The Dim-Post

December 15, 2013

Thinking my way through the whole Len Brown thing

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 4:28 pm

So the first thing I do is put the whole Bevan Chuang, Cameron Slater, Luigi Wewege, John Palino, John Slater sleazefest to one side for a minute. Then get a bit of perspective by asking myself: Danyl? How would you feel if a right-wing politician secretly took $39,000* from a casino company to cheat on his wife while he was lobbying to have the law changed to benefit that casino company and then lied about it to the public?

Well, my reaction to that would be that the hypothetical right-wing politician was a disgusting, corrupt untrustworthy crook and that he’d disgraced his office and should resign. Which means – since I think politicians should be held to the same standard irrespective of their political allegiances - that I think Len Brown is disgusting, corrupt etc and should resign. That was pretty easy!

Update: The amount of free hotel rooms received from Sky City was less than the report’s $39,000 total, and the actual value of the free hotel rooms is a subject for debate. But the substance is the same. Politician took freebies from casino while promoting a law change that would favor them, didn’t disclose it and then lied about it.

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65 Comments »

  1. EXACTLY.

    Comment by Rob Hosking — December 15, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

  2. Maybe John Banks could run again?

    Comment by TerryB — December 15, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

  3. It’s really just the oldest moral argument there is.

    Guy does wrong. Gets found out. Bunch of other people also doing wrong, not getting investigated, so not found out. Doesn’t change the fact the guy did wrong. But it might change how much we care.

    So I agree with you and Rob, Brown should go, but I’d agree a lot more vociferously if I thought there was a hope in hell of an NBR front page lead by Rob Hosking: “We reveal the National/ACT MPs who got free upgrades, and must GO!”.

    Until then, meh.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — December 15, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

  4. How would you feel if a right-wing politician secretly took $39,000 from a casino company to cheat on his wife while he was lobbying to have the law changed to benefit that casino company and then lied about it to the public?

    Not actually what happened, according to the report. Almost all the upgrades were from the Stamford Plaza, Brown’s regular hotel. And valuing hotel room upgrades at rack rates, as the report does, is a bit problematic. The value of a vacant room is pretty low by check-in time — it’s distressed inventory. The marginal cost to the hotel of swapping one vacant room for a better vacant room is basically toiletries. Frequent customers do get upgrades and declaring these at rack rate may really overstate the value of the perk. I rather suspect there are many MPs who haven’t felt obliged to report it when they’ve been given an upgrade at check-in. And who on earth doesn’t call friends, family, spouses, lovers on their work phone?

    But Brown’s regular thing with the Stamford seems organised enough that the public should have known about it. There were the the nine times he got a room gratis, which are more clear-cut. And the whole thing just takes him further away from being the clean-cut do-gooder he’s sold himself as.

    Comment by Russell Brown — December 15, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

  5. what number 1. said

    Comment by grant — December 15, 2013 @ 4:57 pm

  6. Puhrlease Russell that’s weak

    Comment by bart — December 15, 2013 @ 5:02 pm

  7. The mayor knew he was meant to refund personal use of his council phone, chose not to. Unimpressed.

    Comment by Sacha — December 15, 2013 @ 5:02 pm

  8. Sacha. I understand that the use of the phone is for business use but also freely for personal use. It was not an additional cost to council.
    And the $39,000 hotel usage is hypothetical and apparently not a cost to Council.
    And: “…..while he was lobbying to have the law changed to benefit that casino company and then lied about it to the public?” Was he? Did he?

    Comment by xianmac — December 15, 2013 @ 5:37 pm

  9. I don’t think that what he did necessitates resignation. If a right-winger did it, I’d be all for calling on them to resign, but only because there would be a possibility it might work.

    I’d be in favour of some sort of recall provision for major elected offices such as Mayor of Auckland, though, so that a sufficiently outraged public could give him the boot if they really wanted.

