Fran on why the Auditor-General should investigate

December 21st, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Fran O’Sullivan writes:

Lyn Provost is the right person to take inquiries into ’s relationship with the SkyCity hotels and casino operator to the obvious next stage.

The mayor of Auckland has attempted to brazen his way through the embarrassing detritus exposed by the EY (Ernst & Young) report into some of the implications of his two-year affair with Bevan Chuang.

But that report, emasculated as it was after legal negotiations between Brown’s lawyer and the Auckland Council’s QC, has put new material on the table which must now be investigated by the Auditor-General herself.

I agree.

But in the Auditor-General’s case there is a firm basis on which to make more inquiries of Brown, the mayor’s office and SkyCity. The EY report is fact-based. But it also suffers from the obvious limitation of being a report commissioned by Auckland Council CEO Doug McKay into his boss.

Provost is not constrained by any such relationship and, importantly, has the power to inquire and make relevant comment.

The EY report established some useful facts, but didn’t cover many things. For example there was no asking of the Auckland Art Gallery whether or not the Mayor’s reference was the major reason Chuang was hired.

The EY report – as published – shies away from disclosing whether Brown solicited any of the nine freebies he had in four city hotels or requested any of the 64 upgrades.

The impression by Brown’s public comments is that his wife, Shan Inglis, made most of their hotel bookings.

But it stretches credibility to believe Inglis would have made the booking for her husband’s rendezvous with Chuang in a SkyCity hotel bedroom.

Especially as rumour has it that some of the bookings were for the day, not the night!

EY saves the mayor some embarrassment by failing to distinguish between Brown’s overnight stays and his daytime stays in hotels. A footnote to the report simply says “room nights refers to both night stays and day stays”.

It is unclear whether these so-called “room nights” cover the pop-in arrangements that Brown was said to have when a room was sought for a few hours for him to get away from the pressures of the office.

Pressures of the office?

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55 Responses to “Fran on why the Auditor-General should investigate”

  1. kowtow (8,439 comments) says:

    Surely if someone (especially in public office)was being offered a financial advantage in cash or kind and he accepted same ,then both the offerer and accepter commit a crime,it’s a corrupt act?

    Any legal beagles out there?

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  2. secondcumming (92 comments) says:

    Biggest problem here of course is that the current A-G is a dyed in the wool leftie from the Clark era… watch the Office come up with every excuse imaginable as to why an investigation into PDB’s shenanigans is not warranted. Mark my words…..

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  3. 3-coil (1,219 comments) says:

    Go Fran! – excellent article.

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  4. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    So was Len rooting hookers during the day?

    Dime? any inside gossip on that? :-)

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  5. stigie (1,165 comments) says:

    How could Dime possibly know Colville ?

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  6. 3-coil (1,219 comments) says:

    Pillow talk.

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  7. Reid (16,440 comments) says:

    So was Len rooting hookers during the day?

    He was doing something with someone during the day, that’s for sure. Funny how you can fit that in when you’re working for the city, 24/7…

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  8. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    When Dine reads this he will have to go scrub his di*k clean (and drink himself into a stupor) after thinking about the possibility of having been second to Len ! ewwww !

    Sorry Dime :-)

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  9. duggledog (1,554 comments) says:

    Hate to pull you up on this Reid old fellow but it’s not ‘the city’, it’s ‘his city’.

    Poor old Dime. Stirring Len’s porridge

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  10. OneTrack (3,088 comments) says:

    “Pressures of the office?”

    Please dont go there.

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  11. Paulus (2,626 comments) says:

    I thought I read in Cheung’s affidavits that she collected the hotel keys from the Council Offices receptionist.

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  12. MH (751 comments) says:

    I think we need a Provost Marshal.
    How much for the Naught-Whatua suite,or was he mayorly doing a bit of carving on that desk with mayorstress Chuang?

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  13. dirtbag (22 comments) says:

    Dime knows his way around a hooker it would be fair to say! Unlike Brown though, it doesn’t interfere with his empire building and he doesn’t lie about it!

