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Brown won't resign

LATEST: Len Brown censured; Brewer wants to take things further

Dec 16:  Embattled Auckland Mayor Len Brown says he offered a “full and unconditional apology” to councillors at a meeting discussing his two-year long affair.

This morning’s closed-door meeting was held to allow councillors to question the mayor over the affair with Bevan Chuang and his failure to declare nearly $40,000 of free accommodation, as detailed in this EY report.

“We had a full, frank and robust discussion and I have offered a full and unconditional apology to councillors,” Mr Brown says in a media statement.

“I understand the frustration and disappointment that councillors feel. I realise that I have a good deal of work to regain their trust and rebuild our working relationships in the interests of Auckland. This is my focus, starting today.”

Mr Brown has previously said that while he has caused his family “harm, shame and humiliation,” he won't resign over the affair and remains committed to the job.

The EY report found Mr Brown did not inappropriately use council resources during his affair with Ms Chuang.

But it found he repeatedly breached the council's code of conduct by not declaring hotels rooms, an NRL grand-final ticket in Sydney and an iPad, which was later donated to charity.

Mr Bown also came under fire for an unscheduled “side trip” to Guangzhou, China, that included a dinner in a hotel restaurant with an unnamed friend and a staff member who couldn’t remember the occasion.

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Dec 14: Auckland Mayor Len Brown won't resign.

Yesterday, Council chief executive Doug McKay released an  Ernst & Young report that found nearly $40,000 in undeclared free hotel rooms and upgrades broke the Council's code of conduct. There are no specific penalties for breaking the code.

Last night, Mayor Brown told media, "The overwhelming sentiment, no matter what they think of me, is 'for goodness sake get on with the job'."

He is committed to the job; he sees the report as the end of the matter.

Councillor Cameron Brewer told NBR this morning he had no comment on the report as he and other councillors "contiinue to consider our options."

READ ALSO: OPINION - Len Brown must resign

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Brown a no-show as report reveals $39K of hotel nights, upgrades

Dec 13: This afternoon, Auckland Council chief executive Doug McKay released the Ernst & Young report that investigated whether the mayor used council resources during his extra-marital affair with Bevan Chuang.

While the report found no inappropriate use of ratepayer funds, Mr McKay says it did find undeclared gifts to Mayor Len Brown and questionable telephone calls for personal use which haven’t been reimbursed.

Elected officials are required by council policy to declare gifts for personal benefit of more than $300. During 2011 to 2012, Mr Brown accepted nine free hotel rooms totalling $6130 in addition to 64 upgrades valued at $32,888.

Mr McKay says declaring gifts are the responsibility of the elected member. However, there is no punishment for breaching the council’s conduct code.

Mr Brown was a no-show at the press conference but released a statement shortly after.

“I was not charged for nine of these hotel rooms, including one occasion in relation to Ms Chuang," he says in the statement.

Mr Brown has come under fire for using hotel rooms in the city when he has a driver and car available to him around the clock.

“My reason for staying in the central city is that I often work until late in the evening – attending meetings, functions or civic events – and I start work early the next morning, often for media interviews or breakfast events. A significant number of these rooms were also booked and used privately by me and my family,” he says in his statement.

Mr McKay says he expects EY’s bill to top $100,000 for the “exhaustive” investigation.

EY combed through a million emails and 13,000 phone calls and texts, Mr McKay says.

“I am confident we have covered everything,” he says.

The mayor held on to a draft of the delayed report for almost a week to seek legal advice and give feedback to EY. Mr McKay wouldn’t comment on changes from the draft to the final report, only to say there were disputes of facts.

“If I knew, I wouldn’t say. I’m not able to say,” Mr McKay says.

In all, Mr Brown used his council-issued phone to make nearly 1400 calls and texts to Ms Chuang between November 2010 and October 2013. It amounted to about 10% of his total usage for he period.

Total charges paid by council for the mayor’s mobile phone calls and texts were $4,538.50 for the period of the review, according to EY. However, Ms Chuang is an appointed member of the Ethnic People Advisory Panel so EY couldn’t determine the split between personal and business related phone activity.

She says the mayor’s calls and texts to her were all of a personal nature. He says two-thirds of the calls and texts he made to Ms Chuang were personal.

He has only made one reimbursement, for $260, for personal calls during the period investigated.

The review was announced in October and was expected to take four weeks. It took seven weeks. Mr McKay says he had full support from Mr Brown and his office during the “comprehensive” and “robust” investigation.

“My role is finished here as far as I’m concerned,” Mr McKay says.

It’s up to council and the public to have a dialogue about the report’s findings, he says.

The report found no preferential treatment was given to Ms Chuang during time covered by the investigation.

Comments and questions
63

How on earth can this guy stay in office - he evidently lacks the ability to exercise any sort of ethical judgment.

