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SkyCity: they’re toxic

Written By: - Date published: 8:11 am, December 16th, 2013 - 170 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, Economy, local government - Tags:

The mode of business that SkyCity operates is one that is going to be toxic for politics. For a politician to be taking favours from a company whose central business is gambling makes them reek of possible corruption in the public eye.

Schmoozing up politicians with free rooms might look like a harmless freebie when they come to pay their bill, but it looks downright fishy and probably corrupt to everyone else when it involves a gambling company. So does being wined and dined at their corporate box at Eden Park to watch a game. So does National holding their frequent conferences at the existing SkyCity convention centre. Every time I see that I ask myself – just how good was the rate that they actually paid?

The reason is obvious. SkyCity derives most of its profit from the highly regulated area of gambling and where they have clear business focus of trying to monopolize the local market in Auckland. They badly need politicians to give them a free run at that by removing the regulation that protects the public.  For them the reputation that the politician has after they get what they want simply doesn’t matter that much.

But the reputation that a politician has is what they trade on election after election. Once it gets tattered with any major perception of corruption then they really a dead meat walking. John Banks has pretty much already been convicted in the public mind. I rather suspect that Len Brown is going to find that out.

The report that the Auckland City Council commissioned* about use of council resources showed no particular smoking gun. It was largely sloppy management control of the resources of the mayors office. The nearest thing to systematic misuse was the use of a mobile phone on which about a third of it’s use was to txt or call Bevan Chaung. The problem is that separating personal and work use is notoriously difficult, and that the phone was almost certainly on an unlimited or near unlimited contract which makes the marginal costs of calls moot.

In the course of the investigation the report looked at hotel rooms, which turned out to have little to do with the council. However they have a lot to do with politics.

Hotel Total room nights booked Complimentary room nights Upgrade room nights
Heritage 1 0 1
Hilton 4 4 0
Stamford Plaza 57 0 57
SKYCITY 8 3 5
Pullman 1 0 0
Langham 2 1 1
Copthorne 1 1 0
Total 74 9 64

The estimates about the value of hotel room upgrades is complete bullshit. Hotel room upgrades are common if there isn’t demand for the better room. Then it costs the hotel essentially nothing to do.  It is a marginal cost for different consumables.

As you can see the mayor and his family (the mayoress paid for it) used the Stamford Plaza on a regular basis, which had 57 of the 74 hotel nights over a 1087 day period. That made them high value regulars and that meant that any hotel with upgradeable capacity will be upgrading them if at all possible. 

But what is interesting are the complimentary hotel rooms where the room is free. This actually does cost the hotel. But it also isn’t uncommon especially if the hotel can make money on other services like meals or if they are trying to poach a regular customer from another hotel. The 4 free rooms at the Hilton and one each from the Langham and Copthorne look like examples of this. For that matter so do the 3 free rooms at Skycity….

But the problem with the Skycity free rooms is that they happened over the same period that Skycity was lobbying both the local and central government to provide a convention centre (that many including myself think is a white elephant) in exchange for significiant increase in their ability to increase their gambling capacity. The dirty (and in my view – corrupt) deals done with the National government have been pretty well documented.

The stench of that is probably going to carry over to those three free room nights. It doesn’t matter if the Hilton did 4 nights. It is fairly clear that they had no particular advantage to schmooze the mayor apart from his habit of staying at another hotel.  But Skycity is far more vertically integrated between its gambling and hotel business. Politically Len Brown accepting three free nights there is political suicide.

Of course as Brian Rudman at the NZ Herald points out, there is bugger all that anyone can do about Len Brown before the next local body elections in 2016.  People who want to whine about that should direct themselves to Rodney Hide who monumentally screwed up most of the supercity legislation including making the mayor a presidential style of position.

* Incidentally Christine Fletcher is a bit of a munter trying to get Len Brown to pay for a report that the council commissioned. At least a  large chunk of the fault for the few minor bits of questionable spending lies with the council for not monitoring expenditures better. That the Bernard Osman at the NZ Herald has written this stupid piece without bothering to note that, indicates he really needs to brush up on his basic organisational responsibilities.

170 comments on “SkyCity: they’re toxic”

  1. tinfoilhat 1

    Please stop running distractions and blaming the mayors appalling behaviour on everyone but the one who is culpable.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 1.1

      :roll:

      *whoosh*

      • lprent 1.1.1

        Yeah he can’t read..

        • tinfoilhat 1.1.1.1

          she…..thank you very much, and yes I can read very well what you wrote and what was between the lines.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 1.1.1.1.1

            Maybe it’s the stuff between the lines you made up that’s causing the problem, because I can read perfectly well too and the article is critical of Brown, though perhaps not for the reasons you prefer.

    • karol 1.2

      This, from the end of Lynn’s post:

      Politically Len Brown accepting three free nights there is political suicide.

      Of course as Brian Rudman at the NZ Herald points out, there is bugger all that anyone can do about Len Brown before the next local body elections in 2016. People who want to whine about that should direct themselves to Rodney Hide who monumentally screwed up most of the supercity legislation including making the mayor a presidential style of position.

      Len Brown has been on the wrong side of the Sky City convention issue for a while.

      But the problem is a deep one. It is expensive to run a mayoral campaign. Brown accepted donations from various sources. And Sky City was looking to get influence with both Banks & Brown when they went head to head in the 2010 mayoral campaign.

      It’s hard to have a mayoral campaign in the amalgamated Auckland Council without having to deal with the power of big money. Rodney Hide’s structure of the super city opened the dorr to such manipulations.

      Many of us on the left want a truly left wing mayor. Brown was always a compromise for me. We were given limited real choices. I voted Brown because he was, and still is, preferable to Banks.

      How can we ever get a mayor who is not beholden to the corporate world? We certainly won’t get it from the SkyCity loving right. We need much better from the left.

    • whatever next 1.3

      Power is seductive, Mayor Len Brown’s over Bevan Chuang, and Sky City’s power over those that like the high life, which number quite a few these days….

  2. dv 2

    >>Incidentally Christine Fletcher is a bit of a munter trying to get Len Brown to pay for a report that the council commissioned.

    Does that mean McCully and Dunne will pay for their leak investigations?

    • lprent 2.1

      I was thinking Bill English over his double dipping and perhaps John Key should pay his own legal costs in the McCready case against him for illegal spying.

  3. Grumpy 3

    Ooh, so it’s not Len’s fault that evil SKYCITY keep giving him free rooms then?
    Now we’ve got that straight………

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.1

      Then what is the “problem” Lprent keeps bringing up?

      For those of us who don’t think he should go for being a left-winger who had sex, Len Brown’s acceptance of free hotel rooms from money-launderers is the nail in his coffin.

      • Lanthanide 3.1.1

        Personally I think it’s pretty small beer.

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1

          It pretty much is in terms of dollar total – but the look and timing re: SkyCity is pretty horrific.

        • lprent 3.1.1.2

          It is in monetary terms. The political issue is accepting anything from SkyCity while they were trying to push the conference centre.

          • Lanthanide 3.1.1.2.1

            I’d ultimately have to agree on that.

            Even though SkyCity is actually doing this dirty deal with the government, Len Brown as the mayor still has a large role in it and so should be keeping himself as clear as possible.

            Still, while it isn’t a good look, I don’t think it’s a sacking offence. If the number of rooms/upgrades had been larger, or Len could be shown to have been deliberately chasing them, that’d be worse.

    • Tracey 3.2

      Reading is a skill. If you cant read that lprent is suggesting Brown’s career is as good as over in 2016 because of his own actions, you are in need of reading recovery courses. There used to be night classes at colleges, but National scrapped those. perhaps they like the idea of a dumbed down population such as yourself grumpy?

      • TightyRighty 3.2.1

        2016? if you, and others on the left, think he shouldn’t be punished for his actions for three years, there are more serious problems than reading comprehension.

        • lprent 3.2.1.1

          I guess you didn’t read that dumbarse legislation that the political dickhead Rodney Hide of the party of morons (Act) inflicted on Aucklanders back in 2009?

          You remember… That was when the fool completely overrode the Royal Commission’s recommendations and with the full backing of National imposed a corporate structure on Auckland that most closely resembles a fascist state.

          Part of that was putting in a presidential mayor. There are exactly two ways that Len can be deposed. Read the Rudman link in the post.

          That’s unless he’s chased out of town and thus ceases to remain an elector, or if he is convicted of an offence punishable by a term of imprisonment of two years or more. Not charged with, but convicted.

          When you desist from doing your little right wank and let some blood back into your brain, you might want to consider what charge there is that could be brought to run him through the courts? I can’t see one.

          Weren’t you praising Rodney Hide for his great legislation on this site throughout the supershitty debate? I’m damn sure that you were…

          • grumpy 3.2.1.1.1

            You seem to be obsessed with the sexual aspect of this. Len has shown no contrition for anything. The biggest apology he owes is to you guys – his supporters. He has ripped off the ratepayers (in my mind a fairly minor issue), accepted free gifts and campaign contributions from SKYCITY (John Banks territory) but most of all he has embarrassed his supporters who feel they need to make dicks of themselves to support him.
            If he had an ounce of decency (which he clearly hasn’t) he would quietly pack up and go over Xmas.

            • lprent 3.2.1.1.1.1

              The sexual aspects are all I ever seem to hear from the right. I think that to be a righty you have to think with your dicks… Speaking of which..

              If he had an ounce of decency (which he clearly hasn’t) he would quietly pack up and go over Xmas.

              a. Quite unlikely

              b. Who wants another expensive election especially when there are no candidates worth mentioning – Palino is crispy toast. Minto and most of the others are simply unelectable. There is no-one credible in the wind. I’d anticipate a lameduck mayor winning with 10% of the possible vote on a turnout of less than 40%. Hardly a mandate for anyone.

              c. Who wants the disruption that will put into the infrastructure implementation that requires mayoral approval over the next 6 months? Not only the local stuff but also the national programs. Rodney Hide is such a complete dickhead legislator as he didn’t put in any effective backup to a sitting mayor.

              d. We’ve been waiting for close to two decades for some of the things that are meant to get started this year. Making a choice between having a existing lameduck mayor and a newly elected lameduck mayor is a pointless activity. It seems way too expensive cost to pander to the Mrs Grundys sexual deviancies or for sending a signal to SkyCity

              e. A better course is to get the change in legislation to remove this silly and unmanageable system that Rodney Hide gave us. Electing someone else into that morass of stupidity just compounds the problem. There are too few councillors to be effective, the CCO’s are unworkable (look at the AT Hop card for instance), and the mayoral position is too unassailable. We should fix those before the next election.