    Dime also knows that when it comes to Asian hotties there is always a price! Like your job for example……..A Len

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  14. MH (751 comments) says:

    These are the big sticks available for the use on naughty councillors, all proscibed in the Auckland Council Code of Conduct

    11.4. Secret Commissions Act 1910
    Under this Act it is unlawful for an elected member (or officer) to advise anyone to enter into a contract with a third person and receive a gift or reward from that third person as a result, or to present false receipts to the Council. If convicted of any offence under this Act a person can be imprisoned for up to 2 years or fined up to $1,000, or both. A conviction therefore would trigger the ouster provisions of the Local Government Act 2002 and result in the removal of the member from office.
    11.5. Crimes Act 1961
    Under this Act it is unlawful for an elected member (or officer) to: accept or solicit for themselves (or anyone else) use information gained in the course of their duties for their, or another person’s monetary gain or advantage.
    These offences are punishable by a term of imprisonment of 7 years or more. Elected members convicted of these offences will also be automatically ousted from office.
    11.6. Securities Act 1978
    The Securities Act 1978 essentially places elected members in the same position as company directors whenever the Council offers stock to the public. Elected members may be personally liable if investment documents, such as a prospectus, contain untrue statements and may be liable for criminal prosecution if the requirements of the Act are not met.

    I like the Secret Commissions Act. When was it last used in NZ,and why not on Len?

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  15. Manolo (13,746 comments) says:

    The question is: Who has the authority to order an investigation by the AG?

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  16. secondcumming (92 comments) says:

    Penny Bright? :)

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  17. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    Call me a silly old fool but why would any young tart show the slightest inclination to shag an ugly, doddering old prat like Len when she could get all the young studs she wanted who could keep it up all night without having to resort to Viagra. :)

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  18. tvb (4,416 comments) says:

    Those young studs have no money and no influence. Len has both. Surely Len did not ask his wife to arrange hotel booking for him to conduct his affair. Now that would take a brazen lie or two from Len.

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  19. Akaroa (557 comments) says:

    Johnboy at 3.49…

    tvb has already answered your question, but I might add that there are innumerable instances in the public domain of young attractive females being attracted to, supported by, and, of course in the process, being bedded, by older men.

    BUT! They have to be older men of some note!

    Its the status of the latter that counts – politician, civic leader, pillar of the Establishment, public figure, rich-old-coot – they all score high on the ‘Points-For-Being-Bedded-By-Someone-Of-Note’ table!!

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  20. Brian of Mt Wgtn (22 comments) says:

    I hear through the grapevine that Mustangs Gentleman’s Club in Albany is a busy place for black chauffeur driven cars. One may like to ask and check out facial expressions

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  21. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    Do you have number plates BoMW? :)

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  22. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    Yes chaps. I’m fully aware of the reasons. I was just trying to stoke the fire a tad! :)

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  23. secondcumming (92 comments) says:

    Thanks for the clarification in your last para there ‘Akaroa’…..that fully explains now why I’ve only ever screwed the missus for the last 34 years. No wunder life seems dead boring……..

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  24. Manolo (13,746 comments) says:

    The answer is power. Power seems to be the best aphrodisiac, and birds flock to it like bees to flowers.

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  25. Chicken Little (741 comments) says:

    There’s one comment on the Herald site about this story. Predictably it says –

    “So does John Key’s dealings with not just Sky City but everything he does, need investigation!”

    Thats the mindset of lens supporters. Dirty horrible little people.

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  26. lolitasbrother (685 comments) says:

    lie low farrar and remove your pathetic puritanical and vindictive obsession from blog.
    It is pathetic. Soon Len is dust in the wind, any other good ideas Farrar.

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  27. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    @Paulus:

    I thought I read in Cheung’s affidavits that she collected the hotel keys from the Council Offices receptionist.

    That’s how I remember it too. And Brown has said that his wife booked the hotel rooms through his office. It all sounds bizarre.

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  28. lolitasbrother (685 comments) says:

    stop the drivel, do something real with your life

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  29. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    Re lolitasbrother (5.58 post):

    Perhaps an apt pseudonym for the views expressed.