A message to the youth & future leaders of New Zealand.....you will get nowhere by being honest !

I fully expect Len Brown not to resign. After all, this is New Zealand, the least corrupt country on earth. Technically he has done nothing wrong, while he is in breach of the code of conduct, there's no penalty for breaching that.

After all, this is New Zealand, the least corrupt country on earth. Really. Do you believe what you say. We have corrupt cops, politicians and the list goes on. Few are exposed many or not. If you know whom to call you can buy anything and anyone. Compared to many countries we may be better off But we we have seen is tip of the ice berg.
I have a question - If Brown stayed in a hotel on official business for which council paid and if he received a room upgrade is it a gift to Brown or Council. Similarly he goes to hotel and ask for say single room which was not available hence given an upgrade on the single price. Is it a gift or business decision by the hotel. So the question is what is a gift. Can someone really explain it in terms of consumables.

Questionable ethics, honour and integrity to say the very least... dodgy, lying, slimy, conflicted, compromised, corrupt Mayor - for those that prefer no PC.

Certainly Len Brown is as far removed from a credible individual for public office as ever could be. He could be brothers with Ford in Toronto their lies and demonstrated antics are so similar.

Len needs to talk with Cunliffe, so he can understand about how perceptions matter... because of most Auckland perceive Len Brown to be a slimy, corrupt, political corpse that no one wants to be associated with. His recent photo op's ad outings only prove so...ohh wait!

Len your time is up.

What sad lonely lives you all have

Like any corporate customer or customer on a Telco plan, the holder of the phone can make either a prescribed number of calls or unlimited calls - and txts. So unless Len Brown has breached that limit you are all talking absolute drivel - it hasn't cost the ratepayer a cent

Likewise with the hotels - he stayed at hotels when attending functions in his role - so all the costs were council related - just because he bonked his girlfriend afterwards is irrelevant. Would you be criticizing if he bonked his wife after the event he was attending - obviously not.

Having an affair is not a offense.

He lives 20 minutes away from work and has a ratepayer funded car and driver; how much time is actually saved by him then charging us to stay in hotels too?

Read the facts. with one exception, the Mayor himself paid for the rooms, so it was NOT council related. It was the free upgrade that he did not disclose?

Well if the Mayor paid for the hotels himself and got free upgrades why would he need to disclose the upgrades - that is between him and the hotel owner - account personal.

He would need to disclose because Sky City potentially hold an inappropriate influence over him while he is voting on casino matters. Not just the freebies, but also the damaging knowledge they had about the alleged women that he stayed in the hotels with. I understand that some of the women were freebies as well. Others he paid for out of his own pocket.

What's the issue here. Len Brown has done nothing wrong? No misuse of rate payers money. Only freebies.
Mr Brown please do not resign. The Akld public are behind you.

He has an obligation to advise ifgifts he has failed or lied. No difference to Banks and Dotcom. Except he took freebies while in office. If he is not corrupt there could be a perception of corruption.

No inappropriate spending other than phone's calls because he gave up the council crew cards because last time he was caught.

Not according to the on-line survey on Yahoo, today.

Not this public. The Mayor is untrustworthy and I don't think anyone will believe a word he says, in his role as Mayor or otherwise.

What about all the time spent on the phone to his mistress? What about his repeated inability to follow basic reporting requirements, after all this isn't the first time his judgement has failed. Brown is an idiot. He has stolen from ratepayers. Some think he is working hard for Auckland. Does that include all the time on the phone and in hotel rooms, the Town Hall and no doubt elsewhere bonking?

Len should have resigned at the beginning but now he has no option. Accepting undeclared free gifts and calls into question his support for the Skycity proposal etc. To say he did nothing wrong shows he is totally delusional
Edited

Brown will ruin his commercial career for good, and wont be reelected, if he doesn't resign know, 3 strikes and he's out ....surely....even in NZ.
Edited

Is there not a single elected individual with the spine willing to light the fuse in taking this man down?
The mood of the city demands it.

So P Lee you also support John Banks in his defence?
Or breach of declaration laws is OK as long as it's your preferred candidate?

Of course. Anything for the left cause. This ideology allows lefty supporters to overlook any problem when its "their man".

No laws breached. Just a voluntary guideline. Banks broke the law and lied about it. Different facts different outcome.

If a hotel chooses to give the odd free room to a frequent user, then that is saving the ratepayer money, i wouldn't want to work as hard as Len does, or the hours he does for twice the money he gets - have some perspective, his family have a right to be disappointed in him, the rest of us are getting massive value for money.

His 'long hours' have been documented. Some as Mayor and some as boyfriend....

Hope the council moves on now and gets on with the job of running the city.

Great - So Len resigns .. then what ?

Better the devil we know .....

How much longer must we suffer this laughing stock of a Mayor?

