How it happened, blow-by-blow: Len Brown censured 15-5

Continuously updated coverage as the super city mayor faces councillors.

UPDATE 10 2:10 The Auckland Council has agreed 15-5 to censure mayor Len Brown.

Those opposed were councillors Brewer, Cooper, Krum, Quax and Stewart. 

Mr Brown has been asked back into the meeting to respond.

He says he accepts the resolution. 

"Shame on you Len," a heckler yelled from the public gallery.

UPDATED 9 LUNCHTIME: Auckland councillors have delayed their premilinary vote on censuring mayor Len Brown. A first attempt  was tied on whether to censure him but continue to work with him or proceed to a "no confidence" motion.. The councillors are now taking a half hour break.

Cr Chris Fletcher and others had demanded clarity from the mayor on what he is willing to pay pertaining to the EY report and personal reimbursements before she votes.

The council had been debating the following motion: a “request that the mayor make full reimbursement of all remaining personal costs and also make an appropriate contribution to other costs incurred by the council.”

Councillor Cameron Brewer asked for legal costs to be added.

Councillor Dick Quax asked for clarity on the word “appropriate”.

There are legal grounds, deputy mayor Penny Hulse says, which is why the wording is vague.

“I’m treading very, very carefully,” she says.

Council will resume at 2 pm.

UPDATED 7 12:53: Councillor Dick Quax opened his comments by saying the council isn’t divided, but its opinions are. It’s no different from any other council issue, he says.

“Of course we can move forward. We can move forward as soon as Len Brown is gone,” he says.

Mr Quax agrees with Mr Lee the censure and no-confidence motion are unprecedented and says he will not vote for the censure because it doesn’t go far enough.

“Len Brown has been the architect of his own dilemma,” Mr Quax told council.

Mr Brown is compromised as a mayor and a leader, Mr Quax says, and can no longer do his job. Mr Brown acted “stupidly”, Mr Quax says.

It’s “imperative” the mayor pays the full costs of the EY report for the “crap” he has caused, Mr Quax says.

“The very poorest people are asking to clean up after the mayor,” Mr Quax says.

The mayoress is embarrassed and unable to do her job, Mr Quax says. More will be revealed in this “sordid affair”, he says.

He called the mayor’s office a “political rotting corpse” that can only be cleaned out when the mayor leaves and is replaced with someone with integrity.

His comments spurred councillors Cathy Casey and Cameron Brewer to throw jabs at each other .

“Councillor Brewer?” Ms Casey says, questioning who would run for mayor.

“What about SkyCity, Cathy?” Mr Brewer says.

“He has to go, and he has to go immediately,” Mr Quax concluded.

Deputy mayor Penny Hulse reminded the council they still have other business to tend to, such as the budget.


UPDATED 6 12:40: Councillor Mike Lee told Auckland Council the issue surrounding Mayor Len Brown, the censure and no-confidence vote, is unprecedented in his decades of serving in local government.

A censure means the council has chastised the mayor, he says, while a no-confidence vote means “we can’t work with him.”

Many people think the mayor has to resign if council passes the no-confidence motion, he says, and that’s not true.

“It’s step one” a heckler yelled.

Further, it would send a message to Wellington and the rest of the country that Auckland is too dysfunctional to function, Mr Lee says. Political stability is “absolutely vital” for the people of Auckland, he says.


UPDATE FIVE 12:25:  Cr Cameron Brewer told his fellow councillors to think about today’s meeting when they hear about more Len Brown scandals a few years from now.

Some councillors are supporting the mayor and not prepared for a confidence or no-confidence vote now, he says. That doesn’t send a good message to the people of Auckland, he says.

Mr Brewer called for the Attorney General to investigate the hotel issue, which he says was only "glazed over" by the EY report.

He also called for full and final disclosure by the mayor: other perks, other girlfriends, other hotels, he says. He was disappointed by his fellow councillors who would not ask the mayor for final disclosure in today’s motions.

Brown should not sit in any meetings or be involved in any dealings with SkyCity or the convention centre, Mr Brewer says.

“The mayor should now stand down,” Mr Brewer says.

The council is subjecting more sleaze, scandal and damage to the organisation by not asking more from the mayor, he says.

Mr Brewer was only supposed to speak for five minutes but was granted an extension of time of two minutes.

Mr Brown does not have the credibility to represent Auckland in Wellington to ask for billions of dollars in transportation funding.

“He now needs to go. That is what the people are calling for and that is what I’m asking for,” he says.


UPDATE 4 12:10: Councillor Cathy Casey told the council she has never supported the mayor and she does not think he will last in office.

A no-confidence or censure motion does not remove the mayor, she says.

The mayor has breached the council’s code of conduct and needs to pay for at least part of the EY report, she says.

“I know the mayor doesn’t like it but I don’t like what the mayor has done to us,” she says.

The council will be “moving into shark-infested waters” if it tries to remove the mayor. He must step down himself, she says.

She says she is dsappointed by councillors who are polarising the council and pointed to Cameron Brewer and his comments in the media.

“I’m going to buy you a tutu and ballet slippers for Christmas,” she says.