    Lolitasbrother seems to be branding as puritanism calls for inquiries into possible misuse of public funds.

    Bonking Brown is toast than won’t pop out of the toaster, Lolitasbrother. The longer he stays in, the more he gets burned.

    Things will begin to cool down when Brown goes.

    You Team Brown folk might be wise to look at other opportunities though, Lolitasbrother.

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  30. lolitasbrother (685 comments) says:

    stop the drivel liberals not, and get real

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  31. lolitasbrother (685 comments) says:

    just so you know liberals,
    while you were drivelling Farrar we lost Christchurch Central, but hey who cares,
    the socialists will fuck you

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  32. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    What part of Bonking Brown’s performance do you approve of, lolitasbrother?

    And stop posing as a National supporter.

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  33. lolitasbrother (685 comments) says:

    Any man who has a good fuck is a good man,
    this is what we do people, ,
    and also we decide what we want for this country and we fight for it,
    we do not divert to other things that will not help us.
    If you will concentrate on a guy who had a good fuck you are dead.
    who cares, not me, I had lots of good fucks,
    you are losing yourselves,
    I wanted to save Christchurch Central and there was nobody there

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  34. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    Are you a fucking retard lolitasbrother or am I just losing the plot re this blog? :)

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  35. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    Lolitasbrother.

    Try putting your penis into a female instead of your own ear, then you’ll know what it’s all about.

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  36. Warren Murray (311 comments) says:

    Ive commented previously that the ToR for EY were probably crafted to Len’s advantage, so with a few lines of further enquiry revealed, clearly an independent review is warranted. Len is stalling as long as possible, and wont commit to full disclosure, so only an independent enquiry will restore the city’s confidence in the Council.

    I think it incredible that having negotiated the ToR for the EY report, he thinks he should also negotiate who picks up the Bill or how it should be split AND the result to be in secret?

    So very wrong that senior officials and councillors are going along with this rooting rorter.

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  37. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    I mean we have the murderers, the God botherers, the commies, the greenies, the husband beaters (not thinking of you there Judith :) ) even the sheep shaggers. But you are definitely something different lolita.

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  38. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    John Roughan writes about the sad but obvious reality of dead mayor walking:

    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.

    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.

    He doesn’t need to be told, he can see in the eyes of everyone he meets that he can no longer effectively do his job. A mayor is not a public official with a mundane job that he can simply hunker down and do. A mayor is a city’s face, voice and, ideally, its inspiration.

    But it would be natural in his predicament to adopt a hard partisan shell, looking for the only applause he might still find – from Labour activists who desperately want to preserve the legitimacy of his election.

    Even they know in their hearts he has lost the legitimacy. He is not the man voters knew. That’s all there is to it. Everything else – the hotel rooms, the incidental expenses, are just pretexts for disapproval.

    A mayor of Auckland probably cannot avoid upgrades when he books into a city hotel. It would want him in rooms it can call the mayoral suite – or at least would have called it so until two months ago. That is the problem. The mayor is no longer respectable, he has become a joke and not a particularly funny one.

    Brown has gone down with no chance of recovery. The only remaining question is how much he drags Auckland City down with him.

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  39. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    Stand for Mayor of Auckland next time round PG. I’ll make the standard donation! :)

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  40. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    The reckon that one costs half a mil to be competitive. And it would help to live there, and that’s not going to happen.

    Surely if Brown drops out there will be at least a couple of decent contenders standing. One things pretty much guaranteed, if Brown resigned and south a new mandate he would struggle to get any financial or people backing.

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  41. nasska (11,468 comments) says:

    Much as I’d like Len to stick around as an example of a rotten, lying socialist we can point to & laugh at in the lead up to next year’s general election I can’t see that his ego will take the pummelling much longer. Careful thought has to be given as to who the Jafas will replace him with.

    What our unfortunate brothers & sisters of Parallel thirty six & a half desperately need is a strong leader. The person who represents them needs to be muscular of arm, staunch of heart, resolute & unlikely to be sexually propositioned. A suitable welding qualification in case urgent repairs to the Harbour Bridge are required would be an advantage.