              • grumpy

                Hard to disagree with you there {and I notice even you have problems with double comments appearing :-) }

                Certainly the legislation needs changing but the projects underway would surely carry on even without a mayor. What the hell do all the other councillors and committees do? The ratbag is just a figurehead (or should be).

                • lprent

                  What the hell do all the other councillors and committees do? The ratbag is just a figurehead (or should be).

                  Think of it as being a presidential system where the mayor has to sign off on everything before it becomes law. But it doesn’t have a fallover system of a vice president or speaker of the house. Nor does it have a system for impeachment.

                  It isn’t a figurehead position. It is a blockage position because everything goes through that position.

                  • you_fool

                    clearly designed for John Banks to fulfill Act’s desires, but (un)fortunately for them it all failed when Len Brown won the election

              • Draco T Bastard

                (look at the AT Hop card for instance)

                The AT Hop card debacle was due to a National MP forcing the Snapper HOP card on us. If that hadn’t happened then the roll out of the AT Hop card would have been almost without incident. Of course, the whole lot would have been better done if the previous government had integrated such cards into the currency system under set standards rather than allowing multiple companies using multiple incompatible standards into the mix.

                Other than that, yeah, the CCOs need to be got rid of and actual control of them returned to the council.

            • lprent 3.2.1.1.1.2

              The sexual aspects are all I ever seem to hear from the right. I think that to be a righty you have to think with your dicks… Speaking of which..

              If he had an ounce of decency (which he clearly hasn’t) he would quietly pack up and go over Xmas.

              a. Quite unlikely

              b. Who wants another expensive election especially when there are no candidates worth mentioning – Palino is crispy toast. Minto and most of the others are simply unelectable. There is no-one credible in the wind. I’d anticipate a lameduck mayor winning with 10% of the possible vote on a turnout of less than 40%. Hardly a mandate for anyone.

              c. Who wants the disruption that will put into the infrastructure implementation that requires mayoral approval over the next 6 months? Not only the local stuff but also the national programs. Rodney Hide is such a complete dickhead legislator as he didn’t put in any effective backup to a sitting mayor.

              d. We’ve been waiting for close to two decades for some of the things that are meant to get started this year. Making a choice between having a existing lameduck mayor and a newly elected lameduck mayor is a pointless activity. It seems way too expensive cost to pander to the Mrs Grundys sexual deviancies or for sending a signal to SkyCity

              e. A better course is to get the change in legislation to remove this silly and unmanageable system that Rodney Hide gave us. Electing someone else into that morass of stupidity just compounds the problem. There are too few councillors to be effective, the CCO’s are unworkable (look at the AT Hop card for instance), and the mayoral position is too unassailable. We should fix those before the next election.

            • Tracey 3.2.1.1.1.3

              I would love him to resign. I would love the supporters of key to call for his resignation over the hundreds of lies he has told the electorate. At least i am consistent in who i call on to resign and WHY.

              Key has told so many lies he has embarrassed his supporters who feel they need to make dicks of themselves to support him

          • TightyRighty 3.2.1.1.2

            While you have your little “my team got off” circle jerk with the other lyen brown fan bois, remember this, i think len was the best of a bad bunch when it came to voting for mayor. so i voted for him as i thought he would be the best for auckland moving forward. he certainly did a fairly good job last term.

            It’s not the money, it’s not that 10% of his calls were to BC (compared to how many to his wife), it’s not even that the supercity legislation doesn’t allow for this situation.

            It’s that this guy campaigned on integrity but blatantly has none. yet somehow, apologists like you think to downplay the significance of this when it was what was first and foremost in the mind of voters when they voted for him. Remember his main opposition? first JB then Palino. hardly integrity focused individuals.

            If the left and it’s prominent commentators had a skerrick of the dignity and democratic values they profess to have, they’d call for his head. or at least put so much pressure on him privately he was forced to step aside immediately. not in 2016 and not when goff is ready. This isn’t a right wing wank, but thanks for reminding everyone of how this issue arose. left wingers, using tax payers dollars to spoof on the keyboard.

            Shall we name the three others mistresses? given BC’s allure, we will see how much of the mayors phone bill and how many free hotel nights he got for the others. say each mistress and his wife got 10% of the bill, that amounts to a personal phone sometimes used for business. wonder how the IRD feels about brown cheating on his FBT declaration.

            • lprent 3.2.1.1.2.1

              …or at least put so much pressure on him privately he was forced to step aside immediately. not in 2016 and not when goff is ready. This isn’t a right wing wank, …

              That is exactly what it is. It isn’t hard to look into Len Brown’s history and find that he is pretty damn stubborn when it comes to pressure being put on him. In fact you don’t have to look past the stupidity of the Mrs Grundy campaign that John Palino and his minons were foolish enough to quietly try.

              There are exactly no levers on the mayor because that was how the idiots in Act set up the position.

              Why would I or anyone else on the left be bothered exerting pressure when it isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference. ANDit will get in the way of starting up the infrastructure projects that are a damn sight more important than right wing Mrs Grundy sentiment?

              We’ll just start looking at who we want to support in 2016. Meanwhile keep gobbling Mrs Grundy…. Perhaps you’ll understand why stupid jerry rigged political structures are a pain in the arse next time.

              • TightyRighty

                yet you support a referendum on asset sales. wow, much consistency.

                • karol

                  TR, do you want to organise a referendum on Brown’s conduct as mayor? How will you word it? Go for it, I say!

                  • TightyRighty

                    I’m good. no point throwing good money after bad. according to lprent it’s all ok as len brown won’t resign anyway.

                    Good think I/S is right on the money on this one. it’s not about the fucking, it’s about the integrity. you guys just keep running interference though. it’s not even the monetary value. one hotel room is one too many.

                    lets have an investigation into all of lens mistresses. if this is just what he takes for one of them, i’d love to see the total.

                    • lprent

                      … if this is just what he takes for one of them, i’d love to see the total.

                      From the public purse? As far as I can see there is exactly nothing taken.

                      Basically you;re looking very very confused (ie stupid) right now..

                      Perhaps you actually should read the E&Y report linked to in the post before making a further fool of yourself.

                    • Naturesong

                      How weird it must be for you to be able to read words, but be completely unable to comprehend what they mean.

                      While not myself a christian, the first verse of the Serenity Prayer seems particularly apt here;

                      God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other

                  • Lanthanide

                    Why would I or anyone else on the left be bothered exerting pressure when it isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference.

                    yet you support a referendum on asset sales. wow, much consistency.

        • Tracey 3.2.1.2

          unless he resigns i dont know the legislation supports sacking him. try and keep up, I havent been supporting len Brown for quite some weeks. By all means make it a my team and the other team if it makes you feel good but I dont want Len anymore than I want Banks, Or Heatley or Brownlee (says he didnt understand how the Credit card worked) AND SO ON.

          You guys read so much between the lines yet refuse to read what key actually says, on the lines, and excuse him.

      • grumpy 3.2.2

        2016? FFS his career is over now! He can’t exist without the left support base – just tell him to f**k off, get him a job at the UN or somewhere…….

    • lprent 3.3

      Apart from his family and the prurient dribblers and gossipers, who really cares who the mayor is having sex with. The only interest I’d have is if it intruded into significiant decisions – which it doesn’t seem to have done.

      Basically this isn’t the USA, our “moral majority” is about 2% of the population, and I have a tendency to class obsessive interest in the sex lives of other consenting adults as being an example of the most common version of sexual deviancy we have – Mrs Grundy syndrome.

      Hi Mrs Grundympy – what is your interest in Len Brown? Political or are you being a sexual deviant?

      • grumpy 3.3.1

        I couldn’t give a flying f**k about his sex life but I do about his serial ripping off ratepayers and his sheer stupidity in accepting free rooms (in fact any rooms) for bonking from SKYCITY when there was an ongoing issue over it’s pokie deal.
        Also, if he had a skerrick of honour he would chuck it in now. No right advantage, the job would simply go to a (hopefully) better leftie. There is no upside to the continued excuses and blame shifting from the left on this. Chuck him out, put in a better leftwinger and move on!

        • karol 3.3.1.1

          put in a better leftwinger

          Who? What alternatives are there? Is there a better left winger ready and able to step up?.. especially given the right-slanted, corruption-enhancing structure of the Hyde’s super city creation?

          • grumpy 3.3.1.1.1

            Geez, what an admission! You mean Len’s the best you have?
            Phil Goff looks a starter but it seems he is not left enough for some here. He would make a bloody good mayor though, a bit like Lianne Dalziel in Christchurch.

            • karol 3.3.1.1.1.1

              It’s the most able to compete within a highly skewed system. The buck stops with Hide and the Nats that enabled him to create the undemocratic super city.

              it’s debatable whether Goff is left wing.

            • lprent 3.3.1.1.1.2

              Same problem on the right. John Palino was a political idiot. Brewer is good at self-publicity. We won’t mention that John Banks could see an opportunity..

        • Psycho Milt 3.3.1.2

          Chuck him out, put in a better leftwinger and move on!

          How exactly do you picture that being achieved? It’s been mentioned multiple times now (in the post and in the comments thread) that there is no mechanism for doing that, thanks to the Galtian geniuses of the ACT party.

        • you_fool 3.3.1.3

          I might be wrong, but I am pretty sure the report said that the free rooms had nothing to do with the Mayors “bonking” and was more to do with his working, or at least the fact he was working late and early and wanted to stay in the city to be a better mayor. The problem is that he didn’t declare them which has lead to other issues, the biggest being an ongoing condition of using his office to get him free stuff.

          • Tracey 3.3.1.3.1

            you are not wrong. he was apparently using them for work purposes but decided not to declare them. Why, only he knows. BUT he has embarrassed Auckland and Aucklanders and he has left open the possibility he was conflcited over the convention centre. Many of our politicians forget that whether we voted for them or not they are representing all of us once elected and by that, their behaviour is under scrutiny and so is their honesty and integrity. In the end all we have to know what the fuck is going on with our money and lives is the words that come out of their mouths.

            • Grumpy 3.3.1.3.1.1

              We only have his word that they were for work purposes and that ain’t worth much…..

      • TightyRighty 3.3.2

        Who really cares about the sex indeed. but who cares about his family values campaign or the fact that he accepted what strangely look like “considerations” for “favours”.

