Fran O’Sullivan on Len Brown

December 14th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Fran O’Sullivan writes in the Herald:

If he had any skerrick of honour left, would by now have tendered his resignation as mayor to the people of Auckland.

It is absolutely clear that Brown has obtained multiple private benefits by virtue of his position as Mayor of Auckland.

It’s now time for Auditor-General Lyn Provost to open up a much wider inquiry to satisfy Aucklanders – and New Zealanders at large – just where Brown’s abuse of his position stopped.

Brown is a lame duck and has no chance of getting re-elected. He is just going to take the salary for the next three years.

But the real issue – as I have opined before – is how the Mayor of Auckland obtained special benefits for himself by virtue of his position, especially the $6130 of “freebie” hotel rooms disclosed in the EY report. Then there was the $32,888.50 worth of free hotel upgrades revealed by EY yesterday.

And more: the use of the mayoral car to squire his mistress about town; introductions of her to high-level Chinese visitors as his unpaid “translator”; the undisclosed gifts; the rearranging of his official overseas itinerary to squeeze in a private dinner in China with an unnamed female guest and a mayoral staffer.

As it turns out, she was a personal friend the mayor had requested to provide what proved to be unpaid translation services on the Guangzhou extension of his trip, and the staffer advised EY she had “no recollection of the dinner or attending diner” that was paid for by the council.

These issues have been barely mentioned by other media.

Frankly, accepting nine “freebies” at prime Auckland hotels – three of them at hotels belonging to SkyCity – doesn’t cut it. It is not merely “embarrassing” but is improper behaviour, given the fact that the council has had to adjudicate on controversial issues around the SkyCity Convention Centre “pokies swap” deal where the mayor clearly needed to be seen to be above the play and not putting himself in a position where he could be subject to unconscious bias, or more.

If he was a Minister of the Crown, Labour would have insisted he resign by now.

Brown has clearly flouted Auckland Council disclosure guidelines and general standards. This is symptomatic of a politician who believes he is above the rules. The fact that he was a “no show” at yesterday’s press conference indicates Brown has no answers outside the carefully crafted but ridiculous spin that his bevy of well-paid mayoral office press people have been churning out in recent days to try to deflect attention from the damaging findings in the review.

The TV interviews were so lame, that I wonder what has happened to interviewing skills. Did anyone confront him over his confirmed lies to the media? His communications director said (on the basis of what Brown told him) that he accepted no free hotel rooms when staying with Chuang.  That was a lie, and has been exposed as such.

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45 Responses to “Fran O’Sullivan on Len Brown”

  1. Johnboy (16,059 comments) says:

    Penny Bright for Mayor!!!!! :)

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  2. nickb (3,686 comments) says:

    The TV interviews were so lame, that I wonder what has happened to interviewing skills. Did anyone confront him over his confirmed lies to the media?

    According to some on this blog John Campbell asked him the “tough questions”.

    Like how he was feeling?

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  3. MH (711 comments) says:

    http–www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz-SiteCollectionDocuments-aboutcouncil-governingbody-codeofconductelectedmembers.pdf

    the code of conduct we are all talking about- or must have reference to.

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  4. OneTrack (3,020 comments) says:

    “He is just going to take the salary for the next three years.”

    Len will see that as a win-win.

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  5. Chris2 (762 comments) says:

    It should also be remembered that the report that has been publicly released was done so after Brown had it for a week and doubtless he and his lawyer would have successfully negotiated to have some of the content removed.

    So there is more to this than that which has been published …..

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  6. Johnboy (16,059 comments) says:

    Why would a man who stood for mayor and accepted the accolades of the people, who then raised him to the position, then want to hire a lawyer to hide his activities from the same people? :)

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  7. Johnboy (16,059 comments) says:

    Penny Bright for mayor!!!

    Jafa’s deserve her! :)

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  8. calendar girl (1,215 comments) says:

    Well spoken, Fran O’Sullican. It is refreshing to read some clear, non-sychophantic reaction coming from the Herald on this subject.

    So we wait to see whether Auditor-General Lyn Provost has the principles and the courage to face up to the yawning gaps exposed by the EY report. Will she do her part to arrest and punish this egregious abuse of public office, power and expenditure, or will she endorse Brown’s conduct by her silence and non-action?

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  9. 3-coil (1,215 comments) says:

    The reactions of Labour and the Greens to the Len Brown scandal exposes their double standards and hypocrisy too.

    They are faced with the dilemma of (1) condemning Len Brown and hence be able to undermine the validity of the Sky City deal as being propped up by the corrupt influence of a compromised mayor, or (2) support their left wing, but corrupt, mayor – and forgo the chance to criticize and attack the Sky City deal.

