Lyin’ Len has gone all surly and petty

Auckland mayor Len Brown has ducked out of leading the debate and decisions on the Unitary Plan – the city’s most important document in its history.

Instead, Auckland deputy mayor and development committee chairwoman Penny Hulse will lead the debate and decision-making before the final plan is rubber-stamped by the governing body.

A move by right-leaning councillors to have the 7000-page plan decided by only the governing body chaired by the mayor has been defeated 13 votes to eight.

Mr Brown told councillors he didn’t want to do it. He didn’t want to be constrained by ownership of debate on the plan to its end. “I want to be free to be out and about and at the committee table on the most significant piece of work since amalgamation.”

He told councillors at the governing body meeting Ms Hulse as chairwoman of the development committee, which has been responsible for the Unitary Plan, had lived and breathed it for four and a half years.

“She has led and cheered the process while also being deputy mayor and it has been one hell of a job. She has my total confidence to see it right through to the end.

“The development committee deserves to take plan through to fruition. The process that was started in the development committee needs to be finished there,” he says.

Not only is it the right thing to do, it is much easier for me,” Mr Brown says.

The most important thing in the history of the council, and mayor Len Brown is concerned about coasting out the last few months the ‘easy’ way.  Can’t say it surprises.

Despite calls for the debate and decisions to be made by the governing body, Mr Brown stuck to his guns and told councillors he was ready to make a plan. “If you are not ready, you have wasted three to six years of time here.

An angry Mr Brown says the process will not be the defining point of the plan. “Stop mucking around,” he told councillors.

Former mayor and ward councillor Christine Fletcher says she had been told for four and a half years by a parade of senior staff numerous times at numerous meetings the final debate and decision making would go straight to the governing body.

“This is going to be the most important decision in local government’s history in New Zealand and we are leaving it to a committee and possibly two if the finance committee is also involved.

“Mr Brown, you have reminded us often you are the only one who has a mandate for the whole of the region, yet all we are being offered is a broken process.  Given the significance of the plan, it is important the process is exemplary.”

Perhaps Matthew Hooton has a point.  These things are way too important to leave up to career troughers.



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