The image above was sitting in our inbox when we got home after a very tasty brunch. And upon looking at it, and reading the link that accompanied the image, we had to ask ourselves this - what IS it about the left, and their ability to spend other people's money? Anyway, have a read of this:
Supercity front-runner Len Brown is the latest mayor to be caught zapping his council credit card on personal purchases - such as $74.45 for insect repellent at a South Auckland pharmacy.
Brown has used his card to buy groceries from Foodtown, take his wife to Auckland's Rendezvous Hotel and buy a stereo system from Dick Smith Electronics. The personal expenditure totalling $579.27 has now been refunded to Manakau City Council, where Brown has been mayor since 2007.
However, the cost of a July 5 visit to Life Pharmacy where Brown purchased sunscreen and insect repellent for $74.45 was put on ratepayers because it was used "for a trip with prime minister [John Key] to Pacific Islands".
Brown is standing as mayor of the Auckland supercity and according to a number of polls is in the lead against his opponent John Banks.
Brown's mayoral credit card statements for the year ending May 2010 reveal he has racked up $10,864.98 in expenses.
The Bank of New Zealand statements include 22 transactions which are coded as "meals for mayor between engagements". Also appearing are transactions where ratepayers have been forced to cough up for "fruit for mayor", "refreshments for mayor", "box of chocolates for mayor" and "mayoral Christmas gifts".
A number of transactions made at restaurants and bars are not accompanied with a description despite the Sunday Star- Times asking for each one to be itemised, as required under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.
It's only a few weeks ago that the SST reported that our great friend Andrew Williams, North Shore's mayor had racked up over $8000 on his council credit card, most of it on food and beverage. Now we learn that Len Brown, the Great Left Hope for the SuperCity mayoralty is a dab hand with the little piece of plastic as well.
And then we noticed something which REALLY piqued our interest:
Brown refused to speak to the Star-Times about his spending and instead had his Auckland Council campaign press secretary David Lewis respond to inquiries.
Lewis said Brown had no time "to sit down and go through a year's worth of statements".
His only comment was that expenditure was "in line" with council policy.
David Lewis; could that be the same David Lewis who was Chief Press Secretary for Helen Clark? Could that be the same David Lewis who ran interference for the PM when there were allegations made about an incident at Los Angeles International Airport? We believe that's highly likely. We also wonder if Len Brown has read Ian Wishart's excellent book Absolute Power; the Helen Clark Years where Wishart says on page 256:
Through it all the Clark media team led by David Lewis and Kathryn Street did not seem to have (Mike) Munro's Rumpelstiltskin-like ability to make it all disappear.
Len Brown has quite a lot to reflect on today, not the least of which is how to manage this rather embarrassing situation. Coming as we await the release of Labour's ministerial credit card spending, it paints the left as experts in spending; especially when what they spend belongs to those who put them there.