust CEO is on the Len Brown campaign team, along with two trustees and possibly a senior trust employee. And you expect us to believe that they would have stuck up John Banks billboards if asked.

The Auditor-General should ask for a copy of the board minutes where this decision was allegedly made.

Even if they made such a decision, it was obviously to give the illusion of political neutrality. Unless they actually wrote to all the other mayoral candidates advising them of the availability of the billboard space, how could they possibly expect another candidate to know that they could ask to use their space.

Mr Brown said yesterday that he was unconcerned about Mr Hide’s intention to ask Ms Provost to look into the trust’s donation.

Excellent. Let the facts be discovered.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

21 Responses to “The billboard probe”

  1. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    If the billboard was up for more than three months, then the associated expense for the Brown campaign would remain at $10,125 (as only last three months count), but the donation value would be even great – would be $20,250 if it was for six months.

    So these two facts need to be established – the commercial value of the billboard space, and the length of time the billboard was up.

    These matters have nothing to do with the Auditor-General. They are matters for the local returning officer and/or the Police.

    Whether the donation should be valued at $10,000 or $20,000 shouldn’t interest the Auditor-General. The donation was either appropriate or it was not. It shouldn’t matter how big it was.

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

    Nothing to see here move on. OOOp’s that was Helen this is Len.
    Key needs a mongrell detective to attack this stuff. Perhaps the Labour Vet would be a good man. Seems he is able to dig out the crap under the Pansies.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Gwilly (156 comments) says:

    One word – corruption!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. poneke (280 comments) says:

    I’m looking forward now to the questions you believe Ms Provost should ask about Pansy Wong’s travel.

    And for what you actually think about her resignation.

    Homepaddock seems to have beaten you to the party line on the latter.

    [DPF: I've not seen any evidence that any other travel done by Pansy or Sammy was business related, as in making money for them. If there is any such evidence, then absolutely it should go to the AG or even the Police]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Danger danger! Threat diversion in progress!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. vibenna (305 comments) says:

    John Key is being very foolish weighing into this. Encouraging the organs of the state to be used to attack political opponents is a very worrying sign. He should have stayed above the fray, statesmanlike. If he carries on this vein, he’ll be Helen Clark Mk II in no time at all.

    It particularly worries me because I think the greatest issue for modern societies is not left v right, but freedom v oppression by the state.

    Which side are you on Prime Minister?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Ha ha, priceless, I wonder if the ever so generous lefty loving billboard owner is smiling today. They might have changed their minds now that lefty Len has announced a 5% rates hike.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. wreck1080 (3,725 comments) says:

    This is really looking stinky.

    Is DPF saying that Len Brown has used $20,000 of ratepayer cash to fund his election ?

    Isn’t that standard procedure for the left?

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

    NOTHING WILL COME OF THIS .. bROWN GOT THE JOB and that’s that

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. lastmanstanding (1,201 comments) says:

    Lenny(just put it all on the card) Brown is a slippery individual. His governance of Auckland will go down as one of the more corrupt of all time. he has appointed people who failed to be chosen for positions by a transperant process to his inner circle. People who received hundreds of thousands of dollars in redundancy pay and now pick hunderds of thousands of dollars from the ratepayers.
    He will prove to the a disaster for good governance. His plan is to shift the rate burden from HIS constituency onto those who did not and will not vote for him.

    The 4.9% rate increase is only a start and remeber this is an AVERAGE. Some will pay up to 10% more rates and others Lens friends will pay 2%.

    You have been warned

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. backster (2,074 comments) says:

    Well the issue of the billboard is that first the Manakau Council headed by Brown established the Trust at a cost of several hundred thousand and then the Trust donated to Brown’s Campaign and then Brown appointed the head of the Trust to a high paying sinecure on his new council this whole operation thought to have been planned at an expensive Dinner at an exclusive restaurant where the cost was met by a Council Credit Card under the control of Brown.
    The situation needs to be considered in concert with the Police Enquiry into voter fraud involving at least one Indian Aspirant on the Brown ticket who had about 100 voters supposedly living at his address though in fact some lived outside the electorate and were unaware they were registered voters on the role. This enquiry involved a squad of detectives as large as are normally required for a ‘whodunnit’ murder enquiry and the result of which doesn’t appear to be yet disclosed.Indeed it may be ongoing.

