The best investment the Maritime Union ever made

The best investment the Maritime Union ever made was its financial contribution to Auckland Council politicians at the supercity elections.

We now know that both Mike Lee and Len Brown were both given $2000 each by the Maritime Union. We can also hazard a guess that they provided “informal and voluntary” labour to help deliver pamphlets, knock on doors and put up signs, because that was precisely the modus operandi of unions in the supercity elections, and we also know that other unions were providing this labour to Len Brown and other politicians like Richard Northey.

So Len Brown has probably been dodging the media and avoiding making comments, not because he wants to be studiously independent, but because he owes favours to the Maritime Union. Len’s wishy washy comments, while tempting to put down to cowardice, are actually because he’s being influenced by the Maritime Union to stay out, because they gave him money.

Mike Lee, on the other hand, has been repaying the favour with gusto and enthusiasm.

Lee has been on the record voting against efforts to back the Ports Board, and has been publicly attacking those who have been expressing opinions that the Ports of Auckland board should be backed. The $2000 donation from the Maritime Union has bought them a public attack dog in a most influential place.

I can’t think of any circumstance in which a member of the public might think that Mike Lee would be able to give an unbiased opinion given he received a significant cash donation to help him get elected. In fact it was his only declared donation. It looks so obvious that he is conflicted that he shouldn’t have participated in the debate. The sum involved, $2000, is arguably small bikkies for a Mayoral campaign, but actually quite a useful sum of money for a council race. And then, there’s the free labour the union probably provided as well.

The questions the media need to ask are this:

Should Mike Lee have participated in the December 8 Accountability and Performance committee meeting vote on supporting the Ports Board given that he had received money from the Maritime Union and could realistically be expected to be biased or conflicted?

Had he sought advice on this potential for a conflict on interest with the CEO, as good politicians should do prior to participating in such votes?

What other politicians have received donations from the Maritime Union at the supercity?

What votes have they participated in, and how did they vote?

Are the voices in Mike Lee’s head singing barbershop now that he’s been found out?

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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