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Unasa urges Brown to make amends for 'betrayal'

Thursday 17 Oct 2013 9:06 a.m.

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Reverend Uesifili Unasa, whose bid for the Auckland mayoralty chains at the recent election fell short, says re-elected Mayor Len Brown can make amends for his "betrayal" by keeping his promises to the Pacific community.

On Monday Mr Brown, 57, admitted a two-year affair with Bevan Chuang, 32, a member of Auckland Council's Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel and failed local board candidate.

Mr Brown says he won't be resigning, but Rev Unasa says he has a lot of work to do to regain the trust of his strong south Auckland support base. Before winning the first super city mayoral election, Mr Brown was Mayor of Manukau.

"The community is reeling from the news that's come out of Auckland Council, particularly given the very strong support not just during the super city mayoralty of Len Brown, but previous to that in the Manukau City Council," Rev Unasa said on Firstline this morning.

"So I think there's a sense of betrayal, and a sense where the people's trust has really not been respected or not taken seriously."

He suggests rather than making promises via the media, Mr Brown fronts the community "face-to-face".

"During the campaign he promised the living wage, the Southern Initiative leadership, a fiscally responsible council, all of those issues around affordable housing and employment; those are key issues that the Pacific community require him to deliver on.

"He's got a big job to continue and to deliver on, but also to build the trust that has obviously been shattered, and that's obviously going to take some time."

Rev Unasa says many in the religious Pacific community saw Mr Brown as a "personal friend", or even as a member of the family –  so he won't be calling for Mr Brown to step down as Mayor.

"His measure as a Mayor of Auckland is to deliver and make a difference in the lives of the Pacific communities. The Mayor knows that the threshold for conduct and honour is very high – now obviously he has failed in that.

"He's got to deliver on the practical measures that is required and urgently needed in the lives of Pacific communities.

"The Pacific community will stand by him, but they will want to see the results of their trust and backing him to the hilt."

Ms Chuang today said a member of mayoralty rival John Palino's campaign team had pressured her to tell her story.

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