17 Oct 2013

Mayor's spending during affair to be scrutinised

9:43 pm on 17 October 2013

Spending by Auckland mayor Len Brown while he conducted a two-year extramarital affair is to be reviewed.

Mr Brown, who admitted the affair on Tuesday, has said there was no inappropriate spending or use of council resources involved in the affair.

Len Brown.

Len Brown. Photo: RNZ

Auckland Council chief executive Doug McKay says he has received assurances from Mr Brown and his chief of staff that no mayoral office funds were used in relation to the affair - but says he will independently review it anyway.

Mr McKay reiterated that the mayor doesn't have a credit card, and all invoices and payments are checked and approved by other staff. It is not known when the review will be completed.

Earlier on Thursday, Len Brown's office confirmed that he was a referee for a council job for the woman he had an extra-marital affair with.

It says Mr Brown's name was given as a referee for Bevan Chuang for the role of sponsorship co-ordinator at the Auckland Art Gallery in July 2011.

The office says the gallery asked for a reference, and his diary manager, at his request, responded by email to say he highly recommended her.

He was also asked to call the museum to discuss the reference, but his office says as the staff member left some time ago, it is not sure whether she returned the call.

Ms Chuang's online CV says she worked at the gallery between August and December 2011. In an affidavit, she says her first intimate moment with Mr Brown was in late June.

Blogger says he didn't harass woman

Blogger Cameron Slater has dismissed allegations of harassment against him by Bevan Chuang.

Ms Chuang has asked Mr Slater to stop texting and calling her on his Facebook page. The affair was revealed on Mr Slater's Whale Oil blog on Tuesday by freelance journalist Stephen Cook.

Mr Slater told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Thursday he struggles to see how Ms Chuang would make such accusations.

"Both myself and Stephen Cook have spent a considerable amount of time protecting Bevan from really the hounds of the media. I certainly have only ever sent to her in the last few days positive messages. I categorically reject any accusations of harassment."

Mr Slater says he explicitly warned Ms Chuang of the consequences of revealing the affair on his blog.