    Comment by simian — December 15, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

  10. Personal use of phones is meant to be reimbursed. Same as the chauffeur for the mayoral car. Given Len Brown’s previous strife over spending while Manukau mayor and the ongoing attention of the righties, you’d think he would have paid better attention to the rules.

    Comment by Sacha — December 15, 2013 @ 6:12 pm

  11. The upgrades aren’t really an issue as they’re pretty incidental to frequent hotel use. The question really is whether the hotel was being used by Brown because using his chaffeur was truly too much trouble or that his bed at home wasn’t available for boinking someone other than Mrs Brown. I guess only Len knows knows that one and given his record he’s unlikely to give a credible answer to that.

    Comment by Richard — December 15, 2013 @ 6:30 pm

  12. I agree with Russell et al about the dubious fabrication of the ‘value’ of the hotel upgrades. In my opinion it’s naive of (a) the report writers (b) most of those citing the $39k figure to arrive at a ‘spend fest’ conclusion … as if that was the ‘value’ the mayor received. Also, his ‘spend’ deprived ratepayers of the city of Auckland like myself of nothing (unless I’m missing something?)
    As for reimbursing personal use of his cell phone — Sacha, really? My VodaNZ (personal) plan gives me unlimited texts and calls for a flat monthly rate (even includes answer/message service) … so how would I calculate the cost of ‘personal’ use … if (say) IRD asked me to? Likewise my uncapped home broadband is unlimited for a fixed monthly fee … same Q.
    I’m not disputing Danyl’s (or anyone’s) right to reach a judgement on Brown’s suitability for office based on his (admitted) marital infidelity. That’s how it works. Of course he/you/I/anyone can, if we so wish, set sexual morality or other criteria. But if we do so, we truly (in my opinion) enter into glass house alley at that point. (Not to mention, let he who has no sin …)

    Comment by Peter A — December 15, 2013 @ 6:44 pm

  13. Council has rules for reimbursement of personal phone use. Breaching those and other restrictions on private benefit seems more relevant than who the Mayor was shagging.

    Comment by Sacha — December 15, 2013 @ 8:19 pm

  14. I’m with Danyl on this one. Even if we discount the value of hotel rooms, Brown scored five figures worth of benefits. As for the link to the casino company… well this is exactly the kind of moral corruption thing that anti-casino campaigners worry about.

    Comment by Bill Bennett — December 15, 2013 @ 8:21 pm

  15. I dont give a stuff who he roots. What scares me is a mad policy of spending billions which apparrantly could
    bankrupt Auckland by 2020. Imagine the interest.

    Comment by bosun — December 15, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

  16. Any policy of ‘spending billions’ you’re hearting about is largely being stoked by this government and their construction industry chums. The rest is investment in the future of a large region’s future, which deserves excellent oversight and ongoing engagement.

    Comment by Sacha — December 15, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

  17. until Danyl can be arsed having editable comments, hearing and hearting shall blissfully coexist.

    Comment by Sacha — December 15, 2013 @ 9:19 pm

  18. Peter A. what if Palino was elected mayor and all this came out about him? Doing chicks on council meeting room tables while his wife struggles with cancer, oh yeah and the spending. Would’ve you have been so sanctimonious? Be honest.
    Really some of you journalists are so full of shit.

    Comment by grant — December 15, 2013 @ 9:25 pm

  19. It pretty much as Danyl has said really. Fran O’Sullivan spelt it out in Sat Herald too……..disregard the left/right bullshit and use “right/wrong” or “honest/ dishonest” as your yardstick. No one with a brain( functioning) can come to any conclusion other than he should go !

    Comment by Geoff — December 15, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

  20. @Grant His wife received successful surgery during the first campaign, who told you his wife still had cancer? His spending in Manukau was reimbursed before it was used as political football, he spent his own money on the hotels and his phone would have been allowed for personal use like many companys and would have been on a fixed contract.