        • lprent 3.3.2.1

          Talk to Act. They were the idiots who set up these rules. I guess that when they thought they’d win the mayoralty with John Banks they thought he’d need some protection.

          • TightyRighty 3.3.2.1.1

            how many years ago was that lprent? time to move on don’t you think. all of this is ok because ACT fucked up? i can just imagine your howling if JB did win and something like this went down and you couldn’t do shit. Have you thought about that?

            • lprent 3.3.2.1.1.1

              That is exactly what I am thinking of. The problem is structural in the supershitty acts. That is also where it needs to be fixed.

              I’d be saying exactly the same about John Banks if it wasn’t possible to convict him of a charge that has a sentence of 2 years jail time. Even then imagine the years of running it through the court systems and the effect it would have on all city upgrades. Imagine that in your city right now…

              Flailing around at the edges blaming individuals doesn’t fix that problem of the office of the mayoralty being an impediment to implementation.

              • TightyRighty

                seen the berms round grey lynn? this shit was happening long before he got caught. stop running those bullshit lines. the impediments have not arisen because len brown can’t keep it buttoned up. they aren’t the natural consequences either.

                lets ram some upgrade legislation to the super city act through under urgency in parliament. if that solves the acts problems, can we then get rid of len brown? or is that undemocratic?

                • lprent

                  Now I suspect that you’re stretching further into stupidity and trying to divert from it.

                  The berms are a result of having a super city that was made up of separate cities each with their own rules.

                  Either the berms get mowed by the super city in all of the city or they are the responsibility of the property owners throughout the city.

                  Now personally I’ve lived most of my life in the old Auckland city and we always used to mow our berms. So did my grandparents until they go too old to mow. Then their lawn mower did it. It was preferable to the crap job that the council used to do on their occasional attempts at it.

                  I’ve been in an apartment for much of the last 15 years with no lawns. I prefer not paying for other people berms to be mowed.

                  So I’m failing to see what the problem is. Laziness perhaps?

                  • TightyRighty

                    my berms are fine as i pay for them to be mowed. thanks for your commendable community spirit though. you are all for spending other peoples money on things that you deem to be worthy, i’d prefer everyone mow their berms and not have their hand out for taxpayers money, like using the chaffeured car for the mistress. but that would be too much consistency wouldn’t it?

                    • you_fool

                      would that be the using of council resources for inappropriate use in regards to the mayor’s mistress that he didn’t do? Ah yes that use, the one that doesn’t exist…

                      Also is it just me or did you argue with lprent by agreeing with her using the same arguments?

  4. Sanctuary 4

    I was talking to a very senior police officer once and he told me the only reason the NZ Police force wasn’t corrupt was their wasn’t enough organised crime money to make it worthwhile, and even if a cop was on the take NZ is such a small place that people would quickly notice a cop living beyond his/her means. Well, whenever you get mass gambling you get cashed up organised crime. Organised crime is attracted to the sleezy atmosphere of casinos like moths to a flame. And if you’ve got gambling and organised crime, then the trifecta – corrupt officials – is never going to be far away.

  5. The Baron 5

    The gymnastics you’re doing to justify this is unsightly, Lynn. The term “partisan hack” comes to mind.

    Have a look at Danyl’s post on the same topic, and take the opportunity to reflect on your own credibility. Are you saying that this wouldn’t be a big deal if banksie was in the hot seat? I doubt it.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Do you even think that Banksy in court is a big deal?

      I mean, you are the hypocrite here dude.

      • grumpy 5.1.1

        Come on CV………there is f-all difference now between the Banksie situation and Len, except Banksie wasn’t screwing Kim……..as far as we know.

      • The Baron 5.1.2

        Speaking of partisan hacks…

        CV you’re interviewing yourself. I absolutely have a problem with Banks not declaring $50,000 in donations. That said, his donee received nothing for his donations, so this is a case of potential corruption as opposed to actual. He is rightfully standing trial for that and may well lose his elected position if convicted. I say good show.

        I likewise have a problem with Brown not declaring over $30,000 in gifts. The donee potentially received heaps from that gifting, so it is potentially a case of real corruption rather than potential.

        Unlike Banks however, I have to put up with useful partisan idiots clapping like a seal for his own team and claiming that that’s all Skycity’s fault and no issue to see here.

        Is disclosure fraud is A-OK with the Labour party, CV? Or just when your side does it?

        • lprent 5.1.2.1

          I likewise have a problem with Brown not declaring over $30,000 in gifts.

          Perhaps you should read my post rather than wanking on with stupid errors.

          The Ernest and Young valuation of “upgrades” is costed incorrectly based on a nominal pricelist that virtually never applies in the market and is almost certainly not required under *any* transparency regime. Moreover most of it was for spending by his wife. So about $38k of E&Y’s gifts are simply bullshit.

          If we want to put that on transparency, then I want to first retrospectively apply that new standard to all MP’s and their spouses back to say 2009.

          Basically you can’t just make a fantasy reality by jerking it out whenever you feel like it.

          • The Baron 5.1.2.1.1

            Ah, so we should go with completely made up values? The rate card is the rate card, there is no other way of doing this.

            The policy requires gifts of over $250 to be declared. A night at SkyCity Grand regardless of how you slice it is worth at least $250. So should have been declared.

            The simple fact of the matter is that Lenny doesn’t like people watching him gorge himself from the trough. Lenny also doesn’t like having to be accountable for the decisions he makes.

            Is that ok with you Lynn? Cos that’s why we have the disclosure regime that Len ignored – to prevent these questions of accountability and influence. And cos the rest of your argument is all just muddying bluster, of exactly the sort that you’re quick to criticise when it comes from the other side.

            • lprent 5.1.2.1.1.1

              Your idea of rate cards are kind of irrelevant as all transparency requirements are based on market value. Otherwise it was all too easy to declare any value you like as a “rate”

              I agree for the nine freebie nights that they should have been declared. They are a gift. While you could argue if they were given to the position of the Mayor or the person of the mayor is irrelevant. They should have been in there because of transparency. They should have probably also been declared at the nominal value as being the only available market value – unless they had been booked at a lower rate (which most of them appear to have been booked).

              But I was talking about “upgrades”. Which are rather common in most hotels and have a marginal cost value of virtually nothing and a market value attributed by the hotels of nothing.

              Could you please please read the E&Y report rather than simply making crap up!

    • RedLogix 5.2

      Do you think that accepting a small number of routine room upgrades and complimentaries – that are totally routine in the business – is an act of corruption?

      If so do you think every politician and public official in this country who has ever received one of these, or received a ‘good rate VIP’ rate for a conference, should be investigated and forced to resign – as I assume you are demanding of Len Brown?

      These are simple questions you should be able to answer with a yes or a no.

      • grumpy 5.2.1

        The small number of rooms is not significant – it’s like only being slightly pregnant.
        You are either corrupt or you’re not……..

        • RedLogix 5.2.1.1

          So I take it that you have answered yes to both questions.

          You really want the hotel records of every politician to be examined for evidence of this crime of the century?

          Or are you just being selective?

          • grumpy 5.2.1.1.1

            The accepting of free rooms toconduct “indescretions” is a totally different matter. It exposes him to the possibility of blackmail. There is also the ‘serial” problems with Len’s inability to use a credit card, his huge donation from SKYCITY, total lack of contrition.
            The guy is corrupt, the degree is immaterial.

            • lprent 5.2.1.1.1.1

              In other words you’re a believer in Mrs Grundy…

              FFS this isn’t the US. You’re making the same stupid mistake that Luigi and John Palino made.

            • greywarbler 5.2.1.1.1.2

              grumpy
              Why don’t you get into the political scene and do some things as an elected member for the public good? If you haven’t ever struggled in a contentious political scene, you’re just taking the easy position sitting low and firing high at ‘corruption’. It sure was unwise for Len Brown to accept freebies from big ‘hospitality’ companies like Sky. But if the man is going to do good in his term, let him get on with it. Slap him on the wrist -and then stop pushing him into the bog to ensure he looks dirty after you’ve plastered him with goo. Not good.

        • Tracey 5.2.1.2

          so, if a prime minister was found to be consistently lying to the electorate, he should go?

          or if someone was putting stuff on their credit card they weren’t entitled to, they should go?

          My answer to both is yes, and I think Brown should go. Your answers would be?

      • Ianmac 5.2.2

        Wasn’t Mr Banks (?) involved in a messy upgrade/gifts in Hong Kong a few years ago?

        • grumpy 5.2.2.1

          Quite possible. I have had numerous upgrades to both hotel rooms and flights over the years, they are purely a “perk”. Free rooms to shag your mistress is another matter.

          • lprent 5.2.2.1.1

            Mrs Grundy…

          • Tracey 5.2.2.1.2

            can you point to any evidence of free rooms for that purpose grumpy? I am sure it would be in the E and Young report?

            • you_fool 5.2.2.1.2.1

              Interesting that the report says that none of the rooms were for shagging the mistress…

              • Grumpy

                Only according to Len and only according to the whatever version after Len had “sanitized” it.

          • Tracey 5.2.2.1.3

            “ACT leader John Banks has admitted to 3 News that he failed to make a proper declaration of a political gift from internet tycoon Kim Dotcom.

            It was a $1000 gift basket which the rules for MPs say is large enough to need be declared.

            Labour leader David Shearer says John Key should sack Mr Banks if he broke the rules. The Prime Minister says it is up to Mr Banks to declare it as the rules state.

            Mr Banks holidayed at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Hong Kong last Christmas at the recommendation of Dotcom’s staff.

            Mr Banks payed for the trip himself, but personally thanked Dotcom for his help, writing him this note: “Dear Kim – Thank you very much for your hospitality in Hong Kong. We have enjoyed our stay in your town very much. Warmest best, John Banks.”

            Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/Banks-admits-not-declaring-Dotcom-gift/tabid/1607/articleID/254513/Default.aspx#ixzz2naFFXUQU

            Now Banks didnt admit it, he confirmed it. He wouldn’t have said anything if he hadnt been confronted with it, as is the case with Brown.

        • Tracey 5.2.2.2

          YES. Gift baskets and everything…

          He has a history

        • veutoviper 5.2.2.3

          Yes, Ianmac – in 2012. Banks and wife went to Hongkong for a holiday and stayed at the hotel his then friend, Kim Dotcom, used to live at in HKG. Banks got a very good rate plus a gift basket that exceeded the value of gifts that needed to be declared (Bamks was then ACT leader and MP for Epsom) under the parliamentary rules. He failed to declare the gift IIRC.

