Embattled mayor Len Brown tomorrow faces an angry council seeking to blunt his powers in the wake of the mayoral sex scandal.
Brown will meet all councillors to hear their concerns ahead of a full Auckland Council meeting on Thursday.
That meeting was intended to discuss the draft annual plan; now, the Herald on Sunday understands deputy Penny Hulse has added Brown's undeclared hotel room upgrades to the agenda as an emergency item.
Councillors are shaken by Friday's damning EY audit report, which found the mayor had made 1375 calls and texts to his mistress, Bevan Chuang, and failed to declare $39,000 in free hotel rooms and upgrades.
He breached the council's code of conduct, by not declaring hotels rooms, an NRL grand final ticket and an iPad (which he auctioned for charity).
Labour Party-affiliated councillors hold a numerical advantage at the council table. Will any of them put integrity ahead of party politics when the council meets tomorrow? We doubt it, and from their public murmurings, it looks unlikely; read on:
Rodney ward councillor Penny Webster said Brown should stay, but she'd watch him closely. Waitemata and Gulf's Mike Lee said Brown should stay and Manukau's Alf Filipaina and Arthur Anae emphatically backed Brown. "He's been cleared, hasn't he? So he'll stay," Filipaina said.
Actually Cr Filipaina, he HASN'T been cleared; the EY report raised as many, if not more questions than it answered.
But before they vote, councillors should see what the public thinks. A Yahoo News poll has thus far attracted nearly 12,000 responses, and they are 3:1 AGAINST Len Brown:
And the Herald poll we included in a post yesterday has now swollen to over 9,000 responses, with a very similar margin; here's the latest:
Contrary to what Len Brown thinks, and contrary to what some of his tame councillors think there is a very real level of anger amongst Auckland ratepayers. When the credit card scandal blew up in 2010 at Manukau City Brown promised that his integrity would never again be questioned.
That is a promise that Len Brown has failed to keep, and his excuse of "not having full power of recollection" is very similar to that of John Banks over the Dotcom donation. So where is the outrage from the Left, and from the Labour Party in particular?
We've long reckoned that party politics have no place in local body politics. Tomorrow represents a chance for councillors elected on a Labour Party ticket to show that they are not mere pawns, and actually vote Len Brown down on a matter of integrity and principle.