    Comment by Jeremy — December 15, 2013 @ 10:10 pm

  21. Even putting aside the valuing of the discounts, were the discounts actually gifts? The hotels weren’t giving them Brown cheap rooms out of the goodness of their hearts, they were doing it because he was a valued customer and they wanted him to come back next time — it was within the context of a commercial relationship. Likewise, when I bought two pairs of jeans and got a third one “free” that wasn’t actually a gift. It was just the clothes store engaging in some clever pricing strategies. This is just a similar case of clever pricing disguised in order to maintain better price discrimination.

    Obviously it was kinda dumb of Brown to take anything full stop from Sky City. And he should probably not stand again, and probably accept some censure. But resignation would be absurd at this point, I think.

    Comment by Keir — December 15, 2013 @ 10:23 pm

  22. Grant: Am I being sanctimonious? I don’t see how.
    I would have perhaps expected a response that accused me of being ‘wanton’ and ‘licentious’.
    ‘full of shit’? Well, I guess that’s a matter of opinion. What is it you do for a living Grant, that you’ve formed such a negative view of we journalists?

    As for your suggested mental exercise — switcheroo with Mr Palino — dunno. Really. I am being honest.

    John Palino seemed like a decent man the only time I met him. (No sign of Luigi Wewege on that occasion, not even lurking.) But his late-night car park meetings and the lacunas in his narrative/explanations for What he knew and When he knew it … well, Grant, they degraded his ‘Honest John’ image in my opinion.

    Danyl’s post is thought-provoking, and I respect him making the personal call he has above. Fair enough. Although the hyperbole and misstatements (“secretly took $39,000 from a casino company to cheat on his wife”) undercut his case in my eyes.

    But let me observe this: Much (not all) of the criticism of Mr Brown falls into very predictable camps — tribalism in other words. Not all.

    Comment by Peter A — December 15, 2013 @ 10:24 pm

  23. Perks, schmerks. It’s overinflated and minor stuff. I’m with Russell on that.

    My concern is him receiving kickbacks from the casino he is making important decisions on. That stinks and I guess that Penny Hulse and the councillors who’ve supported him through the sex scandal can smell it too.

    Comment by nigelsagentinthefield — December 15, 2013 @ 10:29 pm

  24. Even putting aside the valuing of the discounts, were the discounts actually gifts? The hotels weren’t giving them Brown cheap rooms out of the goodness of their hearts, they were doing it because he was a valued customer and they wanted him to come back next time — it was within the context of a commercial relationship.

    Everything I know about hotels is that they basically use fake manufactured rates at every opportunity, just in case someone’s desperate or insane or loaded enough to not care about paying them. They’ll charge as much to each individual as they think they can get away with, or as low as they think is needed to get someone in the door.

    Those I’ve known in the hospitality industry have informed me that desk staff often have an instruction that anyone who walks in off the street, wanting a room, should be offered about three times the going rate, just to see if they’ll take it on the spot. Many do, and others will be talked into a cheaper room or a cheaper rate on the spot. Frequent customers probably get lower rates, especially if they already know what to expect and what’s possible. I don’t know the full context of how he was offered cheap rooms, and this doesn’t necessarily let him off the hook, but the extent of what the “gift” was could easily be exaggerated.

    As a tip, if you need a room quickly for the night, find some internet and check out online rates from multiple re-seller websites before you walk into a hotel and ask for one at the desk.

    Comment by izogi — December 15, 2013 @ 10:42 pm

  25. Brown was playing the same one-eye-closed game with funding that Banks got caught over.

    There’s probably quiet a few local body politicians that have been making use of poorly written laws and lax oversight of spending/perks.

    But I suppose Brown hasn’t yet made the fatal mistake of making an enemy of Kim.com.

    Comment by NeilM — December 15, 2013 @ 11:53 pm

  26. Although the hyperbole and misstatements (“secretly took $39,000 from a casino company to cheat on his wife”) …

    I was a bit shocked that Danyl would write that. Whatever you think of Brown, it’s a nonsense statement.

