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Mayor’s Chief of Staff Threatens Taxpayers’ Union

Mayor’s Chief of Staff Threatens Taxpayers’ Union

The Taxpayers’ Union appears to have hit a raw nerve in Auckland Mayor Len Brown’s office.

Further to the startling admission that despite responses to the contrary, the Mayor did travel to China in January 2013, now the Mayor’s Chief of Staff is cautioning the Taxpayers’ Union for asking legitimate questions about spending on the trip.

In an email to the Taxpayers’ Union’s Executive Director Jordan Williams, Phil Wilson writes, “The person you claim to have provided the Taxpayers Union [sic] with information about the mayor travelling with someone and/or about that (nonexistent) person using a credit card inappropriately is either seriously mistaken or outright lying. As such, related statements are being monitored and reviewed through legal channels.”

The full text of the relevant email is available at www.taxpayers.org.nz.

“Unfortunately Mr Wilson has failed to answer the key question,” says Williams. “Why did the Council mislead us about the existence of the trip?”

“The very reason we asked for the information via the official process was so that we could verify the information we had received from a member of the public. To threaten us for asking more questions, when we know that the previous response from Council officials was misleading, is disturbing.”

Two weeks ago, the Taxpayers’ Union went to the Ombudsman with evidence that suggests Council officials breached official information laws possibly under instruction from the Mayor’s office.

“This sort of bullying behaviour makes us more suspicious that there is a culture of dishonesty in Auckland Council that would alarm all ratepayers. The Ombudsman must step in to ensure that official information laws are complied with and ratepayers have transparency.”


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