Mike Hosking on Len Brown

Mike Hosking explains why Len Brown is a fool.

I am very grateful to Phil Goff.

If Phil hadn’t tipped his hat into the ring (I know he hasn’t officially, but we all know how these things unfold) then my sneaking suspicion is that Len Brown might not have seen the writing on the wall and put us all through the humiliation of watching him flail his way through another mayoral campaign next year.

The writing was already on the wall for Len, but Len is not like the rest of us.

We learnt that after the unfortunate business of the mistress and the Ngati Whatua room.

Anyone in their right mind would have seen that for what it was and quietly slunk off into suburbia never to be heard from again.

But not Len.

Len thought he could bluff his way out of it.

He couldn’t, of course, but there was no telling him that.

It showed a narcissistic tendency and it’s that sort of tendency that might well have seen him hang in there for next year’s race had it not been for Phil.

Since his announcement over the weekend, there’s been some talk of legacy. Len won’t have a legacy. To have a legacy you need to have done something profound.

Len has done nothing profound.

The only legacy Len Brown will have is one day some obscure park in a dark and damp part of town will be called Len Brown Park…that’s it.

He’s a fantasist, in my opinion.

He kept announcing things that were never going to pass.

I never understood why. Did he really believe they might?

Did he know they weren’t but thought if he said them out loud that something magic may happen?

Was he looking to score points by embarrassing those who didn’t support him?

Was he just a nutter who liked the sound of his own voice?

I never really quite got it.

I don’t think anyone ever really got it.

I can’t remember how many times I’ve interviewed Len about the rates staying within inflation.

He came up with a 2.9 per cent rates increase last time, which isn’t remotely close to inflation, but that didn’t seem to bother him … it was close enough.

And that’s before they eventually came out for many at 10 per cent.

And there was no acknowledgement, no apology, nothing except more flannel about trains and loops and putting Auckland right.

Then you have the debacle over the ports and the council’s relationship with them. More broken promises there about studies and no decisions until studies have been conducted.

Len Brown is inherently dishonest, obfuscatory and a basic bullshit artist. He invariably lies about things, then tries to cover them up and then when busted he tries to brazen his way out of them.

Auckland is serious business, it’s a multi-billion dollar business, it’s the engine of the national economy and it needs an expert.

Which brings us to Phil … is Phil an expert?

He’s better than Len, he’s done more than Len, he has a breadth of experience Len doesn’t have.

But a leader? Well if you look through Labour’s leadership ladder I’d hardly consider him one of the greats.

Which is why we need a race, a genuine contest. We need at least three, if not four, proper names with proper resumes and plans and some history of success and leadership.

We need names to impress us, names that give hope and a genuine sense of direction and purpose.

Give us that and we might turn up to vote, and in doing so put the Brown era, which I believe is one of the most embarrassing, haphazard and farcical eras of modern local politics, to bed forever.

So not a fan of Goff either. But it seems the National Party has lost its way in local body politics.


  • NZ Herald