Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Everybody's Machiavelli

408 Responses

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  • Dylan Reeve, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Hmmm. Brown provided a favourable job reference for Chuang when she applied for a job at Auckland Art Gallery.

    The details in that aren't very salacious though. Art gallery contacted mayor's office and got reference from them - not specifically the mayor himself? Presumably it can't have been too unreasonable a situation for it not to raise issues within the office?

    I assume Chuang and Brown had a legitimate working relationship if they were able to avoid suspicion at the time. So a reference wouldn't necessarily be out of place.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    A reference is a reference and no big deal. She may well have had the skills for the job. Writing a reference for the likes of Slater, however, would involve selling your soul.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2539 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle MacDonald,

    Stating the obvious:
    Isn't pastoral care of your sources one of the cornerstones of good ethical journalism?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Steven Peters, in reply to Russell Brown,

    “The political centre-right in Auckland does seem to throw up these ambitious, self-mythologising types, men who will scheme and dish (often on each other) and even tell you about it as if it is a point of pride. To be the author of a plot like the one Wewege apparently attempted is merely proof of a necessary facility in the dark arts. It’s like a village where everyone’s Machiavelli”.

    I took my cue from your blog Russell, and the posts immediately following but which aimed further to the right, which you did not correct.

    I think Len is entitled to be enamoured with a mistress and practice its attendant arts, but in his private time and private places, and not in places that have social dignity attached to them. They don’t belong to him to use as he pleases, nor should he do so on ratepayer time. As I am sure he is aware himself, being Mayor of AK is 24/7 – there is no ‘personal’ time – unless you make YOUR OWN PRIVATE PLACE and time available for it. If he acknowledges that this is his where transgression lies, all would be forgiven, at least from this fallen soul.

    CHCH • Since Oct 2012 • 96 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    The details in that aren’t very salacious though. Art gallery contacted mayor’s office and got reference from them – not specifically the mayor himself? Presumably it can’t have been too unreasonable a situation for it not to raise issues within the office?

    Good grief... I hope it would be standard operating procedure in local government to check references thoroughly, for rather obvious reasons. *cough* Maori Television, John Davy *cough* But here we go again with a lot of sizzling sin-nuendo, and no steak to be seen.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Brown provided a favourable job reference for Chuang when she applied for a job at Auckland Art Gallery.

    Oh, oh, oh. Nepotism. Putting in a good word for his lady friend. Clearly she was only qualified because she was scruffing the mayor, of course.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Shaun Lott,

    Brown doesn’t look bad just silly: another middle-aged man who should have bought a red MG.

    When the tabloid circus is done, isn't this the actual issue? Is there evidence of personal favour, conflict of interest etc. in his professional dealings with someone over whom he was clearly able to exert influence? Concrete evidence of such would make this cross the line from personal disaster to professional one.

    The whole spectacle has been so deeply unedifying in both its execution and reporting on all sides. The Herald's problem is that it seems to want to simultaneously be the News of the World and the Daily Telegraph...

    Waitakere • Since Aug 2009 • 111 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    But here’s one irrefutable reality: New Zealand’s largest media market is directly served by ONE daily newspaper that is influential with people who couldn’t find Cameron Slater’s blog with a flashlight and a full hazmat team.

    Soimething for the ComCom to investigate, when it gets round to it.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5419 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart,

    Of course, if Brown were the mayor of Osaka or Hangzhou, this would be a non-event, but the geisha girl call is not just cheesy, it's symbolic of the depth of NZ multiculturalism.

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    RNZ 1pm news: Len Brown has confirmed he was a referee for a council job for the woman he had an extra-marital affair with ... his diary manager, at his request, responded by email to say he highly recommended her.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    I just want to know if he was wearing his mayoral cape and hat.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler,

    Without knowing too much, would it have looked weird if he didn't agree to be her referee? If I had worked with a Mayor on anything I'd expect to get mileage from it in job applications.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Bevan Chuang in Both Worlds S1Ep1 on multicultural New Zealanders screened by TV3 and where last night's news had her burlesque performance. Thinking and now knowing this gave me different reactions to some upthread and am posting as may give a fuller perspective on her personality and actions.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Shaun Lott,

    The Herald’s problem is that it seems to want to simultaneously be the News of the World and the Daily Telegraph…

    And to add insult to injury, it just makes the Daily Mail (whose bizarre hit job on Ed Miliband's dead father raised a cross-party cry of "Eww, WTF?") look like a class act.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Tim Michie,

    I'm so going to get accused of concern trolling for writing this...

    ...but one thing that's troubling me about the coverage of this is all this minute examination of Bevan Chuang's character. We aren't Len Brown or Cameron Slater subject to the same level of armchair pseudo-psychoanalysis. Russell's mention of Weibo had me curious, and Sky Kiwi had a link. Here she is, with one single post on the issue, half of which looks like a near-identical statement to the Facebook quotations already reported (except in Chinese and while she calls out the Palino team she makes no mention of Slater), but which starts by thanking her family and friends for their support and says:

    我不打算在不久的将来作出任何公开声明,对最近发生的事深表遗憾。

    "I don't plan to make any public statement in the near future, I deeply regret recent events."