          If you google “John Banks Hongkong” there are lots of links to this story.

          EDIT – This crossed with Tracey’s reply with a TV3 link.

    • Bunji 5.3

      Politically Len Brown accepting three free nights there is political suicide.

      Right-winger can never read to the end of a post can they?

      Spot on Lynn. Not the over-reaction of some, but no excuses either.
      The $15,000 donation, the undeclared 3 free rooms, and then the virulently anti-pokie Manukau mayor becomes the whatever it takes to get a [white elephant] convention centre super-city mayor. It reeks.

      • RedLogix 5.3.1

        Yes. An act of suicide – not because it was necessarily wrong or corrupt in itself – but because it could be given the appearance of being wrong.

        Given this is the case I suggest some gets a hold of SkyCity’s books and see just how many other politicians have also committed ‘political suicide’ by accepting an upgrade or complimentary from them.

        • Hayden 5.3.1.1

          Given this is the case I suggest some gets a hold of SkyCity’s books and see just how many other politicians have also committed ‘political suicide’ by accepting an upgrade or complimentary from them.

          Or what kind of discount the National Party get on their conferences.

    • lprent 5.4

      I did read Danyl when I was writing this post.

      There are two problems with Danyl’s post.

      First is that Danyl was obviously too lazy to *read* the E&Y report before he wrote the post, so he was mostly writing based on some press reports by rather ignorant jonolists. Read this sentence he wrote and find how many errors there are in it.. I count six (ignoring the hypothetical right wing politician) which put it in the realm of being a right wing troll standard…

      How would you feel if a right-wing politician secretly took $39,000 from a casino company to cheat on his wife while he was lobbying to have the law changed to benefit that casino company and then lied about it to the public?

      Secondly, Danyl is writing from the safety of down around Wellington. He doesn’t have to live with whatever crap arises from this. So saying whatever comes to mind without reading the documentation doesn’t carry any costs

      Hell, even I could write satire about his title “Thinking my way through the whole Len Brown thing” because clearly thinking was not what he was doing..

      • The Baron 5.4.1

        Sorry Lynn, your justifications for your partisan hackery are as hollow as the hackery itself.

        Accepting gifts and not declaring them, while in the middle of a highly contentious process, then lying to the electorate, are all sackable in my book. You hold the other side to higher standards.

        This attempt at blame shifting to the “evil corporate masterminds” is just pathetic.

        As a fellow Aucklander, I demand better than this from my political overlords, of all stripes. If you don’t then, well, WTF?

        • lprent 5.4.1.1

          …are all sackable in my book. You hold the other side to higher standards.

          By whom?

          The moronic masterminds in Act made it so that the mayor is not “sackable” for anything apart from a criminal conviction. Perhaps you should complain to Rodney Hide. That is where the low standard of law making came from.

        • Tracey 5.4.1.2

          I understand your frustration but by what mechanism can Brown be made to go without his consent?

    • Tracey 5.5

      Do you get that Lynn’s post is critical of Brown at all?

      • The Baron 5.5.1

        Tracy,

        Do you get that trying to wash this all away as not a big deal is not a credible position?

        Do you also get that this “do you get” style of discussion is infantile? Perhaps you’d like to explain why you think a wet bus ticket is A-OK for fraud like this rather than just questioning my comprehension from, um, no basis other than I’m not agreeing with you. Echo chamber much? Do you “get” that, Tracy?

        I get that you like Len – that’s fine. But you should demand better than this.

        • lprent 5.5.1.1

          The next time we can “demand better” is 2016.

          Those are the rules the idiots from Act set up.

          • The Baron 5.5.1.1.1

            This is a dodgem too Lynn, and you know it. I’m not Rodney and I don’t like that regime at all – it has no accountability.

            Likewise “his wife did it” and “that’s not the real value of the gifts” are equally red herrings.

            Len potentially received favours from SkyCity then helped get them the convention centre deal. I am flabberghasted that you fine soldiers of the left aren’t outraged by that – but oh, I forget you’re a partisan hack, Lynn, as finely demonstrated by this post, and your values only hold when criticising the tribe you don’t like.

            This is what is incredible about this – the sliding morals of the left when their own side is under scrutiny. As far as I’m concerned, policies for stable, credible democracy have been abused by Len Brown. A pox upon him. And a pox on Rodney too if he established it.

            • karol 5.5.1.1.1.1

              And the righties using Brown’s wrongs to do what they wanted to do all along – install a right wing mayor that will be fully enabling of Hide’s gerry-rigging…. that’s not partisan?

              Let’s consider what is best for a democratic Auckland – the system also needs to be reviewed and made more democratic. And then we need a well organised election when it can be done most democratically.

              The rush to lynch Brown ASAP, is all right wing partisan, and little to do for the good of (a democratic) Auckland.

            • MrSmith 5.5.1.1.1.2

              “the sliding morals of the left when their own side is under scrutiny.”

              Baron we could talk about Morals all night, but we are seeing is what happens when to much power is placed in one persons hands, thanks to the Jafa’s falling all over their own egos and creating a super city we now have parliament and Auckland, down south here we just sit back and Laugh as another one of you candy coated chocolates hit the floor and roll towards the trough.

              • karol

                The supercity was the creation of Hide, Key et al, in its current form.

                Most Aucklanders had no say in how it was put together.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  In fact National and Act went to great lengths to ensure that Aucklanders didn’t have a say in their own governance.

        • karol 5.5.1.2

          Let the formal processes take their course.

          And getting some proper oversight to the mayor is at least a step (albeit a small step) in the right direction.

          I understand that righties will talk the whole hotel issue up so they can get what Hide had originally intended: a supercity answerable to no-one, able to walk hand-in-hand with the likes of Sky City, with a friendly NAct mayor playing a presidential, propagandist role cheeerleading the whole corrupt mess.

          And the last thing they want is light shed on the whole SkyCity cronyist issue, or the undemocratic basis of Hide’s supercity.

          Brown is a relatively small player in a much bigger plutocratic disgrace.

          I want an Auckland council structure that is firmly democratic. Then we can have an election.

          • The Baron 5.5.1.2.1

            I can’t speak to the hive mind of these “righties” karol, but that is not what I want at all.

            I want a mayor who declares who is giving him free stuff in accordance with the policy. There is no democratic construct that doesn’t require such transparency.

            Fine if you want more – I’m happy to talk about how the minimums haven’t been met yet, as that’s the issue here.

          • lprent 5.5.1.2.2

            Amen to that especially

            I want an Auckland council structure that is firmly democratic. Then we can have an election.

            What was needed and what the old structure lacked was to make sure that a veto doesn’t stop everything cold. Auckland has to treated as a single largish city because it simply doesn’t make sense otherwise. But we need a presidential system like we need a hole in the head. We also need to make a larger council with much lower limits of election spending and a simple parliamentary type system without any vetos. Being able to raise and use taxes locally rather than routing them through central government would help a lot as well.

            Then I’d suspect we’d get some action on what ails Auckland.

        • Tracey 5.5.1.3

          Please show me where I have said I dont want Brown to go? copy and paste the post where I have said that.

          I understand Lprent’s post is critical of len, maybe not as much as you want, but it is not supportive of him.

          Look forward to your copy and paste of my opinion that a wet bus ticket is A-Ok for fraud and that I support brown on this matter/

          • The Baron 5.5.1.3.1

            More infantileness. It’s not my job to prove your argument.

            You don’t “get” that do you, Tracy. Please go away; the adults are talking.

            • Tracey 5.5.1.3.1.1

              Barren

              you wrote

              “Perhaps you’d like to explain why you think a wet bus ticket is A-OK for fraud like this”

              I asked hwere I had written that i thought this was ok, or that I supported Brown staying

              you wrote

              “It’s not my job to prove your argument”

              • The Baron

                Ad hominem? How old are you?

                • Naturesong

                  Oh dear.

                  Tracey has not asked you to prove her argument, she has asked you to prove yours.

                  To which you responded with ad hominem; here

                  Clearly reading comprehension is not one of your strengths. (Do you know why the previous sentence is not an ad hominem?).

                  • Murray Olsen

                    Doesn’t look like it. Baron’s posts are quite funny, even though I’m sure it takes itself seriously.

  6. Flip 6

    Keeping the population distracted by gambling, sport, scandal, and alcohol is part of the process of control. It enables them to consolidate power. It is evidenced by the governments failure to act on things that are damaging to society like excessive gambling and alcohol when there are clear measures that can be taken. Those measure however would impact on the governments business sponsors negatively so they are ignored in favour of beneficiary bashing which is much better sport for them.

  7. infused 7

    I do love how you make excuses.

    Separating private calls from business calls is not hard at all. Everyone else has to do it.

    Pretty piss poor diversion. Yes I did read it.

    • karol 7.1

      Ah, righties! – always trying to divert from the underlying corrupting influence of corporate power and the manipulations of casino capitalism.

    • RedLogix 7.2

      Separating private calls from business calls is not hard at all. Everyone else has to do it.

      I was in exactly the same position for seven years on a public sector Vodafone plan with unlimited local calls. This was a significant sized organisation and they did not require any accounting of private calls unless they incurred an extra cost, such as overseas calls.

      So no – you are factually wrong.

    • lprent 7.3

      I’ve had company cell phones twice. Once in the late 80s and once in 90s when the calls were frigging expensive.

      On the first one we tried separating the calls for two months and I told them it was too much hassle for me to be bothered with (since I made few personal calls) and that I’d prefer not to have the phone at all. So we stopped separating the calls as an alternative.

      The second one was in my contract that the separation was only on the basis of exceeding the free calling minutes. We then got a contract where the free minutes were too high to ever exceed.

      So no. I don’t know of any company that bothers and haven’t for a long time. Getting virtually unlimited calls and texts is cheap enough now that a business only really bothers getting that because it is cheaper than the accounting.

      The exception is businesses (mostly tiny) who have to do some arbitrary values because the tax department has a rule book left over from the 80s on fringe benefit tax.

      • infused 7.3.1

        They must have been bricks of a phone…

        Thinking about it, most companies now have everyone in the organisation having ‘free calling’ so only people outside of the organisations would be chargeable. That shouldn’t be too hard.

        • lprent 7.3.1.1

          Classic brick. Short battery life. No coverage. Basically was a waste of time.