    By their silence on the corrupt mayor’s actions, they choose to tacitly accept the Sky City deal – because they don’t attack the deal when they are presented with this golden opportunity. Evidently the Green and Labour parties love their corrupt lefty mayor Len Brown more than they hate the hundreds of extra pokies (and the swathe of economic destruction they will cause among Auckland’s poorest).

    In future, any criticism of the Sky City pokies by these left wing pretenders can be dismissed as flip-flop meaningless political posturing.

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  10. wreck1080 (3,881 comments) says:

    You know, i bet a good proportion of leftie leaning types don’t really care about any of lens sins.

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  11. projectman (216 comments) says:

    An enquiry by the auditor-general? I expect Graham McCready will be first in, with a private prosecution, if he is true to form.

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  12. MH (711 comments) says:

    can the Mayor be sent to Coventry by the councellors(ex councillors), excluded from committees and denied travel as the City’s rep? At least Robbie dumped the sewage on the other harbour so there’s still a chance he may redeem himself and we can get at a reasonably price a second hand statue from the Ukraine,get that Maori carver who demonstrated his skill on the America’s cup,to knock it into shape in Len’s memory. Hell,we don’t even have to alter Lenin’s name much. The mayor thought of it. If only Len was Brown.

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  13. jaba (2,136 comments) says:

    Phil Heatley clocked up a couple of bottles of wine at a conference on his MP’s card and got hammered, Richard Worth got jiggy with a woman (was it a honey trap) and he is gone and Pansy Wong took hubby on a small flight in Asia and she is gone. mmmm

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  14. Johnboy (16,059 comments) says:

    Going by the thumbs down I’m fucking surprised how many of you Dawks from Jafaville don’t want Penny for a Mayor considering the turd you all voted for! :)

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  15. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    he has tried to say he didnt remember he hd taken free hotel rooms as it was such a busy time.
    Such a busy time texting and ringing his bit on the side instead of his wife who had cancer

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  16. jaba (2,136 comments) says:

    at least Penny wouldn’t get caught up in a sex scandal

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  17. Chuck Bird (4,847 comments) says:

    Councillors still support Len Brown

    Auckland Mayor Len Brown appeared to retain the support of most of his councillors, publicly at least, even after a report on his activities during an affair with Bevan Chuang showed he did not declare free hotel rooms and upgrades valued at more than $38,000.

    Bill Cashmore, Franklin – “I have respect for him as a leader. I think most of us … we just want to get on with the job.” It had not done any good for his perception of the mayor, “but no-one’s perfect”. It had no effect on his ability to work with Brown. Councillors could not tell the mayor what to do. “That’s his call”.

    Dick Quax, Howick – “This very much mirrors what went on in Manukau City Council some years ago when the mayor was found to be using his council-provided credit card for personal purposes.

    “It staggers me that somebody would have to spend $40,000 on hotel accommodation in the city that they live in.

    “My confidence in the mayor is not high. [He] needs to carefully consider his future relationship with the people of Auckland … and whether they still have trust in him.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9515696/Councillors-still-support-Len-Brown

    It appears that the majority of councillors support the lying crook. I wonder why. Are the majority left wing hypocrites or are the hoping to get appointed to a committee with extra money and perks? I suppose it could be a bit of both. I hope any voters how voted for one these councillors who still support Len let them know what you think of Len and their support for him.

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  18. Johnboy (16,059 comments) says:

    If she delivered my barbed wire in person she may do jaba! :)

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  19. Sofia (855 comments) says:

    Support for Pants Down Brown –

    nz.news.yahoo.com
    Do you trust Auckland Mayor Len Brown?
    • No, he is dodgy (4529) 75%
    • Yes, I still trust him (1111) 19%
    • I am not sure (341) 6%

    nzherald –
    Should Len Brown remain mayor of Auckland?
    Yes 29%
    No 71%

    stuff.co
    Should Auckland mayor Len Brown quit?
    Yes 1045 votes, 72.4%
    No 399 votes, 27.6%
    total 1444 votes

    as of a few minutes ago :-)

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  20. Reid (16,290 comments) says:

    Brown is a lame duck and has no chance of getting re-elected. He is just going to take the salary for the next three years.

    He won’t be allowed to. Now that Fran has come over to the same side some of us have been on since it started, we will see a growing section of influential journalists standing against this little man.

