Barry Soper and Merepeka Raukawa-Tait slam Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown's 'abysmal' flood response

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown's communication catastrophe during the devastating Auckland floods continued to cop criticism on AM this morning with a political commentator describing it as "abysmal".

"I would have had one piece of advice for Wayne Brown - 'don't lose the media' - well you haven't even found the media, that was the problem," Newstalk ZB's Political Editor Barry Soper said on AM's panel on Friday.

"When a politician loses the media, you actually lose the argument and you lose the people because you can't get your message out."

Soper described Brown's performance during the severe flooding in Auckland last week as "abysmal". He said people, including his wife, were leaving their offices last Friday evening unaware of what was going on down on the ground.

"Suddenly, the car she was driving was up to her headlights [with water]. Now she didn't know that and that's the danger of not alerting people as to what's going on outside," Soper said. "It might have been raining heavily but that heavy rain can cause absolute devastation as we saw." 

Four people were killed in flash floods and landslides that hit Auckland beginning last Friday as torrential rainfall caused what is being described as the biggest weather event in New Zealand's history.

The Mayor's notable media absence and delay in declaring a state of emergency copped a lot of criticism, with a petition started to remove him from office.

"I thought it was a shocking display by the Mayor and obviously he's not used to communicating but don't be belligerent, just know that there are people who want to hear from you and do your best," Whānau Ora commissioning chair Merepeka Raukawa-Tait said during AM's panel on Friday.

Leaked emails to Newshub earlier this week revealed Brown tried to gag fellow councillors from speaking "on regional matters" so he and his deputy could be the "one voice" on the flooding response.

The email was sent to 170 of his colleagues.

The move angered councillors who said the request was "somewhat ludicrous" and "inappropriate". 

Raukawa-Tait, who is a former Rotorua district councillor, said local councillors are the face communities see and a person they respect. She said the community wants to hear from them and know they are with them.  

"Most councillors who had been there for any years, they'd tell him to go jump," Raukawa-Tait said.

Mayor Brown has since promised better communication and an independent review into communications after the flooding hit Auckland.