Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: We need to talk about Len

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  • Craig Young,

    It's interesting to compare this to Canada's equivalent Toronto imbroglio with its own scandal-ridden, embattled Mayor, Rob Ford (although he's aligned to Canada's Conservative Party)...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_Ford

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 564 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    The little respect I had for our Mayor has gone... I expect these sort of sense of entitlement and bullshit excuse makings from a tory not someone of/from the left

    Worst part of the whole thing is he's still the best candidate (imo) who ran for mayor and that in itself suggests there is something seriously adrift with our local politics and politicians - Auckland sometimes seems so lost

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 537 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I've stayed in the Quadrant's suite as well - if a hotel sees you staying there often, and/or on a corp rate, they'll upgrade you to try and get you to come back. I also get extra stamps on my coffee card at several places around town - are they a benefit in kind?

    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?

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

  • Chris Waugh,

    I don't get the comparisons to Rob Ford. Rob Ford has been accused of drunk driving and smoking crack, both of which are crimes. Has Len Brown been accused of anything illegal? Free rooms and upgrades at Sky City looks dodgy, but has there been even the hint of an allegation that they were dodgy to the point of breaking any law?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    it would seem a fairly grievous breach of the privacy of the donors to just ignore the law and out them.

    It's not really ignoring the law. It's not like it bans publication.

    Did you think the disclosure of the names of some of those who donated to Brash's National Party through the Waitemata Trust via Nicky Hager was a "fairly grievous breach of ... privacy"?

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

  • George Darroch,

    The most important thing for me (as a member of an organisation trying to stop a council body from sending a motorway though heart of my community) is knowing where this leaves us politically.

    Brown is in principle a supporter of a range of issues, and that support has often been strong in public. When actual decisions have been made there has been significant divergence. Some call this 'consensual decision making'.

    It is clear that public trust in Brown has diminished, and he will need to work to regain it. Does Brown have the energy or inclination to do so?

    It's unclear to me whether this forces Brown to take stronger concrete positions on these issues in order to reduced perceived and now highlighted divergence, or instead weakens his political hand and empowers his opponents on these issues.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    You have covered this an even handed way Russell

    Yes, the $32,888.50 is a beat up, plainly ridiculous though as you say how often do the rest of us peasants get up-grades

    But this man is a repeat offender when it comes to not being honest to his supporters

    If he is the best you Aucklanders have (at the moment) then that just reminds the rest of us what is wrong with this country

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 576 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Brown won’t resign and the only way he could be made to is if he was convicted of a criminal office, which has not even been alleged.

    If the Council was to adopt a resolution supporting a local bill,* that sacked him, that might work.

    (*a local bill is a proposed law dealing with a local government matter that is proposed by a local authority; it is rather like a members bill, but doesn't need to go in the ballot)

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

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Did you think the disclosure of the names of some of those who donated to Brash’s National Party through the Waitemata Trust via Nicky Hager was a “fairly grievous breach of … privacy”?

    If it could be demonstrated that there was a public interest to the level shown in The Hollow Men, I’d have no problem. The Hollow Men breached the privacy of many of those it depicted. But that’s not the same thing as expecting the National Party to simply release the names of all the people who, in good faith, made legitimate anonymous donations to its campaign.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Russell Brown,

    legitimate anonymous donations

    You lost me about there. These people gave sufficiently large donations that Parliament has legislated that they should be disclosed. They got around that by manipulating their affairs. They deliberately laundered their donations to evade the law. And that is the very opposite of "good faith".

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Auckland is facing both opportnities and challenges in the next few years, and – in three years from a standing start – Brown and his council have constructed plans to address both. The city is growing and changing in positive ways. But Brown has deeply harmed his own ability to continue to credibly fill that role. Can anybody look at him now and be confident there’s no more to come?

    Not if the unelected and ultimately unaccountable New Zealand Herald has anything to do with it. OK, I know I take a much dimmer view of the media’s role in this than a lot of people, but Jesus… I really wouldn’t mind that rag (and its more sanctimonious columnists) getting served a reality check that they don’t get to appoint Auckland’s mayor. And they sure as shit don’t get to convict anyone of a crime through trial by media.

