Len Brown apologises to councillors
Auckland mayor Len Brown has offered a "full and unconditional apology" to Auckland councillors in a meeting where he was questioned about his two-year long affair.
The closed-door meeting was held this morning to allow councillors the chance to question the mayor about the Ernst and Young report ordered in the wake of his affair with Bevan Chuang.
Brown said there had been a "full, frank and robust discussion".
"I understand the frustration and disappointment that councillors feel. I realise that I have a good deal of work to regain their trust and rebuild our working relationships in the interests of Auckland. This is my focus, starting today."
The meeting follows weekend talks among councillors, some of whom have taken legal advice over what measures they can take to censure Brown and bring greater oversight to the mayoral office.
A group of councillors from both sides of the political fence asked council chief executive Doug McKay on Friday to prepare "as full a suite of measures as possible" that could be taken against Brown under standing orders or statute. McKay is expected to report back today.
Some councillors believe an oversight committee would keep a check on Brown's powers. Unlike other mayors around the country, he has executive powers that extend to control of the council's budget and governance, introduced with the Super City.
"There's no oversight there at all - it's gone from the sublime to the ridiculous," one councillor said at the weekend.
"Ideally the Government should be stepping in. Some of us are humiliated by what is happening to Auckland's reputation and we want to make sure this doesn't happen again."
The report found that although Brown did not misuse council resources during his affair, he made 1375 texts and calls to his mistress and failed to declare more than $39,000 in free hotel rooms and upgrades, as well as a NRL Grand Final ticket and an iPad.
The meeting today is in advance of a full public council meeting set for Thursday.