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Emails reveal spin-doctors ordered the extra security guards

Media release
Saturday, 22 February 2014
Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer

Emails reveal spin-doctors ordered the extra security guards for Len Brown despite his denials

Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer has released emails which contradict the absolute assurances given by Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Auckland Transport that the high security guard presence at last month’s opening of the new Panmure Station was just ‘standard operational practice’.

“When I dared to suggest that this ratepayer-funded ‘bevy of heavies’ was completely over the top and only as a result of his political embattlements and the fear of peaceful protestors, it was publicly rubbished by the Mayor and Auckland Transport. However it now turns out extra security was in fact ordered in for those very reasons,” says Mr Brewer.

“It’s very disappointing that ratepayers were not just given straight answers at the time. Instead the public was once again flannelled as fools. When the story broke, no one believed that having the Mayor surrounded by heavies was somehow business as usual, but that’s what the public was asked to believe by the Mayor himself and Auckland Transport. However we now know the extra security was over and above the original plan.

“Despite reviewing a comprehensive site and security plan days before, which already included the presence of five security guards all carrying security radios as well as 10 ambassadors mostly carrying radios, emails show Auckland Transport spin-doctors got nervous 24 hours out from the Mayor’s increasingly publicised arrival and so called for an even greater security presence to specifically cover the Mayor’s time there,” says Mr Brewer.
From the Auckland Transport communications and public affairs department the day before the opening: ‘Given tomorrow is the Mayor’s first public outing we might expect some protest etc. Can we please discuss extra security?’

Then, following an agreement between communications staff ‘to add some additional security to what we have in place’, Auckland Transport instructed First Security: ‘Very last minute but we have the Mayor speaking tomorrow at 11am. We had security from the contractors but we are now needing more as there may be protestors. Do you have two security men available from 10.00am to 1.30pm? We will be located in the plaza…’ First Security then obliged.
Mr Brewer says: “Last month, the public was categorically promised that the high level of security was ‘standard operational procedure…especially when a Government minister was present’. We now know the truth, and it has nothing to Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse. The fibs have got to stop and the public now deserves an apology from the Mayor.”

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