    Comment by Russell Brown — December 16, 2013 @ 7:12 am

  27. I doubt Brown will be able to run again, so the net outcome of all this may be a right wing mayor just in time to try and kneecap and Labour/Green central governments transport wishes and/or try and flog off the city assets in the face of central government determination to stop it. In other words, another three lost years for Auckland. Gee, I know you are basically unemployable so you barely get out of house Cameron, but some of us have jobs, need to commute and would prefer the city run without sleezball distractions.

    Comment by Sanctuary — December 16, 2013 @ 7:14 am

  28. But I suppose Brown hasn’t yet made the fatal mistake of making an enemy of Kim.com.

    If Brown had done what Banks is alleged to have done, I would hope he too would be facing a prosecution.

    Comment by Russell Brown — December 16, 2013 @ 7:48 am

  29. I was a bit shocked that Danyl would write that. Whatever you think of Brown, it’s a nonsense statement.

    Now, I do think hyperbole is the worst thing in the world, but I think Danyl is pointing out that that’s how it would be spun if there was another mayor, so he’s holding up Brown against the allegations that would be leveled against someone else.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — December 16, 2013 @ 8:18 am

  30. @Graeme: Maybe, but surely the way to address hyperbole is to ignore it even when it’s directed at people we dislike, rather than to try to apply it equally to everyone?

    Comment by Hugh — December 16, 2013 @ 8:31 am

  31. Lets please cut the semantics. Brown is a solicitor,not some hillbilly. Did he act appropriately or inappropriately ? However you wish to spin it,it was seriously inappropriate. If he weren’t such a Narcissist,or had genuine insight /remorse he would fall on his sword. The fact that he doesn’t, and furthermore has strong support for his stance from some, is indeed revealing !

    Comment by Geoff — December 16, 2013 @ 8:39 am

  32. The $39,000 figure is a nonsense number manufactured by hotels, like the millions of dollars of “free charity software” which a company like Microsoft gives to third world countries (conveniently ensuring they’re locked in rather than using cheaper competition), or the “billions of dollars of lost earnings” for copyright holders through people downloading stuff where there’s no evidence they ever would have paid for it. In this case it’d make more sense to compare Len Brown’s hotel room “gifts” with the actual average charged for the rooms he received instead of advertised rates.

    In Danyl’s line though, to be fair, taking the equivalent of any amount to do the same thing could possibly sound just as bad if it were spun well enough.

    Comment by izogi — December 16, 2013 @ 8:42 am

  33. I thought the Jesuits had only a minimal presence in NZ

    Comment by Tinakori — December 16, 2013 @ 11:02 am

  34. Why don’t they just buy or build a mayoral apartment/residence? A few million will get you a reasonable penthouse apartment downtown. It would save all this hotel palaver.

    Comment by Sanctuary — December 16, 2013 @ 11:38 am

  35. 61 MPs voted for the Sky City deal.

    So that’s 61 phone calls from a journalist, asking “Have you ever received freebies from Sky City?”. Shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours.

    After that, there will either be immediate resignations for taking the perks, or later resignations for lying and saying they didn’t.

    And there only needs to be one MP for the law to be invalid.

    Same logic, just a difference in the desire to pursue it.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — December 16, 2013 @ 11:43 am

  36. If Brown had done what Banks is alleged to have done, I would hope he too would be facing a prosecution.

    how do we know he hasn’t? The only reason we know Banks did was because kim.com – motivated by revenge – went public.

    Comment by NeilM — December 16, 2013 @ 11:55 am

  37. >A few million will get you a reasonable penthouse apartment downtown. It would save all this hotel palaver.

