Glyn Jones

Len Brown should be ‘toast’ anyway, now he will be burnt toast

Len Brown and his office are as tricky as David Cunliffe. But as dumb as Labour in emailing information by mistake to the NZ Herald, who gleefully recount the embarrassing details.

I wonder what James Bews-Hair said when the rooting started! Toast? Roast?

Len Brown’s principal policy adviser James Bews-Hair says the Auckland Mayor will be “political toast” if the council’s credit rating is lowered.

In an email accidentally sent to the Herald, Mr Bews-Hair said the mayor’s office has been advised there is a risk the council’s credit rating will be downgraded.

The email was circulated to senior mayoral staff on Sunday following Herald inquiries about council debt, which has soared from $3.9 billion to a projected $7.4 billion in the first four years of Mr Brown’s mayoralty.

In a candid email to Mr Brown’s chief of staff Phil Wilson, head of communications Dan Lambert and chief press secretary Glyn Jones – and copied to the Herald – Mr Bews-Hair outlined the mayoral position on maintaining the council’s AA credit rating.

“We need to keep on using the KPI [key performance indicator] for debt that we set for ourselves in election policy – retaining our rating.

“If we do that right, that can become the basis on which we are judged.

“We are advised that there is a risk that we will be downgraded … frankly, though, if we get downgraded in an improving economic environment then we are political toast anyway,” said Mr Bews-Hair.  Read more »

Len Brown still MIA

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Len Brown is still skulking in the shadows and from the looks of it his former embedded journalist is under instructions to keep the pressure on.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown is lying low and refusing to say exactly when he will resume public duties after his sex scandal, undeclared hotel stays and censure by councillors before Christmas.

Mr Brown did not return calls yesterday and his team of spin doctors were giving little away about the movements of their boss, who has been on leave since December 21 – the day after councillors expressed their “profound disappointment and disapproval” of the mayor’s inappropriate behaviour and undeclared conflicts of interest.   Read more »

Len Brown’s office bullying Taxpayers Union with threats of legal action

This morning the NBR reports of bullying from the Mayors office over support for the now discredited unitary plan.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown is ordering council-controlled organisations (CCOs) to fall into line over the controversial unitary plan.

Mr Brown’s office released the text of a November 15 letter yesterday after a request by NBR ONLINE.

Not only does the letter demand the CCOs resolve issues behind closed doors – not always to the satisfaction of those bodies – but he also wants their representatives to appear together before the unitary plan hearing panel and to show a united front.

The tone of the mayor’s letter has been described as “quite threatening” by one person on the council payroll and comes amid Mr Brown’s review of the CCO structure, which the re-elected mayor says is necessary to ensure ratepayers are getting value for money.

In his letter, Mr Brown says the council has an internal process to identify and resolve issues over the council’s submission to the plan.

Most issues are expected to be fully resolved, he writes, but he warns there may be matters “that the council cannot agree to in the exact way that a CCO may wish.”

They will be subject to ongoing discussion and resolution, the letter says, with the ability for issues to be escalated to chief executive level and, if necessary, to Auckland Development Committee chair and deputy mayor Penny Hulse.

“I do not think it is appropriate for a CCO to make a formal submission to the hearings panel independent of the council’s submission,” Mr Brown says.

“In bringing together the eight councils of the Auckland region, there was a clear public expectation that the days of councils using ratepayers’ money to have lawyers and planners fight each other in court were over – we do not need to replace this with the council and CCOs following a similar process.”

NBR ONLINE invited Mr Brown, through chief press secretary Glyn Jones, to explain why it was necessary to write the letter but he has not responded.  Read more »

Who is the mystery texter?

People keep on asking who the mystery texter was/is.

It doesn’t take long to get down to just two suspects, despite the ludicrous attempts by the left wing media and Len Brown’s spin to suggest otherwise.

The timeline makes the numbers who knew very small indeed.

I posted about “asian beauties” and just 30 minutes later the text threats started flowing.

So who could have/could have known at that point.

From my side, only Stephen Cook and myself…and it wasn’t us.   Read more »

Inside the Town Hall Bunker – The spin doctors fight

All is not well in the Mayor’s office.

As I’ve highlighted for months there has been a division within Len Brown’s office – between his closest political staffers.

For some time it had been Phil Wilson and Glyn Jones vs James Bews-Hair & Conor Roberts. Roberts had had enough so went off to Telecom via Todd property.

