Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Aucklanders would bring back Brown - survey

Auckland Mayor Len Brown. Photo / Doug Sherring
Auckland Mayor Len Brown. Photo / Doug Sherring

Half of Aucklanders think Len Brown should continue as mayor of the city after revelations of a two-year extra-marital affair with a woman appointed to a council advisory panel.

The first scientific poll since details of the affair were revealed on Tuesday by his 32-year-old former mistress Bevan Chuang show 51 per cent of Aucklanders think Mr Brown should continue being the mayor and 39.5 per cent think he should resign.

Among those who voted for the 57-year-old Mr Brown at last Saturday's election, just under 70 per cent said they would vote for him again if another election was held.

Nandan Modak, whose DigiPoll company conducted the survey, said the trend showed he would still be returned as Mayor of Auckland if a fresh election was held tomorrow.

In that event, Mr Brown would have 34 per cent support, his main right wing rival John Palino 19.5 per cent and another candidate 31.7 per cent.

Aucklanders' view of Mr Brown's affair was divided, with 62.7 per cent saying it reflected badly on his character. About half this group said it did not affect his ability to do the job as mayor and half said he was unfit to hold public office.

Another 24 per cent said the affair was a private matter and nothing to do with his fitness for the job and 9.6 per cent said it was a diversion from more important issues.

Voters aged 60 or more were less likely to vote for Mr Brown as a result of his extra-marital affair and voters from 18-39 age group, if they did vote, were more likely to vote for Mr Brown or someone other than Mr Palino.

Overall there was little difference between men's and women's responses.

However women were more likely than men to be undecided about whether Mr Brown should carry on as mayor.

Men were almost twice as likely to believe Miss Chuang was working with Mr Brown's opponents to destroy his political career.

The poll of 500 people was taken on Wednesday and Thursday and has a margin of error of 4.4 per cent.

It was conducted as new revelations were coming to light, including claims by Miss Chuang she was pressured by a member of Mr Palino's election team to reveal the affair and Mr Brown confirming he provided his ex-lover with a reference for a job at Auckland Art Gallery. Miss Chuang said the affair was taking place at the time.

Mr Modak said there was no significant change in people's responses over the two days.

The number of people saying they would vote for Mr Brown's opponent John Palino if an election was held tomorrow was up slightly from the number who voted for him last weekend - from 15.8 per cent to 19.5 per cent.

Mr Brown lost 19.1 per cent of his supporters to "another candidate" but picked up 17.3 per cent of votes from supporters of other candidates at the election.

- NZ Herald

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