Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse on ‘Dirty Politics’



As a politician there is nothing to feel good about as I read Nicky Hagers book. Dirty politics, dirty behaviour and dirt flying in all directions has been an excuse for some to push out the line that “this is just politics” “it’s a dirty business”.

I utterly reject that this in any way normal behaviour for politicians. The web of bullying, manipulation,  character assassination and hatred has horrified most of NewZealand, and if it hasn’t,  it should! This style of politics has no place here and simply reinforces the gladiatorial style of politics that turns decent people off and holds back good people from participating or putting themselves forward as candidates.
I have been a politician for 23 years, working with other politicians across the political spectrum. Most of these are good people motivated by the desire to do the best for their communities and to build a better future BUT as Nickys’ book points out, the “dirt merchants” have even reached into Auckland council to try and pull strings and manipulate election results.

As deputy mayor I make no apologies for working  across the political spectrum to achieve great outcomes for Auckland, this has been a new way of working for some elected members but it is delivering some great results.  Winning at all costs is not the way to conduct democracy, ideology alone is no replacement for decent politics and respect for different viewpoints is really important. Democracy deals out some challenging results and of course there are some people I find challenging to work with, but is that a reason to destroy lives, to create dirt files and to delve into personal issues? Absolutely not!
With the election just around the corner I am grateful to Nicky Hager for daylighting the grubby reality of “Dirty Politics”. We can now cast a more informed if somewhat cynical eye over the comments on blog sites, question the connections between politicians and their paying clients and challenge the media to look further than their coterie of informants.

Democracy cannot be the victim here, lets reclaim decent politics and vote for those who commit to having no part in continuing this depressing chapter in New Zealand’s political history.


  1. @ Penny Hulse .
    A noble Post .
    Let me just ask you a couple of questions . Please bear ( Big shout out to Ovicula x ) with me , I’m not that bright sadly .

    My first question might not seem to have relevance to the issue at hand . You know , Dirty Politics and that , but here goes anyway .

    Since New Zealand is an agrarian , export oriented economy almost exclusively , why is Auckland where it is , as big as it is and as flash as it is ? Particularly when compared to anything the poor old South Island has to offer . Despite the South Island being the economy’s engine room , pardon the nautical metaphor
    ? Does that not strike you as … interesting ?
    Could it be that Auckland is the bi-product of a dirty little historical swindle ? And we all know the filth that swindling attracts ? Just look at the Banks , their lies and manipulations , their fine ( and extremely expensive ) TVC’s touting debts leveraged against grotesquely over inflated house prices until death with their consequential usury interest rates designed to make sure those debts are never repaid . Meltdown .
    Lets not also forget the empty men and women , our politicians , who hover over the stink of the easy money available to them , money that belonged to us .

    Do you think that lots and lots of lovely , easy money attracts a certain kind of fly ? Lets take jonky for example . He’s not the only one mind you , but he’ll do
    since he’s been in the news a bit of late .
    jonky could be considered a money fly could he not ? First and foremost , he’s as attracted to money as is a mouse with a toxoplasmosis is to cat pee . Ed Yong . . jonky can’t help himself . His ego and his narcissism are as fixed into his psyche as a jigsaw piece . That’s why he’s filthy rich , off the backs of the efforts of others . He could care less where the money came from . So long as he was in line for some of it . All of it would be better of course , but some of it will do .

    That kind of disease of the mind . The absurd desire for many numbers on pieces of paper attracts others still who feel the same way . They also come with other fixations . The desire to have power over others , and if they’re weaker or are in some way perceived as lesser ? All the better .
    Our Parliament has become an insane asylum full of nutters . It’s taken many years to become thus . Selective inbreeding , demonising , bullying and of course the sheer weight of economics has created a creepy house of liars , swindlers , cheats , cowards and psychopaths .

    That’s why I’ve been suggesting a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the relationships between our politicians and Big Business , both present and historical for years . That’s why the dopy old Governor General should dissolve our Parliament pending an inquiry AND DO HIS JOB ! That’s why I suspect you of politicking here and that your Post is , at this time , disingenuous . Sorry Ms Hulse . By the way , can I ask you how much you get paid as Deputy Mayor ? The Deputy Mayor of a City that , under ‘ normal ‘ circumstances couldn’t be there . And what exactly are your entitlements ? You know , housing , power , phone , travel etc ? No disrespect . Just wondering ?