    That’s a good idea, especially since the council would own it, so it would actually be an appreciating asset too.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — December 16, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

  38. Up until reading RB’s latest PA post I thought ratepayers had paid for the hotel rooms to which the upgrades applied. As Len B paid for them himself the non disclosure is right up there with his non disclosure of the petrol vouchers he’s received from the supermarket.

    Comment by Richard — December 16, 2013 @ 1:12 pm

  39. “Why don’t they just buy or build a chufer don’t they just buy or build a mayoral apartment/residence? A few million will get you a reasonable penthouse apartment downtown. It would save all this hotel palaver.”

    Why doesn’t he just get his chauffeur to drive him home? That would save an awful lot more palaver and a few million! Why doesn’t he stop being dishonest? More palaver saving still!

    It is bloody amusing to see so many on the left here falling all over themselves to minimise and excuse Brown’s dishonesty – it seems Danyl is just about the only one here who can bring themselves to admit that the guy on “their side” has done wrong and needs to go. It beggars belief that some of you obviously intelligent people have convinced yourself that you would be as forgiving if it was a right wing mayor who’d done what Brown has. Just last week everyone was only too happy to call John Key a liar (amongst other things) for claiming that he couldn’t remember what his position was on the ’81 Springbok tour but this week Brown’s outright lies about not receiving freebies from hotels is being quibbled away with some nonsense about the perceived or actual value of room upgrades and the like.

    Comment by Exclamation Mark — December 16, 2013 @ 1:37 pm

  40. John Key’s punishment for lying is … being called a liar. Not resigning. So, silly comparison.

    As I’ve said, if we apply this “upgrade + hiding = resignation” principle, then let’s really do it. Nobody seems to want to. Especially government MPs.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — December 16, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

  41. Hey Darryl lprent says you’re dumb !

    http://thestandard.org.nz/skycity-theyre-toxic/#comment-745574

    Comment by standardtroll — December 16, 2013 @ 2:27 pm

  42. “Why doesn’t he just get his chauffeur to drive him home?”

    Don’t be silly, that’s where his WIFE is.

    Comment by SHG — December 16, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

  43. Hey Darryl lprent says you’re dumb !

    He’s right. I did read the news coverage rather than the report. Also: he’s dumb!

    Comment by danylmc — December 16, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

  44. Sammy if you want to trivialise it with a fun equation try working this one out:
    (((Upgrade x 63 x non-disclosure) – impartiality on SkyCity Convention Centre deal) + lies) ÷ whoops I forgot LOL! = Nothing to see here, move on.

    Comment by Exclamation Mark — December 16, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

  45. I’d be in favour of some sort of recall provision for major elected offices such as Mayor of Auckland, though, so that a sufficiently outraged public could give him the boot if they really wanted.

    But there are recall provisions – although not ones that can be triggered by voters.

    Under the local government Act, the Minister for Local Government can fire the whole council (including the Mayor) and replace them with a commissioner (John Banks, say, or Prebs). Furthermore, the Minister can just dissolve the council and call a fresh election. If Chris Tremain (or John Key, or Stephen Joyce) really wanted Red Len gone, he would be gone by lunchtime,

    Comment by AngryTory — December 16, 2013 @ 3:33 pm

  46. I refer you to Danyl’s original point, which had your approval at 1.37 pm.

    “Politician took freebies from casino while promoting a law change that would favor them, didn’t disclose it and then lied about it.”

    Basically you’re saying “I know about one person’s upgrades and non-disclosure, because there was a detailed report, and I don’t want to know about others, so let’s not ask”.

    I think we should ask.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — December 16, 2013 @ 3:46 pm

  47. Where have I said “l don’t want to know about others, so let’s not ask let’s not ask”? Don’t put words in my mouth.
    I notice you conveniently and consistantly ignore the bit where Brown lied about his non-disclosure – do you really not get that the blatantly lying about it makes it that much worse?
    I’d be calling for the resignation of any politician from any party that is found to have done this.

