EXCLUSIVE: Penny Hulse – the first 100 days



Reflecting on the new council I feel reasonably positive. Phil Goff will provide solid and experienced leadership once he gets clear on the difference between central and local government. We in local government are a complex lot made up of independents, hard right and left and everything in between. Each vote around the council table is won on its merits and is genuinely debated not caucused. Stepping into this mix as mayor will require a cool head and a warm heart and the ability to listen, I think Goff has these qualities. He has a council that has a good working majority that will support him but he cannot take this for granted particularly when it comes to setting the budget. Some of the strong progressive candidates in the left have signed up to the conservative promise to hold rates at 2%, will make for some interesting debates.

Looking at the results I believe Auckland has made it clear that they are not totally unhappy with council as most of us were returned. Two exceptions being Penny Webster and Calum Penrose who were targeted by pretty tough campaigns, their hard work and genuine commitment to Auckland will be hugely missed. Some of us with the highest votes are those who advocate for community, environment, sustainability and certainly not the “lower the rates” team…Auckland Future certainly didn’t have one!!

The next 100 days?

Housing- getting the affordable housing plan agreed with government and community providers is urgently needed. We have done the work to get some serious change and we now need to make it our number one priority.

The environment has taken a back seat in the last 3 years and Goff has talked about planting a million trees, great, so good to hear that, but we really need to do more. Our harbours and waterways are in dire need of attention. As we develop the budget, I think we need a group of key elected members from across the region to work on some game changing initiatives…and we need to fund them.

We are a C40 council, this means we are part of an international collective of cities who have agreed to cut greenhouse gasses. A true commitment is needed to a sustainable Auckland, we have to focus more on the future needs of our city, the phenomenal success of Chloe Swarbrick has shown that we must listen to our younger voters.

Re engaging with our communities is vital, the low voter turnout is disappointing. The mainstream media ignore us or make us the object of ridicule and then we wonder why people don’t vote. The role of alternative media voices is going to be vital over the next 3 years.

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Finally we have to take time to genuinely listen to our communities, people are still adapting to amalgamation, we have got very big and hard to connect with as an organisation and we have not yet rebuilt the trust that people had in their smaller councils. We need to be authentic and honest with our communities and rebuild trust and that is going to take longer than 100 days.


  1. Obviously Penny thinks things have progressed amazingly since her last blog post 16 months ago.

    Penny now says that in the next 100 days…
    “Housing- getting the affordable housing plan agreed with government and community providers is urgently needed. We have done the work to get some serious change and we now need to make it our number one priority.”

    Part of that work must have been a definition of “affordable”, could Penny please describe her sense of the word?

  2. ‘We are a C40 council, this means we are part of an international collective of cities who have agreed to cut greenhouse gasses.’

    Agreeing to cut greenhouse gases means nothing. Every agreement to cut emissions ahs been a total failure, both locally and internationally. Indeed, Auckland council has no intention of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and will continue to implement policies which will increase them, i.e. economic growth, population growth, consumerism and tourism etc.

    Indeed. it is physically impossible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the present economic system because the present system demands use of petroleum-powered machinery to ‘develop’ land for roads, housing shopping malls, sewage systems, electricity systems etc. Every dwelling will be supplied with electricity, much of which is generated by burning natural gas, and almost every dwelling will be dependent on internal combustion devices. And practically everything that Auckland needs to exist will continue to be delivered via use of internal combustion engines.

    Let’s see Auckland council promote:

    1. No cutting of grass by petroleum-powered machinery.
    2. No use of chainsaws, weed-eaters, leaf-blowers, water blasters…..
    3. Composting toilets instead of the current dysfunctional water-borne system.
    4. Closure of drive-through takeaways.
    5. Taxes on consumption.
    6. Local food production via permaculture.

    I could generate a list of well over a thousand strategies necessary to cut greenhouse gas emissions and promote a healthy society with a future, and all of them would be instantly rejected by the council as being ‘illegal’, ‘impractical’ ‘unacceptable’ etc. Short-term business-as-usual will prevail, even though short-term business-as-usual does not comply with NZ Statutes .

