Duncan Garner: Resign and stand again Len Brown

18/10/2013

By Duncan Garner

Can Len Brown really continue to be the Mayor of Auckland?

I think it’s looking increasingly difficult. A mayor that can’t talk to media and can’t show up to pre-planned public events is a lame duck.

Right now Len Brown is a lame duck. He failed to show last night for a gala dinner in his own town with the Prime Minister. It should be a huge moment for the newly-elected Mayor – but it wasn’t. He couldn’t show his face. How long can this last?

The story is shabby for so many reasons. These are my questions:

- Is it acceptable for the Mayor to have sex on council property?

- Is it acceptable for him to masturbate on council property?

- Did he get free hotel rooms around the city so he could conduct this affair?

- Did SkyCity give him free hotel rooms?

- Does that compromise him given they are putting in more pokies and want his support for the International Convention Centre deal? Which he supports.

- Who sent Bevan Chuang threatening texts from within Len Brown’s campaign team?

- Did Brown know?

- Did Brown act according to the Council’s Code of Conduct?

No.

Most importantly and less moralistically, however, Brown acted as a referee for Bevan Chuang – while he was having an affair with her – so she could get a job at the Council-owned and run gallery. That’s wrong. They teamed up to get her a job. He used his considerable influence. Does that worry you?

Ministers have been sacked for similar or less. I’ve seen it and reported on it. Why is Brown a special case?

He says keep his family out of it – yet his daughters pen a plea-letter to the NZ Herald. You can’t have it both ways, Len. You are a public figure requesting privacy on your terms then roll out your family. That’s shameful.

Len Brown has not only let his family down, but he has let down the council, other employees and most of all voters who trusted him and his judgement.

People say Brown is being beaten up over this and we should go easy. That’s crap. He’s done one interview. He has got off lightly.

In my time at Parliament – whether it’s right or wrong – the MP or Minister at the heart of a scandal got dealt to for days. Brown has been treated with kid-gloves. He doesn’t know how lucky he is.

A lot of people say it’s grubby because Cameron Slater and John Palino are involved. Everyone knows Slater’s background – that’s no surprise.

I reckon Palino knew all along about this, along with his mate Luigi Wewege. They are not much better. They have acted poorly too – they are a disgrace.

For these reasons, Auckland voters deserve a new election, no matter what the cost. A one day turn out at the polls.

The weird thing is I have been open and publicly supportive of Len Brown. In almost 20 years of covering elections I never came close to voting for any politician.

Len Brown almost changed that – if I had voted, I would have voted Brown – twice if I could have. I say this because, as an Aucklander, the place needs major help and an overhaul. It needs houses and transport solutions, and I back Brown’s plan to get us those.

For decades we had useless pricks pretending to be the Mayor that cared – but Brown’s plan impressed me. And he got the Government’s ear - that’s crucial.

Yes, it’s expensive, but infrastructure costs. So I say Brown should resign and stand again; let’s see who people support then.

This is a grubby, sordid affair – that has brought him and the council into disrepute. I reckon people deserve the chance to have their say.

It would be a referendum on Brown, but so be it.

If you back him again – he can then get on with it.

If you don’t – he pays the price.

source: data archive