Len Brown

$5000 for Len’s walking stick? Someone is taking the piss

Len Brown’s walking stick cost the ratepayers $5000, that would have been better going into the tin to recoup the expenses he cost us with the inquiry into his rooting:

Aucklanders paid more than $5000 for a present given on their behalf to outgoing mayor Len Brown, records show.

Brown left office in October last year, after deciding not to run for a third term as the first Supercity mayor.

His second term in office was plagued by scandal when he admitted three days after the election to a two-year extra-marital affair.    Read more »

Phil Goff’s own dirty politics team busted

The Auckland Ratepayers Alliance shows up a curious chain of events:

You might have noticed in yesterday’s Herald a story about the enormous pay salaries the staff in Phil Goff’s office are being paid.  The article revealed that four staff in the Mayor’s office are being paid between $150,000 and $295,000.

Putting aside the question of whether ratepayers paying so much for the Mayor’s spin doctors and political operatives is consistent with Mr Goff’s promise to cut wasteful spending, you might be surprised to learn that the Ratepayers’ Alliance requested information about the costs of Mayoral Office salaries some four weeks ago.

Much to our surprise, the story in the Herald appeared online only 90 minutes after the Council emailed us the information (at 4:50pm), apparently in an attempt to avoid your humble advocates for prudent spending blowing the whistle.   Read more »

New book released at 0900: Secrets of the Len Brown affair revealed

At 0900 this morning our new book will be released.

Simon Lusk and I have written a book cataloguing the failure of the centre-right in Auckland in the recent local body elections.

We name names and hold people to account.

We also tell the previously untold story behind the Len Brown affair with never before revealed information

Those of you who already have an INCITE: Politics subscription will have received a discount offer in the latest edition. Use the code and link provided in INCITE to obtain your discount while you pre-order.

Simon and I are going to extend INCITE: Politics as well for the coming election, offering a re-designed website and additional information and analysis. There will still be exclusive content and of course our exclusive polling by New Zealand’s best pollster, David Farrar’s Curia.

PRE-ORDER NOW

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Five minutes into the job and Phil Goff wants to blow a billion on a stadium

Now Phil Goff wants to build a stadium!

Now Phil Goff wants to build a stadium!

Well, we did warn you. Phil Goff has just picked up from where Len Brown left off. Now he wants to build a stadium…at a cost of more than $1 billion.

What is it with socialists and grand projects?

New Auckland Mayor Phil Goff wants to make an early start on a $1 billion stadium on railway land alongside Vector Arena.

In an interview with NewstalkZB’s Tony Veitch to be aired today, Goff said he does not want to spend an estimated $250 million on upgrading Eden Park over the next 15 years and believes the spiritual home of rugby and cricket could be sold for as much as $300m.

Goff, who has only been in the mayoral job for two weeks, stressed the council did not have up to $1b to invest in a new stadium right now but if the council did not start planning it would miss the boat.    Read more »

Goff gives Hulse the arse card; appoints one of his South Auckland mates as deputy

Phil Goff has replaced one of the architects of rates increases as his deputy with a member of the Terrible Ten who voted for rates increases under Len Brown.

New Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has confirmed the badly kept secret Bill Cashmore will be his deputy, while also announcing the council’s committees will be overhauled to cut down on meetings.

An official announcement on Thursday confirmed speculation National Party member Mr Cashmore would be picked for the No. 2 spot over two-time deputy mayor Penny Hulse.

Mr Goff – a former Labour Party leader – told reporters he hoped the appointment of Mr Cashmore – who ran unopposed in his largely rural Franklin seat – would send a message to Auckland’s farmers that they were still part of the super city.

“He has a reputation for getting things done. He’s a straight shooter,” Mr Goff said.

Read more »

Is it because half of council hate her?

Council insiders say that Penny Hulse is getting demoted based on her appalling treatment of a number fellow councillors, who absolutely loathe her.

Perhaps she needs to reflect on her treatment of her perceived inferiors and work out if it has caught up with her.

