20 Dec 2013

Mayor's critic didn't declare trip

8:03 pm on 20 December 2013

Auckland's deputy mayor Penny Hulse says she won't be seeking any censure of a councillor who failed to declare the gift of a four-day trip to Australia's Gold Coast.

Broadcaster MediaWorks says Cameron Brewer was the guest speaker on a 2011 trip for advertisers on its radio networks. The value of the trip is unknown, but Mr Brewer has not filed a return for that year which must include gifts worth more than $300.

Cameron Brewer.

Cameron Brewer. Photo: SUPPLIED

Mr Brewer has been one of the loudest voices calling for the resignation of mayor Len Brown for breaching a code of conduct by failing to declare the use of nine free hotel rooms and 64 upgrades. This came to light following an inquiry into whether he used council resources during a two-year extra-marital affair.

The Orakei ward councillor was strident on Thursday, demanding that Mr Brown assure councillors that he had nothing more to declare. He has declined, however, to be interviewed about his trip.

Ms Hulse said on Friday while some rules about gifts are vague, the rules around travel are clear.

"If someone else pays for your travel, you need to put it in your register of interests or in your gift register or in your third party travel register.

"Now we've all been guilty of making mistakes, but I think we certainly need to firm up, and particularly people who point the finger should be the firmest of all."

Ms Hulse told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Friday there will be a review of the declaration process so everyone understands what is expected.

Brown confident of rebuilding relationships

Len Brown is confident he can rebuild relationships with his councillors, who on Thursday took the rare move of publicly censuring him for breaching the code of conduct.

Len Brown.

Len Brown. Photo: RNZ

The mayor was spared a vote of no-confidence when three-quarters of the councillors chose instead to censure him and vowed to work with him when they return from a summer break.

The three-hour debate was at times harsh, with Councillor Dick Quax referring to the stench of a rotting political corpse. But the 15 out of 20 councillors who opted not to hold a no-confidence vote spanned the political divide.

Mr Brown accepted the censure. He has told Radio New Zealand News that changes to be put in place will include regular briefings with councillors, which did not occur during the first term.

North Shore ward Councillor George Wood said Mr Brown needs to do a lot of fence-mending to regain the confidence and respect of his councillors, local boards and the people of Auckland.

Mr Brown told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Friday he has been severely reprimanded and it is critical that the issue now moves on. He said he would be focused on rebuilding relationships and spending more time with councillors in the new year.

Threat to file private case

The man who brought a private prosecution against ACT leader John Banks is threatening to do the same with Len Brown over his use of free hotel rooms and upgrades.

Graham McCready said the Serious Fraud Office must now investigate a complaint of corruption against the mayor.

If the SFO does not pursue the matter, Mr McCready said he would file a private prosecution under the Crimes Act against Mr Brown, with SkyCity chief executive Nigel Morrison also included as a proposed defendant.