John Weekes

John Weekes is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Brown urged: Skip royals

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be bringing Prince George to New Zealand in April. Photo / AP
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be bringing Prince George to New Zealand in April. Photo / AP

Auckland councillor Dick Quax, an outspoken critic of Mayor Len Brown, has called on him to withdraw from hosting Prince William and wife Catherine early next year.

The couple and their baby George will visit New Zealand in April.

Yesterday, Quax said Brown should not be greeting the royals after his two-year extramarital affair with Bevan Chuang and a review that found he had accepted free hotel rooms and upgrades.

"I'd be absolutely horrified if he was the face and the representative of Auckland meeting Prince William, his wife and their baby."

Quax and fellow councillors Chris Darby, Linda Cooper and Bill Cashmore said they did not expect Brown to be mayor a year from now.

"Len will need a [Jimmy] Spithill-like recovery in 2014," Darby said, referring to the Australian yachtsman's come-from-behind victory in the America's Cup. Yet, he added, "he's a nuggety character unlikely to throw in the towel".

Arthur Anae, one of Brown's biggest backers on the council, expected him to stay until 2016, but added: "As for the next term, I'm pretty sure in his own mind he realises it would be a dumb thing to try and restand."

Mayoral spokesman Dan Lambert said Brown was committed to seeing through his term. He said the mayor was still in Auckland yesterday and had not yet decided where to spend his Christmas holiday.

Some local politicians were convinced yesterday that Labour MP Phil Goff was considering a tilt at the mayoralty if Brown resigned but Goff dismissed the idea and blamed mischievous right-wing councillors for the rumours.

Meanwhile, Brown critic councillor Cameron Brewer lamented a "ratepayer-funded smear campaign" after he was criticised for failing to make a formal declaration to the council over his MediaWorks junket to Queensland.

"This is all entirely predictable when you have a mayor fighting for his political survival and spin doctors out there running a strategy of interference and diversion on his behalf."

Lambert dismissed the claim.

- Herald on Sunday

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