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

    I really can’t see this is an issue. Does the trust usually have Billboards on the site?

    If so then they know the price they charge which I assume is what the level of donation is. If not they have made a best guess (and no public money was spent so it cost no one anything)

    Is this all people have on Len Brown? I would have thought taking money from Sky City is far worse

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. David Farrar (1,853 comments) says:

    Inky: I have no problems with taking money from Sky City. Len declared it, correctly. In fact the potential scandal is that Banks did not. But Sky City is a major employer in Auckland, operates the most iconic feature of Auckland, has the largest conference centre, two hotels, several restaurants and a casino. They should take an interest in the governance of Auckland.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. TCrwdb (246 comments) says:

    @poneke – there is a another thread for the Pansy Wong issue, troll.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. TCrwdb (246 comments) says:

    @Inky – yes, there has been two big huge billboards on that site for years, very high profile, visible from both north and south bound on the southern motorway at the Manukau interchange.

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

    poneke says:

    I’m looking forward now to the questions you believe Ms Provost should ask about Pansy Wong’s travel.

    That’s not trolling, TCrwdb, that’s comparing the PM’s response to two related issues of possible corruption in the polity. Brown’s campaign funding deserves scrutiny by the AG in the interests of an open democracy. Wong’s rorts deserve scrutiny by the AG not only in the interests of open democracy but also because it’s taxpayer’s money at stake. With Brown it’s imaginary money – the opportunity cost to the Trust – and not the taxpayers’.

    Ideally I’d like the AG to investigate how a lazy (other than in her own interests and that of select sub-group of people) incompetent waste of space got to be a Minister in the first place. But that’d be a further waste of taxpayers’ money, as we all know the answer to that question.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. kiwi in america (2,432 comments) says:

    I’m waiting for pollywog to denounce Brown, call for his resignation and for a police investigation while ranting NO F**KING TOLERANCE!! I’ll be waiting until hell freezes over.

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

    Poneke said

    I’m looking forward now to the questions you believe Ms Provost should ask about Pansy Wong’s travel.

    And for what you actually think about her resignation.

    Here’s what the A-G thinks:

    Auditor-General Lyn Provost says she will not investigate alleged abuse of a Parliamentary travel perk by former minister Pansy Wong.

    It will do more “public good” for Government to adopt the recommendations of a report tabled today on improving serious flaws in the entire ministerial spending system, she says.

    Ms Wong resigned from Parliament today, effective from January 17, saying she was concerned allegations of misuse of taxpayer-funded travel would hurt the National Government.

    Ms Provost said the decision not to investigate Wong was made before today’s announcement.

    “Irrespective of Mrs Wong’s decision to resign from Parliament, I had already decided that further investigation by this Office is not warranted. My decision took into account the speaker’s inquiry and my view of what best serves the public interest at this point,” Mrs Provost said

    Pete Hodgson ends up covered in the shit that he’s been throwing at Pansy Wong. Oh dear; how sad; never mind.

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

    Inventory2:

    Doesn’t “not in the public interest” not remind you of a form of words used by another public servant, under another administration, complicit in covering up another episode of our lords and masters wiping their bums on the law, the Cabinet Manual and other such documents?!

    As for using the Speaker’s “inquiry” as an excuse, I can’t wait for the day when the police say “well we asked him if he done anyfing wrong, and he says he done nuffink” and Crown Law say “well that’s okay then, we won’t take it further”. I plan on having a lot of fun :-D

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

    Fair point Rex; after all, Lyn Provost WAS an Assistant Commissioner to Howard Broad …

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    “We are a community charitable trust,” he said. Trust chairman Sir Noel Robinson said no costs were incurred or revenue lost by providing Mr Brown’s campaign with billboard space, which his board had made a decision to provide free to any mayoral candidate who approached it.

    Oh no. When I see statements like that then I immediately wonder how deep goes the rabbit hole, and what word will find itself prefixed to “-gate” this time. Browngate, anyone?

    I hope never to be in a position where I have to make public statements that disingenuous.

    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.