David Fisher

David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Brewer denies journalist prompt

Councillor says declaration about junket made after email on gift rules, not call from reporter around same time

Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer. Photo / Michael Craig
Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer. Photo / Michael Craig

The councillor caught out on a junket to the Gold Coast declared the trip to officials - but concedes he may have done so after a call from a journalist.

But Cameron Brewer said his declaration wasn't prompted by a call from Herald media specialist John Drinnan. Instead, he said it was a council official's email that raised concerns about his free flights and accommodation.

Mr Brewer's stand against Auckland Mayor Len Brown was brought up short when he was exposed as not having declared the August 2011 trip to Australia.

On Sunday, Mr Brewer revealed he had actually declared the trip but only for the council's gifts register and not the Register of Members' Interests.

The declaration was made at 11.30am on September 8, 2011, recorded in an email sent a day before Drinnan revealed it in his weekly media column. On September 9, 2011, Drinnan reported: "Brewer says he declared the trip as a gift."

Drinnan said he called Mr Brewer either the day before the column ran or two days before.

Mr Brewer said a September 7, 2011, email from council electoral officer Bruce Thomas alerted him to the need to declare the trip. The email was sent to all councillors to alert them of the need to declare gifts worth more than $300 ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

He said he wasn't sure when Drinnan rang but accepts "Drinnan might have come between those emails. I don't know."

Mr Brewer said he was among members who had not filed a complete return of interests and had made a $1000 donation to the city mission. He also called for the debate to be focused again on Mr Brown. He said Mr Brown had declared no gifts.

Code doesn't apply

Mayor Len Brown is a justice of the peace - a group considered to uphold the highest ethical standards.

But those standards don't apply to Mr Brown, according to the Royal Federation of New Zealand Justices.

Federation registrar Alan Hart JP said a small number of emails had been received taking issue with Mr Brown's role as a JP, which he is automatically granted as mayor of a local body.

Mr Hart said that JPs appointed as a result of their roles werenot covered by the federation's rules, including its code of conduct.

- NZ Herald

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