  2. Penny dirty politics is not just happening at a Government level, it’s happening right before your face, perpetrated by the management of a Council owned organisation.

    Bullying, manipulation, character assassination and an environment that encourages hatred was used by Ports of Auckland and these same bloggers to vilify and denigrate port workers. These intimidating tactics were used to silence any worker who spoke publicly about the real effects of irregular shift work and fatigue they and their families experienced.

    While it’s great that you are speaking out about dirty politics now, it is reprehensible that Auckland Council has been silent on the on-going appalling treatment of workers who exercise their democratic and human right to belong to a union. In our experience, the port company is still discriminating against maritime union workers. The council is complicit in this as you turn a blind eye to what is going on.

  3. Well said Penny,

    National have no moral fibre, they want to copy Goebbels’s style of stamping out our freedoms that our heros of the past fought & died to keep us with a free democracy.

    National is aggressively now trying to intimidate the public by any means.

    This involves dirty politics as usual now, to bully & silence any criticism of their lack of policies on Democracy and freedoms.

    Don’t give in to their dictatorship.

    The price of Democracy & Freedom is constant vigilance.

  4. Really good post. I’m taking it that you don’t believe John Keys excuses then. Neither do most people with a brain. But sadly it looks like a sizeable chunk of the voting public are more than happy with this sort of behaviour and corruption because National are still polling well.

    I agree with a previous comment that what went on with the management in the Ports of Auckland during that strike was an utter disgrace. I hope they are no longer around.

    @Banjo, Rawshark’s twitter account has been suspended, why i don’t know.

  5. Couldn’t agree more Penny. Cooperation, understanding and tolerance for other people’s views beat adversarial politics any day. The principled approach means you will always be able to live with yourself. Some individuals have let themselves and their supporters down very badly. There is no need for dirt from any quarter. Honourable behaviour using reasoned argument and honest facts is the only way to go, not just in politics but in life in general.

  6. I have to politely disagree on a couple of points Penny.

    The working together, across the political divide does not work when one side is anti-democratic and wants to drag the other side down.

    At the heart of politics, is economics. I’m sorry you can call me ideologically rigid, but neo-liberalism is a failed economic system. The defenders of an economic system which destroys people, I have little respect for, let alone a desire to work with. That’s why I stay away.

  7. ABSOLUTELY PENNY well done. in no way should we accept or condone this. Politicians are a long way from people we look up to and we accept that? Politician has become a dirty word. Two years ago I decided not to enter politics for that very reason. I did not want to be associated with it. Fortunately we have some good examples as well. Its time to expect more from politicians. We cannot afford to expect less. The lapses of memory and politics answers have to stop.

  8. Nicky Hager’s ‘Dirty Politics’ has already overshadowed half of the election campaign and I like many other Kiwis are getting sick and tired of hearing about it. I probably will never read it, so instead I just fall victim to the media and its take on the book.

    However, if all these dirty tactics are what’s really going on in parliament and between ministers how can we feel proud of our government? How are young people supposed to want to vote when all they see is nastiness and corrupt politicians? I for one feel completely turned off, even John Key and David Cunliffe’s responses to the issues brought up by the book have been woeful.

    All the fuss has even brought Dame Anne Salmond out to make comment, in a recent article she said:

    “We have the right to live in a democracy where our leaders do not lie to us, or abuse their powers, or strip away our freedoms. They need to represent what’s best, not what’s worst about New Zealand. We are entitled to feel proud and confident about the way we’re governed, not embarrassed and ashamed.”

    I couldn’t agree more. My question to all you intelligent and open minded individuals is this, who is prepared to take a stand to clean up all the dirt? Lets get it out in the open so we as citizens of New Zealand can actually make well informed decisions about who we want running our country. #independent #high-level #inquiry

  9. You should talk. Look at the way you have backed up Len Brown with his dodgy goings on. If there is any dirty politics it is going on at the Auckland Council. Had the mayor been centre right you would have made sure he paid the entire bill for the EY report instead of making most of it confidential when most of it was paid by ratepayers. You people forget that you are OUR employees not the other way around and it is about time you realise that. Never mind because next local body elections there will be a lot of new faces because of Len Browns goings on and suspected cover ups by those who know who you are. If this gets deleted thats fine as I wouldn’t expect anything else from Browns minions.

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