Explaining is losing: Len Brown goes on the front foot

Auckland Mayor Len Brown says the council’s overseas postings are all about economic growth and jobs in the city, and despite criticism, there will be more.

It was revealed at the weekend that Auckland Council has sent one of its staff to London at a cost of $230,000 a year, after his English-born wife became homesick. Another of its staff was sent to San Francisco.

“It’s all about jobs for us ? investment in our city, visitors to our city and country, and economic jobs and benefits,” Mr Brown said on Firstline this morning.

Mr Brown did not know about the London posting before it happened, but with 8500 people employed by the council, he can’t be expected to know everything.

“The person directly responsible for this is our chief executive officer, and then the chief executive officers like Brett O’Riley for our council companies like ATEED [Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development]. So of course I would not know about everyone who’s employed and where they’re employed, but what I will say is I totally back Brett and his leadership.”

Asked if the position in London would have been created had the employee’s wife been from a country with fewer economic ties to New Zealand ? such as Latvia ? Mr Brown said he was “not going to get into the details of it”.

So he did know about the San Francisco “council ambassador”, but not about the London one? ?Yeah, right. ?That makes total sense. ?

The London contract ends in September, and Mr Brown says he expects to be told about what tangible benefits it has brought to Auckland.

The posting in San Francisco he says is to attract IT talent and investment to Auckland, and is largely being paid for by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Despite criticism from his own councillors and right-wing lobby group the Taxpayers’ Union, Mr Brown says the council is looking at similar postings in Shanghai and Guangzhou.

“We’re looking to build to $30 billion worth of trade between ourselves and China, and those outreaches are critical to how we do that.”

Since when did rubbish, sewerage and roads turn into economic development and recruitment?

I’m tell you readers, here’s the answer as to why council rates are going through the roof at multiple times inflation for decades: ?the councils are completely lost as to what their core business is.

As usual, Len Brown makes no excuses, and wants to do more of what the people are upset about while he still can. ? The man truly, and literally, has no shame.


At least we know why he’s keen on a “China” council ambassador. ?I’ll bet you that they will be based in Hong Kong.


– 3 News