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Wendy Brandon: DC’s chief of staff

Written By: - Date published: 6:45 am, September 19th, 2013 - 65 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, labour - Tags: ,

Ok, I’m very pleasantly surprised. David Cunliffe has made a very interesting choice for chief of staff.

Based on what I know about the task, she looks like a damn good fit for the role. In fact I’m just surprised that he managed to attract her at all for the thankless task at all. I’d guess that she wants a challenge.

I’ve always thought that the Chief of Staff role should be exercised by someone who was staff orientated rather than being deeply embedded in the political game. They should also be more orientated towards the organisationally strategic rather than the tiresomely reactive daily media cycle. In other words to operate like a more general’s staff helping to enhance and implement a single vision rather than allowing it to pull in several directions as usually happens in an overly political context.

Obviously DC sees the same need

Wendy Brandon is currently the General Counsel at Auckland Council and a member of the Executive Leadership team.  She has previously worked for the Ministry of Health, and was seconded as a senior adviser to David Cunliffe’s office when he was Minister of Health.

“Wendy Brandon will be an outstanding Chief of Staff.  She is a vastly experienced lawyer and manager, with a CV that spans central and local government, as well as the private sector.

“For the past three years she has been at the heart of the new Auckland Council, playing a vital role in the establishment of the country’s largest local body.

“Her skill set is exactly what is needed for the pivotal role of Chief of Staff.

“At a personal level, I’ve known Wendy for many years.  I trust her absolutely, and value her honesty, integrity and excellent judgement.

“I could not be more delighted to have her come aboard.  I know she will add real depth and heft to my office,” says David Cunliffe.

Sure Heather Simpson managed to do a pretty good job of combining both the active political role and the organisational/staff job. But it wasn’t hard to see the strain lines at various times – mostly in the burnt out husks of staff peeling off and falling away.

In my view the leader’s office have to make sure that the resources are there, the strategy is clear and coordinated amongst the allies and troops, and that the effect is coherent and effective. But over recent years it has tended instead to operate far too much like a inadequate cadmium rod set trying to control a nuclear reactor. In a classic positive feedback manner it succeeds only managing to either cause the reactor to overheat or to go inert, always at the wrong times, and never generating the required sustained power.

I’ve just been digging around google because I’ve never met her and never picked up a read. But even from what I can see on google I can recognize the Wendy Brandon’s breed. There are a number of people I know with similar backgrounds and what looks like a similar managerial temperament.

Wendy Brandon was a nurse, who became a lawyer, who then moved between the private and public sectors.  As a lawyer, she worked both as a hard arse commercial litigator,  in what were essentially public safety law cases, and in various public roles. That type of background creates a particular type of operator. Nice people,very hard nosed, and with an almost frightening awareness of and preparation for their current role. Their experience tells them that if you start working on ad-hoc  or improvisational basis then you kill people. So they reduce the risks whereever possible, and try to make sure that mistakes are prevented with a clarity of roles2

They are extremely effective at making things work better without any particular fuss. She won’t be to everyone’s taste1 but I’d take a bet that she is likely to make that office far more effective than it has been for a while. I just hoping that it will cause some more clarity about what is the actual role of the leaders office for the Labour caucus and the wider party which has been becoming increasingly confused and outright interfering over the last decade.

This piece was from 2000 and written about her role as chair in the Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal. When her name came up, this article was the only thing I particularly remembered about her. It impressed me at the time.

Arrayed along the wall, the five members of the tribunal listen intently.

Only when one occasionally issues an instruction about the conduct of proceedings is it plain that she’s in charge.

Her authority is exercised firmly, but almost invisibly. And there is no sign that she is finding the moment difficult, even harrowing.

But just the day before, Wendy Brandon, who chairs the tribunal which sits in judgement over the country’s erring doctors, made it plain that she would be steeling herself for the challenge of hearing evidence from a woman at death’s door.

Wendy Brandon is a lawyer, a battle-hardened commercial litigator who did an exhausting tour of duty in the apparently endless Equiticorp saga. But she feels passionately about the importance of the law in protecting the powerless damaged by the powerful.

