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Viv Beck going full Trump backfires

Written By: - Date published: 10:48 am, August 31st, 2022 - 28 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, elections, local government, national, racism, same old national, supercity - Tags:

Recent leaks and publicity have caused huge damage to Viv Beck’s campaign to become Auckland’s next mayor.  They also highlight the stark difference between the left and the right.

A week ago a leak to the Herald suggested that things were not swell in the Beck campaign.  The Herald’s David Fisher reported:

Viv Beck’s bid for the Auckland mayoralty has been hit by an argument over an unpaid six-figure bill which saw her locked out of her campaign Facebook account and website.

It has led to Beck — endorsed by Communities and Residents (C&R) — jumping to a new campaign company which has set up a fresh social media presence and a new website.

The squabble over the bill comes as the contest for mayor heats up with a little more than six weeks to go until polling day.

The dispute caused Beck to switch from Hello Ltd to The Campaign Company Ltd, owned by Jordan Williams, of which further reference will be made.  She also had to switch urls and facebook pages.  Relationships were that strained that she was shut out of her original pages.

Later that day she responded by saying that her campaign had paid most of the bill through arrangements made by property tycoon Andrew Krukziener who had made a “six figure pledge” to Beck’s campaign and who coincidentally was the brother-in-law of Hello managing director James Polhill.

Funding for Beck’s campaign is being managed by the Auckland Society Incorporated, a recently formed society obviously intended to be her campaign funder.

Foundation Members include James Pohill and Andrew Krukziener although I wonder if Pohill is still a member.

Then in a terribly timed second leak Beck’s claim that the bill had at least mostly been settled was rubbished in an email from Matt Blomfield which was leaked to the Herald.  Blomfield is no stranger to Dirty Politics, having been one of the people most affected by it.  His email directly contradicts the claim that the bill had been paid, even in part.

From the Herald:

The claim [by Beck] prompted an email to Viv Beck by Matt Blomfield, whose legal services agency was hired to recover the outstanding bill for advertising agency Hello Ltd.

In the email, he told Beck: “The statement is not true, Hello Limited has not received one cent from you or any associated organisation as payment against its outstanding invoices.”

In it, Blomfield said he had reviewed the invoices and emails exchanged with Beck and her team. In his email, he claimed “donations did not arrive as expected”, leading to the budget being scaled down from $4m to $2.2m and “as an excuse not to pay … the invoices from Hello Limited became an issue”.

Blomfield said his review of the correspondence between the agency and Beck’s campaign showed Beck had not raised any issues in relation to the quality of the work done.

In a statement to the Herald, Beck said Hello Limited was introduced to the campaign team in early 2022 and a broad scope of work was discussed. No formal agreement or contract was entered into by parties, she said.

“Hello subsequently invoiced the campaign for work undertaken that, according to industry sources, was excessively priced and did not meet the needs of the campaign as discussed with Hello,” Beck said.

She said she was “extremely disappointed” the issue had been made public when work had been underway to resolve the dispute.

Ouch.

Whatever the motivation and whoever was responsible for leaking it, Blomfield’s leaked email makes Jordan Williams’ job to promote Beck way more difficult.

Beck’s proposed campaign spend is eye watering.  The initial figure is a lot more than Labour spent on the last General Election campaign on campaign party expenses and the revised figure is only just short of this.

Then yesterday further ructions hit Beck’s campaign with news that PR consultant Mike Hutcheson, Len Brown’s and Phil Goff’s former campaign adviser and someone who had been brought into the campaign to provide advice, had walked over Beck’s trump wannabe campaign tactics.

This particular tweet, also posted on Facebook, caused the damage with Hutcheson describing the graphic as “Trump playbook” tactics and that it was the “straw that broke the camel’s back“.

Beck has since fudged her response but indicated that the role of the Independent Maori Statutory Board in Auckland Council needs to be reviewed.  This was an initiative passed by National although advocated for by Pita Sharples.  Board members have provided very helpful constructive contributions to Council’s meetings and to the determination of issues.  In the absence of dedicated Maori wards they have performed an important task.  Beck previously indicated support for co governance so her about face has more than a tinge of desperation about it.

These events show that the Beck camp cannot be a happy place.  And it makes you wonder if National eating its own is a feature and not a bug.  The leaks may have come from a disgruntled creditor and it appears on the face of it that Hutcheson publicly declared he was walking but the PR handling of this as well as the riming have been disastrous.

I expect that Beck is no longer viable as a candidate and her support will sag and ebb.  Like Molloy without the big bucks behind her she will not be able to mount an adequate campaign.

For the right Wayne Brown appears to be their only chance.

But is Brown a viable candidate?  He has a pretty tainted background that would suggest not.  In his background he has criticism from the Auditor General for using his Council staff to perform personal jobs in relation to a rates dispute with his Council.  From Lois Brown at Newsroom:

“In our experience, this type of blurring of roles is unwise and creates risk,” the auditor said.

“We encourage Mr Brown to separate his personal and official roles more carefully in future and ensure that the capacity in which he is acting is always clear to Council staff. He must take care to ensure that Council staff do not feel under any pressure to treat him and his businesses in a different way because he is the current Mayor.”

