Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Len Brown: I'm staying

• 1,375 unpaid cellphone calls and texts
• $39,000 worth of hotel rooms and upgrades and
• Undeclared NRL grand-final ticket, but he's staying

Mayor Len Brown spent yesterday afternoon fronting media interviews. Photo / Greg Bowker
Mayor Len Brown spent yesterday afternoon fronting media interviews. Photo / Greg Bowker

Len Brown says he is no lame-duck mayor after a damning report found he made 1375 calls and texts to his mistress, Bevan Chuang, and failed to declare more than $39,000 in free hotel rooms and upgrades.

Mr Brown last night told the Weekend Herald he was staying in the job and committed to Auckland as much as ever.

And while he conceded there were a significant number of people who did not support him, he insisted: "The overwhelming sentiment, no matter what they think of me, is 'for goodness sake get on with the job'."

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Mr Brown believes the report is the end of the matter and wants to get on with running the Super City for the best part of another three years before he faces the voters.

First, he must face the ire of councillors, who are taking the weekend to read and digest the report.

One right-wing councillor, Denise Krum, did not wish to comment on the personal activities of the mayor, but said the report clearly highlighted an "oops, sorry, I won't do it again" repetitive strand.

"With all the presidential-type powers he now wields, this is a disconcerting habit," she said.

The report by EY (Ernst & Young) found Mr Brown did not inappropriately use council resources during his affair with Ms Chuang.

But it found he repeatedly breached the council's code of conduct, not declaring hotels rooms, an NRL grand-final ticket and an iPad (which he auctioned for charity).

The mayor took three free hotel nights and five upgrades at SkyCity hotels during the time he was championing the pokies-for-convention-centre deal.

Mr Brown did apologise for telling Aucklanders in October that he paid for all the hotel trysts with Ms Chuang out of his own pocket, putting it down to "not having full power of recollection".

Mr Brown said 98 per cent of the hotels rooms were organised by his wife, Shan Inglis, with assistance from his office. None of the upgrades or free rooms were requested.

He said he was "not totally focused" on the upgrades taking him over the $300 limit for gifts that must be disclosed.

The issue with the hotels was completely different from the use of a council credit card for personal spending when he was mayor of Manukau, rebutting a suggestion the credit card business, affair with Ms Chuang and failure to declare gifts showed a poor pattern of behaviour.

Auckland Council chief Doug McKay, who released the long-awaited "thorough, comprehensive and robust" review, refused to make a judgment on the report's findings.

He did, however, say the mayor had done a fabulous job in the three years they had worked pulling Auckland together.

On 3 News, Ms Chuang said the report showed Mr Brown had not used his power to help her gain a job at the Auckland Art Gallery - although it said that the many references he had said he provided for people were only character references and not employment ones.

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Standing by her man

Len Brown's wife, Shan Inglis, was by his side as he insisted yesterday that he was staying in the job.

The Weekend Herald understands Ms Inglis has spent some time with her eldest daughter, Sam, and her husband, Tim Colgan, at their Remuera home as she and the mayor work through the fallout from his two-year affair with a woman 25 years younger. They spent last weekend in Rotorua.

Mr Brown has vowed to redeem himself with his wife and three daughters, including a break from Friday to spend Christmas and New Year with relatives, then possibly a family holiday overseas.

Yesterday, as he sat through a succession of media interviews, Ms Inglis was upstairs in the mayor's office having a drink with his staff.

- NZ Herald

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