Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Mayor's marginal enemies

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    However, wasn’t Brown the promoter of family values and Christian ideals?

    No, not particularly, although he probably played up the family angle more for some audiences than others. It really hasn't been a significant element of either campaign.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    And in terms of his achievements, Auckland has some of the most unaffordable residential property in the world; weak and expensive public transport (even thought it has improved to some degree); and gridlock. Shouldn’t these be the core issues that Brown and the council need to work on? Can anyone sincerely say the situation is getting better?

    So, the unaffordable housing and gridlock is a new thing? Didn’t exist under John Banks, or Hubbard, Or Banks again before him or Tizzard?

    These things have been happening slowly over time…

    Is the outcome better? Perhaps not… is he trying to fix it? Seems like he’s the first one in a long time to try…. lets see if he’s successful.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 893 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    Auckland has some of the most unaffordable residential property in the world; weak and expensive public transport (even thought it has improved to some degree); and gridlock. Shouldn't these be the core issues that Brown and the council need to work on? Can anyone sincerely say the situation is getting better?

    The biggest obstacle to affordable housing in Auckland just happens to be the hoity-toity set and others already with vested interests in the housing bubble. And they just happen to have fat enough wallets and the right connections to (usually) get their way.

    And for all his personal faults - no one's pretending he's a knight in shining armour - Len Brown is probably the best of a bad lot. Would Brewer, Quax, Krum & Co really fix the above issues? More likely, they'll seek to entrench the status quo from their leafy suburban fortresses.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Gary Young,

    And he is having to deal with a central government which holds the purse strings and also has an irrational hostility towards necessary, major public transport initiatives.

    True, they don’t make life any easier in Chchch either.
    Thankfully it’s Election Year.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Attachment

    The Japanese consulate story has been removed from the Herald website and at the bottom of the briefs on on page 5 of the Weekend Herald, there's a correction.

    In's interesting that they're still insisting the consulate contacted the police on being advised of a likely protest, because the mayor's office is saying that didn't happen either.

    It's also been suggested to me (by another journalist) that any warning might actually have been related to anti-whaling protests, and not Len Brown. Which would actually make more sense to anyone non-obsessed with the mayor.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Okay, I'll get on with my day after this ...

    I'm 100% sure the Japanese consulate not only never received any threats related to a possible appearance by Len Brown at Japan Day, but that the consulate's contact with police did not relate in any way to prospective anti-Brown protests.

    The prospective protests which worried the consulate had to do with whaling. Not the mayor. At all.

    It appears the Herald has skipped around this in its correction by referring only to "a warning a protest could take place," without actually making clear the prospective protest had nothing at all to do with Brown.

    For all the flaws of the blogosphere, I don't think any blog would get away with dodging acknowledgement of a major mistake like this.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • david kinniburgh, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And more nonsense from the Herald....
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11207454
    Fran O'sullivan, seeking to link Brown with Kim Dotcom, writes:

    Brown is also endowed with fighting spirit. He has a thick hide when it comes to public opprobrium. He was booed at the Auckland Nines and was asked not to attend a community military tattoo this weekend.

    No fact checking, just continuing to present the disgruntled Sharon Stewarts views as the truth.
    And perhaps she should pause in her ongoing hatchet job on KDC to read her colleagues excellent book "The Secret Life of Kim Dotcom" (By David Fisher, Senior Herald reporter, and available in the Auckland Library system )
    She finishes up

    Hounding politicians with trumped-up allegations is not a savoury sight.

    Time to look in the mirror Fran

    Auckland • Since Jan 2012 • 29 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    This whole scandal is primarily one of significance and magnitude. Mr Brown’s extramarital affair may have been a lamentable betrayal of his marriage vows, but neither infidelity or adultery are regarded as criminal acts within New Zealand, although they may serve as grounds for divorce…unlike Augustan era Rome, many African nations, North and South Korea, Taiwan, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and the US states of Michigan, Maryland, Wisconsin, New York, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Idaho, Oklahoma, Utah, Florida and Alabama, although admittedly, the “offence” carries variable penalties and isn’t actively enforced in some US jurisdictions.