    Comment by Exclamation Mark — December 16, 2013 @ 4:17 pm

  48. I got to admit I had pretty much given up on this blog. Yesterday I was thinking ‘cat-fight’? what is this a slow-fucking news day or something?!?

    Finally, the kind of intellectual honesty that first made me first visit (as opposed to the blinkered partisanship elsewhere that some pass off as critical thinking) is coming to light.

    ps Enjoy the ‘backlash’, you’ve earned it.

    Comment by LeeC — December 16, 2013 @ 4:23 pm

  49. I have done a LOT of business travelling and received plenty of room and flight upgrades. One thing I have never had (and never heard of anyone getting – except by means of poor service abject apology) is FREE hotel rooms.

    Upgrades on flights, accommodation and car rental are so common that you could easily forget to mention them. Free rooms? Not so much.

    If Sky City gave Brown money in little white envelopes, which he kept quiet, and the press found out about it, he would have to resign. Because it’s just hotel rooms (plus whatever) then most seem to be saying that it’s a storm in a teacup. I don’t see a huge amount of difference. One is money put into Brown pocket’s because he is mayor. The other is money left in his pockets because he is mayor.

    Comment by J Mex — December 16, 2013 @ 4:23 pm

  50. P.S. Why is the mayor apologising to councillors, instead of ratepayers?

    Comment by J Mex — December 16, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

  51. I have to agree with you that this is not about a political view and only the hypocritical would demand demand Banks head but protect Brown. They both deserve to be shown that this corruption that seems to abound within Auckland council and politics. Those that defend this behaviour need to take a very close look at themselves. It is not left or right it is just plain wrong.

    Comment by Sometimes — December 16, 2013 @ 5:33 pm

  52. Too many dishonest politicians – too few guillotines… still, give ‘em enough
    rope… :)

    Comment by Sandy — December 17, 2013 @ 12:01 am

  53. >P.S. Why is the mayor apologising to councillors, instead of ratepayers?

    Because it didn’t cost ratepayers anything. But the councillors can righteously feel left out if there’s freebie pork going around that they’re missing out on.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — December 17, 2013 @ 11:00 am

  54. I’m kinda disappointed that in future you’re going to react to right-wing politicians with such poorly considered hyperbole…

    The only real question in that report is why the Hilton and SkyCity let him/his wife stay free quite so regularly (100% of the Hilton rooms were free?!) and why he wouldn’t think it right to declare that. But instantly claiming anyone doing so is “disgustingly corrupt” would suggest a loss of perspective.

    Comment by garethw — December 17, 2013 @ 3:43 pm

  55. Isn’t ‘discgustingly corrupt’ tautological?

    Comment by LeeC — December 17, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

  56. Like J Mex @ 49 I have also done a lot of business travel. Room and airline upgrades happen (often unexpectedly). I certainly never asked for or expected one but received them all the same. No extra cost to my business and /or my employer. In Brown’s case no extra cost to the ratepayer.

    That Brown received these as some sort of “contra” deal for whatever political favouritism has never ever been touted openly. It would be very difficult to make such a link.

    Free rooms is an issue completely unrelated to the sexual affair (possibly).

    IF free rooms and assignations occurred (concurrently) then BOTH Brown and the hotel(s) concerned are corrupt.L
    Now that the silly season is upon us I foresee that we will be plagued by Len Brown conjectures, revelations and musings from the chattering class media.

    Groan.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — December 19, 2013 @ 11:39 pm

  57. I must say the NZ Herald editorial today (so full of its own importance that you’d think Ron Burgundy was in charge) has me looking forward to when it goes behind a paywall, no one I know actually pays to buy it and I’ll be pleased to see it’s pompous, self serving editorials diminished to it’s tiny target audience of Remuera & Epsom right wingers who have enough money to waste on a subscription.