She knows what it is to act for the dead and the shamefully injured – she represented the Cave Creek families and Morgan Jones, the small boy who fell from a poorly maintained viewing platform on a TranzRail train.

But Wendy Brandon, an Aucklander who was the tribunal’s deputy chairperson from when it was established in July 1996 and took the chair a year ago, has also breathed deeply of the air outside legal chambers. She nursed at Middlemore in her early years (“Nurse Barker was the matron and Ron Moodie ran the hospital and I’ll tell you what, it was a pretty well-run hospital”) and she and her first husband farmed in the Bay of Plenty before she went to law school.

As a lawyer with a history of interest in medico-legal cases – and a postgraduate degree in ethics – she must have seemed a logical choice to chair the tribunal.

She is conscious of the weight of the hat she wears. While she might, by background and inclination, tend to feel an instinctive sympathy for the victims of medical misadventure and malpractice, she must discharge her duties – overseeing a tribunal which includes three doctors and one lay member each time it sits – with scrupulous fairness.

As I said earlier, a very interesting choice. With the short timeframe to the election, this is probably more vital to Labour than some of the merely political choices.

1: She is sure to pick up a ringing endorsement from Penny Bright who has tangled with Wendy Brandon a number of times as chief in-house counsel for the Auckland City Council. Although I’m sure an endorsement is not what Penny will intend to make *evil grin*.

2: Not my current style at all I might add. But operating in a different style doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate the qualities that other styles bring to roles outside of programming and part-time blogging. Many eons ago I was a army medic and a manager

65 comments on “Wendy Brandon: DC’s chief of staff ”

  1. muzza 1

    A disturbing development indeed!

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 1.1


      Obviously! David! Cunliffe! Is! A! Plant! He! Will! Do! What! He’s! Told!

      • muzza 1.1.1

        Track his development path then, Boston International!

        Perhaps do some reading into ‘his’, new appointment. Unsavoury is an understatement!

    • lprent 1.2

      Perhaps you could explain why it is a “disturbing development”. Sure I know that she eventually acted against the Occupy Auckland movement and then defended the councils decision (what I suspect you were going to point out).

      However that would not have been her decision to make, and she would have acted on whatever the decision that was made. That decision would have been implemented and remained implemented.

      So what is your problem with that? That she should have been less competent? That David Cunliffe should appoint people to carry our the decisions who are incompetent?

  2. tracey 2

    “importance of the law in protecting the powerless damaged by the powerful.”

    and yet council legal staff and the firms it hires have relentlessly pursued a strategy to bully and grind leaky home owners to abandon legitimate claims or settle for far less than owed to avoid the ongoing stress.

    I guess she had no say or input to this strategy

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Indeed. It would be very interesting to know what her advice on the Ports of Auckland labour dispute was.

      • lprent 2.1.1

        I suspect that should be OIA’able. But the problem there for the council legally was primarily structural.

        The council might own the PoA but they don’t control or have any real say in the operations. It is operated by and it assets held through a organisation that was designed to be legal cutout between the ownership and operational control – another CCO. That means that the council can influence the kinds of financial returns they are after, but not the operations. All of this is directly controlled by one of the three acts from central government that set up the supershitty. This means that the advice offered will be a rather boring referral to those acts.

        Paradoxically that means that the council despite owning the PoA, it exerts far more control over the P0A as a planning authority administering the RMA than it does as the owner. If I were looking for interesting advice, I’d look at the advice about planning for the PoA’s planned expansion. I think we’re up to plan C at present.

      • mickysavage 2.1.2

        Pretty sure this was provided by Simpson Grierson.

        • lprent

          It was one of the outside contracts. However the in-house legal at the council is the hiring body and the one that issues the instructions to the outside sources.

          We operate under a shared services model, and work across the organisation. We are ‘hard gatekeepers’ in terms of access to legal advice and only senior members of the legal team may instruct any external legal provider.