    I think the best way to deal with political scandals is to ask the following set of questions to assess magnitude or significance: what is the political culture of the nation in question like? What is the nature of the scandal in question, financial or sexual? What is the magnitude and gravity of the scandal in question- as in, how much money is in stake in terms of a financial scandal, or was there rape or child sexual abuse involved in the case of a sexual scandal?

    Personally, I’m unhappy with aspects of the Brown mayoralty, unlike many other leftist political commentators- particularly over his administration’s attacks on already marginalised street sex workers in Papatoetoe and his repressive council anti-begging ordinance. Do I think he should be sacked for those? No, but I wish the mayor and some of his councillors would realise how draconian, unjust and potentially harmful both are and retract both measures. Let’s face it, Auckland badly needs a Single Transferable Vote electoral system.

    However, this particular scandal is of lesser significance than the corpulent cavortings of the crack cocaine-imbibing Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who does need to either resign or be removed from office- probably the latter, I’d imagine.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 573 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    However, wasn’t Brown the promoter of family values and Christian ideals? The charge of hypocrisy is best suited to him.

    What are you suggesting he should have done, held a press conference to explain why he could no longer campaign as a family man? The hypocrisy charge against Len may be technically true but it is also unreasonable. And if you want to talk hypocrisy, let's not forget to include Whaleoil who seems to have a Banksian memory for his own indiscretions. As David said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Radio NZ's Kim Baker Wilson has obtained (presumably via an OIA request) email exchange showing that two security guards were added at the last moment because Auckland Transport staff were concerned about his security at the Panmure station opening.

    Cameron Brewer is claiming vindication, but this doesn't back up his claim that the whole "bevy of heavies" was for the mayor. It's two of seven security guards added without reference to the mayor's office, at a total cost of about $200.

    It's also worth bearing in mind that at least two of the protest leaders have a history of harassing councillors and Russell Malcolm is the subject of an order forbidding him to make contact with city councillors.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Even if he has to travel everywhere accompanied by a platoon of Ghurkas and a backup squad of heavily armed ninja warriors, he's still entitled to occupy the post he was elected to. John Key probably has a bigger security detail than Helen Clark ever needed - does that mean he should resign also?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Young,

    I’m unhappy with aspects of the Brown mayoralty, unlike many other leftist political commentators

    There seem quite a few of those who oppose his handling of the Ports of Auckland dispute. He's really quite centrist.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart,

    So, yes, among the PA readership, I may be on the outer in how I think of Len Brown. Nevertheless, even though my views are more Glenfield than Ponsonby, I am still rather surprised that anyone is surprised that LB is disliked. It seems more a case that if you assign to either a red or blue tribe, you have a natural support base, regardless of your efficacy or substance.

    o, the unaffordable housing and gridlock is a new thing? Didn’t exist under John Banks, or Hubbard, Or Banks again before him or Tizzard?

    Well yeah...it is. Unaffordable housing never as issue until the credit bubble in the 2000s. The only reason that it became worse in NZ and Australia is because of the relatively benign fiscal positions of the central governments and some of the most restrictive urban planning regimes in the world. Does it require a slash and burn approach? For future generations, yes. Is Len Brown leading that charge?

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    My what a pack of pallid lemon-sucking numpties those marchers looked like on the telly.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    and some of the most restrictive urban planning regimes in the world

    But not in the way you probably think. Our planning rules make basic urban intensification all but impossible. You wouldn't be allowed to make non-garaged streets like most of Ponsonby's these days, let alone terraced housing or low-rise apartments considered normal around the developed world.

    And Auckland Council backed down on changing that in the face of current coastal residents demanding their wishes trump those of all future citizens.

    The main problem is not being tackled at all - the financial distortions that make New Zealanders treat housing as a lucrative investment rather than a place to live.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    So, yes, among the PA readership, I may be on the outer in how I think of Len Brown. Nevertheless, even though my views are more Glenfield than Ponsonby, I am still rather surprised that anyone is surprised that LB is disliked.

    It would be closer to say he's viciously disliked by a small group of people. Most Aucklanders aren't that exercised. By way of comparison, a march against the mayoralty of John Banks in 2002 drew five or six times as many people.