    Comment by Sanctuary — December 20, 2013 @ 7:26 am

  58. Bevan and Len: intercourse never looked so good

    Comment by Daniel Lang — December 21, 2013 @ 11:04 am

  59. Comment #47: I’d be calling for the resignation of any politician from any party that is found to have done this.

    Cameron Brewer?

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — December 21, 2013 @ 11:18 am

  60. Personally speaking sammy Hell yeah!
    Brewer – Yeah, why not? Banks, yeah, Brown yeah. It’s pathetic the way we seem to ‘need’ these tossers.

    I mean really, who are these people? Are we ‘voters’ so emasculated and so weak that we appear to need such self-serving corrupted moral weaklings to ‘protect’ us from the big nasty world? Are we so devoid of credible alternatives? When did we become so dependent on such a narrow political elite that they can apparently fuck anyone or anything with a pulse, apparently ‘safe’ in the knowledge that we will cling to them because the mere thought of losing them might should send us into some kind of separation anxiety?

    We have people lining up for food parcels, getting into debt to feed and buy presents for their kids, working two jobs to make ends meet, left high and dry by these self-seeking arseholes while they line their own pockets, safe behind the excuse of ‘bad recollection’. Rates go up salaries stay the same, grandiose schemes and dreams, paid for by an enslaved electorate who ‘can’t fight city hall ‘. And we buy it every time. What are we, five years old?

    Where is the public demonstration that many cities might have mustered for something like this? MIA, of course because that would take a body capable of amassing one, and which is interested enough in curtailing corruption and standing up for the little guy – you know – like a union movement or organised party backed by a union movement or something. And the only ones i can think of is led by one more interested in writing for the Herald than organising to protect ‘the workers’, or organising ‘blogs’ about ‘right wing corruption’ in the media. FFS..

    Meanwhile Brown’s antics have essentially assisted (and will continue to assist) in the consolidation of National, and will continue to do so as long as he is in situ. The ‘right’ will roll out a ‘credible alternative’ and ‘the left’ will end up out of the loop next mayoral election.

    Recent key issues for ‘the left’ (said with a straight face) such as highlighting the Asset Sales referendum – lost in the fall-out. All those people who thought they were ‘getting a say’ by ticking teh box in teh referndum – silenced. Auckland councellors, now safely ensconced backing down from apparent promises (pre-election) about raising minimum wages of their cleaners and staff – ‘subject to review now’ without comment.

    I’m not defending Brewer. But, Brewer’s practices, frankly pale next to Browns. But only because the bar of acceptable behaviour has been lowered so comprehensively by Brown. They both should be answering for their abuses. But fact is, neither will in a meaningful sense and sacrifice their nice little salaries – because they are so ‘focussed on Auckland’ – Yeah Right.

    Where is the leadership? Where is the moral conviction? Where are those who are supposed to defend the little people? They appear to be in hiding – it’s ‘bad politics; to show any back-bone. This is true of every political hue. If they are all hollow, we prove everyday that they are really no better than we deserve.

    Rant over. I’ve really got to go and kick the dog now.

    Comment by Lee C — December 22, 2013 @ 7:31 am

  61. apologies for typos/

    Comment by Lee C — December 22, 2013 @ 7:31 am

  62. I’m not defending Brewer. But, Brewer’s practices, frankly pale next to Browns. But only because the bar of acceptable behaviour has been lowered so comprehensively by Brown.

    Are you referring to Len Brown’s personal life? With both of them accepting undeclared “gifts”, the Chuang thing is the only thing I can think which separates them.

    Well, that and Cameron Brewer still being in this morning’s press, ranting about how Len Brown should pay for the investigation into his actions. Maybe it wouldn’t be too far a-field to be demanding a more full investigation into his own conduct and declarations, and then requiring him to pay for it?

    Anyway, he’s not my mayor and it’s not my council. I’m mostly concerned about Auckland’s internal politics holding up the rest of the country, and the skewed precedents this seems to be setting.

