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Len (Leonard) Brown
Len brown.jpg
Mayor of Auckland
Assumed office
1 November 2010
Preceded by created
Majority 60,198
Mayor of Manukau City
In office
October 2007 – 31 October 2010
Preceded by Barry Curtis
Succeeded by abolished
Majority 14,000
Personal details
Born 1 October 1956 (1956-10-01) (age 64)
Taumarunui, New Zealand
Spouse(s) Shirley Anne Inglis
Children Three daughters
Alma mater De La Salle College and University of Auckland
Profession Lawyer

Len Brown (born (1956-10-01)1 October 1956) is the current mayor of Auckland in New Zealand and a lawyer. He was elected mayor of Manukau in October 2007, the second time he ran for that office. He won the 2010 Auckland mayoral election on 9 October 2010 and was sworn in as mayor of Auckland on 1 November 2010.

Early years

He was born in Taumarunui, and his family moved to Otara in Auckland when he was seven years old. He attended Mayfield Primary School, Papatoetoe Intermediate School and De La Salle College. He has fond memories of his early life, saying "they were generous, generous days". His life growing up has been described as centred on family, church, school and community, while parents Tom and Ngaire were described as strong believers in social equity and social justice as well as active in the community life. While he did not grow up in Auckland, his family often travelled to see relatives there, because his parents had moved to Taumarunui from South Auckland.

Brown worked as a lawyer. He was a partner at law firm Wynyard Wood, and co-founded the Howick Free Legal Service.

Political career

He was first elected to the Manukau City council in 1992, and continued as councillor until 2004 when he did not run for re-election. He was also the chairperson of the Counties Manukau Health Council from 1998. Brown first ran for mayor of Manukau in 2004, and narrowly lost to long serving mayor Sir Barry Curtis; he lost by fewer than 600 votes. Brown had considered requesting a re-count due to the closeness of the vote, but decided that he had not been close enough to warrant it. Despite his affiliation with the New Zealand Labour Party since age 17, Brown did not run for election in the 2005 General Election, and instead returned to working for Wynyard Wood.

Mayor of Manukau

Brown announced that he was running to be the Mayor of Manukau in 2006. Barry Curtis announced that he would not be running for re-election, and Brown's main opposition were former Olympic runner Dick Quax and radio host Willie Jackson. Brown resigned from Wynard Wood in 2007 to focus on his candidacy full time. In August 2007, both Quax and Brown were polling "neck and neck". Brown's campaign was based on several policies, including; capping rates at the cost of inflation, increasing public transport, and working with youth in the region.

Brown won the election in October 2007 with more than 32,000 votes; his next closest rival Dick Quax had less than 18,000, and the election was jokingly called a 'Lenslide' by some. He was officially sworn in on 26 October 2007 at the Manukau City Council hall.

On 31 May 2008 he suffered a heart attack while at a music awards ceremony, and was admitted to Auckland Hospital. He had a congenital heart problem that had not been diagnosed before. Brown had successful heart bypass surgery two days later and made a full recovery, returning to his duties after a few months. His wife acknowledged that the attack was not stress-related, but rather a family issue, with Len's mother having died from a heart attack at 47.

Mayor of Auckland campaign

In August 2009, Brown stated he would run for the mayoralty of the combined Auckland "super-city" in the Auckland mayoral election, 2010. Brown announced his candidacy in front of more than 300 supporters at Sorrento in the Park, One Tree Hill, Maungakiekie. His campaign speech focused on delivering public transport, public ownership of the region's public assets, environmental protection, economic and social development. He won the position by 60,000 votes over main rival candidate, Auckland City mayor John Banks, on 9 October 2010.

Credit card and expense issues

In June 2010, Brown came under media attention for matters relating to his spending on his council credit card and other council expense claims, which included items of a personal nature like toys, groceries and insect repellent. His later explanations for these purchases were also examined at a council meeting, where Brown repeatedly slapped his face and got emotional. An advisor later explained that Brown's emotional behaviour was caused by his use of a Maori tradition, which Brown said was not true.

Another council expense claim included an $810 dinner at a restaurant, but Brown refused to say who was there. He said that the event was a fundraiser for a local singer for which the Council bought a table, an explanation later supported by the artist.

Private life

Brown is married to Shirley Anne Inglis, and has three children. They live in the Totara Park suburb of Manukau.

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