UPDATE 3: Auckland councillors are arguing over the words "contrition" and "accept" in the following motion, which many councillors are saying was changed since yesterday. Some would like to change "accept" to "note."

“Accept the mayor’s apology and expression of contrition for his actions and mindful of the importance of maintaining political stability in the governance of Auckland, signals its willingness to work with the mayor in the best interests of the people of Auckland.”

At the moment, the amendment by Mr Quax will not be considered, Ms Hulse says:

The governing body notes that Len Brown lacks the essential leadership credentials of judgement, honesty, integrity, and credibility and, as a result, councillors have lost confidence in his ability to carry out his duties as mayor of Auckland.”


UPDATED 2: There was never a requirement for mayor Len Brown to pay for all or part of the EY report, departing Auckland chief executive Doug McKay told the council at this morning’s meeting.

This is Mr McKay’s last meeting and he was grilled by councillors on the report that looked into Mr Brown’s use of council resources during his extra-marital affair. Several hecklers in the audience chimed in while he spoke.

"Why was the report not signed?" one asked.

Mr McKay does not know the final cost of the report but says it will be more than $100,000. The report took longer than expected and the scope widened during the investigation. EY combed through more than one million council emails.

Councillors asked Mr McKay if anything was removed from the report after Mr Brown reviewed it. Mr McKay says under principles of natural justice, Mr Brown was allowed to review it and some items were changed.

Mr Brown was booed by a crowded room when he entered this morning’s Auckland Council meeting.

The meeting was standing-room only and included community members making submissions on the Auckland Harbour Bridge SkyPath project and Living Wage Aotearoa on the wage debate.

At the start of the discussion over the EY report, deputy mayor Penny Hulse said the council needed punishment to fit the crime.

Yesterday, a quarter of Auckland councillors said they planned to debate and vote for a no-confidence motion at today’s meeting at the Auckland Town Hall. Those five councillors, Dick Quax, Linda Cooper, Cameron Brewer, Sharon Stewart and Denise Krum.

They have not voted as of 11:30am.

The motion says: “The governing body notes that Len Brown lacks the essential leadership credentials of judgement, honesty, integrity, and credibility and, as a result, councillors have lost confidence in his ability to carry out his duties as mayor of Auckland.”

The statement is an amendment to the agenda and will be moved by Mr Quax and seconded by Ms Cooper.

In an interview yesterday with TVNZ, Mr Brown was vague when questioned on resignation. He was also chased down the street by a dozen protesters who heckled and called for his resignation.

This week a NZ Herald editorial called for Mr Brown to step down as mayor, reversing the paper's original position.


UPDATED 1: Former mayoral candidate Lisa Prager has asked the Serious Fraud Office to investigate Mayor Len Brown for bribery and corruption, she told Auckland Council at today’s meeting.

The SFO originally rejected the case but now say it’s advancing the investigation, she says. The penalty carries maximum of seven years.

“Len, your time is over,” she says.

“We want you gone. We want you out of that seat,” yelled hecklers.

She told Mr Brown he should step down as mayor and called for a mayoral by-election.

“Oh what wicked webs we weave,”* she said as she began to address the council. She said she was extremely disappointment lack of transparency since the formation of the super city.

The council has more than a moral obligation to censure Mr Brown and call for his resignation, she says. She called for them to grow some “ethical spines”.

The meeting continues.

* Ms Prager was misquoting Sir Walter Scott's line: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive.”

A quarter of Auckland councillors have signalled they will try to pass a no-confidence motion about the mayor at tomorrow’s 10 am governing body meeting at the Auckland Town Hall, according to a just released statement by councillor Cameron Brewer.

LATEST: For first time, Brown does not rule out resignation

They are expected to debate and vote on a motion that says: “The governing body notes that Len Brown lacks the essential leadership credentials of judgement, honesty, integrity, and credibility and, as a result, councillors have lost confidence in his ability to carry out his duties as mayor of Auckland.”

The five councillors, Dick Quax, Linda Cooper, Mr Brewer, Sharon Stewart and Denise Krum have told other councillors of their intentions. They want more councillors to join them tomorrow in supporting the stronger motion, according to Mr Brewer’s statement.

Today, a Herald editorial called for Mr Brown to step down as mayor  reversing the paper's original position.

This afternoon TVNZ reported the mayor had been chased down the street by a dozen protesters who called for his resignation.

At tomorrow’s council meeting, councillors are expected to censure the mayor and ask him to pay at least part of the EY report which investigated the use of council resources during his extra-marital affair.

The most recent saga has eclipsed other council business on tomorrow’s agenda, such as the adoption of the draft Annual Plan 2014/2015, details of the Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway Project (SkyPath), and public input from Living Wage Aotearoa on the wage debate.

Former mayoral candidate Lisa Prager is also scheduled to have the floor at tomorrow’s council meeting, according to the agenda.

On her Facebook page, she says she will demand Len Brown step down as mayor. She plans to call for a mayoral by-election.

“At the heart of our concerns is the bribery and corruption involving SkyCity and Len Brown. A lame duck mayor, Mr Brown is now hopelessly compromised,” she says on Facebook.

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