Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Pay vote adds to pressure on mayor

Living wage for council staff now unlikely, city rail link funding in limbo

The Brown family are planning to spend Christmas and New Year with relatives, then possibly take a family holiday overseas. Photo / HOS
The Brown family are planning to spend Christmas and New Year with relatives, then possibly take a family holiday overseas. Photo / HOS

The sex scandal that has dogged Len Brown for two months could be having an effect on the mayor doing his job - he has lost a vote on a core policy and failed to keep a promise made to voters at the local body elections.

Shortly after Mr Brown was censured by councillors on Thursday, he lost a vote on a living wage for council staff, which now has little chance of being implemented.

Mr Brown has also not developed a funding proposal for his pet $2.86 billion city rail link for the Government before the end of this year - a promise made on the election hustings as part of his transport policy called Getting Auckland Moving.

Yesterday, Mr Brown was on holiday and not responding to questions. It is understood he is taking a break to spend time with his wife, Shan Inglis, and family as part of trying to "redeem and rebuild myself in the eyes of my wife and children and wider family".

The Brown family are planning to spend Christmas and New Year with relatives, then possibly take a family holiday overseas.

The mayor's office said he mayor would resume public engagements in early to mid January.

Councillor Cameron Brewer said an 11-10 vote to fully investigate the costs of the living wage and prepare a remuneration policy was a blow to Mr Brown and showed how difficult his second term would be.

Instead of the policy going straight into next year's draft budget, it will be held up. The proposal would have been phased in over three years and cost $3.75 million.

Mr Brown's failure to develop a rail link funding proposal for the Government by Christmas is a set-back because the mayor has made a big deal of starting construction in 2016.

A funding package has proved elusive for Mr Brown, who promised early last year that voters would be under no illusion by this year's local body elections what his preferences were on things such as tolls to help pay the cost.

In a written comment from his office, Mr Brown said the city rail link had been prepared and would go to the Government in the New Year.

The mayor's office issued a list of things that had been delivered since the election, including a draft budget with a proposed 2.4 per cent rates increase, preparation of a youth employment action plan, the introduction of integrated ticketing and the second block of special housing areas.

Meanwhile, MediaWorks has refused to say how much it paid in airfares and accommodation for councillor Cameron Brewer to help out with meeting and greeting at a media company sales junket at Port Douglas, Queensland, in August 2011.

Mr Brewer, who has attacked Mr Brown for not declaring gifts, has admitted to going on the MediaWorks junket and not declaring it in his declarations of interest last year.

Yesterday, a Media Works spokeswoman said Mr Brewer was a guest speaker because of his days as head of the Newmarket Business Association, not because he was an Auckland councillor.

He had not been on any other MediaWorks trips.

She said Mr Brewer was not paid for speaking but would not divulge other costs, saying they were commercially sensitive.

Councillor Sharon Stewart yesterday said she had submitted a declaration of interest last year.

She was among 11 councillors who were not listed as having filed a return last year.

- NZ Herald

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