The question is whether almost $50k of undisclosed but known gifts is viewed differently by the left wing press to $50k of a disclosed as unknown gift.

Seems like pretty much the same issue to me - except that we know for a fact that Len acted in the interests of at least one of the donors (Sky City); whereas Banks didn't act in Dotcom's interests.

"1400 calls and texts to Ms Chuang between November 2010 and October 2013. It amounted to about 10% of his total usage for he period."

"She says the mayor’s calls and texts to her were all of a personal nature. He says two-thirds of the calls and texts he made to Ms Chuang were personal." so where is the EY costing of the salaried time he should be refunding?

Lenny's still in denial, time to join the John Banks club mate, step this way into the dock

Mrs Brown - kick him out now , we are going to.

The underlying issue is that the office of executive mayor, with so much control over the roles of councillors, is a dangerous nonsense. Unless Councillors display guts and independence, checks and balances will be diminished. And, it seems the same nonsense is spreading.

The architects of the legislation deserver to have their butts kicked.

As Victor Mildfrew would say "I DON'T BELIEEEEVE IT! But alas I am not
the least bit surprised. Why wasn't John Banks afforded the same whitewash.

Why not use the Consumers Guarantee act with Len being "NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE" I would have thought as ratepayers we are also consumers.

Was just thinking the soft soap words of the Chief executive DOUG MCKAY on $750,000 he was almost sympathising with Brown,in fact read his comments ,he committed the corporate comment, or words to that affect,,nothing suspicious here move on.

Actually, I thought that befitting of Mr McKay's high office, he would have fronted the press conference wearing a tie and looking smarter. Did his spin doctor's order the removal of tie to subliminally convey to his audience, a less than serious tone to this whole sordid affair??

I think Mr McKay has only made himself look a fool by his sloppy dress and his sheepish demur in fronting this matter. He clearly knows more than he is letting on.

Whether Len Brown has misused public funds or not may be the focus of the investigation but is surely now utterly irrelevant. You cannot tell me that there is now a single person who can't walk into a meeting with Len Brown without thinking about the whole sordid affair. It taints everything and for that reason Len Brown is a lame duck mayor with no future in politics after this term is done.

Council employees call it 50 shades of Brown. So what. An affair, some undisclosed upgrades, use of a company phone for private calls (so endemic in real life that the IRD has turned itself in knots concluding that they can not track it down and have dropped the issue). And unlike Banks he has not actually broken a law and did not try to lie when pinged.

RESIGN immediately Mr. Brown. You are a total disgrace and an embarrassment as the so called leader of this city. NO ONE has any respect for you at all. You are delusional to say the least and how you can lie straight in bed at night goodness knows. GET OUT of this city's affairs NOW.

The city cannot afford to have someone with such a lack of integrity and financial responsibility continuing to exercise what seems to be almost unfettered executive authority over our affairs -pun unintended.
For goodness sake Len do the decent thing and resign.

Is he going to pay the $100k he has cost Auckland - no.

Did he pay for his own lawyers or did the ratepayers.

I am sure there are some ATEED staff thinking that with the $100k the rest of them could have gone to the America's cup.

International investors will have no respect for Auckland with this guy as mayor, we are going to be the laughing stock.

Len, no businesses want to be associated with you any more (except those wanting to give freebies for favours). You have become a laughing stock in the community. You can't perform your duties adequately any more as Mayor as a result of this. Save what you can of your reputation and resign. Say the pressure is affecting your health and move on for heavens sake. Auckland can't be shackled like this and deserves better.

Auckland deserves better than a lame duck Mayor. For Auckland's sake, please resign Len.

Len's actions are the tip of the iceberg at Auckland Council. Other married senior managers in the transformation department have appointed young interns, had affairs with them during work hours, used their Council phones, bullied staff in the know to cover up their actions, etc. The culture at Council is sick from the top down. Managers are in the know but do nothing and we, as ratepayers, pay for this! Resign Len and get someone to investigate the rest of the managers as well.

Yeh and even more importantly fattened their mates in consulting firms during amalgamation. That is where the real scandal and money is. A few hotel stays and phone calls is a distraction. Look at the IT consulting budget and providence around appointments.

Ha ha. He stayed in Hotel rooms to avoid his estranged wife. Any reasonable person would get the driver to drop them home. How long does it take. I'll fly back from Sydney late at night to be home. But the excess is really irrelevant from a $ perspective. Any employee who has not used their cell phone or email or laptop for personal reasons throw the first stone.
Not many stones. Grow up people!

Democracy costs. In this case $100k to prove nothing of any value at all. We had to do it. Could have upgraded Rocket park in Mt Albert for the wasted fee....