    ‘true commitment is needed to a sustainable Auckland’

    That’s sounds like a nice idea but actually contains mutually exclusive concepts. Auckland is a large, industrial city which is entirely dependent on huge inputs of fossil fuels (and lots of other things) and is, by definition, unsustainable.

    What we will actually witness will be further degradation of the local environment and the global environment to prop up current living arrangements for a few more years, during which the quality of life will continue to decline, after which Auckland will be abandoned as a consequence of fossil fuel depletion and rapid sea level rise.

    Obviously, those with vested interests in the current short-term aberration that Auckland is will leap straight in to denial when confronted with ‘unacceptable’ facts, which is exactly why everything that matters has been made worse over the past 40 years.

    The insanity that prevails in local government is not just an Auckland phenomenon, of course, but extends with across the country and throughout most of the developed world.

    • Exactly right Afewknowthetruth 100%

      While Ms Hulse wants to promote yet more roads for more trucks and cars, to add to the air quality issues Auckland is legendary in historic terms of having one of the most dirtiest air quality cities in the world!!!!!
      Ms Hulse needs to ask Gavin Fisher at End Point a noted Scientist who wrote the NZ air quality report for the ministry for the environment who referred along with other scientist’s the human harm coming to Auckland if the same course of road building continues, and this was in 2002 while he was Senior Air Quality Scientist for NIWA no less!!!!

      But alas Ms Hulse is still promoting more roads for more trucks/cars. sadly penny you need to wake up.

      She wont know that automobile tyres are a major threat to human health now known widely around the world and can cause cancer birth defects and nervous system damage from components embedded in the tyre dust coming off all those synthetic tyres she is promoting use of in her City, and that component is 1,3, butadiene which is very toxic from petrochemicals.


      Even the ministry for the environment reports it has recognised 1,3, butadiene as so toxic it is on their “hazardous chemicals” air quality hazards list with a maximum exposure of just 2.4micrograms per cubic metre for an entire annual rate.

      So on any road with a daily traffic flow of 20 000 vehicles nine kilograms of tyre dust is left on every kilometre of a road and can travel in wind for 35 kilometres so that’s is all across Auckland so who is safe in Penny Hulse planet now???


      Hopefully John key gets a load of this, it may wake him up to get back on rail freight passenger all around NZ again instead of closing rail for trucks and buses.

      Mr Key & Ms Hulse, if you’re interested in the destruction of our environment here’s what your road vehicles are doing to the other parts of our environment.

      WARNING; Don’t eat while you read this as you may loose your appetite.


    • As long as Aucklanders have their love affair with cars, nothing much will become “greener”, most will not cycle as they are too lazy and do not want to get wet if it rains, and they will not like public transport, as it does not go where they want to get to, and as people they have to share seats with may be too “unpleasant company” for many.

      Having all drive electric vehicles will create a demand for power that is not there, and will necessitate either fossil fuel powered generation, perhaps even nuclear generation.

      Additional demand for water for another million people will not be met by limited resources.

      They love their great plans and agendas, the Councillors, but to actually do the analysis and preparations how it can all be implemented, that is another story.

    • “We are a C40 council, this means we are part of an international collective of cities who have agreed to cut greenhouse gasses. A true commitment is needed to a sustainable Auckland, we have to focus more on the future needs of our city, the phenomenal success of Chloe Swarbrick has shown that we must listen to our younger voters.”

      I suppose Auckland Council likes to pride itself in welcoming the many hundreds of thousands of not millions of visitors to New Zealand each year. A BYPRODUCT is never talked about, neither by John Key and is government, nor by Councillors and the Mayor of Auckland. Even the Greens are silent on this: AIR TRAVEL EMISSIONS!

      To perhaps put all the nice talk into some perspective, here is an interesting read on the stark realities we face with the growth fetishism that most seem to suffer from:


  3. ” The role of alternative media voices is going to be vital over the next 3 years.”

    That’s why The Daily Blog MUST begin to market [itself] like a real estate agent cloned to an insurance agent cloned to a used car salesperson cloned to a Balinese street hawker.

