‘Fiefdom of the Far North’: Fury as Wayne Brown lays down law over makeup of Auckland Council committees


Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown says councillors should resign if they don’t like the roles he has given them. Photo / Auckland Council

By Finn Blackwell of RNZ

Mayor Wayne Brown is stamping his authority on Auckland Council, axing some committees and limiting the numbers on others.

There are three fewer committees now and fewer people on the committees that have been retained.

There were, however, rough seas in Auckland Town Hall yesterday.

In an indication of things to come, the meeting opened with councillors calling for unity among members.

The friction among council members was clear as the mayor was peppered with questions about the proposed new committee roles.

Three weeks after the smiles of the inauguration of the council, Mayor Wayne Brown now says he will accept resignations from councillors who will not take part. Photo / Jay Farnworth, File
Three weeks after the smiles of the inauguration of the council, Mayor Wayne Brown now says he will accept resignations from councillors who will not take part. Photo / Jay Farnworth, File

Brown was uncompromising, delivering an ultimatum for councillors unwilling to play ball.

“Today, I don’t want to re-litigate it, it’s my decisions, I’ll only accept anyone’s resignation who doesn’t want to take part,” he said.

“But at the moment, you’ve all got meaningful roles, which I expect you to work hard as a team and produce the results that the people of Auckland are looking for.”

He called for his council to behave like grown-ups and to fulfil their roles efficiently.

Councillors debated at length the efficacy of a number of proposed appointments, including that of Tūpuna Maunga Authority, which manages 14 locations around Auckland.

The mayor’s structure outlined three councillors and three local board members be appointed to the authority, but also to defer additional appointments to allow time to consider candidates who had only recently come forward.

This proposal sparked heated conversation from councillors, including Chris Darby, who voiced his displeasure with the process.

Chris Darby expressed his dissent as Mayor Wayne Brown outlined duties for the new Auckland Council. Photo / Cole Eastham-Farrelly, RNZ, File
Chris Darby expressed his dissent as Mayor Wayne Brown outlined duties for the new Auckland Council. Photo / Cole Eastham-Farrelly, RNZ, File

“That is not how you appoint people to bodies, that is cherry picking, that is providing preferential treatment. We might do that in the fiefdom of the Far North, Mr Mayor, but we do not do that here,” Darby said.

His comments were met with disapproving murmurs from some councillors.

Coming back from lunch, tempers were subdued as council swiftly moved through the remaining appointments.

A final decision was made to defer amendments on the authority to a meeting later this month.

Despite the explosive exchanges throughout the meeting, once concluded, the mayor had nothing but positives to say about his team.

“I think we’ve behaved as a pretty good team today, I feel quite pleased about it,” he said.

He also brushed aside questions about Darby’s earlier barbs, saying it was all in good faith.

On a conciliatory note, a statement from the mayor’s office during the meeting said he was encouraged by the progress made by council-controlled organisations to plug the $270 million hole in the council’s budget.



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