The Auckland Council member who tipped off Len Brown's campaign team that the mayor's affair with Bevan Chuang could soon be made public has apologised to MP Mark Mitchell for naming him as her informant.

Councillor Penny Webster said she was upset that the Rodney MP had had to defend himself against attacks on his integrity and character by Labour MPs in the parliamentary debating chamber.

She was also concerned, as Rodney representative on the council, to retain a "very good working relationship" with the local MP.

Mrs Webster, a former Act MP, said the comment Mr Mitchell made to her was not at a cocktail party or as part of idle gossip.


"I was in a business meeting with Mark over electoral/council matters when our conversation turned to local government elections and the mayoral campaign.

"Mark made a passing comment, something like 'scuttlebutt floating around for a while about the mayor having a skeleton in his closet; if there is a skeleton I hope that his wife and children know because families are always the victims in these sort of things'. I laughed, saying, 'I'm sure it isn't correct,' and he agreed with me.

"It was a generic conversation between him and me and I deeply regret using his name in a later conversation with the mayor's chief of staff."

A source inside the Brown camp said the word from Mr Mitchell was enough to say to Mr Brown that he needed to tell the mayoress, Shan Inglis, about the affair.

Mr Mitchell said last night that he accepted the apology.

"She didn't have to do that but certainly I appreciate it. I know my wife does as well."

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