Bernard Orsman

Rodney Hide on Len’s dodgy gym

Yay! more council money on toys for me

Yay! more council money on toys for me

Rodney Hide explains why Len Brown’s personal council provided gym is dodgy, and calls on the gutless councillors to do something about it.

A council worker caught “borrowing” council gear for several years for his personal use would be sacked. I would also expect he would be charged. It’s called theft.

He would have a good excuse if his manager gave permission. But the problem then is legal authority. The gear doesn’t belong to his manager. It’s not hers to loan.

And so we have the disturbing case of Mayor Len Brown’s personal gym.

The Herald reports that within a month of Brown’s swearing-in as Auckland’s first Super-City Mayor, his chief of staff was on the scrounge for fitness gear.

I would expect his chief of staff to be advising Brown to buy his own gear. That’s what paid political advisers do: they stop politicians doing stupid things.

But no, Phil Wilson emails the council’s sport and recreation manager Ian Maxwell seeking used equipment from a council facility or a council supplier who could loan or sponsor it.

At least Wilson recognised the problem: “The sensitivity, though, is that we don’t want to be seen to be spending any public money on him.” But note that it’s not the spending that’s the problem: it’s the spending being seen. The concern is to keep it secret.

I would expect Maxwell to email Wilson back explaining he would love to help but that he can’t.

Instead Maxwell replies that he’s on to it.

Wilson emails, “the almighty will be very pleased“.

And so the council’s leisure services “loan” the mayor a new treadmill worth $3000 and a gym system costing $2198.   Read more »

Helicopter Hater Update: Vern’s Vendetta

Readers will know all about arts luvvie and Labour Party activist Vern Walsh.  He is to troughing what Jesse Owens is to athletics, Mohammed Ali is to boxing, Sir Don Bradman is to cricket, and Babe Ruth is to baseball.  A man with his snout so deeply in the trough, he’s made it all the way to Spain.

Vern is the chairman of the Auckland Council’s dodgy funding board that has cut funding to the Auckland rescue helicopter service by over $1,000,000 or 70% to give to Dame Rosanne Meo’s philharmonia.

He’s the guy who admitted to Sean Plunket that the board doesn’t have any criteria about what to fund and not.  They just make it up as they go along.  And they are careful not to have any register of what free arts tickets they get or their other troughing.

But Vern’s not content with just cutting the helicopter funding he controls.  Now he’s trying to stop anyone else from funding the rescue helicopter either.

My deep-cover spies in the Mayor’s Office report that Vern has been making a nuisance of himself, hanging around the Ngati Whatua Room, ever since his councillors made him realise Aucklanders wouldn’t stand for their rescue helicopter being cut to fund more $85,000 arts junkets.

When the mayor managed to fit him in on Wednesday, Vern tried to tell him it would be illegal for the council to fund the rescue helicopter service.  Not even Brown fell for that.

So it looks like Vern skulked off for a leak to the Horrid.   Read more »

It isn’t going away Len, poll says naff off Noddy

Len Brown thinks that his problems have gone away and that in his mind most Aucklanders want him to carry on in the job.

The NZ Herald/Digipoll busts that little misconception this morning.

Bernard Orsman delivers the bad news to Len Brown.

Len Brown will find it tough to be re-elected Mayor of Auckland, according to a new Herald-DigiPoll survey.

Only 22.7 per cent of the people questioned in this month’s poll said they would vote for Mr Brown in the 2016 elections; 57.7 per cent said they would not. The other 20 per cent said they did not know or did not vote in local body elections.

The poll suggests women and the elderly were particularly upset by revelations about his extramarital affair and undeclared hotel stays.  Read more »

He will apologise over a garden but not his poor behaviour?

Bernard Orsman is back to running soft pieces for ratbag mayor Len Brown.

Today’s effort is about an apology to the Mayor of Fukuoka over the bulldozing of a memorial garden at the Auckland Zoo.

Mayor Len Brown is to apologise to the Mayor of Fukuoka and the local Japanese community for the demolition of a Japanese garden at Auckland Zoo – a gift from sister city Fukuoka 25 years ago.

Mr Brown faced a small but rowdy protest at the first council meeting of the year, but it was a diplomatic issue that got him off to a bad start with official business in 2014.

The mayor refused speaking rights to the Friends of the Fukuoka Friendship Garden, whose pleas to retain the Japanese garden at the zoo he rejected last year.

