Auckland mayor to pony up for EY report

Len Brown
Stephen Town
Jordan Williams, executive director of New Zealand Taxpayers' Union

Auckland Council has confirmed Mayor Len Brown will personally contribute $40,000 towards EY’s bill and $20,000 of his own legal costs, stemming from a report which investigated the use of council resources during his extramarital affair with staffer Bevan Chuang.

Auckland Council Chief Executive Stephen Town has confirmed the cost of the EY report and legal work was about $250,000.

When councillors censured the mayor at the December meeting, they also passed a resolution requiring the mayor to “make an appropriate contribution” to costs incurred by the council.

A small working group of councillors were to enter “into confidential, but binding negotiations with the mayor as to the contribution amount,” according to council records of the meeting.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse and councillors Christine Fletcher, George Wood, Dick Quax and Penny Webster comprised the working group.

Up until the censure, Mr Brown made no indication he would pay for any of the report. 

Jordan Williams, executive director of New Zealand Taxpayers' Union, says ratepayers would be insulted by a $40,000 payment.

“If that figure is correct, it is pathetic, and an insult to Auckland ratepayers. Len Brown cost Auckland ratepayers reportedly over a quarter-million, and now only expected to pay a fraction,” he says.

In a statement released to media, the mayor says he does not plan to make any further comment on the matter, except for the following.

"I have agreed to make this payment out of respect to my fellow councillors and to acknowledge the upset this issue has caused. I continue to be totally focussed on the issues that matter to Aucklanders," he says in a statement.

The EY report did not find use of council resources during the affair, However, it opened another discussion of Mr Brown’s use of free hotel upgrades which he did not declare, including from SkyCity.

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