Pam Squawkery kicks Len Brown in the slats

It is just a pity that Pam Corkery didn’t come out with her opinion piece a couple of weeks ago. It is a ripper and she fair kicks Len Brown in the slats.

Not voting is alien to me and I have been guilty of preaching to fellow citizens who aren’t up for democracy at the moment.

I am going to stop, because events have forced me to look at Len Brown, then look away again – quickly.

I don’t blame Mayor Brown for the nationwide apathy about local-body elections. But he can cop a fair chunk of the responsibility in Auckland.

Mr Brown is a cartoon politician. He was the people’s choice who presented his arse for a smooch as soon as he got the boss’ job.

He has been a bleeder looking for something sharp to bump into in the past few days. 

Ouch, that is real nasty.

The impact happened on release of the council annual report, including salaries.

There are more than 100 council staff on $200,000, 1500 on more than $100,000, and from there the wages start to get flash.

Both the chief executive of the council, Doug McKay, and Mark Ford, the chief executive of Watercare, are near the $800,000 mark, courtesy of decent wage rises in the past year.

Mr Brown explained this away, like the sophisticate he aspires to be, as the council having to “meet the market”.

Which Pam goes on to point out is ridiculous.

Gas station attendants know that the market is, in reality, an entwined grouping of company board-hoppers who keep the pay rates inflated.

The members of this exclusive club are hardly going to push salaries down in grim times and settle for a ham and a Mitre 10 voucher at Christmas.

Voter resentment over the salary figures has been swift and loud but not driven by ideology, or by envy. The injustice has marked the wood that political institutions are run by the few looking out for themselves.

So Mr Ford and Mr McKay earn more than 20 times the so-called living wage of $38,200 a year – a sum that is still just a hope for those who clean, provide security and deal with waste, for the Auckland Council.

At five-minutes-to the ballots being counted, the mayor finally declared tentative support for the living wage while speaking at a public meeting last week in his hood of South Auckland. It was reported that many in the audience earned the minimum wage.

Behaving as though it was coming out of his own pocket, Mr Brown pledged to give his weight to “seriously assessing whether or not we can achieve this [the living wage] within the overall context of good prudent, financial management”.

Sounds like Pam is saying too little too late Mr Brown. Then there is the debt.

Dial back the enthusiasm, bro’, and how interesting to have an outsider’s point of view. Under the mayor’s stewardship, council debt has almost doubled to nearly $7 billion.

It is unconscionable that the mayor would give only a conditional tick to an extra couple of million to raise mostly contract workers’ pay from a minimum to a living level of dollars. As one candidate for the Auckland District Health Board said, it also cost money abolishing slavery but it had to be done.

Mr Brown’s partial concession to council workers was the latest stumble in an inglorious run.

The left isn’t pleased with Len Brown, sounds like they have marshalled to hurt him. Pam lists why they aren’t happy.

Other lowlights have been the mayor impaling himself on the fence when the wharf workers came under attack from the council-owned ports company.

Then there’s the SkyCity convention deal. From the outset, the mayor loved it. He voted against the majority of council in favour of a pact that would see gambling legislation changed for more pokies in return for a convention centre, possibly with his name engraved on a commemorative plaque.

But in the past couple of weeks, Mr Brown has had another clumsy bob-each-way, declaring that he’s for the convention centre but against the financial deal underpinning it.

The truly pathetic aspect of Mr Brown’s first term as Super City mayor has been that he has ended up impressing no one. Neither those who put him in office nor the smart crowd he seems desperate to be buddies with do more than tolerate him now.

The miserable voter participation in this year’s local elections is part of the malaise blighting other developed countries with huge disparities in wealth.

And the final nail…

Mind you, there’s the saying about the bad apple. Don’t let it spoil the rest. It takes about five minutes to fill out your ballot paper. Hop to it.


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • Hazards001


    • ratesarerevolting

      Hallelujah… oh do dah day !

  • DLNZ

    You can always rely on Pam to tell it like it is. Its no wonder she hated politics.

    “Politicians are, by and large, far more self-deluding, devious, bloated, insecure, egocentric wankers than I had feared.” – a quote from her book.

  • cows4me

    Pam blames the huge disparities in wealth for voter malaise, rubbish. I would put it down to socialism, progressive welfare programs and the belief government will take care of it. Some of the highest voter turnouts come from countries that are impoverished and have no big government. They know that what they vote for matters in their lives.