Throughout that time David Lewis was contracted to Len for various spin duties (while having limited other clients). Lewis chose to mostly keep out of the inner office workings mostly because he didn’t exactly get excited about the somewhat ‘provincial’ and ‘amateurish’ way Wilson ran the office and any conflict within it.

Then along came the sex scandal that engulfed the office and Lewis, being a fixer and spin doctor of phenomenal pedigree, was thrust into the workings of Len’s office.

It really is no surprise that a man who believes a spin doctor is never the story, always the client, would now be using a puff piece on himself to create some distance from Len.

Word has it that Lewis and Bews-Hair agreed with one appropriate way to manage the Len ‘situation’ while Wilson and Jones had another.  Read more »

Which of these is not like the other? [POLL]

One of these is not like the other. Who do you think it is?

  • David Lewis (61%, 177 Votes)
  • Glyn Jones (21%, 61 Votes)
  • Phil Wilson (18%, 54 Votes)

Total Voters: 292

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$1.2 million budgeted for just three staff in Len Brown’s office

Len Brown

There has been much made of wayward spending at Auckland Council.

Recently details emerged of millions of dollars spent by Len Brown’s council utilising the Labour party’s pollster UMR. There are also serious fraud investigations underway in Auckland Transport.

On top of that in recent years there has been increasing alarm at the vast sums of money being spent in Len Brown’s office on staff involved in PR, media liaison, and spin. The costs of all that in 2012 were calculated at $3.2 million:

Figures released to Mr Brewer show it cost $3.2 million to run the mayor’s office in the first 12 months of the Super City, much of which was spent on 23 staff, contractors and consultants.

“The mayoral budget is far too fat … This is really empire-building stuff,” said the right-leaning Orakei councillor and Mr Brown’s loudest critic on council.

That budget appears to have extended alarmingly with the recent appointment to Len Brown’s office of just three staff.

Information obtained under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act show that Len Brown has recently appointed three staff, two of them part-time to positions in his office with rather large contract rates. The total approved expenditure and contracts amounts are for $1.2 million for three staff.  Read more »

Len Brown’s spin doctor mocks Brownlee

Do you think it’s appropriate for Len Brown’s chief spin doctor, Glyn Jones, to be mocking the man who is backing the billion dollar spendup for Auckland?

jones Read more »

Len Brown’s zoning hypocrisy outed

I’ve blogged about Len Brown’s hypocrisy over the unitary plan and intensification before and now the NBR has picked up on it.

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Under-fire Auckland mayor Len Brown has been accused of hypocrisy for living on a spacious lifestyle block outside the urban limit while pushing for a “quality compact city” full of small high-rise apartments.

The mayor lives on a bush-covered 6970 sq m (0.688ha/1.7 acre) property at Tiffany Close on the outskirts of Manukau, just outside the current Metropolitan Urban Limit (MUL).

His house is a spacious 406sq m and he has a pool in his backyard, for which resource consent was granted in October 2002.

The property was a bare section when Mr Brown bought it with his wife Shan Inglis in 1995 for $180,000.

It now has a rateable value of $1.2 million, including land value of $495,000 and improvements of $705,000.

Critics say the mayor’s housing choice shows he is not practicing what he preaches when it comes to high-density living.  Read more »

Changes in the Night-Mayor’s office

The right wing stoolie in Len Brown’s office, James Bews-Hair, at it again. This time chief of staff Phil Wilson has seen fit to demote Glyn Jones, making way for a new media man for the Night-Mayor.

Dan Lambert has appeared. Not so well known around town as he is a recent import from the UK where he has been doing nifty and clever work for Bank of Scotland and trying cosy up to the Tories.

Looks like Len’s office takes another lurch to the right. Interesting too is how Dan came to the role. Could it be that he is a long time mate of Bews Hair? Did they plot together when Bews Hair was Goff’s SPS and Dan was Maharey’s spin doctor?

What will poor wee Glynn, the Mayor’s handbag holder, think of all this?

When will the patch war within Len’s office end and will Phil ever realise that, like Robertson to Shearer, some are much better at playing the long game than he is.

Phil and Glynn have belittled and victimised Bews Hair for too long; white anting always gets found out especially since Phil and Glynn aren’t very clever at it.

It is also understood that Bernard Orsman is especially bitter, wrongly believing that all his hard work down at the Herald on behalf of the mayor would richly rewarded. It looks like he will have to continue to attend local community board meetings for some time yet.