          Thinking about it, most companies now have everyone in the organisation having ‘free calling’ so only people outside of the organisations would be chargeable.

          Why bother… As an example (after 3 minutes search – there are better contracts) 24 months, 500 minutes unlimited txt, 1.25GB data at vodafone for $59/mo. The most I ever got up to was 250 minutes per month and that was when I was organising Helen’s Mt Albert election campaign in 1999 on it AND running a development program at the same time. These days I’d mostly txt.

          • George D 7.3.1.1.1

            I get through 300 minutes easily, but that’s because I have plenty of 20-60 minute telephone conversations. 2GB is also fairly easy once your phone becomes your main internet device. NZ plans are still horrifically expensive, unfortunately.

            As a political beast, I’m more interested in how this affects his behaviour *as Mayor*, and how it empowers other actors. I’m beginning to form opinions on that.

    • Pascal's bookie 7.4

      Everyone else has to do it.

      Wonder if Jason Ede has to.

    • Tracey 7.5

      yet Brownlee and Heatley couldnt separate stuff on two different credit cards…

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/3361482/Minister-caught-short-on-credit-card

      interestingly when an area is grey our elected reps seem to err on the side that benefits them rather than the taxpayer.

    • Naturesong 7.6

      I’ve never had to seperate any private calls from business ones on any of the phones I’ve been supplied with for work.

      Though I suspect that if I made a few international calls to countries other than Australia, I might get an email from the bean counters.

      Given how cheap calls are these days, it’s explicitly accepted (in writing in my case) that normal personal calls are allowed. With the priviso that you do not take the piss.

      The alternative my current employer offered me was to simply pay for the contract on my phone – I said no; happy to have the phone, I will turn it off outside work hours.

  8. Matthew 8

    Here’s a question that I don’t think has been answered…..

    Why is the Mayor of Auckland staying in hotels in Auckland when he lives in Auckland?

    Just curious…

    • Tracey 8.1

      because he was finishing work in the wee small hours of the morning and then had very early breakfast or other meetings. I don’t know where he lives but I dont object to this per se.

      • you_fool 8.1.1

        He lives in Manukau heights I believe, so that would be a long haul along the southern motorway – is also why he takes/took public transport once a week – it is actually quicker

    • sweetd 8.2

      Its been said he had early starts and late finishes. He also said on Campbell Live he and his wife would treat themselves to an Auckland holiday.

      On the first matter, the early starts and late finishes…it would be a an easy matter to prove, just show the corresponding diary entry.

      Secondly, he abused his position as mayor to get free hotel rooms and not declare them. Just try being a humble rate payer and trying to get a free room from one of these hotels and see what happens.

      • you_fool 8.2.1

        If you are a humble rate payer and stay at one of these hotels very often and then drop hints about how a different hotel is giving a better deal, see how quickly then you get upgrades and free stuff.

        Sure the fact it was the mayor of Auckland helped the process, but if you are a frequent enough visitor/high roller I am sure you can expect the same treatment.

    • karol 8.3

      Auckland Council area is now a very big place. traveling from one end to t’other using inadequate transport systems is an on-going hassle for the majority of Aucklanders.

      These days, I often think twice about traveling into the CBD from the west.

      • sweetd 8.3.1

        That maybe so Karol. Like I said, show the diary entry for the late or early meetings that required the hotel room stays.

        • karol 8.3.1.1

          Whatever. I’m all for full transparency on such things. I am not defending Brown’s use of hotels. And I will be looking for another candidate to vote for come the next election.

          Auckland councillors are looking into the whole thing. I’ll await the outcomes.

      • grumpy 8.3.2

        Maybe that’s why he has a 24/7 car and driver laid on by the ratepayer?????

    • lprent 8.4

      He lives a long way out. The Auckland super city is pretty damn big.

      • grumpy 8.4.1

        Late at night???/Just climb into his 24/7 limo with a 24/7 driver and whoosh!!! Probably get home faster than walking to a hotel and checking in…..

        • you_fool 8.4.1.1

          The issue isn’t necessarily the late night bit, but the early morning bit, with rush hour

          • Grumpy 8.4.1.1.1

            So he only needed some of them then? Clearly the late night ones were for some other purpose. Who would have thought?
            Logical really.

      • tinfoilhat 8.4.2

        oh bullshit, outside of rush hour it’s 20 minutes to or from Len’s house to the city.

        • you_fool 8.4.2.1

          but in rush hour it is close to an hour. The issue isn’t necessarily the late night bit, but the early morning bit.

          • tinfoilhat 8.4.2.1.1

            If it’s early morning (pre rush hour) then the travel time would be 20 minutes if it’s rush hour he’s travelling in then why on earth can’t he be like every one else and travel on the train or by bus or in rich hour traffic ?

            • you_fool 8.4.2.1.1.1

              Southern motorway rush hour starts quite early, like 6-6:30; He does take public transport (or did in his last term) once a week – right wing morons complained about that because his company car had to make it into town as well anyway. At any case it is unlikely that 20 minutes would be his commute time and staying in town when he had both late appointments and early ones the next day would make sense – especially since he was trying to pay for them with his own money (or at least his wife’s money.) The issue is how much the free rooms and upgrades were because he as a normal person was a valuable customer and how much was because he was the mayor of Auckland. To avoid the confusion it should have all been declared, but Len obviously hasn’t learnt his lesson from his Manukau credit card issues about what he is entitled to as mayor and what he is not…

  9. Rich 9

    I’m just a lowly peon, but if my firm has a corp-rate with a hotel, I’ll usually get some sort of upgrade. (I once got the top floor suite at the Quadrant, which takes up half the floor. Nice view, but a bit like a big office with a bed and bathroom in it).

    • Tracey 9.1

      and do your shareholders mind? Cos ratepayers might mind, if it has a hidden cost. You do understand those upgrades happen as a quid pro quo to keep your firms business?

      • you_fool 9.1.1

        Yes, but a lot of people here seem to think this upgrading and free rooms are something extra special that Len was only getting cause he was the mayor, when in fact anyone who regularly stays at a hotel will get similar treatment…

        The implications of the quid pro quo bit is different

  10. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 10

    Great article lprent bringing the focus back to where it needs to be – unlike the Fox-News-style seedy coverage this issue has received on the msm.

    • Paul 10.1

      Led by the wondrous Herald

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 10.1.1

        …yeah what is ‘The Herald’ heralding exactly?… A paper signalling the introduction of Americano-style junk mulched news to keep people deeply misinformed and distract us from what is really important.

  11. gobsmacked 11

    If Brown quits tomorrow (and I won’t be shedding any tears if he does) the real problem still remains. That’s what LPrent was pointing out, though not everyone seems to get it.

    You go to the theatre in Auckland, it could be at Sky City. You have a meal at Sky City. A conference. A PR launch. A sporting event. A bungy jump, a panoramic view. The “Sky City” Breakers play basketball. The “Sky City” cheerleaders (were?) at the rugby. And so on …

    It is impossible to avoid its tentacles, even if you never gamble a cent. Jim Bolger built the temple of greed and misery in the 1990′s and Aucklanders are signed up to worship there even if we don’t.

    The tower dwarfs the town hall, both literally and metaphorically. That’s where the money and the power is. And where there’s money and power, you’ll find politicians flocking.

  12. Herodotus 12

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/small-business/9489720/Businessman-slams-culture-of-kickbacks
    Dealings between private and public-sector bodies needed to be policed more thoroughly, Sole said. “Most of our interactions are with central or local government agencies, and we would be very upset if anything above a Christmas Card was exchanged.”

    The industry I work within have been strongly advised that under no condition are any gifts to be passed onto council staff, even going for a lunch or even a coffee is ill advised.
    So stressed, hard working staff are to miss out. Yet the king can still accumulate gratuities.

  13. FYI

    16 December 2013

    Nick Paterson
    General Manager Fraud and Corruption

    Julie Read
    CEO
    New Zealand Serious Fraud Office (SFO)

    ‘OPEN LETTER’ request to the NZ Serious Fraud Office to re evaluate your refusal to investigate complaint C 3592 alleging bribery and corruption against Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Sky City:

    This is a formal request for the NZ Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to re evaluate your decision not to investigate a complaint from Lisa Prager and myself for an investigation alleging bribery and corruption against Mayor Len Brown and Sky City, (which the SFO chose to treat as a ‘serious and complex fraud’ – when that was NOT the basis for this complaint) – particularly in light of the recent Ernst and Young investigation.

    (Your SFO reply, dated 5 December 2013 (your reference C3592) is attached to this email.)

    Your reply states:

    “RE: C3592 Complaint to the Serious Fraud Office

    I refer to your complaint received by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) on 22 November 2013.

    The SFO is a highly specialised government agency that is permitted by law to investigate only those matters where there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that a serious or complex financial crime may have been committed.

    We have evaluated the information which you have provided to determine whether it may warrant a SFO investigation.For your information, criteria we consider in determining whether a matter may be of a serious or complex nature include:

    * The financial value of the alleged fraud (usually in excess of $2,000,000);
    *The strength of evidence to support the allegations made;
    * The number of victims impacted by the alleged fraud;
    * The factual, legal and financial complexity of the alleged fraud, including whether you have supplied any documentation to support an allegation of serious or complex fraud;

    When evaluating whether a matter may meet the criteria for an investigation we must first identify conduct that could be considered a breach of the criminal law within the mandate of the SFO (typically under the Crimes Act 1961).

    You have requested the SFO investigate whether Mayor Len Brown has committed an offence under section 105 of the Crimes Act 1961. Section 105 (1) provides that :

    Every official is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, whether within New Zealand or elsewhere, corruptly accepts or obtains, or agrees or offers to accept or attempts to obtain, any bribe for himself or any other person in respect of any act done or omitted, or to be done or omitted, by him in his official capacity.

    Section 4 of the Serious Fraud Office Act 1990 provides that:

    Where the Director has reason to suspect that an investigation into the affairs of any person may disclose serious or complex fraud the Director may exercise any power conferred by this Part (Part 1).

    This is an objective test and requires there to be some evidence that would cause the Director to suspect that an investigation may disclose serious or complex fraud.

    The evidence that you have relied to make a request for investigation by SFO is

    1. In 2010 Mr Brown received a $15,000 donation from Sky City towards his Auckland Mayoral campaign which he declared.

    2. On 27 June 2013, he voted against a motion “that the Governing Body does not support the Government’s proposal for Sky City to develop a convention centre in return for changes in our gambling legisation to increase gambling at the Sky City Casino.”