    It seems more a case that if you assign to either a red or blue tribe, you have a natural support base, regardless of your efficacy or substance.

    I would point out that I've been very forthright about the conduct of Penny Bright and her friends in the past. Especially on the matter of their despicable harassment of a dying Cr Phil Raffills, a man I had nothing in common with politically.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to david kinniburgh,

    He was booed at the Auckland Nines and was asked not to attend a community military tattoo this weekend.

    No fact checking, just continuing to present the disgruntled Sharon Stewarts views as the truth.

    Which bit is inaccurate? That he was booed at the Nines? Or that Sharon Stewart asked him not to come to the Howick Military Tattoo? I thought both were grounded in fact, if a little over-egged in her description.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • JonathanM, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    So, yes, among the PA readership, I may be on the outer in how I think of Len Brown. Nevertheless, even though my views are more Glenfield than Ponsonby, I am still rather surprised that anyone is surprised that LB is disliked. It seems more a case that if you assign to either a red or blue tribe, you have a natural support base, regardless of your efficacy or substance.

    This isn't the point of the post to which these comments are attached though, right? It's primarily about the Herald's cheerleading of this issue, which essentially consists of making shit up.

    Since Jul 2012 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart, in reply to Sacha,

    But not in the way you probably think. Our planning rules make basic urban intensification all but impossible

    I'm not sure what you think about what I think. However, your point about intensification is directly related to urban planning in NZ, which shares direct similarities with Australia. The financial distortions only exist because central and local government know their ass is on the line should the magical property bubble burst, which is why the banks are implicitly guaranteed by the taxpayer in Australia and NZ and also why local governments create the framework to keep costs high. The politicians know that too many futures are invested in housing and they understand the narratives surrounding why house prices are correlated with incomes. To let it all crumble for the sake of the future would be too much for most people.

    And how exactly does Len Brown address this? He doesn't and he can't.

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Cameron Brewer is claiming vindication, but this doesn’t back up his claim that the whole “bevy of heavies” was for the mayor. It’s two of seven security guards added without reference to the mayor’s office, at a total cost of about $200.

    OK, this might be borderline trolling but someone needs to ask Councillor Brewer if he really thinks Auckland Transport have lied about this? YMMV, but one of the more ugly aspects of this whole thing is the way council employees who were totally unable to defend themselves have been casually accused of downright sleaze and corruption.

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

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    And how exactly does Len Brown address this? He doesn’t and he can’t.

    Those last two words speak a lot to the irrationality of your position. Brown is a mid-size fish in a very, very large pool, one where the biggest fish are parochial buffoons like Joyce, English and Brownlee. His ability to actually influence the factors that are making Auckland housing wildly affordable is very, very limited, especially since he's got a council heavily composed of people who are thoroughly in the thrall of the "we've got our leafy suburbs, you new entrants can fuck off to the edges of suburbia" crowd. He can try and get the council to support intensification, which is really the only thing the council can do to meaningfully improve affordability (knocking $30k in consent costs off the price of a new build is rapidly becoming an invisible rounding error), but he's one voice and one vote. The macro policies, around jobs, foreign ownership, tax incentives, they're all out of his hands.
    So you think Brown is worthless because he's not doing anything to address housing affordability (amongst other things), then you come out and explicitly recognise that he can't do anything about housing affordability in any meaningful way because he's a regional politician in a country where nearly all the power rests with central government and the current occupants of the national capitol are morons who wouldn't know good housing policy if it got dropped on their heads by a witch on her way to a date with a falling domicile.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    So, yes, among the PA readership, I may be on the outer in how I think of Len Brown. Nevertheless, even though my views are more Glenfield than Ponsonby, I am still rather surprised that anyone is surprised that LB is disliked. It seems more a case that if you assign to either a red or blue tribe, you have a natural support base, regardless of your efficacy or substance.

    I don't think anyone is surprised that he's disliked. But the Herald is reporting as if there was the majority of the electorate were calling for his resignation. In fact it seems most people aren't really bothered and only a tiny group are continuing to try to get rid of him. Even that group seem to be less motivated by genuine concern over the affair than by whatever policy they specifically object to.

