Rodney Hide: Devilish detail wipes Len's power

Len Brown is now a figure of fun, rather than authority. Photo / Doug Sherring
Len Brown is now a figure of fun, rather than authority. Photo / Doug Sherring

Len Brown is a busted flush. It may not be right. It may not be fair. But it's the truth.

Three weeks ago, I wrote Len Brown was good for Auckland. That's no longer true.

Len Brown can no longer provide the leadership that Auckland needs. His leadership has been busted by scandal. Sure, he can wear the mayoral chains, sit in the chair, and be called Your Worship, but he can't lead. Not any more.

Len is neither a king nor a sultan. He's an elected representative. He has only the authority that we grant him. And these days we don't grant that authority once every three years. The necessary trust and respect must be earned every day.

Len Brown has lost that. Mention his name anywhere in the country and it's greeted with a snort and a snigger. And a quip.

It isn't the affair that's busted him. He did a great job as mayor, all the while conducting his clandestine relationship. He got things done, was respected and was re-elected.

What busted him was his affair being made public. And in such detail.

A dignitary in his office now feels awkward sitting on his couch. Officials can't help but think about what he's been up to. Visitors want to see the Ngati Whatua room. Foreign guests Google his name and get the eye-watering detail.

I have been the centre of a media storm. The rights and wrongs don't matter. The storm is the problem. You spend days dealing with the storm. That prevents you getting on with the job. That's the place Len Brown has been since his re-election. He is missing in action.

And then it dies down but you notice you don't carry the same political oomph and kapow. The storm has diminished but so, too, has your political influence. Your judgment is left suspect and your suggestions and recommendations lack authority.

Len Brown is not the first politician to have an affair. He won't be the last. But he's the first to have it splattered through the news in such gory detail.

When Len Brown is telling Prime Minister John Key what Auckland needs, the Prime Minister and his colleagues can't help but put a big question mark over Len Brown's advice.

His political judgment is now suspect. He won't have any push or pull. And there you have it in a nutshell. A busted flush.

We need a mayor who can move through the city and country beating the drum for Auckland. That requires a demonstrated judgment that we can respect.

That with Len, sadly for him and for Auckland, went down oh so publicly with his trousers.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- Herald on Sunday

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