Declare an interest. I live in Mt Albert

Compromise...lack of integrity...cover-ups...dishonesty...dirt.... corruption...there are altogether too many clear and sufficient reasons why Brown should resign. The overwhelming groundswell of opinion by right-thinking ratepayers demands his resignation. That there may be no mechanism to enforce his departure is beside the point. Even if Brown won't put his own - or our - money where his mouth (and testicles) are, ratepayers can!
Those 'in a position to make things happen' where Brown is concerned can ultimately succumb to intolerable ratepayer pressure. A referendum on the issue won't help, but a touch of civil disobedience will....money always talks.
It is time for a general rate strike until Brown realises that the people who elected him into office (and those who did not) are calling it a day on his corrupt, cynical, abusive tenure. If we continue to tolerate him instead of using him as a warning to other wrong-thinking powergrabbers, where is the limit of toleration with any highly placed public figure and to the abuse of ratepayers and democracy ?

He who pays the piper calls the tune. My rates will be staying in my bank account until he is gone.

Good leave them in your account. And one day some low ranking Council official will sell your house to recover them. Really! Rates strike over an affair and a few txts. Ok. Quite a few txts. Gotta be kidding

I use my company phone to make personal calls and text, most of us do, and when travelling i eagerly accepted an free upgrade to a higher specc'ed room as we all would, so what exactly has Len done that we wouldn't do, other than have an affair, and according to the statistics there are a few of you contributing to this forum that are not to dissimilar in this matter also.

Too true. He just did not declare the rooms. They gave him a bigger room. He probably honestly never thought about it. Move on people. Unless of course you want to test the probity of IT and other consultants camped at Council stuffing things up and being paid literally millions. Mates of one key manger got appointed I hear. Perhaps the public might like to focus on real issues instead of being sanctimonious and in many cases duplicitous.

When will Len resign?
When the cows learn to milk themselves.

Free upgrades and rooms barely count.

A $100,000 bill from Ernst and Young alarms me much more.

I imagine John Key makes many private phone calls at the taxpayers expense but I doubt he will be having a similar report.

Nor should he

Oh, c'mon Len,
Have some shame and just leave - be a man !
Surely we deserve better - splurge on our money, fxxx around during rate payer paid time, drag the city down to earstwhile south Auckland (Manukau) council in terms of service standards, declare spurious cost savings to fund ones' own misdemeanors.
The disgusting list goes on.

Hot on the heels of Transparency International giving NZ a glowing corruption free assessment.

What do think of this situation Transparency International?

Hello, are you there?

And why should he!! we all do the same thing from time to time, and we don't have to resign

What is needed is a law change so that persons like Brown who misuse public office to their own benefit can have some sanctions taken against them. Rodney Hide set the parameters for the structure of the City but clearly did not allow for politicians with their snouts in the trough.

Doug Mckay has always been a yes man and Brown is just another dishonest unprincipled Labour politician-which most NZers seem to think is acceptable.

Len believes the mayor should be accountable to "a higher standard".

He is required to declare gifts which he hasnt done on free hotels and upgrades - not once or a few occasions - but 63 times !!. This is not a careless error but a calculated omission to hide his activities and gain personal advantage. If Mr Brown can ignore/break the rules and get away with it then the same attitude should be given to everyone else in the council. In most corporates his contract would be terminated. Is this the higher standard he thinks ratepayers should accept?

The mayor needs to set an example for all working for him. Len must fall on his sword and resign !

1400 phone calls and texts. I wonder how much work time this wasted. The whole things is a bad look but would have been much worse had he used Council funds for the hotel stays. Even so a Cabinet Minister would not have survived this fiasco. Also the terms of reference for EY would have been much more complete.

I am reminded of Bill Clinton and how this sorry excuse of a husband cheated on Hillary and yet his presidency is regarded as a success and woman still swoon over this charismatic man, look at how people flocked to share an evening diner with this philanderer in Auckland many years ago, Len Brown did wrong by his wife and children, however i am sick to death of reading how he should resign over his indiscretion and every minor side issues that come out in association with his cheating.

However, I am comforted by the knowledge that history will not treat Len lightly.

Accepting free hotel rooms in response to his support for Sky City's Convention Centre offer is a no-no. He must resign. Affairs are commonplace, but bribes are not on.

How about having a look at the moral position of those at Skycity that were happily giving away rooms for what one can only assume is greasing the palm. Next thing we will find that Skycity have been giving similar benefits to Government officials to get the convention centre and more pokies signed off. This type of thing is accepted in places like China but we don't want it in NZ. It is simply an inducement and this is a form of corruption.

Len Brown had the audacity to boast an impressive array of core values during his election campaign. He lied. The hotel rooms and phone calls are red herrings. Cheating on his wife and daughters, people he is supposed to love, proves his complete selfishness. Lying to Auckland voters and now failing to have the decency to resign proves how spineless he is and that he is rotten to the core.

Not only is he incompetent, he lies, he,s an adulterer and he is a clown. My name is Brown and you are in my town. Really.