Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: We need to talk about Len

205 Responses

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  • BenWilson, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    The CEO of Panasonic had limited himself to USD100 max for hotels on his frequent visits to Tokyo and he made a point out of staying in reasonably priced hotels on overseas trips. That is leadership during tough economic times.

    He does get paid millions per annum, so it would probably be a bit rich if he was porking into expenses too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart, in reply to BenWilson,

    ReportReply

    Actually the gap between CEO remuneration and average salaries is far lower in Japan than in Western countries. The CEO of Panasonic does not earn millions and only 300 CEOs earned in excess of USD1,000,000 in 2009. Those earning more than 1 million are publically known as their salaries are disclosed under securities regulations.

    But the point is astray. If the CEO of Panasonic can pull his horns in, why should it be any different for the mayor of Auckland, MPs, etc?

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    But the point is astray. If the CEO of Panasonic can pull his horns in, why should it be any different for the mayor of Auckland, MPs, etc?

    It shouldn't, but it certainly is easier to "pull your horns in" when your monthly salary is more than all of the money Len is accused of "stealing" even with the bullshit accounting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • tony j ricketts, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Maybe we should move away from elected mayors and have them indirectly elected by council. That way, if councillors are unhappy with the mayor, they can choose another one. We don't have a directly elected PM, so why directly elect mayors?

    this is such a good idea on so many fronts that M Thatcher did away with it in the big British cities. How do we promote it?

    wellington • Since Aug 2012 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    What makes the Panasonic case surprising is there’s not many “hotels” per se for under USD100 [=currently JPY10,000] in central Tokyo. There are budget chains as cheap as JPY6000/night, but not in central locations, and breakfast would not be included, and the tariff tends to include “per hour” rates, i.e. it’s not somewhere a respectable businessman should be spending the night. Unless you really want practical demonstrations of how well your company’s batteries work.
    Any lower than that, and, either it’s a capsule outfit, or you’re in hostel territory.
    (Backpackers start from JPY2000/night for a shared room.)

    But if your brief is to turn the company around to be profitable, by unsympathetically shearing off unprofitable product lines, stores -- and, in consequence, downsizing the staff -- you really can't be seen to be living it up at the company's expense. (ETA for Craig: it's not intended to be a comfort, so much as to avoid bloody revolution if he hadn't done this!)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1887 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    The CEO of Panasonic had limited himself to USD100 max for hotels on his frequent visits to Tokyo and he made a point out of staying in reasonably priced hotels on overseas trips. That is leadership during tough economic times.

    Ah yes, I’m sure that’s a great comfort to the 46,000 Panasonic employees who’ve been laid off over the last two years.

    Maybe we should move away from elected mayors and have them indirectly elected by council. That way, if councillors are unhappy with the mayor, they can choose another one.

    Oh, great. I'm not sure you're drawing a very good analogy with central government there.

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

  • tony j ricketts,

    … and having now read to the end of the response, (though not double-checking) does it not seem odd that so few women respond to this issue?

    wellington • Since Aug 2012 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to BenWilson,

    There’s a Capture thread for the “Berms of Auckland”. I’ve got some beauties out my way. Waist deep thistles and prickles, hemlock and rye. The hedgehogs must be loving it.

    Related, a local real estate agent hired a contractor for a day, who took his ride-on lawn mower up and down our road, cutting the recalcitrant berms.

    Bad for property values, don't you know. :-/

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2448 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    But the point is astray. If the CEO of Panasonic can pull his horns in, why should it be any different for the mayor of Auckland, MPs, etc?

    Did you miss the part where the mayor of Auckland was staying in free accommodation?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Come on then. Explain why it's a good idea to have an elected leader for councils when our central government (and almost all others apart from the US) doesn't.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to tony j ricketts,

    does it not seem odd that so few women respond to this issue?

    Why?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Come on then. Explain why it’s a good idea to have an elected leader for councils when our central government (and almost all others apart from the US) doesn’t.

    20 councilors voting for a leader with all their factions etc as opposed to large political parties voting for theirs.

    Local govt party structure seems a lot different and looser than govt parties structures.

    Aucklanders can vote for one or two councilors and who the hell knows who the other 18 are. Seems the lines of democratic choice would get thinned.

    Local govt can get itself buried in the marshlands of process and procedure - ever been to a council meeting? - maybe an elected mayor with power can get things moving better than one at the wim of internal council politics.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Come on then. Explain why it’s a good idea to have an elected leader for councils when our central government (and almost all others apart from the US) doesn’t.

    I’m still to hear why it’s a bad idea, beyond Cameron Slater, the editorial board of the NZ Herald and various councillors hating the incumbent Mayor of Auckland. Which they're perfectly entitled to do, but I don't think that's much of an argument for a non-trivial alteration in the nature of local government.