        • the pigman

          Chapman Tripp used to act for PoAL when they were trying to casualise the Stevies and were playing hardball over the renegotiation of the collective agreement (I am going back to 2009/10, last time I lived in NZ), but the CT lawyers always appeared too reasonable for the likes of the PoAL management, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they fired them and picked up SG.

    • lprent 2.2

      I guess she had no say or input to this strategy

      You miss the point. She would have had some on the exec but she is in a support staff position.

      The staff’s role is not to make strategy. It is to provide information to formulate it, and then to implement it as if it was being implemented by the decision makers.

      In europe it was one of the key inventions of the 19th century.

      In this context, it should mean that over time we will get fewer of the poorly thought through policies going public, followed by a slack followup.

      The housing kiwibuild policy that have obviously never considered Auckland prices being a good example. It needed a much higher emphasis on medium density housing because of land costs because how else would you get housing for less than 300k in the Auckland urban bounds.

      • Raymond a Francis 2.2.1

        “Sure Heather Simpson managed to do a pretty good job of combining both the active political role and the organisational/staff job. But it wasn’t hard to see the strain lines at various times – mostly in the burnt out husks of staff peeling off and falling away.”

        Heather Simpson set the standard rather than your “pretty good job”
        I note some of those husks are now MPs

        • lprent

          My highest compliment with food is “quite edible”, and on the odd special occasion “I liked that”.

          I’m not given to either issuing a lot of praise nor to expecting or wanting it. I’ve made a point of pointing this out in interviews hiring people or being hired over the years. So there is no expectation of anything else. It is just like never turning up to interviews in anything but casual working clothes. They don’t hire me for how I dress.

          I’m far better at seeing problems and issues than complimenting people on doing their job. Think of how often you have seen me issue ungrudging praise or even compliments around here.

      • Ad 2.2.2

        Precisely. On the ports dispute it was the Mayor who drove the requirement upon POA for a higher rate of return in dividends through ACIL – that’s the driver for the whole thing. Head of Legal instructed as instructed.

  3. geoff 3

    But will she be as good as Malcolm?

  4. Ad 4

    Lynn is absolutely right and the “cadmium rod” allusion very clever.

    Wendy Brandon is none of the things you would expect to see from a Mr Tucker or any other over-caffeinated types. She has an excellent commercial and public sector mix, and is astonishingly human rather than forbidding.

    She has run the large legal team at Auckland Council for Auckland’s first term, serving under a very commercially-minded CE who had no local government experience whatsoever, and so many fresh legal issues within the new structure. This is for Auckland – 1/3 of New Zealand – effectively starting government from scratch.

    That is pretty good precedent if you really want to start a new Zealand government afresh in November 2014. She was also instrumental at the Auckland Transition Authority.

    As LPrent implies it also makes her really good at expressing aggregate risk, solving where you can, escalating where necessary. And almost as importantly when she has to summarise a point for a politician, she does so in the most limpid and concise prose you can, and does it on her feet.

    Of course she has no media aerials, nor a researcher – but that’s what you have a Head of Media and Head of Research for.

    Helpfully she also gets on very well with Karen Price – and I can easily see them being two strong and deep magnetic poles for David Cunliffe right there.

    And the really good thing was how quiet she was – how few people knew of her political heart. She will do the business and we are very lucky to have her marshalling the troops. It’s a strong choice.

    • The Murphey 4.1

      Q1: Have the ATA books been made public?


      Q2: What sort of business, has Wendy been involved in?


  5. just saying 5

    Oddly enough, in a previous life, and during a very difficult time, I had dealings with Wendy.
    The description tallies with my personal experience.
    A wise, compassionate, and politically savvy, person she really was a fierce champion of the underdog ( no cameras rolling).

    Kudos David, in choosing her. You’ve already rewarded my vote for you.

  6. MeToo 6

    Lots of staff grievance cases coming out of her unit at Auckland Council. Will it be a happy office in Wgtn? If not, expect leaks and undermining.

    • lprent 6.1

      That wouldn’t surprise me. But it is also true across all of the operational units in the whole of the supercity

      The whole supershitty reorganisation was too damn fast and with Act involved in the organisational design had a rather strong over-emphasis on shedding staff.

