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Len Brown’s future

Written By: - Date published: 8:53 am, October 19th, 2014 - 41 comments
Categories: len brown - Tags: ,

Penny Hulse

There was an interesting article in yesterday’s Herald where Len Brown’s future was discussed. Bernard Orsman raised the prospect of Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse having a tilt at the top job.

He said:

Auckland mayor Len Brown has returned from a month-long overseas holiday to a budget revolt by local boards and his deputy Penny Hulse not discounting a bid for the mayoral chains.

Last night, Mrs Hulse said she was asked three or four times a day if she wanted to be mayor and indicated she would make a decision next year.

“Would I have a crack at the top job? I wouldn’t discount it but there is an awful amount of water to flow under the bridge and a hell of a lot of time before the next election,” she told the Weekend Herald.

Mrs Hulse said she was loyal to the mayor and would never stand against him.

“The last thing he needs is a deputy mayor quietly kneecapping him in the background. That is not something I would do,” Mrs Hulse said.

Refusing to rule something out is normally political speak for something is being seriously considered.

Although there is two years to go until the next election the size of the job means that planning should start now. There are 1.3 million citizens in the Super City and the logistics of campaigning are complex.

The article raises two questions, should Len run again, and if not Len then who should progressives support?

The impression I get at this stage is that Len does want to run again. His proposed rates increase of 2.5% is conservative and barely enough to keep up with inflation let alone fund the inner city link which he is committed to doing. If this was going to be his last term he probably would have aimed higher because the political implications would be less important.

But can he succeed? You would have to question this given the revelations concerning Bevan Chuang. It is not as if he was held in high esteem by the left before the revelations were made.

Up against a substandard candidate and a bunch of inept campaign managers last time Len won easily. This time you can expect the right will be much better organised.

If not Len then Penny Hulse may be the front runner candidate for the broad left. She has huge support in West Auckland and if she can get the support of the Labour Party in South Auckland she could succeed. She has been solid on Council. She has managed to keep work progressing for Len and has built a reasonably solid majority for him on most matters. On issues such as the Ports of Auckland attack on the MUNZ union she has voted the right way including one occasion where she voted in the opposite way to Len.

None of the other progressive Councillors look like they are up to the job. They would need to be able to unite South and West and Penny looks like the only person able to do this.

The other option would be for an MP, a la Lianne Dalziel, to make the transition. Phil Goff’s name has been mentioned in the past as a possible contender.

The position is vital. The super city mayor has huge powers and is probably the third most powerful politician in the country. National designed the role thinking that only one of their kind could amass the resources needed to campaign successfully. Len has shown how to do this. If this is Len’s last term then progressives need to settle on a successor and make sure they win.

41 comments on “Len Brown’s future”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    There are rumours that CR heavyweights are lining up AT Chairman Dr Lester Levy as their candidate. No more Palinos, Weweges and Slaters, or for that matter convicted felon John Archibald Banks( who had strong connections to the Slaters).
    Big money and the Herald would swing in behind Levy, even though he hasnt previously sought election to his previous posts.

    Penny Hulse, has been a quiet achiever and typically has to work twice as hard as a man would in the same job. She has got her support by getting funding for her pet projects, and in the case of Auckland, as the letter from the Local Boards shows, there is no longer any money for myriads of make overs for the suburbs.

    • karol 1.1

      I would love to see Hulse as mayor. But as you say, corporate and media power will be doing their best to promote a candidate more friendly to their anti-democratic aims.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1.1

        Penny is not adverse to corporate interests as you might think. A huge amount of money was locked in contracts before the super city takeover that promoted commercial interests in a huge strip mall project out at Westgate and a revamp that benefited the shop owners in New Lynn.

        • Ad 1.1.1.1

          Actually what you will find those contracts did was generate massive urban renewal that has massively increased pedestrian traffic, public transport use, cemented New Urbanist principles into the new Council, forced developers to act on a scale that required them to call for the public sector to partner up with them, and bring whole suburbs out of accelerating decline.

          Don’t believe me – look at the Auckland City Council counterfactuals in Avondale, Otahuhu, Mt Albert – on Friday there were protestors at the Council begging for Avondale to get half of the treatment New Lynn got.

          Astonishes me the ignorance of commenters like you.

          Exactly what would good public sector intervention into town centers look like in Auckland if it didn’t look like New Lynn, or Hobsonville? There is none better in New Zealand.

      • Chooky 1.1.2

        +100 karol…”I would love to see Hulse as mayor”

        • Ad 1.1.2.1

          Note too she is now taking care of her image.

          She has given up drinking entirely, started walking and running most days, and as a result ha shed a good 20 kilos.

          If she’s gearing up for a better I’m age, she’s getting it.

