Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Brown affair inquiry to look at job reference

Review for Auckland Council will also consider if its rules have been breached.

Mayor Len Brown will today hold his first public engagements since details of the affair were made public on the Whaleoil blog site last Tuesday.
Mayor Len Brown will today hold his first public engagements since details of the affair were made public on the Whaleoil blog site last Tuesday.

An Auckland Council inquiry into mayor Len Brown's extra-marital spending is being widened to look at a reference the mayor provided for his ex-mistress to help her get a job at Auckland Art Gallery.

A council spokesman said the review - announced by chief executive Doug McKay last Thursday - would probe whether Mr Brown breached the council's code of conduct and conflicts of interest guidelines set down by the Auditor-General.

The review would also look at whether Mr Brown provided other references for his former mistress, Bevan Chuang, the spokesman said.

Decisions on terms of reference for the independent review and who will conduct it are expected to be finalised today or tomorrow.

Mr Brown will today hold his first public engagements since details of the affair were made public on the Whaleoil blog site last Tuesday.

After being holed up at the Auckland Town Hall and his Manukau lifestyle block with his wife Shan Inglis and family, Mr Brown will attend a Fonterra Milk for Schools programme at Three Kings Primary School and open a compact showhome in Ellerslie.

John Palino - Mr Brown's rival at the mayoral election - issued a statement on Saturday confirming he met Ms Chuang for a late-night discussion in a Mission Bay carpark the night after the election and two days before the affair was made public.

He said he met with Ms Chuang - at her request - in relation to threatening text messages the pair had both received from the same number, but did not say what they discussed.

Mr Palino continued to say the first he was aware of the affair was last Tuesday when it was made public.

"Bevan has never disclosed to me the full nature of her relationship with the mayor and only ever indicated she received persistent and unwanted propositions from the mayor," the statement said.

Ms Chuang told the Herald the meeting was to discuss whether Mr Brown might resign over the affair.

Mr Palino, who is having a break in Melbourne with his fiancee Rose Li, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mr McKay said the mayor had no council credit card and all invoices and payments from the mayoral budget were checked and approved by the mayor's chief of staff.

"I have received an assurance from both the mayor and his chief of staff that no mayoral office funds were used in relation to the mayor's relationship with Ms Chuang," he said last Thursday.

"However, I have agreed to independently review this to confirm that is the case."

Last Thursday, Mr Brown confirmed he provided a reference for Ms Chuang to help her get a job at the art gallery in July 2011 - two months after Ms Chuang said the affair began.

If Mr Brown was found to have breached the code of conduct, he could be censured by the council.

Mayor's week ahead

Today:
11.15am Fonterra Milk for Schools, Three Kings Primary School, Mt Eden Rd
2.30pm Official opening of the 2nd James Hardie Smarter Small Show Home, 21A Main Highway, Ellerslie
Tomorrow:
7.40am Fortnightly Radio Tarana interview
Wednesday 23 October:
7.40am Fortnightly 95bfm interview
Thursday 24 October:
6.00pm Launch of Rainbow Community Public Health Report, The Parenting Place, Great South Rd, Greenlane

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n3 at 31 Aug 2014 20:58:03 Processing Time: 545ms