23 Dec 2013

Brewer defends actions over trip

9:02 am on 23 December 2013

A leading critic of Auckland's mayor has himself admitted he should have properly declared gifts of a free trip to Australia and Rugby World Cup tickets.

Councillor Cameron Brewer wrote to a council official in 2011 detailing the gifts after being reminded, but failed to file the required full annual declaration that is posted on the council website.

Cameron Brewer.

Cameron Brewer. Photo: SUPPLIED

In 2011, Mr Brewer took a four day trip to the Queensland resort town of Port Douglas paid for by broadcaster Mediaworks, which he says was worth about $2000. He also received VIP hosting from SkyCity for himself and his partner at a Rugby World Cup match at Eden Park.

He failed to declare them on his annual Register of Members' Interests statement in 2012, which appears on the council website. He said he didn't notice the gifts weren't mentioned alongside full declarations by other councillors because so much was happening at the time.

However he said he had since confirmed with the council's electoral and public information officer Bruce Thomas that he did notify council staff of the trip and tickets in an email, and that the items were listed in the council's gift register.

Mr Brewer told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme he is sorry he did not declare the items on his annual statement. "I regret not doing that but I did advise of the trip, I did advise of SkyCity and I promise to do better in the future."

Mr Brewer said said councillors have been poorly advised about the rules and he hopes the code of conduct rules on declaring gifts and interests is cleared up.

The Orakei ward councillor 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 in an Ernst & Young review on whether Mr Brown used council resources during a two-year extra-marital affair.

Last week, Mr Brewer called on the Auditor-General to look more closely at three free hotel rooms and five upgrades that Mr Brown accepted from SkyCity.