Manukau Mayor Len Brown has come under fire for spending thousands of dollars of ratepayer cash to take his wife on a sister-city trip to Japan.
Supermayor candidate Brown was also criticised for opting to fly premium economy on the junket while other members of the delegation flew economy.
Flights for the mayor and his wife Shan cost $7900, and a further $8700 was spent flying three council staff to Utsunomiya, 120km north of Tokyo.
Council chief executive Leigh Auton also brought his wife, Jenny, on the trip but paid for her costs personally.
Getting the ratepayer to pay for his wife was a bit off. If Rodney Hide ought to pay for his partner's travel out of a shared sympathy for taxpayers during a recession, so should any other politician. A sister city relationship is not enough of a diplomatic event for wives to get lovely air tickets to exotic climes. Len should write a cheque back to the people of Manukau for this.
Perhaps this poor judgment and unwise spending is why Len Brown has now dropped back into second place behind John Banks in the latest poll for the Auckland Mayoralty, as reported on Kiwiblog.