Brown spending probe refused

By Bernard Orsman

Len Brown. Photo / Janna Dixon
Len Brown. Photo / Janna Dixon

The Auditor-General has decided not to investigate further Manukau Mayor Len Brown's use of his council credit card.

The Super City mayoral contender asked the Auditor-General to review his credit card expenses during an emotional apology to councillors last week.

"Either you give me a break and let me have the opportunity of a fair hearing to get some justice, equity and fairness, or sink into a cesspit of political expedience. I leave it up to you," he told the meeting with councillors.

Mr Brown has admitted using his council credit card for personal purchases, including a mini hi-fi system and Christmas ham, for which he repaid the council. He also broke the council credit card policy and received warnings from senior staff for not providing proper documentation.

Last night on TV3's Campbell Live, Mr Brown said he regretted using the card for a "personal convenience", adding that he was not afraid to express his emotions.

Yesterday, the Deputy Auditor-General, Phillippa Smith, wrote to Mr Brown declining his request to investigate the matter further.

She said she had considered the effect of additional audit work by "our appointed auditor" on the council's systems and processes for sensitive expenditure which had already identified shortcomings, public disclosure of council spending and the fact that the council would shortly cease to exist.

"In addition, the details of the purchasing card transactions are in the public arena and you have acknowledged shortcomings in your personal use and administration of the purchasing card."

Mr Brown said the Auditor-General "acknowledged that I have made mistakes, but they are sufficiently confident in our existing audit arrangements".

"I have acknowledged these same mistakes and reimbursed the council. I was confident that Manukau City Council's processes were robust."

- NZ Herald

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