Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What is the Brown phenomenon?

The national conversation that is Mayor Len Brown just keeps on keeping on. I like to listen to talkback while I paint and haven't been able to avoid it. But why haven't people lost interest yet? Surely that's what Brown was counting on?

That answer interests me more than the fiasco. When morals get involved, and those morals apply to both personal and public actions, to infidelity and financial accountability, the conversation intensifies. It's no longer just Brown we are angry at. It's the last idiot caller who thinks it's OK for men to cheat on their wives. Or the last moron who said Len's corruption extends to aiding and abetting money laundering at Sky City.

The conversation has actually become a self-stocktake about what we will tolerate in our own families. Where we draw the line between what we expect from ourselves and what we expect from leaders. Something that's surprised me is the number of older women in their 70s and 80s who indicate tacit approval for the Mayor's indiscretion. Everybody gets up to it apparently. Which tells me something about my mother's generation that I perhaps didn't want to know. Not the bit-on-the-side habit. That goes on. But the turn-a-blind-eye habit.

So our reactions to the Brown Affair become something else. They divide us.That's why the whole country has become involved. It's not just Aucklanders who want an outcome.

There's also a discernible mood shift going on this country. And it's bad timing for Len. It's a backlash against the liberality of my generation. But it's also coming from my generation. Plenty of us behaved immorally. I did. But I grew out of it. We want our contemporaries to do the same. For a man in the position that Len Brown has achieved, the mana, the power, the pay, the great uniting leader, his judgement has been found badly wanting. He's behaved like a fool. Not just on the spur of the moment, not in a one-off uncharacteristic succumbing to temptation.

Brown is less than mere mortal. He can't command respect,can't honestly earn his salary, and can't expect Auckland ratepayers to accept that.


Anonymous said...

You're missing the crucial points about Red Len. Not the personal morality, adultery, lies, and cheating - but the corruption.

$50,000 on hotel rooms alone. Hotel rooms that he didn't declare at Sky City - when he was lobbying for the convention centre deal. This is far, far, more serious than the John Banks beatup.

Following Whale - calling him "Pants Down Brown" obscures the most important fact in this whole mess - that Red Len's behaviour isn't personal, isn't special, isn't something out of the ordinary.

It is what leftists do when they are in power. From Helen Clark's forgery of the painting to electoral fraud, to David Lange's marriage breakup and his personal collapse leading to the end of Rogernomics, and of course the original "Red Ken" who had an entire other wife, children and family tucked away.

The solution under the local government act is clear, as some bloggers have started noticing. The council can petition the minister to intervene: replacing the whole council - including the mayor - with a commission, and then holding elections at the same time as the general election next year. Motions of censure, oversight committees, etc, have absolutely no legal effect on the mayoralty.
A petition to the minister from the council would end this farce once and for all.

Anonymous said...

I think morality is something that is hardwired into us with the circuit visibly connecting every now and then. We know what is noble even though some may do the opposite. The Bible says "Man is without excuse" (or something like that) which idicates we do stupid stuff while knowing we shouldn't. I don't care about him being mayor or not and I shouldn't point the finger but the issue may be that people don't think he's really sorry about what he did. He wants forgiveness without repentance.


thor42 said...

I think people are peeved at Brown not just because of his wrongdoings but because of his *selfishness*, putting his interests before those of the city.

Anonymous said...

He wants forgiveness without repentance.

Right. And the only real sign of repentance is resignation.

The most important consideration is that a motion of no confidence - of itself - does nothing. It neither forces Red Len to resign or will get rid of him. But a no confidence motion that invites the Minister of Local Government to appoint a commission ends the whole farce immediately.

Manolo said...

I believe is the corruption, the "forgetness" of declaring those expenses, the use of public resources that will bring Len Brown. His personal life is his.

Anonymous said...

Cameron Brewer, DIck Quax and co have been blocked by the Red Len's commie mates from passing a no confidence vote - or even passing a confidence vote.

So the council has been unable to express either confidence or no confidence in Red Len.

Brewer will write to Chris Tremain this afternoon demonstrating that governance in Auckland has completely broken down, and ask him to inte

This farce can end NOW

Anonymous said...

The gain for the people of Auckland would be responsible government by an adult, not tax-and-spend, train-set, communist pipe-dreams dreamed up by an adulterous, unionist, nutter.

For anyone starting or building a business in Auckland this is a huge disincentive to doing business: no-one can know what the policies will be tomorrow or next week. That insecurity is costing the region millions of dollars, if not billions. Today's meeting shows that governance is Auckland is a joke; the council is dysfunctional, cannot decide to have a vote of confidence OR a vote of no-confidence; and the mayor (with possible collusion of various council officers) has already admitted $50,000 of financial mismanagement, and is being asked to pay back something like $250,000 overall.

For the good of Auckland, for the good of the economy, for the good of the country, the government of our largest city cannot continue as a laughing-stock. The sooner a solid, dependable commissioner is appointed, the sooner they can get on with the vial work of ending Red Len's crazy schemes, paying back the billions in loans, and start to govern on behalf of the individual and corporate ratepayers of Auckland whose money they are spending.