Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Len Brown keeping a low profile

Auckland Mayor Len Brown is lying low and refusing to say exactly when he will resume public duties after his sex scandal, undeclared hotel stays and censure by councillors before Christmas.

Mr Brown did not return calls yesterday and his team of spin doctors were giving little away about the movements of their boss, who has been on leave since December 21 - the day after councillors expressed their "profound disappointment and disapproval" of the mayor's inappropriate behaviour and undeclared conflicts of interest.

Yesterday, Mr Brown's chief press secretary, Glyn Jones, said the mayor was "still officially on leave but spending some time in the office while enjoying quality time with his family before returning to mayoral duties within the next couple of weeks".

When Mr Brown went on leave his chief spin doctor, Don Lambert, told the Herald the mayor would "resume public engagements from early-mid January but will continue his duties as mayor across the break".

Mr Brown has vowed to redeem himself with his wife, Shan Inglis, and three daughters following the fallout from a two-year affair with Bevan Chuang - made public by the Whaleoil blog three days after the October local body elections.

The family planned to spend Christmas and New Year with relatives, then possibly a family holiday overseas.

Mr Brown, criticised for a sense of entitlement, recidivist behaviour and lack of contrition, has rejected calls to resign, including an effective vote of no confidence by five right-wing councillors and a front-page Herald editorial.

Mr Brown plans to stay in the job to implement his vision to make Auckland the "world's most liveable city" and start construction on the $2.86 billion city rail link in 2016.

But the mayor will forgo some executive powers as a punishment by councillors. An independent report by Ernst and Young found he failed to declare more than $39,000 in free hotel rooms and upgrades.

Councillors will be given more say in the development of the budget and major policies, and Mr Brown will regularly report on the $4 million mayoral office budget.

- NZ Herald

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