    But maybe that was included in the Facebook statement quoted...

    Anyways, perhaps everybody should just take the hint and leave her alone? Especially if the other players in this little sage aren't going to be subjected to the same close inspection?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • @LostInPoker,

    Ok I think I get it now
    Chuang outed Brown over the affair because she didnt think he should be Mayor,but voted for him anyway.
    There was no right wing pressure to do so ,except ,Luigi Wewege, half the the Palino support crew and NZs most famous/infomous, right wing blogger (his father & Palino being the only ones in the dark it seems ! )
    @Whaleoil only released it as public service because Brown should be held to a higher moral standard than either you,me or Slater himself. But Banks gets a pass because ,well Im not sure why(Cam email me pls)
    And finally Brown clearly faced up to his total screw up (no pun intended) even though there was no proof & he could have played the "prove it" game. Where as Luigi Wewege, is denying ever having had a relaionship with her dispite loads of recorded txts and so on.But of course he is entitled to his private life as he isnt running for office himself.
    Yep all clear now.
    So all that Im really concerned about is if Brown used his position as Mayor to have any person he had a relationship with employed in a business associated with Auckland City ie Chuang now that bothers me ,if it is so.
    And of course if we believe that Chuang is clearly regretting going public just why did she then make a further statement on Slaters blog saying the exact opposite ? and if she didnt make that satement who did and to whom and how did Slater come to hear or recieve the so called statement ? (Cam email me pls )
    That is all :)

    Auckland • Since Oct 2013 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • @LostInPoker, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    agreed but in light of events I think we are forced to dig just a little deeper here.god forbid the last word on it be left to Slater.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2013 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    I just want to know if he was wearing his mayoral cape and hat.

    and nothing else of course . Good question but would that make it even more morally reprehensible or just more interesting.
    The ever prolific The Civilian took that question right out to the edge

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Brown,

    This is the very thing Snapchat was invented for.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2013 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Steven Peters, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    "I assume Chuang and Brown had a legitimate working relationship if they were able to avoid suspicion at the time. So a reference wouldn’t necessarily be out of place".

    I do not agree they had a 'legitimate' working relationship - a married mayor in a sexual relationship with an employee is not a legitimate relationship, working or otherwise. Therefore giving the reference was not legitmate.


    "If I had worked with a Mayor on anything I’d expect to get mileage from it in job applications". Yes but while job sharing on the Mayoral libido?

    "Brown doesn’t look bad just silly: another middle-aged man who should have bought a red MG"

    That is exactly the point, he didnt buy an MG to get his jollies- he used public property (and mana) for his personal predilections of a salacious, and arguably nefarious, nature, as if he owned them. He doesn't.

    CHCH • Since Oct 2012 • 96 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Well, talk about unappetising and unnecessary...

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I do not agree they had a ‘legitimate’ working relationship – a married mayor in a sexual relationship with an employee is not a legitimate relationship, working or otherwise. Therefore giving the reference was not legitmate.

    The married man issue is irrelevant, firstly. Secondly, clearly you can have a sexual relationship with people who you share a workplace with, and clearly you can provide a reference for them. This stuff is just weasly attempts to bring private morality into the public sphere.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Steven Peters,

    As I am sure he is aware himself, being Mayor of AK is 24/7 – there is no ‘personal’ time – unless you make YOUR OWN PRIVATE PLACE and time available for it. If he acknowledges that this is his where transgression lies, all would be forgiven, at least from this fallen soul.

    I think he's made it pretty clear he regrets that. But we should be clear that most of this does seem to have occurred in private places.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Rik,

    Are we shooting the messenger her and possibly losing sight of the content of the message?

    Sure there has been manipulation and coercion - doesn't change the fact of what went on for two years.

    I for one was a little surprised to hear what Auckland's mayor got up to under his desk, on his desk, in nearby offices, in hotels, all while running the super city. Maybe it's just a part-time job running the city - or maybe Doug McKay runs the place, leaving Len with too much spare time on his hands.

    Rather than worrying about how the message got out, are there not more important questions to be asked here, such as does Len command the respect of his fellow council in a way that would be required to perform his duties?

    Since Jun 2007 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    I don’t see anybody coming out looking better than they did at the start.
    Saying the Right or the Left are worse is laughable as both sides are spinning like demented tops

    Which is what you accused me of on Twitter when I noted Cook’s horrible record with sources. I think that concern has been amply borne out.

    Len Brown’s wife by saying nothing, had my sympathy and now my respect

    And his daughters, who spoke up for him, don’t?

    I am interested in what the women of the Left feel about the “demonising” of the other woman involved,
    We have had her past dragged up and quite nasty spin on her motives

    Can we be clear here that this was two adults in a wholly consensual relationship? One of whom chose, for whatever reason, to publicly depict that relationship in the most humiliating terms possible?

    How was it anything but inevitable that her past actions would come into when the story kicked off the way it did?

    And as for her “handlers’ ghastly

    Quite.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

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