Councillor stands by PR veteran targeted by Hager

Cameron Brewer says Nicky Hager's book will not affect business
Carrick Graham is alleged of being Cameron Slater's main source of income
Ricardo Simich also says it's business as usual

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Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer is standing by his business partner, PR veteran Carrick Graham, following Nicky Hager’s attempt to paint Mr Graham as being Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater's main source of income.

Mr Brewer co-founded Graham, Brewer, Simich and Associates with Mr Graham as well as New Zealand Herald "Spy" columnist Ricardo Simich.

The PR agency, which keeps its clients confidential, was founded earlier this year.

Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager wrote a detailed chapter about the apparent dealings between Mr Graham and Mr Slater, well before the founding of GBSA.

Mr Hager sourced his information from hacked emails between Messrs Graham and Slater and alleged Mr Slater received as much as $6500 a month for blog posts criticising opponents of Mr Graham’s alcohol and tobacco clients.

Mr Brewer says the new PR agency is “going really well” and Dirty Politics has not changed anything.

“I’ve known Carrick and Ricardo for many years and some little left-wing book doesn’t change anything,” he told NBR.

Mr Simich agrees the recent media coverage of Mr Graham will not affect the business.

Each of the founders has a 33.33% share in the company.

Asked whether there may be a conflict of interest between his politicking and his business life, Mr Brewer says he has “no apologies” for operating in both worlds.

“Traditionally, many centre-right local body politicians have had strong business links. It’s healthy and in fact most people are saying good on you for doing something other than just council."

Mr Brewer says he would withdraw from any debate or vote if he thought there was a conflict of interest.

However, he says conflicts of interest will be “very rare” and that he, among other super city governors, are dealing with macro regional policy and budgetary matters.

Often talked of as a future Auckland mayoral candidate, Mr Brewer says his long-term ambitions are for central government.

“One day I may have a crack at Parliament. Growing my business credentials and exercising good judgment is part of that possible journey," he says.

cgibson@nbr.co.nz


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