Kerre McIvor

Kerre McIvor is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Kerre McIvor: Mayor's affair a sad sideshow

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Len Brown should have kept it in his pants.
Len Brown should have kept it in his pants.

To think, just a week ago nobody was interested in local body politics. Now look at us.

In light of sordid revelations of an affair between Mayor-elect Len Brown and an ambitious little piece, Bevan Chuang, everybody's got an opinion.

I find it ironic that so many people have rung me this week fulminating about the importance of the position of mayor. How it's vital that a mayor be a role model and a source of inspiration to people.

What utter rot. If that were true, more than 34 per cent of Auckland ratepayers would have voted in the local-body elections.

As it is, Brown was returned to the role because people simply couldn't be arsed voting.

Then, what an ignominious beginning to his second term as Auckland's mayor. The horror began two days after the votes were counted, when an affidavit was published on a right-wing blog that revealed - in excoriating and excruciating detail - an affair between the married father-of-three and a wannabe politician 23 years his junior.

Chuang disclosed information about her liaisons with Brown that nobody ever needed to know.

She claims she was pressured by yet another lover, who was working for a rival mayoral candidate, to go public with the affair. Luigi Wewege - it just keeps getting more bizarre - was certainly pressing her through Facebook messages to give up the dirt on Len.

But there was absolutely no need for her to go into the detail she did. It was utterly tasteless. It was completely unnecessary and cruel. Chuang has been trying to play the victim card in recent days and that galls me. She is feeling, she wrote on Facebook, "used, abused and manipulated".

Oh, come on. She knew exactly what she was doing, she is old enough to understand the consequences and she was quoted in the Herald last year as saying she was willing to sleep with anyone in order to get herself pregnant in the Year of the Dragon, an auspicious year in the Chinese horoscope.

She has never been shy about talking about her love life on radio and television, so this is no doe-eyed virgin we're talking about here, susceptible to the machinations of mean old men. I will concede she has appalling taste in lovers, but the only victims here are Brown's wife and daughters.

It would probably be a good idea for Chuang to give up blokes for a while and sit at home reading self-improvement books to increase her chances of finding a real boyfriend.

But given that she succumbs so easily to pressure, and that she is given to baring the most intimate details of her sex life to the world, she'll be bloody lucky to find a soft toy willing to share her bed with her in the future, far less a real live man.

Although when push comes to shove, as it undoubtedly has done, she's single - she can choose to sleep with whomever she pleases.

A married man who has campaigned on his family values and thrust his photogenic wife and daughters into the spotlight at every occasion, on the other hand, should have known better than to shag a young, hungry woman on the make.

Once you decide to cheat on your spouse, you run the risk of losing everything. Perhaps that's part of the thrill - giving in to the self-destructive urge that so many of us have from time to time, just to make life a little more interesting.

Perhaps if you have a near-death experience, as Brown did a couple of years ago, it makes you want to take chances, feel alive - and he may have thought an affair with a woman young enough to be his daughter would make him feel like the rampant buck he used to be.

I don't know what was going through the Mayor's brain - sadly, that's the only organ of his of which I know little.

It's extremely unedifying, having to bear unwilling witness to a private affair between a tragic old man and a pathetic little bunny-boiler.

Perhaps, if we'd been colonised by France all those years ago, we'd have shrugged our shoulders and yawned. But we weren't. We were colonised by England and we've sniggered like school kids at the salacious scandal.

There have been calls for the Mayor to resign - mainly from those who were anti-Brown in the first place - and howls from the left that this is all a right-wing smear campaign to destroy him.

Brown has only himself to blame. If he'd kept it in his pants, he wouldn't have found himself in this most unsavoury of predicaments. He has tried to bluff it out this week, claiming the people of Auckland need him to do the job he was elected to do. But he's not that important. The city doesn't need him.

You could pretty much shave a chimp and put mayoral chains on it and the city would function. But Brown's there now and shows no sign of budging.

Perhaps if he does a superb job running the city over the next three years, the ratepayers will forgive him his trespasses. Whether his wife and daughters do is their business.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- Herald on Sunday

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