Herald editorial on the feeble mayoralty of Len brown

Just one of the bad eggs that need to be exited

The Herald editorial writes about the feeble mayoralty of Len Brown.

Seldom has New Zealand seen, at any level of politics, a rise and fall as rapid as that of Len Brown. It could be argued he was almost unknown to wider Auckland when, as Mayor of Manukau, he stood for the leadership of the newly amalgamated “Super City”. With the help of Labour Party campaign organisers, activists and funds, his image was strongly projected on billboards around the city and he emerged a surprising winner over the much better known, but contentious, John Banks.

Once elected, “Mayor Len” quickly became the face of the Super City and a personality in his own right. Relishing the fact Auckland could speak with a single voice for the first time, he embraced the role with the style of a religious revivalist, making high-blown speeches and breaking into song when the spirit moved him. It was cheesy but it was also effective. Auckland really did have a voice that was being heard and a “liveable city” programme that gave it a sense of progress.

It was all prat falls and stunts with no depth. The man could barely run a small suburban conveyancing office and now he was in charge of the super city. He was actually an embarrassment.

It was Mr Brown’s signal achievement that in mid-2013 Prime Minister John Key announced the central rail link would be scheduled, though no date was indicated.

By then the mayor was coming to the end of his first term and no other council member was inclined to challenge him. He was certain to be re-elected handsomely, and so he was. But the very next day his status was shattered.

Gee I wonder who did that?

Nobody needs reminding of the affair disclosed on the Whale Oil website that day, or of the mayor’s appearance on Campbell Live the following night. While admitting it all, he was determined not to resign. He vowed not to give his antagonists the satisfaction of forcing him from office. He seemed to think voters who had just given him a second term would forgive him in time.

But Len Brown was not a John F. Kennedy or a Bill Clinton. Secret, extramarital sexual behaviour in office did not fit the person Aucklanders thought they knew. His may have been a common failing, and criticism of him often hypocritical, but he became a persona non grata. Where previously he had been a fixture at every public event, with his happy, clappy routines, now he was not invited.

Mr Brown ought to have resigned a long time ago. He has done no good for Auckland by remaining in office once it had become obvious to all around him that he could not again be effective. For two years, the council has been drifting and fractious, lacking leadership in the position that was given more executive power than any other in New Zealand local government.

His decision not to seek re-election next year is the next best thing to an admission that he no longer should be there.

He may as well go now, Penny Hulse is running the council anyway.


– NZ Herald

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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.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.