Link here to listen to my interview on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report on 23 December 2013. This followed my vindication that I had in fact officially declared my 2011 trip to Australia to the Electoral Officer a month after I returned, despite recent claims by media and my critics I had not.
Media release – Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer – Sunday, 22 December 2013:
Auckland Council Electoral Officer and Public Information Officer Bruce Thomas has confirmed with Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer today that while he did not file a full “Register of Members’ Interests” annual statement by 30 June 2012, Brewer’s much criticised four-day sponsored trip to Australia was in fact declared by the Councillor for Orakei at the time and was subsequently in the Council gift register all along.
In a surprise turn, Mr Thomas advised Mr Brewer in an email today that “You did however declare the Port Douglas trip and this was included in the gift register. A copy of the gift register was given to the Ernst Young Inquiry.”
In an email to Mr Thomas from Mr Brewer on 8 September 2011, Mr Brewer wrote
“Bruce, please declare… 1 trip to Port Douglas courtesy of Mediaworks, Four nights in august. Value approximately 2k. Secondly, my partner and I are in SkyCity box for opening night and game tomorrow. Cost unknown. Please let me know what further information you require. Thanks Cameron”
Mr Brewer was responding to an email by Mr Thomas titled ‘Code of Conduct – Declaration of Gifts’ he had sent to all elected representatives the day before on Wednesday 7 September 2011.
The email read: “Dear Councillors and Local Board Members, with the Rugby World Cup about to start, I thought it prudent to remind you of your obligation to declare gifts in excess of $300. Some of the ticket and hospitality packages that you (and your partner) may be offered by a third party are likely to exceed $300. If you suspect this to be the case then you should advise myself and we will log it and ensure it is recorded as part of you declaration on 30 June 2012.”
Mr Brewer said he is very pleased to learn that he did in fact formally advise the council of the trip soon after his return, and that it was subsequently officially declared in the gift register.
However he says he stands by his statement he posted earlier today on Facebook, where he apologised for being one of the councillors who did not file a full public and formal Register of Members’ Interests declaration on 30 June 2012. As part of his apology Mr Brewer has made a donation to the City Mission. However he is now pleased to retract part of his Facebook statement where he says he did not declare the trip in 2011.
His Facebook statement read: “After much reflection, this morning I visited the Auckland City Mission and made a personal donation of $1,000. They’re under enormous pressure this Christmas. I did this because I wanted to make amends and show my supporters and critics that I am genuinely sorry for not declaring that four-day sponsored trip to Australia in 2011 and along with others for not filing a ‘Declaration Of Interests’ statement in 2012. Last week I submitted my declaration for 2013. I was really disappointed with myself when a reporter reminded me of this trip. I simply hadn’t given it another thought. But there are no excuses and I offer none. I will learn from this mistake. Every week over the past three years I have called for greater accountability and transparency at Auckland Council. I then came up short myself. I am not a wealthy person and so this gesture aims to show my genuine contrition and humility – nothing more, nothing less. I look forward to representing ratepayers the best I can next year.”
Mr Brewer says this new information and his apology will hopefully shift the spotlight back on where it needs to be.