    Did you notice his reaction to Campbell’s suggestion last night that had people known what they now know they wouldn’t have elected him? Pause… “Let’s get back to the report…” says the little man, as he resumed his carefully rehearsed talking points. Campbell of course didn’t press him.

    But when a real journalist asks him those questions, as they will, they won’t let him prevaricate and dissemble. Unlike Campbell.

    “The whole affair has been a circus distraction in a city that desperately needs strong and focused leadership. ”

    Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/Browns-affair-a-circus-distraction/tabid/817/articleID/325099/Default.aspx#ixzz2nPlzO0z8

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  21. Peter (1,699 comments) says:

    New Zealand least corrupt?

    Tuis.

    Sordid little banana republic with little accountability for the political class.

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  22. Johnboy (16,059 comments) says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUTXb-ga1fo

    Song for Len!!!! :)

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  23. rouppe (967 comments) says:

    It is astonishing that John Banks is in court over his financial irregularities – as he should be – but Len Brown is to face no consequences for financial irregularities of a very similar amount.

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  24. dirtbag (22 comments) says:

    Labour mayor Len brown is nothing short of a disgrace!
    His behaviour is a classic example of someone who has found himself in a position way above his station. Seriously, how stupid do you have to be to do the things he’s done and think nobody will find out?
    Asian hotties half your age don’t come free Len, everyone knows that!
    And as for being stupid enough to call and txt her on your work phone, you should resign for that alone you no talent hack!!

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  25. Akaroa (552 comments) says:

    Len Brown brings new meaning to the pejorative term ‘Trougher”.

    On a scale of one to ten, where one is ‘Misunderstood/innocent-mistake-maker”, and ten is “Dyed-in-the-wool-outright-crook”, I reckon he scored a good fifteen!!

    Five years ago – when i lived in the fair city of Wellington, had this happened I’d just be laughing at the poor simple Aucklanders who are stuck with this fine upstanding roque for the next three years.

    But since then I’ve moved to this town and became an Aucklander myself.

    And I am now pretty disgusted with this so-called ‘Civic Leader!!” for what he’s doing to this City’s morally bankrupt reputation by his womanising and his troughing..

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  26. Johnboy (16,059 comments) says:

    “It is astonishing that John Banks is in court over his financial irregularities – as he should be – but Len Brown is to face no consequences for financial irregularities of a very similar amount.”

    Rodney Hide set the SuperCity rules up……D’ye think he knew something??? :)

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  27. Johnboy (16,059 comments) says:

    I always thought you were a fuckwit Akaroa. Your confession above re: moving north confirms it!! :)

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  28. Akaroa (552 comments) says:

    (See mine at 5.07)

    That’s ‘rogue’ by the way, not roque!

    (Don’t know where that came from!!)

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  29. Manolo (13,571 comments) says:

    The word dignity does not appear in Brown’s dictionary.
    The mayor is corrupt to his core. Nothing will ever change him.

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  30. Akaroa (552 comments) says:

    Hi Johnboy at 5.16.

    Yeah, you got me there Johnboy!

    Just don’t start me on Auckland v Wellington – for me as a thirty-plus year resident of Welly-burg, there’s no contest!.

    Give me Island, Bay, Miramar, Brooklyn, Lambton Quay, Newtown, Wadestown, J-ville and Melrose any day!!

    The best thing about Auckland is SH 1, Southbound!!

    (Hmmm! This is getting a bit off topic! Meanwhile, lets get back to Mayor Len!!)

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  31. Johnboy (16,059 comments) says:

    You poor bastard Akaroa. Everybody makes one serious mistake in their life. Moving to Jafa was your’s.

    Blame it on the wife, I always do! :)

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  32. Warren Murray (307 comments) says:

    Either EY didn’t look hard enough, or the Terms of Reference were too limited. If the latter, then Council should commence a new enquiry.

    Ive always thought Len a bit dodgy since his misuse of the Mayoral credit card, and this latest report shows despite his public apologies, he hasn’t changed. He’s a crook who shouldn’t be allowed any responsibility. Hugely disappointing that any of the councillors still back him, i guess it says more about their moral compass being such that they too should be barred from public office.

    Well done Quax

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  33. SPC (5,595 comments) says:

    Then problem with involving the AG is that so little of this is about use of ratepayer money.

    Quax seems to forget that the Mayor spent his own money on the hotel rooms. And hotels do offer regular guests free upgrades and even (less regularly) free rooms – their form of loyalty bonus.

    As for the polls, the PM has already said the only ones that count are in 2011 and 2014.

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  34. SPC (5,595 comments) says:

    And as we can appreciate, Banks staying in parliament secures the 2011 victory in place.

