Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Some reprehensible bullshit

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  • Steve Curtis, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    They're not only great for blocking out light and noise,

    I would have thought blackout blinds are useful for doing TV interviews in the office, when they want to control the lighting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    To really take the thread to the record, the dungeon needs to also have a massive stash of pirated movies, especially porno.

    Also, it has to have a discreet entrance. What use is a sex dungeon if you have to enter it through the front door of the Mayor's office? Ideally, it has a passage through to an underground lockup car park, just long enough for a stretch limo.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Ben Ross,

    on the road to…. Damascus?

    Sunday Star Times on page 3….. [We have Judith]

    …and page 9
    I especially like the photo of Judith with Cam and Carrick behind her in their balaclavas… – some kind of jolly hijab jape perhaps?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton,

    Every minister in the Beehive used to have their own shower, dressing room etc, and maybe they still do.
    So the story is a total beat up.
    But the "secret annexe" bookshelf entrance does make it comical and therefore somewhat newsworthy.
    What would have been wrong with a door?

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Geddis, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    What would have been wrong with a door?

    It is a door. Just one with bookshelves on it, that add extra storage space in what appears to be (from the NZ Herald's schematic diagram) a pretty small office and also (from an aesthetic point of view) doesn't break up the line of the bookcase. In other words, exactly the sort of thing you get when you get a designer to, you know, design an office space.

    Furthermore, can you imagine the headline if this wasn't a bookshelf entrance? "Why is Len Brown wasting money on a plain door when he could use the space to store books? Does his profligacy know no bounds?"

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The inevitable idiotic press release from the Taxpayers' Onion has been delivered:

    MEDIA RELEASE
    TIME FOR AUCKLAND RATEPAYERS TO HAVE A RECALL OPTION
    7 DECEMBER 2014
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    The Taxpayers' Union is calling on the Government to give local communities the ability to petition for recall elections, after Len Brown's latest snub to ratepayers has hit the headlines. The Herald on Sunday is reporting that Len Brown has had a private bathroom and dressing room installed behind a bookshelf in the Mayor's office. The secret rooms have cost ratepayers $30,000.

    The Union's Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

    "A secret dressing room, complete with a two seater couch, is a luxury lair, not value for money for ratepayers."

    "Councillors have already censured Len Brown for misusing funds but clearly the line in the sand is being ignored. Mr Brown's refusal to talk to media says a lot about his respect for ratepayers and his fellow councillors."

    "It's time the Government gave ratepayers a voice between elections. A recall option would enable ratepayers to petition for a vote to fire a shameless politicians who lacks any respect for those who pay the bills."

    ENDS

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Geddis, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The inevitable idiotic press release from the Taxpayers’ Onion has been delivered:

    And published almost verbatim on the NZ Herald website ... .

    The tl;dr - "See! This really was an important story!! It's sparked a serious debate about local politician accountability!!!"

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    “A secret dressing room, complete with a two seater couch, is a luxury lair, not value for money for ratepayers.”

    Does this idiot have any idea what a proper bed of nails costs?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    I counted at least six examples of mendacity or innuendo in that short release.

    If the Farrar Front is going to be quoted in the media, couldn't the journos at least read a couple of paragraphs and then ask questions ?

    "Why do you call it a lair? In what way are the rooms secret? Should ensuites in Ministerial offices be demolished?" etc

    Research and effort required: minimal. Is basic professionalism too much to ask?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to simon g,

    Research and effort required: minimal. Is basic professionalism too much to ask?

    Apparently so -- and not for the first time, Russell seems to have committed more journalism in ten half-awake Sunday morning minutes than The Horsepiss on Sunday managed all week.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman, in reply to simon g,

    Also, from the HoS's own reporting:

    "All decisions relating to what facilities were included as part of the move were made by Auckland Council, not the mayoral office, and all costs were part of that Auckland Council budget.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    May not mean anything, but somebody on Twitter has noted that the reporter's by-line (Cherie somebody) has been removed from the online story.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    To really take the thread to the record

    copyrighted material

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart,

    Yeah, well, is it any surprise that the media can get away with this when you have a second-rate, creepy mayor like Brown? Whether you like it or not, everyone is not as freewheelin' with their moral opinion Len Brown as the PA readership. If I were Len Brown or one of his spin team, I would have made it anticipated this and made it clear that the secret rooms were for Len and the future cleanliness of other mayors.