In future, if Brown had concerns about the legality of the council’s actions relating to his own interests, he should must pursue them in the same way as any other ratepayer, the Auditor-General warned.

“His role as Mayor does not create a shortcut for resolving legal or other disputes about rates. This may be frustrating to him, given his governance responsibilities and close working relationships with the relevant staff.

There was even a Serious Fraud Office investigation which fizzled out but there were critical comments made.  From the SFO press release:

The investigation found evidence that both council members and employees apparently failed to comply with internal systems and controls designed to ensure that proper processes were followed in the approval of council projects and the expenditure of public money. However, these are failures of governance and procedure and no evidence of the intention required to commit a criminal offence was found.”

The publicity cannot have helped.  Wayne Brown’s reign as Far North District Mayor ended in 2013 when he was trounced by 8,521 to 2,502 votes to current Mayor John Carter.

And on the left Efeso Collins continues to campaign solidly.  His campaign, backed by a very energetic volunteer effort but without the big dollar amounts that the right expect to campaign with, and with a positive vibe and future looking policy is moving forward.

The next polling will be interesting.  And a Wayne Brown led future for Auckland Council would be starkly different to an Efeso Collins led Council.

28 comments on “Viv Beck going full Trump backfires ”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    Well at least the candidate lists are set now, so any further withdrawals will likely have minimal effect. It is astounding the money sloshing around, and shows that a) the right are desperate to gain control of ACT’s corporatist Supercity, and b) are pretty fucked up tactically. Plus not paying is a sure fire way to wind up people, and not a good look for someone aspiring to run a city.

    What is still of concern is the recent historical low turnout and participation in Supercity Mayoral, Council and community Ward/Board elections. Transient renters, diminishing postal infrastructure, and alienated potential voters all reinforce the point that who ever the successful candidate is, they will be a minority Mayor one way or another.

    Anyone with even half a brain can see Efeso Collins is the requirement for Auckland in 2022. As a Far North resident, I can tell you Wayne Brown is a developer with a chequered past indeed. Technocrat? nah just a wanker with big fish in a small pond syndrome. He became FNDC Mayor on the basis of name recognition across the district and a soft Kerikeri/East coast codger white vote.

    One immediate effect of Māori Wards is that political participation from the previously disconnected has zoomed up and will haunt the “coots in suits” from now on.

  2. Anne 2

    I have relatives who plan to vote for Wayne Brown. The usual excuses… they don't think Collins is up to it. Translated it means "he's brown. We can't have a brown mayor".

    Sad.

    • Tiger Mountain 2.1

      A casual look around Auckland shows that many brown people seem to live there!

      Wayne Brown would be a regression for Auckland. He had a combative relationship with Far North District Council staff which he expressed publicly, & sacked a number concentrating on PSA members.

      He fostered sister citys in China and Canada, and traveled on the ratepayer dollars, with an unmandated aim to get mining operations happening in the Far North. He used insider info for personal development projects including his waterfront apartments in Mangonui–that still require intensive water removal and structural repair, he tried to restart a Mangonui Harbour Marina, after community direct action had long ago said no. The list goes on…

      Don’t go there Aucklanders.

    • LibertyBelle 2.2

      Perhaps it has more to do with Collins having the lowest attendance of any current councillor than your made up racial profiling.

      [I have been waiting patiently for your astroturfing campaign to resurface – I knew it was just a matter of time. This alias of yours is now joining your other aliases in the Back List for the same period – Incognito]

    • pat 2.3

      Theres an election hoarding for you…

      'Auckland can't have a Brown Mayor'

  3. Sacha 3

    The mayor only has one vote. I am far more concerned with the Councillors a low turnout could deliver.

    • higherstandard 3.1

      Very true, I don't think any Mayor of Auckland is capable of sorting out the shambles at council.

      Efeso seems like a very nice guy who will likely get in but anyone who expects anything to change in relation to eye watering rates increases, a shambolic inner city and continued wasteful council spending is deluding themselves.

  4. Ad 4

    Hang in there Beck, we need you to cancel Brown out.

    Beck will only understand the CBD where she has done a terrible job assisting the highest-subsidised 1 square kilometer since Caesar ran Rome.

    Efeso is awesome. Gets my Auckland vote.

    Hawkins gets my Dunedin vote. Great delivery.

    But who should I vote for in QLDC?

  5. Leighton 5

    Any candidate who hires Jordan Williams to do anything more sophisticated than a coffee run lacks judgment and can't fail soon enough for my liking.

  6. " They also highlight the stark difference between the left and the right.

    There is very little discernible difference between the so called neo liberal left of kindness and the most transparent government ever – Jacinda Adern and the neo liberal right.

  7. Hanswurst 7

    […] the PR handling of this as well as the riming have been disastrous.

    Two 'm's, I think you'll find…

    • Incognito 7.1

      The “r” is the letter beside the “t” on the keyboard, I think you'll find…

      • Hanswurst 7.1.1

        Your head is the point just below where my comment whizzed by, I think you'll find…

        • Incognito 7.1.1.1

          I was aiming for a more ‘transcendental’ approach to your comment, and perhaps I was aiming too high for it to become airy-fairy. My head is in the clouds, where’s yours?

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