    • Tom Gould 1.2

      Now the Herald has dropped the name, stage one, we can now wait for the Tory smear machine to get to work on Hulse. Look for the rumours, then the tweets and blogs, then the Herald. That’s how the character assassination works, right?

  2. Clemgeopin 2

    I dislike Brown for his dubious Sky City shenanigans as well as for disrespecting/fouling the council offices and the Ngati Whatua Room at the Auckland Town Hall – an area of special significance to Maori – where he was caught in the act by a security guard. The man is an idiot and a nincompoop. Needs to go. Should have gone a long time ago for bringing the council, the city and indeed the country into disrepute.

    • Chooky 2.1

      +100 Clemgeopin

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.2

      Ngati Whatua Room at the Auckland Town Hall – an area of special significance to Maori ?????

      What ever gave you that idea ? Every council building has meeting rooms named for this or that, the Rangitoto room, the Orakei room, Penny Bright Room ( just kidding).

      Its just an idea taken from convention centres the world over, so the jokes on you

      • TE 2.2.1

        The Ngati Whatua room is named after a Iwi,
        which will have significance to Maori who belong to Ngati Whatua tribe.
        If the name of the room was ghostwhowalksnz-nani,
        would you be pissed off if brown had sex all over the table in that room with his mistress?
        bet it wouldnt be a joke then.
        len brown is a disgrace

        • ghostwhowalksnz 2.2.1.1

          Of course its named after a iwi, but it has no special significance. For goodness sake its only a room with chairs and tables, not a shrine at Lourdes

          It was probably previously named the Sir Earnest Davis room, which didnt mean it had special significance for drinkers of Lion Red.

          if your restaurant menus are in French, does that mean special significance for French born, or a marketing gimmick.

          • TE 2.2.1.1.1

            hahahaha you are the real obfuscator,
            tables and chairs, Lourdes, lion red, french restaurant,
            ask your mate that belongs to Ngati Whatua just how significant that name is,
            if you have one.

            • Colonial Rawshark 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Ngati Whatua spokesperson already told the NZ Herald it wasn’t a big deal and that the meeting room was not considered any kind of special or consecrated venue.

              Your pretend offence is very thoughtful though.

      • Clemgeopin 2.2.2

        Don’t know the veracity of that, but read it mentioned in the world-notorious-in-NZ paper, the Herald.

        Well, anyway, Len has contaminated that ‘Ngati Whatua Room’ into the ‘Naughty Farter’s’ or ‘Naughty F%^&*’s Room’. Idiot Mayor. So cocky!

  3. Treetop 3

    I heard some rate increase figures in Auckland on radio this morning over the past three years and they were far higher than 2.5%.

    The elderly and unemployed will struggle to pay for the increase in rates, in particular long term. I am not sure what affect selling their home is going to have on the housing market.

    • karol 3.1

      Overall, does the average for the rates increase? I understood the valuation of properties just determined the percentage of rates paid in each area – It’s a relative thing. So while the value of many properties have increased sizeably, it doesn’t mean that the majority will be seeing a huge rates increase.

      • Tracey 3.1.1

        It is just the values which have gone up hugely, but so far that is the publicity not the rates per se. Rates are going up an average of 2.5% some higher, some lower…

        BUT it is only a matter of time, imo, before they go up further and a few landlords use the publicity to take a rent rise.

        • karol 3.1.1.1

          I was looking at the valuations and thinking maybe the best places to move to rent would be Kawau Island, Whangaparoa, or further up the coast.

      • Treetop 3.1.2

        See for yourself.

        Auckland new CV revealed: Valuations rise by more than a third.

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11344874

        [Link fixed – MS]

        • Treetop 3.1.2.1

          Link is a dud.

          At some point rates will increase by more than 2.5%.

          I am not sure how the cost of water is part of the rates component.

          • karol 3.1.2.1.1

            Aren’t water rates at least partly based on amount used?

            And aren’t the total rates charges, at least based on what the council needs for its planned spending? Then the valuation of properties determines the shared to be paid by each property owner?

            • Treetop 3.1.2.1.1.1

              Are Auckanders billed separately for water?

              If water is not in the rates then the tarrif will probably increase due to a CV increasing?

            • tracey 3.1.2.1.1.2

              we have been on a water meter for many years

  4. Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 4

    Like it or not, there needs to be a succession plan and mentoring. The right already have their plan and tactics lined up.

  5. i remember writing complaining about banks blowing out council debt to $750 million..

    ..now..the auckland city ratepayers fork out/piss down the toilet one million dollars each and every day..

    ..in interest on the gargantuans loan the council now runs..

    ..(did u know that..?..that does my fucken head in..)

    ..and a question i still have not seen answered..

