Auckland mayor ups your rates, plans world tour

Matthew Teunnisen has this story

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has set himself a globe-trotting agenda for the coming year with planned visits to Taiwan, Japan, China, the United States and Australia.

The mayor’s proposed “outbound programme” includes a one-week trip to Taiwan, Japan and China accompanied by a delegation to “leverage specific opportunities” and to sign an agreement with the mayors of Guangzhou and Los Angeles.

Brown also plans to attend the World Cities Mayors Forum in New York, a summit in Los Angeles, and potentially make trade missions to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

He has also proposed attending the Asia Pacific Cities Summit and Mayors Forum in Brisbane to investigate an Auckland bid to host the summit.

Hand up if you think this is 1) blatant 2) troughing 3) taking the pee?   The man has no shame.  

Before the draft budget’s release, a spokesman for Brown said there were no formal plans at this stage and there were only three trips – fewer than in the mayor’s first term.

“Promoting Auckland internationally as a visitor destination and a great place to invest in and do business with is an important part of the mayor’s role in supporting economic growth and creating jobs in Auckland,” he said.

Brown’s office could not be contacted following the draft budget’s presentation to see whether the travel plan remained intact.

Councillor Cameron Brewer, who previously revealed $10.5 million was spent on travel in the first two years of the Super City, said he did not begrudge the mayor leading a few business delegations, “as long as they open doors and deliver results”.

“However, I do think we really need to narrow down the number of sister cities and overseas civic relationships we have.

“We inherited 31 formal relationships in 2010 and are still maintaining 19 relationships. It’s far too many.

Mayor the world over love these Sister City relationships.  It justified a host of “business” travel and “investigations”.

Mayor Len Brown wants you to have less, pay more, and he’s going to get the most out of his last year or two before he’s turfed out.

And the councilors are complicit.  A fair number will be looking at the mayor’s chair and dreaming of their own rate payer holidays.

 

– NZ Herald


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