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1168 posts

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  # 953683 17-Dec-2013 12:47
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ilovemusic: every day the guy is more of an embarrassment.

all this yibber yabba over whether he broke the rules or not would be moot if the council adopted one simple rule - accept no gifts.


They could also adopt the simple rule - don't tell lies, including by omission. 

Gift giving isn't in and of itself a bad thing for politicians. An amazingly large number of important things such as companies setting up offices in one city or another surprisingly hinge on the personal experience of one or two people who actually make the decision. Within this context the giving and receiving of personal gifts can be crucial.  

The real problem here is Brown lacks integrity. He got caught, I mean that in all senses. He should step down and seek re-election. Until then it going to be an ongoing embarrassing circus because he did the 'wrong thing' on more than one level and we all know it. Some people will not care about recent events and vote for him, some will care and not vote for him but he hid things and therefore he can't be trusted. 




Didn't anybody tell you I was a hacker?

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  # 953893 17-Dec-2013 19:17
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gzt: Personally at this stage I think this is grey enough that it is up to voters to decide at the next election.

Imho the problem is the council's procurement policy does not specifically ban employees or suppliers from receiving/giving gifts. It should immediately be amended so that it does.

At present the policy says relationships must be ethical without any specific policy on gifts which leaves each instance entirely open to interpretation in a legal sense.

"Auckland Council will conduct its business with the utmost integrity in its procurement of goods, works and services. Therefore, Auckland Council employees and suppliers are expected to conduct themselves with the highest standards of honesty, fairness, and personal integrity. It is critical that both employees and suppliers adhere to these standards, all applicable laws and avoid all perceptions of conflict of interest and impropriety."

AK City Procurement Policy (see Page 11)

In a moral sense (could not care less about the affair thing btw) I completely agree it could violate that policy but in a legal sense it is arguable. Clearly he did not "avoid all perceptions of conflict of interest and impropriety" but might be able to argue he adhered to the standards. It's borderline against him but mostly I see it as a choice for the voters at this stage and council policy must be amended to be absolutely specific and crystal clear on this point like every other large organisation is.


Mayors and councillors are not employees of councils. Legally, they are independent contractors and council's procurement policies don't apply to them. 

 
 
 
 


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  # 953904 17-Dec-2013 19:30
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ilovemusic: 
all this yibber yabba over whether he broke the rules or not would be moot if the council adopted one simple rule - accept no gifts.


This is a really tough things for any council to deal with actually. "Accept no gifts" is policy for some councils BUT it still leaves areas that are open to interpretation. Councillors are often permitted to take their spouse to events or to accompany them to out-of-town conferences. Often these conferences have activities to keep spouses amused while the elected members are in meetings. Some councils pay the cost of the spouse attending, some pay and charge-back to the elected member. However, if the council is paying for accommodation and that accommodation is shared by the spouse (or an upgrade offered) then is it really a personal benefit or simply an issue of a room costing council the same regardless of whether another person is sharing it? Is the spouse activity a gift to the elected member? If they are taken out for dinner while they are there, is that a gift or a normal part of doing business whereby a spouse is often invited. 

What is needed, IMO, is a law change so the definition of "gift" is clearly set out and binding on all elected representatives whether in local or central government. 

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  # 953912 17-Dec-2013 19:59
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Yes, a good outcome from all this will be more clarity and transparency in expectation, contracts, policy and regulation. It is needed because the mayor of Auckland has more influence and power than most Members of Parliament. What these events show is that the role also appears to have greater immunity than most MPs.

I don't live in Auckland but it is disappointing that it has happened in our largest city because the impact is so much greater. All the people I spoke to who voted for him would not have voted for him if these revelations had appeared before the polls closed.

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  # 954069 18-Dec-2013 09:12
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I see the Herald are now calling for Brown's resignation.

I, for one, agree...time to go.




Handsome Dan Has Spoken.

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  # 954075 18-Dec-2013 09:24
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Whilst in this particular case it probably is time to go, I do not adhere to puritanical principles in relation to gifts etc.
People climb to the top to get perks - it's one of the reasons you make the effort required! NZ is a bit unique in frothing at the mouth quite so much about these things - and in expecting people at the top to work longer hours than people at the bottom etc.
Rank has to have it's privileges or there is no great point in attaining it.





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  # 954088 18-Dec-2013 09:59
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Public servants work under this rule...


 

"Public servants must not abuse their official position for personal gain. They must not solicit or accept gifts, rewards or benefits which might compromise their integrity and the integrity of their department and the Public Service.

 

As a general rule, a public servant should not accept a gift (whatever its nature or value) if the gift could be seen by others as either an inducement or a reward which might place the employee under an obligation to a third party.

 

Where offers of gifts or inducements are made, they should be reported by the public servant to his or her manager or chief executive, who will determine the appropriate response. A public servant who accepts a gift should declare the gift to their manager or chief executive for a decision on final disposal."

This should apply to ALL public servants including politicians. 




Mike
Retired IT Manager. 
The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

There is no planet B

 

 


 
 
 
 


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  # 954090 18-Dec-2013 10:03
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Geektastic: Whilst in this particular case it probably is time to go, I do not adhere to puritanical principles in relation to gifts etc.
People climb to the top to get perks - it's one of the reasons you make the effort required! NZ is a bit unique in frothing at the mouth quite so much about these things - and in expecting people at the top to work longer hours than people at the bottom etc.
Rank has to have it's privileges or there is no great point in attaining it.

I do agree with you on this.

It again demonstrates the tall poppy syndrome that is so prevalent in NZ.

I stand by my feelings that the public trust has been knocked by a person in a high office and that person must go, but I am not against perks.