    Oh, and remember when the Herald was running hot and heavy with claims that Mayor Love Rat got his mistress a job at the Auckland City Art Gallery? Funny how the sections of the report that found zero evidence of any such thing weren’t given equal prominence. Those were incredibly serious allegations, but I guess that's The Herald's m.o. nowadays -- when you've flung shit at people, unfairly, who cares about setting the record straight unless a laywer is making you do it?

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

  • James Dunne, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I love this idea so much I want Parliament to pass an Act of Attainder against everyone opposed to it.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2013 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Meanwhile, in other news, how about that one time Auckland Council candidate who was convicted of actual electoral fraud this past week? That actually concerns me a lot more than sniffing the Mayor's gruts for spunk stains, but carry on Herald...

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

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Orsman's story this morning slamming Brown because he isn't personally paying for the review is quite a stretch. He was never at any point asked to.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    It’s going to be an interesting three years.

    Indeed. Who the Mayor slept with, and in what rooms, and how many text messages he sent, are things about the governance of Auckland that don't even make my personal radar.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Orsman’s story this morning slamming Brown because he isn’t personally paying for the review is quite a stretch. He was never at any point asked to.

    "Quite a stretch" is extremely generous, Russell, and sincere ups to you for managing it. I don't know if Orsman's lost his news sense entirely, or he's just being a good soldier and following the editorial line, but that was non-news. And after his *cough* rather slanted pseudo-reportage on the Unitary Plan, perhaps its time for the Herald to just stop pretending he's an actual journalist any more and restrict his by-line to the 'opinon' page.

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

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    The take away for me from that vote harvesting conviction (believe that is the technical term) is that we should be very careful about internet voting. If people *can* sell or give away their votes, it's inevitable that some will, and some will be corrupt enough to buy them.

    Align council elections to general ones and have a ballot box vote every three years - that's my solution to internet voting.

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

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to James Dunne,

    I love this idea so much I want Parliament to pass an Act of Attainder against everyone opposed to it.

    If this was the real James Dunne, it would have been spelled Acte.

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

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to BenWilson,

    I know what you mean, I just want someone to mow the berms.

    Peter Jackson and James Cameron will be able to use the Kikuyu in Ash Street as a set for Day of the Triffids soon.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    I'm not particularly impressed with Mayor Brown's conduct through all this, although I think the question of what happens from her boils down to "Can he still work effectively with the rest of the council?" At this stage, I've seen little evidence that that relationship is threatened. That may change in the future, but I guess most councilors are just happy to get to this point without finding any evidence of actual fraud.

    I do think NZ's tolerance for this kind of "freebies for VIPs" culture has to go. This isn't a new thing (Winston's scampi meals, anyone?) but as the amounts of money in NZ politics increases, we should be taking steps to avoid even the appearance of impropriety on the part of our elected officials.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Connelly,

    Russell, I thought this a good article on the LB story, one of the best. You point out that the numbers given are so unrealistic - I cannot work out why anyone takes them seriously. I too have had room upgrades, but have never thought of them as a gift. Some restaurants give little freebies during a meal - is that a gift. I would say not. While I think LB has acted in a less than desirable way on a number of matters, I don't think letting someone upgrade you is worth bothering about frankly.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2012 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Darlington,

    Did you think the disclosure of the names of some of those who donated to Brash's National Party through the Waitemata Trust via Nicky Hager was a "fairly grievous breach of ... privacy"?

    Nope - and if a Herald journo got hold of the details they'd quite likely publish them. On the other hand, do you think Hager would have got very far claiming that Don Brash had some kind of moral obligation to release the identities of those Waitemata Trust donors? His book would have been a lot thinner if he'd gone down that route...

    Since Nov 2006 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart,

    Much of Lenny's defense seems to be based on his ignorance of process. This is the mayor of a reasonably sized city. Does he not have a PA or staff who can manage business expenses, receipts for him? Secondly, why does the mayor not have a ratepayer-funded apartment near the office if the travel home is too taxing for him? It could hardly be a cost-related issue.

    Corporate and public spending on perks and entitlement is most definitely out of hand. 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.

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart,

    Can Lenny reinvent himself as Jose Mujica? I very much doubt the mayor of Whangarei could do that.

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    Peter Jackson and James Cameron will be able to use the Kikuyu in Ash Street as a set for Day of the Triffids soon.

    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.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

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