Auckland Council opens year with disorderly meeting, congratulations to Lorde

Penny Bright addressing the council

Six members of the public made applications to speak at the Auckland Council at its first meeting of the year held this morning and all were declined. Five concerned mayor Len Brown.

They were denied because the requests dealt with matters the council had already decided and discussed, Stephen Town, Auckland’s new chief executive says. It’s his first meeting as CEO.

The crowd erupted on the news, with campaigners Lisa Prager and Penny Bright trying to speak despite being denied. The council meeting began at 9:30am and Mr Brown had already made an adjournment within the first 15 minutes in an attempt to restore order.

“You have not followed due process,” Ms Prager yelled from the gallery.

Mr Brown told the room the only people who should be speaking at the meeting are those sitting around the councillors' table.

“We don’t have one set of rules for Penny Bright and one for everyone else,” Mr Brown says.

“We have one set of rules for Len Brown,” Ms Prager yelled from the gallery.

Ms Prager and Ms Bright continued to speak to the room as the meeting was adjourned, mostly about issues related to Len Brown.

Mr Brown was expected to be pressed today to say how much he was going to contribute to the EY report that looked into whether he spent council resources during his extramarital affair with Bevan Chuang.

Until his censure, he made no indication he would pay for the $100,000-plus cost of the EY report. Outgoing chief executive Doug McKay asked for the report, which was expected to take four weeks.

The report took nearly two months, combing through one million council emails.

A group of five councillors – Chris Fletcher, George Wood, Dick Quax, Penny Hulse and Penny Webster – was set up in December to negotiate Mr Brown’s portion of the bill. NBR ONLINE understands the negotiations were to be confidential. 

The report was not discussed during the public portion of today's meeting.

Before the brief adjournment, the council opened by acknowledging the success of 17-year-old singer Ella Yelich-O’Connor, also known as Lorde. Mr Brown called her Grammy achievements “historic.”

sflores@nbr.co.nz

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