    Ladies & gentlemen, may I present your new Mayor……Waterwoman! :)

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  42. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    My $100 won’t make a dent then Pete. What about moving to Ohariu?

    Manolo would be in your electorate! :)

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  43. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    “Ladies & gentlemen, may I present your new Mayor……Waterwoman!”

    If she could sort out the barbed wire and fence the shithole that is Jafaland off at the Bombays I would make a donation to her cause nasska! :)

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  44. nasska (11,468 comments) says:

    It would take too long going by the wait you’ve had for your wire JB. We may yet have to abandon the North Island & move South.

    Then cut the cable! :)

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  45. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    I did enjoy hunting in the Marlborough mountains nasska. Your plan has merit! :)

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  46. peterwn (3,271 comments) says:

    “Especially as rumour has it that some of the bookings were for the day, not the night!”

    There used to be a motel in Newmarket which allegedly had an occupancy rate of greater than 100%. Then there was the Paris hotel in ‘Irma La Douce’ which you could not afford to stay at, since rooms were let by the hour.

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  47. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    Was any ratepayer money spent on the affair? Provost is AG – they check spending. The report has already identified what there is, just the phone and car use. So this direction is a dead end.

    In the end, what there is this word trust and that other word respect, some said the affair was sufficient for him to go, others not if that is all there is. Now there are other grounds, the phone and car use insufficient on their own. The failure to declare gifts (half the council seems to be culpable here), of itself also insufficient.

    So if a precedent is set for a Mayor to pressured to resign, on what grounds?

    Is it the media supporting his removal? Do they decide? Do polls decide?

    Is it receiving influence to vote in favour of the Sky Casino deal, – receiving standard practice loyalty upgrades and freebies commonly given to guests (the practice is legal and commonplace in all retail), or via donations to campaign funds (should all interest groups end campaign funding)?

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  48. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    In the end he is just a nasty little old man that let his cock get the better of him. He has no moral right to carry on as Mayor of Auckland but as he has no morals he will. His greed will get the better of his conscience. He will serve out his term knowing that everybody is sniggering about him but he will not care as long as he collects the Mayors pay packet.
    It’s really a shame that the Super City started off with a turd like him as it’s leader. I’m sure Auckland ratepayers will be more discerning next time around.

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  49. Andrew McMillan (50 comments) says:

    DPF: For example there was no asking of the Auckland Art Gallery whether or not the Mayor’s reference was the major reason Chuang was hired.

    The EY report missed a lot of relevant questions in relation to Brown’s preferential treatment of Miss Chuang. Most importantly, as discussed on my blog, they needed to ask when Len Brown first became aware that Chuang had a criminal conviction (which made her a completely unsuitable candidate for the role).

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  50. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    Are people with convictions unsuitable for work in an art gallery?

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  51. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    I imagine that It is about now that LB will be considering if he can get some kind of ‘Golden handshake’ if he agrees to go.

    A financial ‘golden handshake’ that is…

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  52. Andrew McMillan (50 comments) says:

    They fired Chuang four months into her employment when they found out she had a conviction, which suggests that in light of the facts she was completely unsuitable. Whether the Art Gallery followed due diligence at the time of employment or whether they were swayed by other factors (namely Len Brown’s reference) is a big unknown, and really should be investigated further.

    But as you point out SPC, having a conviction doesn’t necessarily make you unsuitable, but in this case it is evident that Chuang was unsuitable.

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  53. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Auditor-General Lyn Provost is the right person to take inquiries into Len Brown’s relationship with the SkyCity hotels and casino operator to the obvious next stage.

    Get her to include Key and Joyce’s relationship with it in the investigation while she’s at, it – that relationship appears far more dubious than Brown’s one.

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  54. Manolo (13,746 comments) says:

    Yes, Psycho. Keep pushing Labour’s agenda as ordered.

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  55. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt

    I know it’s hard when lovers of corruption with a sense of entitlement to other peoples money are called to account – but really pointing and shouting “they did it too” is such a lefty thing to do that the moment you start that shit mature people just switch off.

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