Payback comes for mayor's mining trip

By Lindy Laird

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Far North Mayor Wayne Brown has repaid $1275 he ran up on his council credit card to help get him to a mining conference in Canada.

He used his mayoral card to spend $1275 of ratepayers' money toward his trip to the Prospectors and Developers' Association conference in Toronto in March.

He had bought tickets between Hawaii and Toronto ($636.20 from Hawaii to Toronto, and $638.80 return) on December 6. Mr Brown repaid the money before an audit and finance committee meeting yesterday when a report was to be tabled listing his travel expenses for the second half of last year.

This month the Far North council declined his request to fund him to the world's biggest minerals industry bash to the tune of $3000. Another $3000 has been pledged by Northland Regional Council's development unit, Northland Inc, and Mr Brown had said all along he would pay the remaining $3000 himself.

He had requested the money on the grounds that he was going to Canada to promote mining in Northland. His request was turned down partially because of ambiguity in the information presented in Mr Brown's business card.

That card introduced him as the Far North mayor but only gave his private, not civic, contact details.

Mr Brown is a shareholding director of Tai Tokerau Minerals, and the council's audit and finance review of elected members' travel costs, dated January 25, showed he had already spent the $1275 on two air tickets when that debate was being aired.

Mr Brown was unavailable for comment.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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