I have worked for (and currently work for) organisations where gift giving and receiving is tightly monitored and covered by strict policies.

In cases where an "excessive" gift is received, generally it is signed off at a senior level or by compliance and you either keep it or (if instructed to do so) send it back or give it to charity.

Declare, declare, declare...most people don't care if there are perks...hell - most people expect there will be perks. They DON'T like a lack of disclosure.




Handsome Dan Has Spoken.

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  # 954091 18-Dec-2013 10:03
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KiwiNZ: Public servants work under this rule...


"Public servants must not abuse their official position for personal gain. They must not solicit or accept gifts, rewards or benefits which might compromise their integrity and the integrity of their department and the Public Service. As a general rule, a public servant should not accept a gift (whatever its nature or value) if the gift could be seen by others as either an inducement or a reward which might place the employee under an obligation to a third party. Where offers of gifts or inducements are made, they should be reported by the public servant to his or her manager or chief executive, who will determine the appropriate response. A public servant who accepts a gift should declare the gift to their manager or chief executive for a decision on final disposal."

This should apply to ALL public servants including politicians. 


In this case the problematic word is 'integrity'. 




Didn't anybody tell you I was a hacker?

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  # 954169 18-Dec-2013 11:32
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My 2ยข.

He has stayed at hotels other than Sky City.

Lots of people have company phones. As a rate payer I'm not that petty to see that amount as wasted money.

Where were the media prior to the affair scandal? Why could they not uncover this before? They are having a lot of fun right now that we have reached schoolyard/gutter politics.

Everyone is out for political gain in some way now. Not interested in what people in power think to be honest. I'm just looking at facts and ignoring the emotion of it all.

Brown has not handled the whole situation very well.


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  # 954178 18-Dec-2013 11:47
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sdav: My 2¢.

Brown has not handled the whole situation very well.



And this is the very reason that I think his time is up.

He's been around long enough to know better and he has enough spin doctors to make this look better than it has...and still he's managed to fail utterly in this and lose the trust of the people that he "represents".

A seasoned politician should know when to bow out gracefully prior to being shoved unceremoniously out the door with a cardboard box.





Handsome Dan Has Spoken.

836 posts

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  # 954186 18-Dec-2013 11:53
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Elpie:
ilovemusic: 
all this yibber yabba over whether he broke the rules or not would be moot if the council adopted one simple rule - accept no gifts.


This is a really tough things for any council to deal with actually. "Accept no gifts" is policy for some councils BUT it still leaves areas that are open to interpretation. Councillors are often permitted to take their spouse to events or to accompany them to out-of-town conferences. Often these conferences have activities to keep spouses amused while the elected members are in meetings. Some councils pay the cost of the spouse attending, some pay and charge-back to the elected member. However, if the council is paying for accommodation and that accommodation is shared by the spouse (or an upgrade offered) then is it really a personal benefit or simply an issue of a room costing council the same regardless of whether another person is sharing it? Is the spouse activity a gift to the elected member? If they are taken out for dinner while they are there, is that a gift or a normal part of doing business whereby a spouse is often invited. 

What is needed, IMO, is a law change so the definition of "gift" is clearly set out and binding on all elected representatives whether in local or central government. 


I agree with everything you said but even then there will still be a grey area for what is a gift or not. You can legislate and draft policy for every single conceivable situation, it's impossible. What we need is less of the media hype and for them just to report facts. Sick of their s**t quite frankly and I didn't even vote for Brown.

836 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 954214 18-Dec-2013 12:11
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Handsomedan:
sdav: My 2¢.

Brown has not handled the whole situation very well.



And this is the very reason that I think his time is up.

He's been around long enough to know better and he has enough spin doctors to make this look better than it has...and still he's managed to fail utterly in this and lose the trust of the people that he "represents".

A seasoned politician should know when to bow out gracefully prior to being shoved unceremoniously out the door with a cardboard box.




In all honesty I don't know where I stand and have become apathetic towards the issue. I have lost all confidence in the media to report on serious issues and what really matters and it's sad to think sometimes I trust the media less than I do the politicians. I pretty much stopped following the moment it turned out to be an affair and have picked up little bits (like the result of the EY report). I knew all it would become is a media free for all and a chance for political points scoring. You can see why there are strict media restrictions on criminal cases...

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  # 954219 18-Dec-2013 12:18
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Handsomedan:
Geektastic: Whilst in this particular case it probably is time to go, I do not adhere to puritanical principles in relation to gifts etc.
People climb to the top to get perks - it's one of the reasons you make the effort required! NZ is a bit unique in frothing at the mouth quite so much about these things - and in expecting people at the top to work longer hours than people at the bottom etc.
Rank has to have it's privileges or there is no great point in attaining it.

I do agree with you on this.

It again demonstrates the tall poppy syndrome that is so prevalent in NZ.

I stand by my feelings that the public trust has been knocked by a person in a high office and that person must go, but I am not against perks.

I have worked for (and currently work for) organisations where gift giving and receiving is tightly monitored and covered by strict policies.

In cases where an "excessive" gift is received, generally it is signed off at a senior level or by compliance and you either keep it or (if instructed to do so) send it back or give it to charity.

Declare, declare, declare...most people don't care if there are perks...hell - most people expect there will be perks. They DON'T like a lack of disclosure.


I once had the following question in the ethics paper of a practice run for a series of professional exams I sat many moons ago:

"A painter who has had the painting contract to paint the cottages on your employer's estate for the last year comes into the estate office at Christmas and gives you a bottle of whisky. What should you do?"

I was told that "Tell him that if he wants the job next year, he'd best bring the other 11 bottles from the case." was not the correct answer....!







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  # 954222 18-Dec-2013 12:21
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is using it as a gift is the same as donating to charity?




Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.


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