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Cabinet Ministers, most CEOs, heads of government departments, even some school principals have such 'lairs'. Didn't 7 Sharp go and have a look at the PM's one last year as part of a portrait of the PM's day, for one of their pre-election soft stories?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3214 posts Report Reply

  • simon g, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    How would this "making it clear" work, Jim?

    A phone call to the Herald: "Hi, here are some things you might deliberately misreport, this is just a heads-up so you won't ... " ?

    In short, get real.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    If I were Len Brown or one of his spin team, I would have made it anticipated this and made it clear that the secret rooms were for Len and the future cleanliness of other mayors.

    They're not secret rooms. They're behind a door, like most ensuites are. The designers merged the door with the bookcase, which is a pretty common interior design thing, especially for small spaces.

    But clearly, no, today's desperate attack of underwear-sniffing was apparently not anticipated.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve,

    Wouldn't a hidden room be the ideal place for smoking crack?

    #JustAskingQuestions

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart,

    They're not secret rooms. They're behind a door, like most ensuites are. The designers merged the door with the bookcase, which is a pretty common interior design thing, especially for small spaces.

    I cannot remember the last time I saw or encountered a bookcase-merged-door interior design of a bathroom. Is it as common as you think? I'm sure that the average suburban citizen doesn't think so. But anyway, given LB's track record, I would have thought that his minders would have considered the potential as to how bad this could look (or at least save Brown from further ridicule). You're a media guy and I'm surprised that you don't get this.

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    And I ask again, how?

    What should have been done, by whom?

    I'm pretty sure the Herald could twist anything you suggest , but would be happy to be wrong. Enlighten us.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    I cannot remember the last time I saw or encountered a bookcase-merged-door interior design of a bathroom.

    Amongst these photos, you will find one of the bookcase door that leads to the toilets at C1. That's even a public access area, which the mayor's dressing room is NOT.

    Also, I just googled "luxury lair" and those are all three-seater couches.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    I cannot remember the last time I saw or encountered a bookcase-merged-door interior design of a bathroom. Is it as common as you think? I’m sure that the average suburban citizen doesn’t think so.

    It seems common enough, but even if it wasn’t, what on earth is there about it to trouble “the average suburban citizen”? The two rooms aren’t secret, they’re entirely functional, and the current mayoral office has the same facilities. You’re asking me to get up in arms about a goddamn interior design choice?

    But anyway, given LB’s track record, I would have thought that his minders would have considered the potential as to how bad this could look (or at least save Brown from further ridicule). You’re a media guy and I’m surprised that you don’t get this.

    Okay, let’s say they should have anticipated that this non-issue would be a front-page lead in the Sunday paper. What should they have done? Should the mayor’s comms team have overruled the council’s designers and insisted on a non-book door? Wouldn’t that have immediately got out and been fodder for “sensitive sex scandal mayor quashes office door design”? Would that have been a win?

    Look, as I said, every person involved with that story knows that it’s bullshit. On that basis alone, it would seem evident that the weight of responsibility here doesn’t lie with the council comms office.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    I quickly perused the Herald and Stuff early this am....in case some earth shattering event had been missed by Natrad news.

    Saw the piece under discussion here and dismissed it as what has now become the usual Herald tripe. And the Collins crap....and as for Michele Hewiston's 'interview' with Millie Holmes....FFS!!!

    There MUST (sorry to shout) be some issue of greater importance than this?

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Okay, let’s say they should have anticipated that this non-issue would be a front-page lead in the Sunday paper.

    OK, lets assume it’s a non-issue to Brown or his comms team. And let’s also assume it’s a non-issue to middle NZers. Why would the Herald publish a beat up without wanting readers to make negative associations? Don’t assume that people don’t. So yes, if I were an adviser to the mayoral office, I would have recommended something more utilitarian, like a door.

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    There sure are a lot of sex dungeons.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

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