    So if Banks is staying until the next election (and in his case fraudulently accepting donations is a criminal court matter or more import than non declaration of loyalty gifts regularly given by hotels to VIP’s), those expecting Brown to resign or be pushed should be asking the PM why Banks is still in parliament – when Worth resigned his place for less. A lower standard for and from ACT MP’s?

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  35. Paul Marsden (995 comments) says:

    Good God, Browns demure just makes him become more hated by the day. It is astonishing that he can subject his wife and family to this level of public ridicule. What do the friends of his wife and daughter think I wonder and how have their friendships with others, been affected? Brown would be a good subject for a thesis by a psychology student, in narcissistic behavior.

    Great article by Fran.

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  36. Harriet (4,848 comments) says:

    “He is just going to take the salary for the next three years.”

    That’s all he did for the last three – as he only had is mind on one thing – asian pussy.

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  37. SPC (5,595 comments) says:

    Paul people put up with more shit at work than this for far less pay.

    And they would have far less invested in their job being their means to public service.

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  38. bringbackdemocracy (425 comments) says:

    It looks like the Auditor General may not be getting a Christmas break.

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  39. KevinH (1,217 comments) says:

    I watched the Campbell Live interview and arrived at the conclusion that Mayor Len Brown has no intention of stepping down and is fully committed to his vision of completing Auckland’s transport developments.
    Mayor Brown acknowledged his mistake with the affair and claimed that he was not perfect.
    Throughout the interview Mayor Brown claimed no conflict of interest had occurred with Sky City and that no misuse of ratepayers funds had occurred.
    Contrary to Fran O’Sullivan’s and DPF’s view, John Campbell handled the interview professionally and did not use the opportunity to turn it into a witch hunt. Fair questions were asked and answered.
    However despite that Mayor Brown has not fully exonerated himself in the eye’s of the electorate as indicated in the online polls which unanimously want him to resign. ( refer Sofia’s post above).
    There is no question Len Brown has compromised himself and brought disrepute on the office of Mayor through his actions. It would be fair and reasonable to expect Len Brown to step down and seek a fresh mandate from the electorate, it is in Auckland’s interest moving forward that the city has confidence in it’s mayor.

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  40. Warren Murray (307 comments) says:

    SPC, Many others may disagree with you, but i think you make a fair point re Banks – what is it about auckland mayors?

    But the difference between Banks and Brown, Brown has admitted the affair, Banks can’t remember his dalliances with Kim Dot. The other difference is that unlike Brown, if Banks loses in May, he cant wait out until the next election.

    Despite these major differences, they are both embarrassing public figures and I’d like both to go now.

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  41. Chuck Bird (4,847 comments) says:

    Len Brown is a lying sociopath who does not care about his wife or children let alone Auckland. If he did he would resign.

    I note the Herald has no editorial calling for his resignation. Fran O’Sullivan has written a good article yesterday but the comments are not up yet. Compare this with when a National MP let alone an ACT MP does anything wrong. There are daily anonymous editorials plus many reporters calling for sacking or resignation.

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  42. Chuck Bird (4,847 comments) says:

    @Warren Murray
    “But the difference between Banks and Brown, Brown has admitted the affair, Banks can’t remember his dalliances with Kim Dot.”

    Below is a quote from Sunday’s Herald.

    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”.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11172728

    The man is clearly a liar.

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  43. Hugh Pavletich (192 comments) says:

    The leadership sets the ethical standards of an organisation.

    One wonders what else is going on that we don’t yet know about … both within the Auckland Council and others.

    Councils have enormous and in my view unnecessary discretionary powers.

    Clearly … there are massive problems to sort out within New Zealand’s local government sector.

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  44. big bruv (13,718 comments) says:

    “Just don’t start me on Auckland v Wellington – for me as a thirty-plus year resident of Welly-burg, there’s no contest!.

    Give me Island, Bay, Miramar, Brooklyn, Lambton Quay, Newtown, Wadestown, J-ville and Melrose any day!!”

    You’re kidding right?

    I am born and bred Wellington, it will always be my home town but the fact is that the place is a cold, windy dump that ceases to have a reason for being if you remove parliament.

    Give me Auckland any time.

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  45. Akaroa (552 comments) says:

    Hi Big Bruv!

    Don’t know if you’ll even see this – the thread is pretty old now.

    But in response to yours at 8.44 on the 15th, I can only remind you of that saying dear to all Wellingtonians past and present:

    “You Can’t Beat Wellington on a Good Day!”

    (And i don’t mean at the rugby!!)

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