Herald Editorial says Brown should go


You know the jig is up when your biggest supporter writes a front page editorial telling you to go…and go now.

The NZ Herald has thrown Len Brown under the bus.

When news broke of the Mayor’s two-year affair with Bevan Chuang, this newspaper suggested that if Len Brown’s family could forgive him then the city should, too.

Two months on, that sentiment is no longer sustainable. An issue far more important than the mayor’s private life is now at stake. Tomorrow, Auckland councillors will not only formally censure Mr Brown but begin a process designed to clip the wings of the mayoral office. If that happens, the Super City may no longer have a leader with the independent authority to drive things forward. The only means of avoiding that outcome is for Mr Brown to resign. He must go in the interests of Auckland and Aucklanders. 

That solution has been there from day one but Brown refuses to acknowledge any wrong-doing.

Everything that has happened in the past few days underlines that conclusion. We have waited until the EY review was released, heard the mayor’s explanations and apologies, and witnessed the councillors’ response. There can be only one judgment. The EY review into his conduct, commissioned by the council chief executive, did not condemn him outright.

But nor did it save him. It did nothing to lessen the certainty that Mr Brown will remain a running gag at barbecues and Christmas gatherings around the city over coming weeks – and beyond. Going into next year, however, the joke will be on all of us if the Super City governance is compromised.

NZ Herald front page

NZ Herald front page

You may have heard of Godwin’s Law, As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1, well in Auckland some wags have created Brown’s Law…As any discussion grows longer, the probability of someone joking about two minutes or the Ngati Whatua room approaches 1. It is that bad. There is sniggering, jokes, and of course the chart topping song “Pants Down Brown“.

As it stands, if Mr Brown stays he will be constrained by any council oversight committee. He is referred to widely and accurately as a lame duck but Auckland cannot let that characteristic be passed to whomever succeeds him in the mayoral office.

A change of face, voice and reputation will give Auckland a far better chance of fulfilling Mr Brown’s ambitions for the city.

The affair and all the apologies are one thing but the lax accountability over grace, favour and entitlements and the potential emasculation of his office by the council leave little chance of him regaining the respect of Aucklanders.

Some of the prurient details of Mr Brown’s affair with Ms Chuang probably ought to have been censored. He is about to be censured by the city’s councillors. Now, it is surely time for him to come to his senses – and go.

Pressure surely must now be building for something stronger than a censure…a vote of no confidence from the council would truly cement his lame duck status.

Only loyal die hards are now supporting the lame duck mayor, and as a consequence covering themselves in the perfume of political death that accompanies a political corpse such as Len Brown’s.

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