Secret talks are being held this weekend among Auckland councillors who say the city has been “humiliated” by the Len Brown affair and want the wayward mayor censured and his powers reined in.
The Sunday Star-Times understands a cross-party group of councillors has taken legal advice over what measures can be taken to censure Brown and to bring greater oversight to the mayoral office.
The code of conduct for the Council will be meaningless if the Council does nothing to enforce it.
But the Star-Times understands there is serious discontent with Brown and the EY report across party lines.
Some councillors who had been prepared to continue working with Brown for the benefit of Auckland were stunned by his lack of contrition after the report was released and believe some form of formal censure needs to be handed down. “There is an arrogance and a sense of entitlement there,” the councillor said.
Brown seems to think he has done absolutely nothing wrong. He has been exposed as someone who lied to the media, and did use Council resources for his affair – the phone calls, the limos etc.
The HoS also reports:
Councillors are shaken by Friday’s damning EY audit report, which found the mayor had made 1375 calls and texts to his mistress, Bevan Chuang, and failed to declare $39,000 in free hotel rooms and upgrades.
He breached the council’s code of conduct, by not declaring hotels rooms, an NRL grand final ticket and an iPad (which he auctioned for charity).
Brown took three free hotel nights and five upgrades at SkyCity hotels during the time he was championing the pokies-for-convention-centre deal.
Strangely Labour have been silent on this. Imagine what they would be saying if the Mayor wasn’t a member of the Labour Party.
Brown has apologised for misleading Aucklanders. He said he had wrongly claimed he paid for all the hotel trysts with Chuang out of his own pocket, putting it down to “not having full power of recollection”.
Bullshit. Chuang made the claim, and Brown denied it entirely. How is it credible that Chuang would have perfect recollection of it, yet Brown (the one who had the room booked and was responsible for paying it) would not.
Waitakere’s Linda Cooper said the governing body could censure Brown and most councillors expected an apology. “If he was in central government politics he’d be gone. People do stupid things … it’s how they respond to that and how they redeem themselves that’s important. I don’t see any of that happening, and that’s what I’m disappointed in.”
Pansy Wong resigned for far less. Lianne Dalziel was sacked for a lie.
Also on another note, once again Brown laundered his donations through a trust:
By far Brown’s biggest donor, though, was the New Auckland Council Trust, which chipped in $273,375. The trust allows donors to hide their identities when they make contributions.
Brown’s campaign spokesman Lewis said the trust was not breaking any laws as many donations were made to the trust before rules around anonymous donations were changed.
They knew the law was changing, yet they still used a trust to keep their big donors secret. Did Sky City donate again?
Tags: Auckland Council, Len Brown