      It doesn’t matter what part of any merging organisation that is both reorganising including shifting their organisational basis with moves/combining of roles and also having required staff shedding, you going to have considerable staff turnover.

      I was involved in one corporate that was doing exactly that in the early 1980 to mid-1980s as the tariff barriers got removed. It is pretty damn hard. Arguing with accountants is what eventually sent me off to otago to get a MBA because I needed to understand both what they were talking about, and what in the hell the process was.

      I’ve been involved with several corporates over the years since then as a contractor or on specific R&D projects (I dropped out of management as programming was so much more fun) where the same thing has been going on. It is never particularly nice for the people entrenched inside the organisation.

      But as you say, her contribution is going to be more apparent with the leaders office. I suspect the toleration levels will be more rational (ie less scapegoating), but sustained poor performance won’t be tolerated.

    • Ad 6.2

      Don’t expect any lower rotation out of Cunliffe’s staff – he will work them hard.

      And to be clear: you serve at the pleasure of the Minister. Or Leader. That means if you simply piss them off too much you walk out the door.

      That may not sound Labour policy PC but it’s entirely what is necessary and expedient when you are working at that degree of speed and risk.

      The Umaga Rule applies: It ain’t tilddly-winks.

  7. Craig GlenEden 7

    The key issue is are the skills she has the ones that are needed to run the leaders office, is her qualifications and experience relevant for the role.
    Cunliffe who has worked with her before obviously believes she does have what is necessary. Secondly is she loyal which is crucial for any leaders office.
    Muzza thinks she’s unsavoury HMMM, tell us Muzza what do you think about Helen Clark.

    • just saying 7.1

      The key issue is are the skills she has the ones that are needed to run the leaders office, is her qualifications and experience relevant for the role.

      Quite true.

      But it’s a good start that she’s not a soulless sociopath. Parliament does seem to be overrepresented in that particular demographic.

      • Tom Gould 7.1.1

        A good COS to the LOTO needs highly developed political skills as a pre-requisite. Simpson had that in spades. Managing the office effectively is one thing, but the political smarts are what makes the real difference.

        • lprent

          Knowing, understanding, and considering the political dimension is quite different from being a player in the political games and making political decisions. Two quite different traits. Corporate businesses are even more rife with internal politics than national politics is and they play at a much harsher tactical level. With the exception of the legislative and constituent sides, most politicians tend to be amateurs at the dual task of playing politics and making organisations work at the same time.

          In businesses people who get the work done while being largely outside of the political games tend to be highly valued by most players. But we don’t elect our politicians on the basis of how well they understand roles and organisational issues.

          • Tom Gould

            A good COS will have the leader’s back 24/7. That’s what Simpson did for Clark. It’s what Wayne does for Key. And it’s more about what is coming at you from outside, than inside.

  8. tracey 8


    i dont miss the point. you highlighted her fight for the powerless over the powerful. if she abdicates that belief when she chooses to act for the powerful, which she would have known when she took the job, it cannot then be selectively used as a badge of honour. equally when the employer acts in ways which go against your principles you speak out or leave. i have left three jobs for those very reasons. so it is possible.

    • lprent 8.1

      …you highlighted her fight for the powerless over the powerful…

      Actually I did not. Please reread what *I* wrote and don’t attribute the words of others to me.

      Read my previous three paragraphs prior to the quoted section and you’ll be able to see what my interest in the quote was about. I tend to put the whole paragraphs and groups of paragraphs in where they cover some of the material I was interested in. What I was interested in with that quote was the crossover between nurse, lawyer, and public service that the author was talking about. .

  9. tracey 9

    cant edit on a tablet.

    “But she feels passionately about the importance of the law in protecting the powerless damaged by the powerful.”

    her passion is limited in fact by what?

    i dont care that cunliffe has chosen her i simply object to descriptions like this which are more hyperbole than fact.

  10. tracey 10

    sorry, lyn senior counsel would absolutely be determining who to settle with and when, and how to conduct claims. this would be part of her remit, formulating the legal strategy for leaky claims and carrying responsibility for how those below her implement it.

