Mayor Len Brown in response to Ernst & Young Report
13 December 2013
Statement from Mayor Len Brown in response to Ernst & Young report
“I welcome the findings of a report from accountancy firm Ernst & Young into the use of council resources in the mayoral office.
“The report confirms my assurances to the Chief Executive that I did not misuse council resources in connection to Bevan Chuang, and nor did she receive preferential treatment in relation to her engagement as an employee of Auckland Art Gallery.
“I supported the Chief Executive’s decision to commission this review. I welcome the conclusions, and I believe they draw a line under the questions that the review sought to address.
“The report includes details in relation to my, and my family’s, private use of accommodation that are not within the scope of the investigation but that I need to address.
“The report notes that over a three-year period I, and my family, stayed privately in hotels in central Auckland on a number of occasions. The arrangements for these hotels were made privately in most cases, and in all cases payment was made privately.
“My reason for staying in the central city is that I often work until late in the evening – attending meetings, functions or civic events - and I start work early the next morning, often for media interviews or breakfast events. A significant number of these rooms were also booked and used privately by me and my family.
“I was not charged for nine of these hotel rooms, including one occasion in relation to Ms Chuang.
“As the report notes, I never used council resources for private accommodation or in relation to Ms Chuang, and I do not hold a council credit card.
“However, I accept that as Mayor I am subject to a higher standard of public accountability, and in this context I should not have accepted the free rooms offered to me, and should have disclosed this fact when I was asked about it in October.
“This was an error of judgement and I apologise to the people of Auckland.
“I remain totally focussed on the issues that matter most to Aucklanders, including improving our transport system, tackling Auckland’s housing crisis and continuing to invest in our future.”