    Your complaint relies on an assumption that Mr Brown voted against the motion because he had received a donation from Sky City in 2010.

    In the absence of other evidence there is not sufficient evidence to form a view that an investigation into the affairs of Mr Brown may disclose serious or complex fraud.

    Consequently we will not be commencing an investigation into your complaint. SFO will re evaluate your complaint if you can provide evidence to corroborate your complaint.

    While we will not be investigating your complaint, we thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jess Sewak
    Evaluation Officer
    Evaluation and Intelligence Unit
    __________________________________________________________

    The FACT is that on the ‘watch’ of Mayor Len Brown, Auckland Council did NO ‘due diligence’ on the increased risk of money-laundering arising from the NZ International Convention Centre (now Act) 2013, although this increased risk was spelled out in the following Regulatory Impact Statement.

    http://www.med.govt.nz/about-us/publications/publications-by-topic/regulatory-impact-statements/mbie-regulatory-impact-statements/NZICC-RIS-June-2013.pdf

    Potential risk of money laundering

    95 Cash intensive industries such as casinos are attractive to money laundering activity. New Zealand’s National Risk Assessment 2010 assessed casinos as presenting moderate to high risk of money laundering.

    For this reason, casinos (including all SkyCity casinos) are subject to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (the AML/CFT Act), which comes into force on 30 June 2013.

    The FACT is that not only did Len Brown accept a $15,000 mayoral donation in 2010 (which he did declare), not only did he argue in favour of Auckland Council supporting the NZ International Convention Centre (Bill) on 27 June 2013, but he also accepted free Sky City hotel rooms, which we believe is a major, arguably corrupt, ‘conflict of interest’.

    (The recent Ernst and Young Report has confirmed that Mayor Len Brown has received complimentary hotel rooms and upgrades from Sky City).

    NEW EVIDENCE:

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/sites/default/files/images/Independent_Review_Report_FINAL_131213.pdf

    “5. The mayor has received nine complimentary (free) hotel rooms or suites which have not been registered as gifts or disclosed in his completed annual Declaration of Interests. The value of the complimentary rooms/suites based on rates 3 provided by the hotels is $6,130.

    6. The mayor has received hotel upgrades (to better quality rooms or suites) which have not been registered as gifts or disclosed in his completed annual Declaration of Interests. A total of 64 such upgrades has been identified.
    The value of the upgrades based on rates provided by the hotels is $32,888.50.

    2.3.2 Hotel rooms

    Background

    We obtained waivers from the mayor and selected employees of the Mayoral Office to obtain both council and private information in relation to bookings made by, or for, the mayor in various Auckland hotels during the review period.

    The Mayoress has advised there is an arrangement with The Stamford Plaza whereby the family (including the mayor) stay privately on a regular basis with the Mayoress being responsible for payment.

    In providing context around the mayor’s hotel bookings, a number of the hotels advised us it is standard industry practice to provide room upgrades for VIPS from time to time and there are also valid commercial reasons why hotels may choose to also provide VIPS with complimentary (free) rooms.

    Findings

    1. There were no hotel rooms used by the mayor for private purposes that were paid for by council.

    2. No complimentary rooms/suites have been registered by the mayor as gifts or disclosed in his completed 2011 and 2012 Declaration of Interests.

    3. The mayor received a total of nine complimentary rooms during the period. The value of the complimentary rooms/suites based on rates provided by the hotels is $6,130.

    4. A number of rooms were provided to the mayor at a discounted rate for a standard room and, in most cases, a superior room or suite was provided.

    There were 64 room upgrades during the period. None of the upgrades were registered by the mayor as gifts or disclosed in the mayor’s completed annual Declaration of Interests. The value of the upgrades based on rates
    provided by the hotels was $32,888.50.

    A summary of complimentary and upgrade rooms by hotel follows:
    Hotel

    SKYCITY and SKYCITY Grand Hotels

    Total room nights booked 8

    Complimentary room nights 3

    Upgrade room nights 5 ”
    _________________________________________________________

    In our considered opinion, Mayor Len Brown has effectively accepted a ‘bribe’ / bribes’ from Sky City.

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/DLM328730.html

    105 Corruption and bribery of official
    (1)Every official is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, whether within New Zealand or elsewhere, corruptly accepts or obtains, or agrees or offers to accept or attempts to obtain, any bribe for himself or any other person in respect of any act done or omitted, or to be done or omitted, by him in his official capacity.

    (2)Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who corruptly gives or offers or agrees to give any bribe to any person with intent to influence any official in respect of any act or omission by him in his official capacity.

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/DLM328730.html

    99Interpretation
    In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires,—

    bribe means any money, valuable consideration, office, or employment, or any benefit, whether direct or indirect

    official means any person in the service of Her Majesty in right of New Zealand (whether that service is honorary or not, and whether it is within or outside New Zealand), or any member or employee of any local authority or public body, or any person employed in the education service within the meaning of the State Sector Act 1988.

    ___________________________________________________________________________

    We also note that the following OECD Report has been critical of New Zealand’s ‘being soft on bribery’:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/9515330/Kiwis-rebuked-for-going-soft-on-bribery

    http://www.oecd.org/daf/anti-bribery/new-zealand-not-immune-from-foreign-bribery.htm

    We are concerned that this lack of action by the NZ SFO on bribery allegations appears not to be limited to ‘foreign bribery’?

    Again, Lisa Prager and myself confirm that we will make ourselves available at a mutually convenient time in order to discuss this matter.

    Please be advised that if the New Zealand SFO continues to refuse to investigate this allegation of bribery and corruption against Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Sky City, then options available to us, include petitioning Parliament for an inquiry into why the ‘lead agency’ to whom complaints alleging bribery and corruption are supposed to be made, (the New Zealand SFO) is arguably not doing its job?

    Please be reminded of what the NZ SFO states on your own website about ‘bribery or corruption matters’:

    http://www.sfo.govt.nz/common-questions-complainants

    “In the case of bribery or corruption matters, we focus on crimes involving public officials, which could undermine public confidence in the administration of laws.”

    Yours sincerely,

    Penny Bright

    ……

    Lisa Prager

    ………

    ________________________________________________________________________

    BACKGROUND INFORMATION – REQUEST FOR THE SFO TO CONDUCT AN URGENT INQUIRY INTO ALLEGED BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION INVOLVING MAYOR LEN BROWN AND SKY CITY – available on http://www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz/

  14. unsol 14

    I read the post, but have skipped the comments so no doubt I am about to say something someone else has already said, but…

    Good post & point LP. Brown has been cleared of any misuse of council resources & anyone with an ounce of intelligence should be able to accept that an affair is private business & further, when someone works long non standard hours like that of a major, then business & personal invariably overlap at some point.

    So it doesn’t matter whether he was shagging his wife or his mistress, whether he was shopping for lingerie for his wife or his mistress, he is allowed some personal time & he chose to use some of that time on another women. That is something HE has to live with. If you think that it impacts on his ability to do his job as mayor then I suggest you have a good look around at those around you who are at the top of the food chain, especially in the public service….if they aren’t cheaters then they most certainly are taking the mickey when it comes to using work time & resources to do personal things – from phone calls to long lunch breaks, leaving early etc etc

    So for me the whole issue is dead in the water. It is a beat up exacerbated by WO who wants his buddy Williamson to step up. Or Brewer. But who cares. His ploy failed as he decided to scrape the gutter. Brown won’t & shouldn’t resign unless EVERYONE in the public service from council to central government is prepared to meet the same standards: limited perks, no perks with those they are doing deals with (ooh that means the NZTA can’t get cheap taxis….HA!) & certainly no cheating. Not ever.

    Sadly if you apply those standards there would be no one left. As I said on TDB it takes a special kind of mongrel to be in these top jobs as it needs the kind of person to make the decisions we – the general public with fragile sensibilities – don’t want to make. There is a reason why most of us are not vying for the top job – we just don’t have it in us to do what they do and we don’t want to. There is no way I would ever WANT to make the kind of sacrifices these people make & there is no way I would ever ACCEPT that kind of personal sacrifice in a spouse either.

    Which brings me back to Skycity. If there was anything out of this sorry saga that warrants real concern it is Skycity and their involvement in NZ politics. They, councils & ALL MPs (except maybe the Greens) are donkey deep in it. And it has got to stop.

    Gambling is like smoking. There is no safe amount. It is a waste & amoral – especially given that most people cannot afford to have children without some kind of government assistance yet who makes up most of Skycity’s revenue? The super rich or the masses on WFF? I’m guessing the latter.

    It is simply abhorrent that our lawmakers are such close bedfellows with this group & this issue should be enough for voters to start demanding closer scrutiny on who is giving what to our MPs; the fact that Labour voted against this deal yet were caught living it up in Skycity’s VIP area is morally repugnant. Surely it can’t be that difficult to merge politics with one’s supposed ideals; we never stay at Skycity when we are in Auckland because of the kind of company they are. Just the same as we never buy lotto. We are against gambling. Period.

    There are loads of hotels & venues in Auckland, so how hard can it be for MPs to give them the cold shoulder? To put their money where their mouth is?

    As far as I can see the Greens are far from perfect (anti mining whilst enjoying the benefits of mining in other countries – technology, jewellery etc), but they are the only ones that have a clear conscience on this issue.

  15. Ron 15

    From memory National Party held their annual conference at Sky City Conference Centre. Wonder if there was any kick back to the party provided by Sky City? Maybe we could as for an audit of the expenses of that conference.

  16. Chooky 16

    Penny and Lisa … good work!!!!….. I think you raise important points ….This Mayor needs further investigation….It is crucial that any Mayor of Auckland …whether from the Left or the Right or the Centre is incorruptible and above reproach…and is held accountable

    • Thanks Chooky :)

      Unfortunately, it’s not just Mayor Len Brown who needs to be held accountable, it’s the so-called ‘third party’ statutory ‘Public Watchdogs’, like the SFO and the Office of the Auditor-General, who also need to DO THEIR JOBS!

      Cheers!