New Auckland mayor Phil Goff has dumped Penny Hulse as his deputy.

An official announcement is expected later this week, but sources close to the mayor’s office said Hulse would not be getting the nod.

Read more »

Once Goff opens Len’s books, the only answer will be higher rates, extra levies and more taxes

Matthew Hooton dares write what most Aucklanders really hoped wasn’t true

The former Labour leader, who is expected to win the mayoralty wearing National Party colours, will next week take the helm of another despised institution. According to Auckland Council’s own Citizens’ Insights Monitor, just 17% of Aucklanders trust the council to make the right decision on any given issue.

Worse, Mr Goff has won the position based on four fiscal promises that he knows perfectly well do not add up.

First, he has promised another $17-20 billion of infrastructure spending on top of the council’s existing estimate of $18.7 billion, for which it plans to borrow.

Second, Mr Goff has vowed not to jeopardise the council’s AA credit rating, which is under threat as debt to revenue reaches 200%, interest to revenue touches 15% and interest to rates approaches 25%. In practice, Mr Goff’s credit-rating commitment rules out any further increase in debt.

Third, Mr Goff has promised not to fund new infrastructure by selling “strategic” assets, including the $9 billion Watercare, the 22% stake the council still has in the mainly privately owned airport, and the waterfront land being used wastefully by council-owned Ports of Auckland.

Fourth and finally, Mr Goff has pledged that rates – which currently bring in just $1.5 billion a year anyway, less than half of the council’s revenue – will not rise by more than an average of 2.5% a year.

To some degree Auckland’s mayoralty is a bit of a hospital pass.  Len Brown has shackled the city to a sufficient number of long term money draining black holes that any new mayor is going to need central government help to get around the rules that are hemming any kind of creative consolidation in.   Read more »

Len Brown’s legagy: Sexy Times or Trains?

What will Len Brown’s legacy be?

“It’s been a helluva journey.”

In five words, Len Brown’s deputy Penny Hulse captured his six years as the first mayor of the amalgamated Auckland.

Mr Brown leaves the office with a legacy that will not be fully appreciated until the 2023 opening of the City Rail Link project which he championed.

The 3.4km twin-rail tunnels will cost around $3 billion, and took Mr Brown nearly three years to help convince the government to move from public scorn, in 2010, to Prime Ministerial agreement, in 2012, to co-fund the project.

The tunnels will create a loop under the CBD, boosting the frequency and capacity of the rail network, and are expected to trigger large commercial property developments along its route.   Read more »

Is it a smear campaign if it is the truth?

smear

verb
1.
coat or mark (something) messily or carelessly with a greasy or sticky substance.
“his face was smeared with dirt”
synonyms: streak, smudge, stain, mark, soil, dirty; More
2.
damage the reputation of (someone) by false accusations; slander.
“someone was trying to smear her by faking letters”
synonyms: sully, tarnish, besmirch, blacken, drag through the mud/mire, stain, taint, damage, defame, discredit, defile, vilify, malign, slander, libel, stigmatize, calumniate;

Is it a smear campaign if it is the truth?

It has always fascinated me reading on left wing blogs about what they call ” dirty politics smears” even when the subject of the so-called smear has admitted publicly that it was the truth. I refer of course to Len Brown. Whaleoil was described by them as being evil and dirty for revealing the truth about Len Brown’s behaviour and his use of council property and money to conduct his affair. Was it a real smear though? Isn’t a smear dirty precisely because it is based on innuendo and gossip rather than substantiated facts like the signed affidavit that Whaleoil had in its possession?

Read more »

Two-minute Len’s tearful valedictory speech

Mr Brown was the first Super City mayor, elected as head of the amalgamated council in 2010.

In his valedictory speech, Mr Brown described the City Rail Link project, which was now under construction, as a metaphor for the changing spirit of Auckland since the 2010 amalgamation of eight councils.

He told councillors he felt bullish about the future of the city. Read more »