    Comment by izogi — December 22, 2013 @ 8:27 am

  63. I think its worthwhile, that it was Brown’s personal life which caused these revelations about the financial aspect to become ‘news’ . But how I ‘feel’ about where Brown puts his dick is not really the issue, and most have agreed to disagree about that, even if they found it distasteful. But despite how I ‘feel’ about it, as far as what separates Brown and Brewer is concerned, it quite a significant issue in voters’ minds, I would suggest.

    As far as I know, Brewer has not been exposed for any of the salicious stuff that Brown has -therefore the amount of public scrutiny and hatred has been correspondingly lower. It was laudable of the media to expose Brewer, and shows balance.

    It’s safe to assume I’m referring to the financial issues, rather than ‘the Chuang thing’ when I talk about how such people should be held accountable. But personally, if I’m honest about it, I’m reasonably libertarian about sexual matters, but get angered by people who promote themselves as ‘clean’ like ‘family-value’ politicians and ‘church-elders’ but are then caught with their hands in the cookie-jar – it just seems hypocritical. But each to their own I suppose, I prefer not to have to pay for it that’s all.

    And yes I agree, Brewer should do just as Brown has been called to do, They all should. Why should any of them get the perks wrongly, fail to declare them, then get the same sheep who financed their lucrative positions pick up the tab for the subsequent investigation should they be found culpable?

    Comment by Lee C — December 22, 2013 @ 9:45 am

  64. As far as I know, Brewer has not been exposed for any of the salicious stuff that Brown has -therefore the amount of public scrutiny and hatred has been correspondingly lower. It was laudable of the media to expose Brewer, and shows balance.

    I could be corrected here but I think it was Russell Brown who originally exposed Cameron Brewer, and he’s not totally happy about how the media’s dealt with it. Do you have an opinion about the Herald’s role in all of this, and in particular its role in shaping people’s opinions?

    Why should any of them get the perks wrongly, fail to declare them, then get the same sheep who financed their lucrative positions pick up the tab for the subsequent investigation should they be found culpable?

    It depends on opinion I guess, but in my own opinion if it happens at all, I’d rather have that decided by a properly recognised and neutral judicial system, rather than a politically fueled witch hunt. Otherwise it creates a precedent where people might end up having to pay unpredictible costs for needlessly large inquiries utilising needlessly expensive consultants, which are only so large because of public interest, and irrespective of how serious their offence might or mightn’t have been. If accused people automatically have to pay for investigations into their own deeds, should they also have a say into the resources allocated for the investigation, the terms of reference, and whatever else will inflate its cost? If the inquiry had found nothing, would it have been fair to spread the cost amongst those who demanded it?

    Comment by izogi — December 22, 2013 @ 11:34 am

  65. Yes fair enough – why I chose the word ‘culpable’ rather than ‘guilty’.

    I also agree a neutral body should be responsible, rather than having them police themselves and ‘doctor’ what information they consider suitable to put before the public.

    The idea that people pay for being investigated is an impractical andanti-democratic one, in that they may find themselves accused for political gain, rather than because they have done anything wrong and be bankrupted by the process. However – if they are found ‘culpable’… then what? they just get to keep their money and their jobs, where is the deterrence factor against corruption?

    Some have accused the Herald of being a ‘right-wing’ mouthpiece, I disagree. I think they are bone-idle. Why was the original issue not uncovered by ‘serious’ investigative journalists rather than ‘Whale Oil’? The Herald now ‘calls’ for resignation still lazy – they appear to have given up on actually gathering facts and rather trying to make the news.

    As for shaping public opinion – I think they have been instrumental in keeping Brown in situ, because of their initial narrative – drawing Brown’s exposure as a VRWC in fact, his affair was the tip of a rather more corrupt iceberg, and their investigative prowess was found wanting. They have been ‘behind’ at every stage of this, and are now trying to play catchup.

    Comment by Lee C — December 22, 2013 @ 12:07 pm


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