      ‘Her Warship’ ;)

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    Greens | 14-04
  • Making the holidays easier for Kiwi drivers
    The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “There’s nothing Kiwis like more than getting on the road and going on holiday. But on...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Ae Marika! 15 April 2014
    Our MANA AGM down in Rotorua on the weekend was a sold-out affair – even the media were struggling to get in! Political conferences can be very dull, but not this one. We had a great line-up of speakers including...
    Mana | 14-04
  • Green light from Labour for cancer screening programme
    Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today committed to a national bowel screening programme, starting with extending the current service to the Southern and Waikato districts. “Around 3000 New Zealanders develop bowel cancer each year and about 1200, or 100 a month,...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Adequate resourcing needed for victims’ advocate
    The establishment of a victims’ commissioner role will only be meaningful if it is properly resourced to do the job of advocating for victims’ interests, Labour Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says. Justice Minister Judith Collins has just recently indicated her...
    Labour | 13-04
  • IPCC report shows Government ignoring climate experts
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) report into climate mitigation, just released in Berlin, shows the National Government is ignoring the pleas of the world's best climate scientists.The report says deep and fast emission cuts are vital from all...
    Greens | 13-04
  • Japan’s quick turnaround on whaling disappointing
    News that Japan plans to recommence some form of “scientific” whaling programme so quickly after the International Court of Justice’s ruling against it is very disappointing, says David Shearer, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson. “New Zealanders expected the ICJ ruling -...
    Labour | 13-04
  • Reviewable tenancies will increase risks for vulnerable children
    Instead of kicking families out of their homes if they can pay their rent, parents with young children should have the opportunity to purchase equity in a state-built home over time, the Green Party said todayFrom July, Housing New Zealand...
    Greens | 13-04
  • 48,000 New Zealanders drinking faecally contaminated water
    Some 48,000 people were provided with water that had issues with faecal contamination, 18,000 of whom were from Canterbury, the Green Party said today. The Ministry of Health's Annual Report on Drinking-Water in New Zealand for 2012/13 shows that 48,000...
    Greens | 12-04
  • Labour will move to save the Kauri
    Labour will spend $20 million over the next 10 years to stop the spread of Kauri dieback disease, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “We are facing an ecological disaster with over 11 per cent of the Kauri trees in the...
    Labour | 12-04
  • SPEECH: Saving our Kauri
    Seech notes Good morning. Thank you for joining us here today. As a West Auckland MP I am very aware the kauri is an important part of this place. The Waitakere Ranges with their thousands of kauri, are a taonga....
    Labour | 12-04
  • MANA to continue negotiations with the Internet Party
    The MANA AGM has decided unanimously tonight to continue negotiaitions with the Internet Party. Within a month further negotiations, further consultation with MANA branches and a final decision on whether to proceed with a relationship is expected....
    Mana | 12-04
  • National’s tax dodge
      National’s insistence that it is cracking down on tax dodgers is little more than a bit of election year chest beating, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Revenue Minister Todd McClay surely doesn’t believe collecting $100 million of an estimated...
    Labour | 12-04
  • Housing prices go up – Gens X & Y give up
    Today’s REINZ report shows house prices continue skyward while first home buyers are dropping out of the market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “According to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand the national median house price has risen...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Do Key and Adams support Chorus appeal?
    John Key and Amy Adams must tell New Zealanders whether they support Chorus’ appeal of the High Court’s ruling in favour of the Commerce Commission, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “Chorus’ appeal is a waste of time. The company is...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Is Judith Collins unapologising
    Judith Collins appears to have retracted her apology for failing to disclose her meeting with her husband’s fellow company directors and a senior Chinese border control official just weeks after being ticked off by John Key for not doing so, Labour...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Media Advisory
    There have been a few minor changes to the MANA AGM agenda. Moana Jackson is unable to attend due to family commitments. Speaking in his place on Saturday morning MANA is pleased to welcome Georgina Beyer and Willie Jackson. MANA...
    Mana | 10-04
  • Green Party requests inquiry into Peter Dunne and Trust
    Green Party MP Denise Roche today wrote to the Parliamentary Registrar of Pecuniary Interests requesting an inquiry into whether Peter Dunne should have included his involvement as chair of the Northern Wellington Festival Trust on the Register of Pecuniary Interests...
    Greens | 10-04
  • Veterans short-changed
    The Veterans’ Support Bill reported back to Parliament today rejects a key recommendation of the Law Commission Review on which it is based and ignores the submissions of veterans and the RNZRSA, says Labour’s Veterans’ Affairs Spokesperson, Phil Goff. “A...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Tribute for Maungaharuru- Tangitu settlement
    Labour Member of Parliament for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, Meka Whaitiri paid tribute to Maungaharuru-Tangitu today as their Treaty of Waitangi settlement became law. “The Bill acknowledges Treaty breaches that left Maungaharuru-Tangitu virtually landless. Today we were reminded of the history, mamae, loss...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Neglected rural and regional roads will cost more lives
    The government must take urgent action to prevent more accidents to truck drivers and other road users of increased logging trucks on neglected roads, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Transport spokesperson. “The dangers to drivers and other road users in the...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Judith Collins’ refusal to answer a disgrace
    If John Key is holding his Ministers to any standards at all, he must make Judith Collins answer questions about the senior Chinese official she met during her taxpayer-funded visit to China last October, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “Judith...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Ryall needs to heed hospital workforce issues
    The public health workforce, the same one Tony Ryall argues is making a lot of progress is facing increased pressure and staff burnout through his continued shuffling of the deckchairs, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Mr Ryall uses all...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Key ducks but can’t avoid High Court slap
    The High Court’s slap in the face to John Key and his Government over Chorus has left it with no option but to accept the Commerce Commission’s lawful process in deciding the price of copper, says Labour’s associate ICT spokesperson...
    Labour | 09-04
  • First home buyers shut out as LVRs bite
    The bad news continues for young Kiwis as the latest Core Logic report shows the proportion of first home buyers has declined since LVR lending restrictions came into force, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. Twenty two centres across the...
    Labour | 09-04
  • MANA – and, or, or not – DOTCOM
    Both MANA and the Internet Party share goals in common with other parties, like getting rid of National and reining in the GCSB. There are also differences, as there are with other parties as well. MANA accepted a request to...
    Mana | 09-04
  • Greens to push for housing standards in MOU with Government
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Greens to push for housing standards in MOU with Government Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | Press Release We don’t need any more official reports. We know the problem and we have the plans....
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Mighty River squanders $3.8m preparing for sale
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Mighty River squanders $3.8m preparing for sale Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | Press Release New Zealanders do not want asset sales and they do not want the Government wasting millions of dollars on...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government’s economic agenda on shaky ground
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government’s economic agenda on shaky ground Monday, 27 Aug 2012 | Press Release Instead of betting on a boom and bust industry and selling off assets the government needs to invest in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • National’s tax cuts haven’t cut tax avoidance
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: National’s tax cuts haven’t cut tax avoidance Sunday, 26 Aug 2012 | Press Release It is not fair that many rich New Zealanders are cheating on their tax. National’s 2010 tax cuts, that...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Waitangi Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Waitangi Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | Press Release In its rush to sell our assets, National has found itself in a crisis of its...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Privacy across all departments needs checking
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Privacy across all departments needs checking Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | Press Release “People don’t have a choice about giving their information to the state so the Government has an absolute duty to...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Reports show Government role in driving ACC dysfunction
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Reports show Government role in driving ACC dysfunction Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release Restoring public trust and confidence is an essential goal and will require very major change starting from the...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government must front up on full costs of asset sales
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government must front up on full costs of asset sales Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release It’s time for the Government to front up over just how much these asset sales are...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • New report: middle NZ worse off, inequality grows
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: New report: middle NZ worse off, inequality grows Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release Our society has never been as unequal as it is today. New research from the Ministry of Social...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government to delay addressing climate change indefinitely
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government to delay addressing climate change indefinitely Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release “It would be a shock for any other Government to introduce such a self-defeatist piece of legislation but unfortunately...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney’s Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members’ ballot. “It’s...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 | Press Release Christchurch cannot afford to lose this agency The Green Party is calling on Housing New Zealand...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Resignation rates among cops soar The number of frontline officers quitting the police force is at a four-year high, with more than 350 walking off the job in the past year, Labour’s Police...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Work visa problems need monitoring The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up Auckland Council’s ban on using legal highs in a public place is an excellent idea that should be replicated around New Zealand, says Labour’s Associate Health...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers Nick Smith must reassure worried first home buyers that any Housing NZ houses sold under his First Home policy will be tested for P contamination...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup     Protests in Brazil:Brazil Franciscan friar kneels in front of Brazilian riot police officers asking for calm during confrontation with Landless...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup     Protests in Brazil:Brazil Franciscan friar kneels in front of Brazilian riot police officers asking for calm during confrontation with Landless...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce     Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi will face the courts on 14 April. © IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images         Read...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce     Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi will face the courts on 14 April. © IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images         Read...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights ...
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights record     Freedom of expression, association and assembly are under threat ahead of elections in Algeria. © FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/Getty Images    ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights ...
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights record     Freedom of expression, association and assembly are under threat ahead of elections in Algeria. © FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/Getty Images    ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed     Vietnamese activist Nguyen Tien Trung was one of the prisoners of conscience released this week. © Private      ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed     Vietnamese activist Nguyen Tien Trung was one of the prisoners of conscience released this week. © Private      ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra Questions must now be asked whether it was Fonterra or Oravida who really benefited from the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases A new Government report highlights that the amount of ozone depleting gases New Zealand is using is increasing, the Green Party said today. The report...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • The issues behind the possible MANA-Internet Party Alliance
      Last weekend Kim Dotcom spoke at MANAs AGM to discuss the possibility of the Internet Party and MANA Party working together to defeat John Key this election. As someone who knows both Hone and Kim, I have a unique...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Manufacturing Upgrade
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Manufacturing Upgrade   Labour is determined to support and grow our manufacturing sector. These policies grew out of the findings of the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing.   – The claims and opinions...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Get work on 29th and the ANZAC spirit deserts the TPPA
      Groser and co would have been spitting tacks last week as the ANZAC spirit deserted the TPPA negotiations. Australia has done a deal directly with Japan which undercuts the demand for Japan to opening all agriculture in the TPPA....
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • No fracking solution to climate change