Mr Brown tried to push the group off to a committee to speak, but they turned up in large numbers, including prominent members of the Japanese community, leading to a backdown by the mayor.  Read more »

Has Len Brown never heard of the LGOIMA?

Len Brown is fighting to keep his deal with councillors over repayment secret. He has got bad news coming down the line if he thinks he can do that.

Bernard Orsman reports:

Expectations are rising for a settlement by Auckland Mayor Len Brown towards the $100,000-plus cost of a review into his extramarital affair to be made public.

Three of the five councillors negotiating a settlement – Chris Fletcher, George Wood and Dick Quax – believe it is the wish of the group to make the settlement public.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse and Penny Webster, the other two on the negotiating group, are staying quiet.

Mr Brown told the Herald last week that when councillors set up a group last month to enter into binding negotiations, the resolution was the settlement would be confidential.

He can’t hide, there is a little problem for Len Brown called the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act and it will most definitely apply to the meetings of 5 councillors and him settling a repayment. They made it council business.  Read more »

No mates, can’t show his face and can’t do his job

Bernard Orsman, under new editorial direction to cut Brown loose highlights how Len Brown is unable to do his job and watches from the sidelines as his promises at the election are voted down.

The sex scandal that has dogged Len Brown for two months could be having an effect on the mayor doing his job – he has lost a vote on a core policy and failed to keep a promise made to voters at the local body elections.

Shortly after Mr Brown was censured by councillors on Thursday, he lost a vote on a living wage for council staff, which now has little chance of being implemented.

Mr Brown has also not developed a funding proposal for his pet $2.86 billion city rail link for the Government before the end of this year – a promise made on the election hustings as part of his transport policy called Getting Auckland Moving.  Read more »

Orsman back running interference for Brown

I really wonder why Bernard Orsman writes what he writes.

This morning as Len Brown goes to bullshit his way forward with councillors Orsman wrote this in the NZ Herald.

Meanwhile Mr Brown says he will not pay any of the $100,000-plus costs of a damning review that found he failed to declare more than $39,000 in free hotel rooms and upgrades.

Mr Brown said he supported the review by council chief executive Doug McKay and agreed to the terms of reference, which cleared him of using council resources or providing preferential treatment in connection to his affair with Bevan Chuang.    Read more »

Silence won’t work Len

Len Brown continues to remain silent on the contents of the report by Ernst & Young.

Doug McKay will now be waiting a respectable amount of time before releasing it. Today it is a week since the report was given to Brown for comment.

The fact that he promptly lawyered up indicates that it isn’t good reading.

Meanwhile Bernard Orsman’s direct line to the Mayor’s office seems to have been severed.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown will not say if he has received free hotel rooms as pressure mounts on him to come clean on overnight stays in the city.

The use of hotel rooms by Mr Brown is believed to be at the centre of a legal wrangle holding up the release of the Ernst & Young (now EY) report into use of council resources during the mayor’s extra-marital affair with Bevan Chuang.  Read more »

Why does Len Brown lie so much?

brownhonest

Yesterday on Firstline Len Brown was asked about the Ernst & Young report into his sordid actions. He said he hadn’t seen it yet.

That was a lie. It was a lie because this morning in the Herald by Bernard Orsman.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown is taking advice as he ponders the first draft of an Ernst & Young report into a review of any use of council resources during his two-year affair with Bevan Chuang.

Mr Brown received a copy of the draft on Friday night and after a weekend in Rotorua, began consulting close advisers on Sunday and throughout yesterday.  Read more »

Report into Brown’s affair delayed. White wash shortage to blame?

The report by Ernst & Young into Len Brown’s affair is dragging on. It was due last Friday and now isn’t expected for several weeks.

The sniff of a white wash is starting to tell. Bernard Orsman grits his teeth and writes about the delay.

An Auckland Council review of any use of council resources by Mayor Len Brown in his affair with Bevan Chuang is taking longer than expected.

After the council said the review by Ernst & Young would be reported back to chief executive Doug McKay as “quickly as possible” and in no more than four weeks, the deadline passed yesterday with word it is still several weeks away.

A council spokesman said work on the review was ongoing and thorough and the findings were expected to be published “within weeks”. The original deadline of four calendar weeks was a best guess at the time, the spokesman said.

The council would not say why the review was taking longer than indicated on October 21, when Mr McKay announced the scope of the independent review.  Read more »