    Matthew Dentith (@HORansome) noted speakers at today's protest complaining about air traffic noise, rates rises, the unitary plan, and light rail. As he said "it seems to me that these people have beef with Brown and the affair was the thing that got them talking to one another"

    These people had their chance to object to his policies: the election. They lost. To now use the affair as an excuse to try to overturn that election result is undemocratic.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Penny Bright,

    Want to describe me as 'right-wing'?

    ANYBODY?

    If so - I suggest you have a look at the following websites?

    www,dodgyjohnhasgone.com
    www.occupyaucklandvsaucklandcouncilappeal.org.nz
    www.stopthesupercity.org.nz
    www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz
    www.pennybright4epsom.org.nz

    (I use the electoral process to help make a fuss about the issues - it's proven to be quite effective? Polled fourth with nearly 12,000 votes on an 'in-your-face anti-corporate corruption' platform ....

    -Here is some media coverage of our LEN BROWN - STAND DOWN march:

    LET YOUR BANNERS DO THE TALKING!

    (Lots more folk are now getting the message about 'corrupt corporate cronyism - of the casino variety' - and Auckland Mayor Len Brown's alleged criminal complicity - although this message was NOT covered (yet) by mainstream media ......

    Looking forward to Vinny Eastwood's coverage on You Tube!
    _________________________________________________________

    TV3 NEWS

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Anti-Len-Brown-march-in-Auckland/tabid/1607/articleID/333207/Default.aspx

    TVNZ NEWS

    http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/dozens-support-calls-len-brown-stand-down-5846457

    RADIO NZ

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/236974/marchers-call-for-brown-to-step-down

    ZB TALKBACK

    http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/news/nbnat/610094480-campaigners-marching-for-len-brown-s-resignation

    RADIO LIVE

    http://www.radiolive.co.nz/News.aspx

    PRIME NEWS??


    ___________________________________________________


    Penny Bright

    Auckland • Since May 2011 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart,

    Those last two words speak a lot to the irrationality of your position. Brown is a mid-size fish in a very, very large pool, one where the biggest fish are parochial buffoons like Joyce, English and Brownlee. His ability to actually influence the factors that are making Auckland housing wildly affordable is very, very limited, especially since he’s got a council heavily composed of people who are thoroughly in the thrall of the “we’ve got our leafy suburbs, you new entrants can fuck off to the edges of suburbia” crowd. He can try and get the council to support intensification, which is really the only thing the council can do to meaningfully improve affordability (knocking $30k in consent costs off the price of a new build is rapidly becoming an invisible rounding error), but he’s one voice and one vote. The macro policies, around jobs, foreign ownership, tax incentives, they’re all out of his hands.
    So you think Brown is worthless because he’s not doing anything to address housing affordability (amongst other things), then you come out and explicitly recognise that he can’t do anything about housing affordability in any meaningful way because he’s a regional politician in a country where nearly all the power rests with central government and the current occupants of the national capitol are morons who wouldn’t know good housing policy if it got dropped on their heads by a witch on her way to a date with a falling domicile.

    It's quite odd to consider my position as irrational, and then sketch a narrative that more or less reiterates with what I said. And I'm interested to know more about the power balance between central and local government. Are you saying that LB has no influence on meaningful change in urban planning policy and legislature? I actually though that pressure was coming from the central government on ACC to free up land and construct affordable housing. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Ross, in reply to Penny Bright,

    And in other news around 2,000 if not more showed up for the John Banks protest just over a decade ago where about 10% (if even that) showed up for what ever today was (which was drowned out by the National Prayer Day in Aotea Square any how).

    And a few thousand showed up to the Pride Parade just been.

    Seems Ms Bright like the Sun that eventually sets in the west your time might be slipping to to the point of irreverence.

    The City just really did not care for you nor the protesters there. There were no Councillors, no MP's, no celebrities, no Local Board members - even from those in opposition to the Mayor nominal or political.

    Why? Got to knuckle down a city to build

    Auckland • Since Jan 2014 • 32 posts Report Reply

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