    90% of the people I talk to , and God only knows how I can talk, have never heard of The Daily Blog. Are those people the ones who also don’t vote because, you know, what’s the point and stuff since there’s no alternative to the cascade of bullshit falling from local and central ‘ gubbimint’?

    ” Finally we have to take time to genuinely listen to our communities”

    What ‘communities’, exactly, are those?
    The voiceless communities of the desperate living under bridges or, if they’re lucky, in cars? The debt ridden anxious ‘ individuals’ crushed by Bank-mafia debt? Or are they those families of the recently suicided, bankrupted or are just the bland Compliers who live out their lives in beige, plasti-houses?
    The pretence that there are ‘ communities’ out there that have things to say to politicians who give a shit is nonsense. We all know that and to try to pretend otherwise is insulting at the very least.
    Talk’s cheap and getting cheaper. The pseudo care excreted out of politicians is as mythical for its effectiveness as the concept of cheery communities baking scones and ‘being involved’ as if they could.
    Logical fallacies, such as those above, are de rigour for the liar politician pretending they give a fuck.
    Goff is a dodgy fall-out from neoliberalism. He’s a roger douglas disciple and so by association not only dangerous but useless and worthless and now on $ six figures plus entitlements. Again.

    • Bloody right 100% COUNTRY BOY BANG ON.


    • 90% of the people I talk to haven’t heard of the Standard either.
      Democracy (one person – one vote) no longer works because the vast majority are uninformed or ill-informed(Mike Hosking etc!).
      Anyone know a benevolent Dictator?

      • Donald Trump may help us as he would benefit from putting a free press together as he only has Fox in US now no his side and we could help expose Hillary’s mate Key and co?

      • Hey Garibaldi,

        What about asking Donald Trump as he wants the media opened up as he says it is now controlled by the corporate establishment and he would support a free press talented editor like Martyn and co???

        It just may work in our mutual favour, as he is anti TPPA ect’ and elitist establishment, and anti free trade, so what have we got to loose?

        Martyn, send Donald trump a proposal to help start a TV channel here alongside a Fox network as they like free speech and are the only channel in the US fighting on Trump’s side against the MSM.

  4. “Each vote around the council table is won on its merits and is genuinely debated not caucused.”

    I care to disagree with Penny on this, what merit was there for instance in accepting the “independent” (government appointed) hearing panel’s recommendation on the Proposed Unitary Plan to throw out provisions for retained affordable housing?

    I also believe that Council gives more consideration to vested business and other interests, rather than weigh up every matter “on merit”.

    Re this:
    “Looking at the results I believe Auckland has made it clear that they are not totally unhappy with council as most of us were returned.”

    I also care to disagree, as a voter turnout of only around 36 percent is hardly a strong democratic mandate for you as Council, most do not know much about what Council does, who stands for what policies and goals, and have a dim view of their influence on what Council does.

    The participation rate is damning and Penny makes no mention of this. The ones who cared to vote will have been the usual ones, those that believe they have a duty of sorts to vote, those that are ratepayers and those that may have other vested interests.

    Most Aucklanders live in a disconnect with Council, as even Phil Goff admits the reputation of Council is poor and he seems to be intent on running a kind of image improvement campaign, which is like a kind of marketing exercise, I believe. Him getting corporate business advisors in to do the work, that tells me that Auckland will continue to be dominated by big and medium size business people and their lobbyists, such as the ones also sitting on the Committee for Auckland:


    As for the million trees, that is perhaps a nice exercise, but how are you going to reduce emissions? That means getting cars off the streets, but the investment needed for an expanded public transport network will be high, and costs will be too much for most to carry. You are faced with Auckland citizens and residents driving cars most the time, and once you come with extra charges of whatever kind, they will get angry and not vote for greener Council policies. It is a hard one, I admit, so it will be interesting to see how that will all be done.

    And nearly doubling the population by the 2040s, that will not be that sustainable at all, it will create ever more traffic, more need for infrastructure, for roads, for public transport and so forth. There will be more need for water, but the Waikato Regional Council has to my knowledge so far not agreed to let Watercare take more from the Waikato River, which will be necessary.

