Len Brown deja vu: No resignation from Andrew Kirton

Len Brown

No one was more shocked than the team at Whaleoil when Auckland Mayor Len Brown refused to resign. Despite more than a month of relentless negative headlines after Whaleoil broke the story of his affair, he battled on even though he was a laughing stock nationally and referred to as a lame-duck mayor and as pants-down Brown.

He had admitted to conducting an affair on council property (the table in the Ngati Whatua room no less) and using council credit cards to wine and dine his mistress and buy her lingerie. The scandal wasn’t that he had been unfaithful to his wife: the scandal was that he did it on the ratepayers’ dollar while he was at work.

Everyone expected him to fall on his sword and yet he clung on.

Jacinda Ardern seems to think that instead of shutting down the negative press with Kirton’s resignation she can continue to tough out week after week of negative cartoons, news stories, opinion pieces and headlines. She is attempting the Len Brown strategy of continuing on as if nothing has happened until the media finally run out of steam. It is a risky strategy as this scandal has legs with four alleged victims as well as the issues of the premises being unlicensed and there being no adult supervision while the young people were intoxicated.

Labour general secretary and 2017 campaign manager Andrew Kirton. Picture / Audrey Young

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is still backing the Labour Party boss who kept her in the dark about the party’s summer camp, where a 20-year-old is alleged to have sexually assaulted four teenagers.

Andrew Kirton, the Labour Party general secretary, was told about the allegations in the days that followed the summer camp at Waihi, but did not immediately tell the victims’ parents, police, or Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

[…] “I have spoken to him at great length about the areas where we have failed. He acknowledges he has made mistakes,” Ardern said. “As a parent, would I have wanted to know, absolutely. But is that something we can compel or force, no,” she said.

Pressed on Kirton’s actions in letting her down badly, Ardern doubted if there would be a situation in future where that kind of information would not be shared with her.

“At that time the call was made that the most senior person in the Labour Party, which is actually our president was informed, our senior vice-president and they swung in to make sure they were focused on the young people … rather than political management.

“I stand by that being the more important question here,” said Ardern, who said the party bosses did some right things but not quickly enough and the party should have been much faster to respond.

“It’s a moot point around when or where I should have known. The fact is what happened still happened to these young people. Whether I was brought in doesn’t change that. They are the ones we have a duty of care to,” Ardern said.

-NZ Herald


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