  • surfisup

    She just sounds jealous she is not getting 200k a year.

    However, in saying that, i could do the water job for 400k a year. I just don’t see that any rocket science is involved.

    • Jman

      They use this ludicrous argument about needing to “meet the market”. It works like this: A private sector company with assets of $7 billion pays its CEO $800000 per annum. Watercare has $7 billion of assets. Therefore the CEO of Watercare also needs to get $800000.

      The flaw in this logic is that the CEO of the private company needs actual business acumen to BRING IN the revenue to keep the company afloat, while the Watercare CEO simply needs to manage the spending of the money that is guarenteed – that literally falls into his lap. An enormous difference. One job requires a businessman. The other requires an administrator. They should NOT be paid the same.

  • Never in the dark…..

    Well 4 forms were filled in at this household, and none of the ticks were next to Brown. I made sure of it. No apathy around here.

    • Mr_Blobby

      The problem is 1600 vested interest vote for the status quo.

  • Col

    Lianne was talking to some of my mates last night at the pub, didn’t want to talk too me, I m the to hard basket for her.
    I was trying to ask her about the poster in the East CHCH window?

    • Roland

      Expand please?

      • Col

        Ms Williams standing for Labour in the ChCh East had her sign up saying she was the MP for ChCh East, and we have not had the by election yet?

        • Roland

          That’s a bit naughty, asking for some bad Karma I would say

  • James Growley

    Pity Pam gave up on the man whore house – Len could have got a job there if he gets his backside kicked…..

    • Nechtan

      But only for those clients who want a submissive slave type?

  • Vlad

    Well, now that the time to vote has nearly expired, the Herald, Orsman, and the left have come out of the closet. Len Brown is a weak, incompetent, blathering “leader” who will drive a prosperous city under water with his shallow ideas and billion dollar borrowings to hide his inadequate management. He will blunder into re-election. We have never had such an ill-qualified fool in nominal charge of an important part of the NZ economy.

    • Mr_Blobby

      No your wrong he has no idea whats happening, he is just the mouth piece doing as he is told, and fall boy if it goes wrong.

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    As you say too late…let us move on and celebrate Lentils victory on Sunday night. Nothing in this world is going to stop that. So whether you like it or not, Lentils is here to say Cork.

  • Mr_Blobby

    1600 plus staff earning over $100,000. That is well in excess of $160,000,000.

    Nearly a third of the staff earn more than the Councillors.

    What are these gold plated services we should be getting.They will all be seat warming sycophants. It does not take a genius to see ways of reducing the rates burden.

    • longjohn

      Why are there 1600 on the staff!!!

      • GregM

        It’s worse than that. There is actually 10600 on the staff, 100 of which are paid more than $200k, and 1600 paid more than $100k.

        EDIT: Ooops! Thor 42 has covered it below.

      • Mr_Blobby

        1600 staff that would not be missed if they did not have a job tomorrow.

        $160 Million win for the rate payers.

  • Mr_Blobby

    How about nobody in Council or related operations can earn more than the Mayor.

  • thor42

    “…more than 100 council staff on $200,000, 1500 on more than $100,000… ”

    That is *unforgivable*. Bloody *ridiculous* waste.

    • longjohn

      Worked with that McKay prick in a previous life. He was a waster thenand it continues now….from the top.

  • Brian of Mt Wellington

    The council almost has as many working for it as what the whole NZ Police force has of sworn staff. Something out of balance there.

  • Brian of Mt Wellington

    The council almost has as many working for it as what the whole NZ Police force has of sworn staff. Something out of balance there.

  • philbest

    I was encouraged recently to see a Youtube video going viral, where the song chorus went “bugger the bankers, bugger the politicians, and bugger the bureaucrats too”. There is a bit of a bipartisan awakening taking place, that many bureaucrats are now among the top 1%, and are troughers and gougers worse than the private sector’s execs.

    There was a time when you accepted lower pay in return for greater job security, working for the government. Those days are no longer. Ann Coulter nails the reasons why, here:

    “…..In fact, government employees should never, ever be allowed to organize.

    The need for a union comes down to this question: Do you have a boss who wants you to work harder for less money? In the private sector, the answer is yes. In the public sector, the answer is a big, fat NO.

    Government unions have nothing in common with private sector unions because they don’t have hostile management on the other side of the bargaining table. To the contrary, the “bosses” of government employees are co-conspirators with them in bilking the taxpayers…..”