    • just saying 10.1

      sorry, lyn senior counsel would absolutely be determining who to settle with and when, and how to conduct claims.

      That has been my experience of dealing the the legal fraternity too, Tracey (sadly, in this instance).
      But they usually do so in accordance with a a brief from outside parties. (Which is no kind of absolution).

    • lprent 10.2

      Those are largely implementation issues, but the strategy is different. That is from someone saying (in this case) “…that we want to drag this out as long as possible in the hopes that people will give up and settle for less. We will settle just before it goes to trial and we will delay as much as possible before that.”. It is a strategy that has more to do with the council’s insurance companies than the council itself.

      The fact of the matter is that since the council’s insurance companies were paying the bulk of the payments, then they also detirmined much of the defense strategies.

      BTW: My apartment was a leaky building. From the time we found out there was a problem in about 2004 to getting a settlement in late 2009, after we’d damn near rebuilt the building, many of the 61 owners including myself were damn near bankrupt. The council and other people we’d been suing settled in the weeks before it went to trial. We were damn lucky that the council had done the building inspections.

      • just saying 10.2.1

        ‘Burning off’ legitimate claimants is a common (legal) practice which disproportionally affects those with the fewest resources. It is highly unethical. It removes ordinary citizens’ access to justice and effectively rewards the blameworthy.
        In some cases the lives of innocent, injured parties are destroyed by it.

  11. finbar 11

    Off topic.What is going on over at the Red Alert site.Almost a week now, and not a mention or congratulatory hap tip to Cunliffes victory.

    • The Al1en 11.1

      Wasn’t Red alert Mallard’s baby fostered out to Curran?

      One’s on holiday in SF, one’s planning her post 2014 election oe.

    • veutoviper 11.2

      Just had a look and there are only two posts since the election – both by Curran dated yesterday. As you said, no mention of Cunliffe, congratulations etc etc although I could not be bothered reading the posts in full. In time, I suspect we will see the demise of Red Alert as it currently is – or rather, I hope …..

    • Te Reo Putake 11.3

      I think you’ll see some changes on Red Alert sooner rather than later. I’m picking a re-tooling of the media team will be high on DC’s agenda and a social media strategy that genuinely engages with members and the public would have to be part of that.

      • Not a PS Staffer 11.3.1

        Red Alert as a brand is damaged.

        Curran and Mallard were the “moderators” and Grant Robertson was the NZ Council/Caucus Sponsor.

        Curran and Mallard used and abused it and hence it is now irrelevant.

        Thankfully Curran and Mallard are now spent forces. Robetson will concentrate on his defined roles.

    • xtasy 11.4

      Red Alert has been turned into “Red Aslurrred”, and the moderator is presently out of the country, seeking much consolation in various bars and clubs in the San Francisco Bay vicinity, to calm his nerves and self medicate, before he may consider to return from voluntary political exile.

      Life is not easy for some, and compassion may need to be dished out, as some refugees come ashore much “battered”, at least in spirit and soul.

  12. Intrinsicvalue 12

    Right now everyone employed in the L of the O office is dreading the question from DC…”Who did you vote for?”

    • clare wheeler 12.1

      Are you talking about this?


      Sure would expect the leader to have loyal staff. But he should also go through a fair process of selection. Pity the CoS doesn’t start until October as it looks like Cunliffe needs her legal brain before then.

      • xtasy 12.1.1

        One Z Been is the worst radio station around the country, even starting the news with a promo for a company that pays for advertising. They have to have the f**king cheek to dare criticise Cunliffe. They are the worst of the worst in NZ broadcasting media, when it comes to bias and selling their souls. Shame on One Zip Bitchin.

    • karol 12.2

      I thought the vote was confidential – private.

      • just saying 12.2.1

        Some of the right wing spin sites are claiming Cunliffe is firing numerous office staff on the grounds that they supported another candidate.
        I haven’t seen any proof. Highly unreliable narrators.