    Some British tabloids and oil lobbyists have jumped on comments made by an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change author that fracking could play a role in addressing climate change as an argument for it here in Aotearoa, so is fracking...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • At Last: A Manufacturing Policy
    Source: First Union – Press Release/Statement: Headline: At Last: A Manufacturing Policy Date of Release:  Thursday, April 17, 2014 Body:  FIRST Union congratulates Labour on the release of its Manufacturing policy today. The union represents workers in the wood, food and...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Drone murder of New Zealander “justified” by Prime Minister
    Yesterday Prime Minister John Key justified the extrajudicial killing of a New Zealander in a US drone strike in Yemen with a few cynical, callous words at a stand-up press conference. Key said he’d been briefed by our spy agencies...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Secret Policeman’s Ball
      Amnesty International’s Secret Policeman’s Ball is back in New Zealand for one night of some of the best stand-up comedy from both national and international comics The freedom to provoke and in some cases offend is essential to the...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • So the US has assassinated a NZ citizen – what did Key know?
    A non judicial assassination by the US on a NZ citizen raises questions. Key made the idea that NZers were training with terrorists part of his farcical defence for the GCSB mass surveillance legislation. I say farcical because even if...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Something Better Than Something Worse: Why John Key could become our longes...
    IN HIS MEMORABLE holiday-home encounter with the host of Campbell Live, the Prime Minister, John Key, did not rule out running for a fourth term. Were he to be successful, the long-standing record of Sir Keith Holyoake (11 years and 2...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • GUEST BLOG: RIO TINTO WINS 2013 ROGER AWARD
      Sky City Casino Second, Chorus Third  The seven finalists for the 2013 Roger Award for the Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand were: ANZ, Chorus, IAG Insurance Group, Imperial Tobacco, Rio Tinto, Sky City Casino and Talent 2. The criteria for judging are...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • National drowning in an ocean of poisoned milk
    It is becoming difficult to keep up with which National Party MP is bleeding the most at the moment. Simon Bridges is being crucified by Whaleoil almost as much as Greenpeace are attacking him, suggesting Cam is seizing the moment...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Want to get rid of synthetic cannabis? Legalize real cannabis
    Have we managed to appreciate the madness that synthetic cannabis is legal yet more harmful than organic cannabis which is illegal? I find the current moral panic over synthetic cannabis difficult to become concerned with when alcohol is FAR more...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Save our homes – stop the evictions!
    “We will keep on fighting because it frightens me to think my grandchildren could become homeless,” Tere Campbell told me. Tere is a member of Tamaki Housing Group. In September 2011, tenants in 156 state homes in Glen Innes received...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The daily humiliation of women and the constant policing and shaming of our...
    The last few months have been particularly bad for the shaming and policing of women’s bodies in the media, both in New Zealand and globally. First we had NZ Newstalk ZB presenter Rachel Smalley referring to women weighing over 70kgs...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • A case study of racism by Police at Auckland Airport
    A couple of days ago I returned from Samoa after attending a family matter and some contract work. Spending a few days in the warmth of our homeland was welcome relief from the cold weather starting to make its presence...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • An acute shortage of emergency youth housing
    The housing crisis is effecting everyone in Christchurch but some are more vulnerable than others. Recently I attended a workshop on emergency youth housing hosted by the 298 Youth Health Centre, who I worked for from 2001-2003. Over fifty people...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The Oceans Issue
    The ‘Earth’ is 71% water but our oceans are the last frontier. The oceans are huge, relatively unexplored, full of weird and wonderful diversity. In New Zealand we’re never far from the sea, and our identity, our landscapes, our communities,...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Fear of South Auckland
    Fear of South Auckland...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • TV News Geography
    TV News Geography...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The best bit about gay sex
    The best bit about gay sex...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • On not voting 1
    On not voting 1...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • On not voting 2
    On not voting 2...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Labour on trucks
    Labour on trucks...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • ALCP welcomes Campbell Live poll result
    The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party welcomes last night's Campbell Live poll, saying it is an overdue reality check for public opinion on personal cannabis use....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Q+A This Week 20/4/14
    Q+A This Week SUNDAY 20 APRIL, 9AM ON TV ONE The latest on the US-NZ relationship from the US military’s top man in the Pacific, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear . Deputy Political Editor Michael Parkin asks him whether we’re allies,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Community detention for pokie theft
    A 67-year-old former company director, convicted of stealing pokie machine profits, was today sentenced to six months community detention, 160 hours of community work and ordered to make reparation of $6,000....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Waitangi National Trust Board Amendment Bill
    The Māori Affairs Committee is inviting public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Wednesday, 14 May 2014....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Collaboration stops drugs from crossing borders
    Collaboration between Hong Kong and New Zealand Customs has stopped millions of dollars worth of drugs coming into New Zealand this year, with a number of seizures and arrests in both countries....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Call for public enquiry into the future of farming
    Fish & Game NZ is calling for a public enquiry “to examine the future of agriculture in New Zealand”....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Comment on Labour Policy Announcement by NZMEA President
    “This policy release from the Labour Party is so important that if it becomes government policy it would define a shift in New Zealand’s culture,” says Brian Willoughby President of the NZMEA and Managing Director of Plinius Audio and Contex...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Manufacturing policy makes sense but….
    On the surface much of Labour's prescription for manufacturing is sound though questions remain over some of the detail not yet announced, the Employers and Manufacturers Association says....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Where Are The 15,000 Jobs?
    “Paula Bennett is today proudly telling New Zealand that beneficiary numbers have decreased by 15,000 in the past year. There is no proud declaration that 15,000 jobs have been created in the same period,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Change of approach to government procurement needed
    The rail engineering industry has been totally let down by National’s lack of manufacturing policy, and Labour’s measures outlined today represent a marked shift in approach to supporting domestic industries, the RMTU said today....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Depreciation Policy Shouldn’t Be Just for Pet Industries
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Labour’s announcement to beef up rates of depreciation in the manufacturing sector, but is questioning why David Cunliffe is picking winners rather than applying the policy across all sectors. Jordan Williams,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • FIFA U-20 World Cup NZ 2015 Kick Off Times Announced
    An array of kick-off times to suit football fans of all ages has been confirmed for the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015. With 52 matches spread across the nation, the public will be able to enjoy a collection...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • “Legitimate purpose” provides no protection under 167 form
    On Radio New Zealand today, the Privacy Commissioner indicated that ACC could only request information that was "relevant" for a "legitimate purpose". His view was therefore that the ACC167 form is not a "blank cheque" or...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • State: still keeping you safe on the road this Easter
    The long-awaited Easter/ Anzac break is nearly upon us while the weather may have taken a turn for the worse in several parts of the country, many Kiwis will still be packing up their cars to take a road trip....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Govt plan for community input into residential red zone
    Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has welcomed Prime Minister John Key’s announcement today of a community participation process for the public to have a say on the future use of the residential red zone....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Governor-General to visit Turkey
    The Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, is to visit Turkey next week to lead New Zealand’s representation at the annual Gallipoli commemorations....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Actions of Police prior to death in custody were justified
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority on the death of Adam Palmer while in Police custody found the actions of Police were justified during the arrest. The report also found that Police took all possible steps to try...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • New Electorate Boundaries Finalised
    New boundaries for the country’s 64 General and seven Māori electorates have been finalised – with an additional electorate created in Auckland. The 2014 Representation Commission has completed its statutory role of reviewing and redrawing electorate...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Save The Children Welcomes Strengthening Children’s Rights
    Save the Children New Zealand welcomes a new treaty which allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Labour takes manufacturing seriously
    Labour takes manufacturing seriously Manufacturing workers and employers will all benefit from economic policies announced today by the Labour Party leader, David Cunliffe. The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union has welcomed the announcement...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Manufacturing policy welcomed
    “Today’s announcement of Labour’s manufacturing policy is very welcome,” says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg. “Just as many other developed countries are realising, having a strong manufacturing sector pays off in good jobs, retaining...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Operation Unite – a Blitz on Drunken Violence
    New Zealand Police are hoping to reduce the number of victims from alcohol related crime by asking the public to say ‘Yeah, Nah’ more often this holiday weekend....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Dunne Speaks
    Dunne Speaks 17 April 2014 There have been a number of harrowing cases presented this week about the impact of psychoactive substances on vulnerable young people. At one level, the tales are deeply disturbing. It is awful to see anyone...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Research announcement welcomed
    A leading Māori researcher has welcomed the announcement of the 2014 Te Pūnaha Hihiko - Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Māori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • At Last: A Manufacturing Policy
    At Last: A Manufacturing Policy FIRST Union congratulates Labour on the release of its Manufacturing policy today. The union represents workers in the wood, food and textile manufacturing sectors. “In a week that has seen another manufacturing company,...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Republic campaigners still positive after royal visit
    "Campaigners for a New Zealand Head of State are still feeling positive after ten days of royal events" says NZ Republic Chair, Savage. "Our polling before the visit showed increased support for a kiwi head of state. We have a...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Selling homes to foreigners benefits New Zealanders
    Winston Peters has apparently convinced David Cunliffe that when foreigners buy New Zealand property they make New Zealanders worse off. Mr Cunliffe has announced his intention to adopt Winston Peters’ policy of banning foreigners from buying...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Taxpayers’ Union Welcomes Key’s Rejection of ‘Fat Tax’
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Prime Minister John Key’s rejection of fat and sugar taxes ahead of this year's election. Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Union, says:...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Law Commission Paper on a New Crown Civil Proceedings Act
    The Law Commission has released A New Crown Civil Proceedings Act for New Zealand , its Issues Paper on reforming the Crown Proceedings Act 1950. The Issues Paper proposes a new statute to replace the Crown Proceedings Act 1950....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Focus must now go on fishing industry jobs for NZ workers
    Maritime Union says focus must now go on fishing industry jobs for New Zealand workers...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Make the choice to stay safe on the road
    With Easter and Anzac Day giving us two successive long weekends this year there will be a lot of happy families preparing for trips....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Students Welcome Engagement with StudyLink
    The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) has welcomed the improved performance from StudyLink in 2014. There is no doubt that getting their loans and allowances processed on time makes it easier for students to concentrate on being...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Deaf And Hard of Hearing New Zealanders Marginalised
    Deaf And Hard of Hearing New Zealanders Marginalised Imagine if you could not access vital news and information. What would you do?...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Public lose interest in this council, 2016 to be a watershed
    The second term Auckland Council is proving to be an interesting one and very different to the inaugural 2010 – 2013 Governing Body. We are currently going through a budget round to lock in where council’s $3b expenditure is directed...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Labour and National join forces in new Maori confiscations
    Chris McKenzie, former-treaty negotiator and Te Tai Hauauru Maori party candidate, says that the Minister of Primary Industries’ plans to remove temporary exemptions for vessel operators derived from settlement negotiations is akin to confiscation...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • The FCV Bill – Flagging 30 years of failures?
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