    We get bold plans, targets and much glossy mag style messaging, but to implement what is suggested, many will pay more user charges, higher transport costs, rates will still go up, and debt will be taken on, that all Aucklanders will have to pay off for many years to come.

    So celebrate your re-election, but present us real solutions, that I cannot see enough of, talk is one thing, walking the talk another.

    • Your links confirm everything we have been saying. Government -central, regional and local- is in bed with corporations, and acts on their behalf and against the common good.

      All the proclamations of serving the public or even listening to the public are a crock of shit.

      That’s why so many of us have given up as far as seeking positive change through the system is concerned: it’s all a rigged game, geared to generating short-term benefits for the few at the expense of the many -an oligarchy that pretends to be democratic.

  5. Auckland is a mess! To be direct Penny. Housing. Plans for “Africa” and very little to show for it.
    Transport, again the same. Very slow progress and Aucklanders have been hoodwinked into light rail only which is a disaster which will have to be revisited in the near future because its short term thinking and with growth projections it’ll be beyond its capacity by the time its completed??
    35 major apartment & housing projects have been canned and more are about to fail to materialise due to capex (lack of) as well as the other elephant in the room ….DODGY Steel & building materials not up to standard that have already been built into the housing & roading infrastructure! Leaky Building Syndrome ring any bells??

    Council needs to go back to “CORE Business only” and send the big “Ticket Expensive” stuff back to Central Government.

    Why have I got a second recycle bin that’s slightly bigger and cost $300+ when the old one is, maybe 5 years old and in perfectly good nick?
    A bigger bin just means more shit.

    Core Business, Priorities, Public Service, stopping outsourcing Core Business!

  6. The Auckland council have no respect for the people of Auckland. Lies about rate increases. Self interested, noses in the trough, a complicated bunch engaged in partisan politics. A chief executive that gets a $60 000 pay rise, disgraceful. Obscene IT project budget blowout. It doesn’t matter who you vote for in Auckland, bigger debt and rate increases guaranteed.
    PS. You wanna solve the traffic problems? Everyone get on a goddamn push bike or motorbike/scooter. Instant solution.

    • Why? They will blame it on central government, and that government in Wellington will in turn blame it on Council, as per usual.

  7. “The role of alternative media voices is going to be vital over the next 3 years.”

    I suspect and fear, with this comment, Penny refers to such “voices” as expressed on The Spinoff and Transportblog.

    What I detected during the Unitary Plan hearings was also the fact, that Auckland Council does increasingly use “online feedback” gathered via various forums to promote their policies and plans, but in doing so they do it rather selectively.

    For instance was the so-called “People’s Panel” used as supposed evidence that people supported the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, or rather the earlier Draft Unitary Plan that came before it.

    Only very selectively chosen “voices” were used as evidence of “consultation”, while most people in Auckland did not really engage at all, and hence had little or no real knowledge of what that Plan was about.

    So I fear we are going to get more selectively chosen channels and forums that Council uses, as “voices” by various smallish groups, to then formulate plans and policies behind them, that suits Council’s interests and anticipated goals.

    Democracy is getting rather messy now, with such blurred boundaries between what used to be considered as feedback and what will in future be considered.

    Those connected, and those following Council online may participate, but many that are not doing so, will still not be heard, so what progress may that be?

  8. Penny, all that fluffy stuff about ‘engaging with the community’ isn’t going to get any runs on the board. Here are some sensible proposals for the incoming council.

    1. Get the Unitary Plan over the try-line. Nothing much can happen until that’s done.

    2. Park all the fantasy transport projects until you have a handle on the internal council processes and staffing requirements.

    3. Appoint consultants to:

    a) Review the consenting and planning processes with a view to rationalising it and reducing the burden of compliance (one reason there is a housing shortage)

    b) Having rationalised your processes, appoint some more consultants to help you clear out the excess staff. Council doesn’t need 10,000 permanent staff, especially when half its services are already contracted out. What are those 1,000 people doing in the planning department? The answer is that they spend their day getting in the way of those who want to build houses.

    4. Complete the projects which are already in progress. You already have too many projects to digest so its best you knock these off before thinking about more.

    If you get that done in the next 3 years, you’ll be doing well!

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