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

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Why elected mayors are a bad idea:
    Michael Lhaws
    Bob Parker
    John Banks
    Tony Kokshoorn
    Kerry Prenderghast

    Idiots with big egos who can convince the media and thence the voters that they're the person to go for to "get things moving", "bring Dregsville into the 20th century", "stick up for the little guy" and similar platitudes.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Why elected mayors are a bad idea:
    Michael Lhaws
    Bob Parker
    John Banks
    Tony Kokshoorn
    Kerry Prenderghast

    Yeah ... nah. Not enough to change the whole system , you could roll out a list of dodgy PMs just as long. The top job will always attract big egos.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • martinb,

    Do the opponents of Len Brown have to declare the generous gift he has given them of incalculable political value?

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Richard Aston,

    Many of the less successful PMs (since MMP) have been rolled by their party - some didn't last a full term, or didn't win post rolling the incumbent: Palmer, Moore, Bolger and Shipley, in swift succession.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Palmer, Moore, Bolger and Shipley,

    All but Shipley pre-MMP. Well, Bolger first became PM under FPP and then oversaw the introduction of MMP in '96, but then again he became PM in 1990. Serving 7 years doesn't seem especially less successful.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I guess I have a general problem with any anonymous political donations. People can make perfectly honest political donations, but equally they can expect a quid pro quo. If you're genuine you have nothing to hide, if you're not we ought to know. It seems to me that anonymous donations are relic of a corrupt past, the excuse that it's to hard to do the paper work is old, just doing everything online gives you an instant paper trail ready to export for public notification.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2606 posts Report Reply

  • Susan Snowdon,

    does it not seem odd that so few women respond to this issue?

    I can't answer this, but I can speak for myself. Len Brown cheated on his wife. I think that's reprehensible, but no-one's business but his and his family.

    Regarding his position as mayor, he seems to have got some good deals on accommodation, and he sometimes (rarely) used his phone and car for other than council business. But get some perspective here - as Russell has pointed out, in the scale of things these are trivial beyond words. 'Less than scrupulous' is probably the harshest thing I could say.

    There seems to be an unhealthy and unpleasant conflating of his 'affair' with his performance as mayor. Moral turpitude? Are we back in the 1950s??? A lot of people doing this quite obviously have their own agendas, usually political. Christine Fletcher, Cameron Brewer, I'm looking at you. His wife might not trust him too much these days, but what right have other people to take this so seriously? It's none of our business, and I'm ashamed of myself for the vicarious interest I've taken in some of the sordid details. We might choose to think poorly of his personal morals but does that affect his work? Do you change your mechanic or accountant or hairdresser because they had an affair? Of course not. You're allowed to drop your friends if they don't live up to your personal/moral standards, but Len is not your friend, or spouse. He's doing a job, the job of mayor, and in Auckland over the last decades we've had some stinkers. The Super City has been an enormous ask, and I hate to think what sort of shambles it would be in the future if we had one of the old has-beens or egocentric wannabes in charge.

    That's my ten cents worth.

    Since Mar 2008 • 110 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I think we might be in charge of keeping the penises moral, or something.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Len Brown has been doing a good job as Mayor. However he had already been caught out over Manukau council expenses only a few years ago at the urging of the same right-wing critics, so what sort of fool goes and behaves like this again? And why weren't his senior staff keeping a close eye on him?

    Conflicts of interest are about perception as much as degree, so the amounts involved aren't that relevant. It is dodgy to accept any gifts from SkyCity when you're involved on behalf of the public in decisions about the future of their business.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Danielle,

    good luck with that :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • wendyf,

    Well said, Susan. I don't think much of his personal behaviour either. But the last few years have cheered me up, watching my old student days' city shed the will-we-won't-we return to trolley buses/ open up the harbour front/ celebrate diversity/ disease.

    I've had a niggle in the back of my mind about Sir Dove-Myer Robinson, so tonight I consulted Te Ara - http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/5r19/robinson-dove-myer Sure enough, Robbie was not entirely driven snow. But he Got Things Done.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Interesting post from Sandra Coney on Facebook:

    Good that the councillors are using the opportunity of the mayor's indiscretions to try and forge more workable relationships. The legislation gives the mayor the power to propose policy and budgets to the Governing Body, but in practice it seemed to involve directing policy before it was ever decided by the Governing Body. Several times, in answer to questions I asked, eg why the Unitary Plan could not be "staged", I was told the pressure was coming on staff from the "mayor's office". This was getting the cart before the horse, as the mayor's office should have proposed these policies openly at GB meetings, not by directing staff. The only method of directing the CEO or any staff should be through decisions taken by all councillors at meetings.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

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