Simon Plumb is a journalist for the Herald on Sunday

Gifts galore for council

The Rolling Stones perform in Havana, Cuba, Friday, March 25, 2016. Photo / AP
The Rolling Stones perform in Havana, Cuba, Friday, March 25, 2016. Photo / AP

Champagne, Rolling Stones tickets and an Apple TV were among gifts received by Auckland City councillors in the past year.

Their code of conduct requires them to declare gifts of more than $300, including travel, hotel rooms and event freebies.

They are also asked to state any controlling interests in companies and employment other than as an elected representative.

Mayor Len Brown's four-page declaration includes a raft of community patron positions as well as gifts - champagne and wine, a Huawei smartphone, a painting and concert tickets for The Eagles.

Many items were declared as "value unknown" but one of the most valuable was $300 tickets for The Rolling Stones.

Brown says he gives a lot of his gifts away to community groups.

"Gifts that come to mind include a drone donated to Karekare Surf Lifesaving and an iPad donated to the Mayoress Fund for Youth," Brown told the Herald on Sunday.

"Often gifts are of symbolic significance."

Many councillors did not have any gifts to declare in the latest round, although deputy mayor Penny Hulse's declarations span 15 pages.

She records everything meticulously, regardless of value. "I have been teased about it."

Hulse doesn't drink so usually re-gifts any alcohol she receives.

"Any thank-you chocolates get added to the sweet stash in the office and disappear fast."

- Herald on Sunday

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