    ..is:..cd u plse point me at/show me what we got in that period of sky-rocketing debt..?

    ..what we are actually paying off..?

    ..or is it as i suspect..that that debt has grown to feed/fill the pockets of the few..?

    ..at the expense of us all..?

    ..and as a sub-question:..cd someone tells me why the council needs spin-doctors/p.r-trouts numbering in the hundreds..?

    ..(and phil goff as mayor of ak..?..(shudder..!..)..wash yr mouth out..!..)

    • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1

      Well Phil, the council needs spin doctors because they have hundreds of brochures alone to produce. Just check out the local library ( or your own voluminous archives) someone had the create all that stuff, it just doesnt write itself.

    • Treetop 5.2

      I can hear how cross you are and there is nothing to laugh about.

    • Clemgeopin 5.3

      I read somewhere that the council employs over a thousand or so of paper pushers each earning over a $100,000. I don’t know the actual figures but it seemed completely ridiculous when I read it sometime ago. What the heck is wrong with our free market, inefficient, corrupt, pro-wealthy selfish state of affairs in our country and indeed in the world!

      • Lindsey 5.3.1

        Council employs a lot of well qualified professionals who are paid at a rate comparable with the private sector. There are engineers, architects, planners etc all with at least 1 degree. They are not “paper pushers”.

        • phillip ure 5.3.1.1

          ok lindsey..why the hundreds of spin-doctors/p.r.trouts..?

          ..and what was that mega-debt spent on..?

          ..what have we got to show for it..?

          ..aside from very well-paid p.r.-trouts..?

          ..fucken hundreds of them..

  6. greywarshark 6

    What was the content of the local boards complaint to Len Brown? Here is the list arising as a result of the disappointment at not seeing the outcomes in this speech.

    In one 2010 address, according to the letter, Brown said he presented “a vision of an inclusive and united Auckland … A city proud of local communities … and their place as part of a metropolitan powerhouse”.
    He continued in the speech: “For our … communities to flourish, we will provide them with the parks and pools to be active, the libraries to learn, and the theatres and galleries to foster the creative talents of our artists and performers.”

    Local board policies to foster Brown’s vision have for “the most part [been] ignored”, the 21 board chairs said.
    I got this through going to Got News Wire. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/10630588/Browns-Auckland-masterplan-gets-21-gun-refute
    (NB A sub editors witty headline here!)

    ghostwhowalks nz seems to query whether Penny Hulse will maintain her support if the money dries up for the people in the local boards areas.
    She has got her support by getting funding for her pet projects, and in the case of Auckland, as the letter from the Local Boards shows, there is no longer any money for myriads of make overs for the suburbs.
    edited

  7. Tracey 7

    Will Cameron Brewer tilt for mayor this time or just go straight tot he national party ticket in 2017?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 7.1

      hes joining Carrick Grahams expanded dirty politics lobby firm. Graham Brewer Simich.
      Full time mayor , I dont think so.
      Brewer was only John Banks poodle, and a jumped up Broadway suit salesman.

      His Bio says this:Cameron worked for six years as a political press secretary for former Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley, the now Local Government Minister Act Leader Hon Rodney Hide, and Auckland City Mayor Hon John Banks. He also worked as a researcher in the previous National Government’s Parliamentary Research Unit ( thats code for the dirty tricks unit where Farrar, Ede learnt their trade)

  8. Kingfish 8

    I think you may be thinking of Karen Soitch? Ricardo Simich is working with Graham and Brewer. He is Clem Simich’s son.

  9. Tiger Mountain 9

    Given the huge non vote in Auckland and lack of public political participation generally Len could well achieve a third term if he wanted it. He has straddled the left/right divide, cuddled up to business and knows the engineers, committees and systems well enough to defeat existing challengers particularly with a split field.

    Many still spit and fume about Len daily as if all the defects of the super city and CCOs were his fault. He is administering Rodney Hides undemocratic legacy. But in the end low turnout will likely leave the ’shits and rats’ or whatever the Nats are called losers again. Would Slater dare to do a Wewege II?

    Hulse would be preferable to an open right winger or Brown who crapped on the wharfies from a great height. But really I like the policies Minto for Mayor put up, like–slash the $100,000 plus salaries and bring in free public transport and a city wide living wage campaign. That is the kind of bold stuff that might get a few more voting.

  10. les 10

    Penny Bright for mayor..tip the establishment on its head!

    • Rob 10.1

      Yeah good idea Les, she could lead the selling of her house by the council to recover her outstanding rates bill. All makes perfect sense to you doesn’t it. But what an example she would present to the rest of Auckland rates payers who would be forced to pay for her by rates charges when she wont pay her fair share herself.

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