Written By: lprent - Date published: 9:28 am, February 8th, 2014 - 67 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, len brown, local government - Tags: accounting, Bevan Chuang, Cameron Brewer, cameron slater, Denise Krum, Dick Quax, john palino, jonolists, Linda Cooper, perverts, Sharon Stewart, SkyCity
The fiasco of the wet dick and the perverts shuddered to a conclusion yesterday with the direct bill of around $250,000 for the cost of the council ordered external audit of the Mayor during his stupid affair with Bevan Chuang.
The question now has to be why in the hell this massively expensive and apparently unconstrained external audit was ordered on behalf of the council presumably for the councillors when there was no evidence of any corrupt wrong-doing? Surely the process the council should have followed should have been to see if there had been a suspicion of any issues in the mayoral office using their own resources first. They should have done it in any case to figure out the scope of the audit. How many emails, phone calls, txts, and financial transactions. All things required for constraining cost blowouts.
But it just looks like some perverts in council authorised wasting a pile of ratepayers money for the titillation of the media and their own political pleasuring. The only apparent constraint on what Ernest & Young looked at was a time limit. Instead of concentrating on what they were asked to do, looking at the use of council resources during the affair and if the Mayor had used undue influence on behalf of his lover – they branched out into looking at the wife’s finances.
Despite the vindictive posturing by the campaign members of the losing challenger John Palino who leaked the information through their campaign managers son (Cameron Slater) and the mayors opponents on the council. This audit revealed nothing of any particular interest to Auckland taxpayers. Of course this didn’t stop the perverts because it turned out that some hotel rooms paid for out of their own money by the mayor’s wife and mayor had been upgraded and some free rooms given.
Somehow the auditors Ernest & Young managed to include these upgrades by hotels to a customer as being a cost to the council? Ridiculous. It is a common practice by the whole hotel industry to upgrade rooms. Where the rooms aren’t already booked then the cost is cheap for the hotel as it consists largely of a better grade of soap. Hotels will commonly automatically do this for good customers like the mayors wife Shan Inglis to retain them. See my previous post “Skycity: they’re toxic“.
There was no cost to the council in any of these transactions. Len Brown, like councillors Cameron Brewer, Dick Quax and most likely others should pay a lot more attention to declaring gifts received in their private lives. But that is so that the ratepayers can see what kinds of organisations are trying to influence them.
An inquiry into Auckland Mayor Len Brown’s affair with Bevan Chuang went into detail he never expected and may have gone too far, Brown says.
“It’s become clear I don’t have a private life at all … and that’s difficult to come to terms with,” he said.
A review of the affair and whether Brown used council resources to fund it, or if he used his position to Chuang’s advantage, was released today.
It found that while Brown had received free hotel suites and upgrades valued at more than $40,000, he did not abuse his role or use ratepayer money inappropriately.
A largely unrepentant Brown told Fairfax Media he and his wife, Shan Inglis, had laid everything on the table for the auditors – including their personal expenditure records – something that had not been expected.
“It was well outside what was originally intended. We didn’t think it would have gone into that type of detail,” Brown said.
The report was supposed to have been about Chuang – the two questions around resources and influence, he said.
“And it came back with a big fat no to both. Not a dollar of taxpayer money was used at all. It was all about our personal expenditure.”
Brown said the issue was mainly one of process – he should have been more careful and got better advice on whether accepting free rooms and upgrades were over $300, the cap on the council’s interest register.
As a ratepayer, I’m quite irritated that Len Brown was taking free rooms from SkyCity at the same time that he was also working with them on the proposed white elephant conference centre. This was to be paid for by further bilking addicted gamblers. That is an incredible cost to Auckland over the long term to get something of little value. Knowing that the same organisation to benefit from this could have been also trying to influence the process with gifts is why the gift register was set up.
But quite how this got into the expensive frame of reference for the auditors is a question that ratepayers need to ask of the councillors. From an outside view of it especially the jump from the estimated bill of about $100,000 to the final bill of about $250,000, it appears that the audit wasn’t properly scoped by the council.
Somehow despite being cleared of the waste of council resources and funds or using undue influence on behalf of Bevan Chuang. The council has now got Len Brown to cough up $40,000 of his own money to an enquiry that he didn’t order and which showed him not to be at fault. That in itself really shows what this is really about. Pure dirty politics.
It reeks of the type of perverted dirty machine politics that shouldn’t be allowed in NZ. It started with a New Jersey style political campaign hooking up with the demented end of the local blogosphere Cameron Slater, hooked into the media hysterics like Patrick Gower and the other jonolists of the TV3 team, and petered out in a fiasco.
Curiously I suspect that it has actually enhanced Len Brown’s political chances in the next local body election. Who else would want to get into a political campaign where this type of perversion of the political process is the norm? I suspect we can expect only the dumpster diving perverts who conceal their foul nature behind a facade of respectability.
Perhaps this is why councillor Dick Quax, a vocal opponent of the mayor, sounded like a complete dork on Checkpoint yesterday.
I’m going to be fascinated by what the other opponents of the mayor say over the next few days. I tend to agree with The Irascible Curmudgeon about where the real questions lie.