Oh dear, the Messiah of Manukau turns out to be a mere mortal after all. Would-be Auckland super mayor Len Brown has joined the rapidly expanding rogues gallery of politicians, local and national, caught dipping into the petty cash.
Then the mixed messages start - first the minimising:
But given some of the rorts parliamentarians have got up to - accommodation allowances for example - the transgressions Len Brown is now begging our forgiveness for are piddling.
I doubt many voters will begrudge him the odd filled roll and latte as he dashes from one mayoral appointment to the next.
Oh yes, the standard left answer to all this - "it's not as bad as what Bill English did" - which ignores the obvious; English did nothing illegal. And then comes the mild rebuke:
What is of greater concern is the Manukau mayor's willingness to risk all for a bacon butty, or alternatively, the political naivety involved in not recognising the risk.
As with MP Chris Carter and his ill-fated bunch of taxpayer-funded flowers for his partner, did no alarm bell go off in his head, warning that just out of sight the reef fish from the media and his political opposition would be swirling about, ever on the hunt for a quick and easy meal.
Well Mr Rudman, we'd hope too that alarm bells went off in Len Brown's head, but for a very different reason. We'd hope that the alarm bells in Len Brown's head were not alerting him to supposed smears by his opponents, but to the fact that what he was doing was in contrevention of his Council's policys, and was just plain wrong!
This is not about smears; this controversy is about whether Len Brown, a lawyer, played by the rules. And as much as the left tries to spin it, Brown has fallen short of the standards expected of an elected official, as have Chris Carter, Shane Jones and Phil Heatley. Let's not resile from that.