        • Colonial Viper

          Those staff have contracts which allow their employment status to be changed as the result of a political event anyways. No big deal. Collins is just as unlikely to keep most of John Key’s staffers on for instance.

  13. Ron 13

    I think DC needs Prentiss McCabe to advise him. They would guarantee a win in 2014

  14. FYI

    19 September 2013

    OPEN LETTER to Labour Party Leader David Cunliffe :

    What sort of ‘due diligence’ did you do on the background of your proposed new ‘Chief of Staff’ – Wendy Brandon?

    From Auckland Mayoral candidate Penny Bright

    Dear David,

    I was both appalled and horrified to read that you have appointed the current General Counsel for Auckland Council, lawyer Wendy Brandon as your ‘Chief of Staff’.


    New Labour leader David Cunliffe has appointed Auckland Council lawyer Wendy Brandon as his chief of staff.

    Ms Brandon was working as legal counsel in the Ministry of Health when Mr Cunliffe was minister, and was seconded to his office.

    Mr Cunliffe said she had a CV that spanned central and local government, as well as the private sector.

    “At a personal level I’ve known Wendy for many years,” Mr Cunliffe said. “I trust her absolutely, and value her honesty, integrity and excellent judgement.”

    Ms Brandon For was chairwoman of the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal for six years.

    She was formerly a director and deputy chairwoman of the state-owned enterprise Kordia and director of the NZ Red Cross.


    I’m sorry David, but I for one, absolutely do NOT trust Wendy Brandon, and have found her, in my personal experience to be majorly lacking in ‘honesty, integrity and excellent judgment’

    Are you aware that it was the same Wendy Brandon who was responsible for initiating Court proceedings against Occupy Auckland peaceful protestors, which resulted in our forced eviction from Aotea Square?

    Are you aware that Occupy Auckland peaceful protestors were still talking to Mayor Len Brown regarding an ‘exit’ strategy, at the time we were forcibly evicted from Aotea Square?

    Are you aware that I, Penelope Mary Bright (aka Penny Bright) was a Named Respondent, so defended myself in my own name, and also one of the two successful Appellents in the Occupy Auckland vs Auckland Council Appeal, which was a major victory for our lawful human rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of association and freedom of expression?



    Judge Ellis decision http://www.occupyaucklandvsaucklandcouncilappeal.org.nz/?p=113


    [84] In summary, I consider that:

    (a) The clauses of Bylaw 20 at issue in this case prima facie interfere with
    the rights contained in ss 14, 16 and 17 of NZBORA and cannot be
    given an interpretation that is consistent with those rights in their
    “fullest sense”; and

    (b) On balance, and having regard to the guidelines contained in cl 20.6
    as to the grant of event permits, cl 20.6.1(a) (which in general terms
    provides that an event permit must be obtained before undertaking an
    organised protest in a public place) constitutes a justified limit on
    those rights in terms of NZBORA s 5; and

    (c) The fact that the restrictions in cl20.6.1(a) constitute a justified limit
    on the relevant NZBORA rights obviates the need to consider whether
    the other clauses of the Bylaw can also be justified; but

    (d) The general terms of the injunction sought and obtained also go
    further than was necessary in the circumstances and, insofar as the
    injunction purports to restrain future breaches by the protestors of the
    Bylaw, it cannot be justified under NZBORA s 5.

    [85] The appeal is therefore allowed to the extent of my conclusion in [82]( d) above. Counsel (including the counsel for the Attorney-General, if he wishes) are tofile memoranda as to the terms of any consequential orders required. In particular, Iwish counsel to address whether the injunction can simply now be quashed (in lightof the fact that the occupation had ceased some 1 0 months before the hearing of this
    appeal) or whether it should be varied in accordance with the conclusions I have reached.

    Rebecca Ellis J


    VICTORY TO OCCUPY AUCKLAND! J Ellis ‘quashes’ the injunction of J Wilson
    April 9, 2013 | Author reporter
    From: Mel Libre [mailto:Mel.Libre@justice.govt.nz]

    Sent: Monday, 8 April 2013 10:53 a.m.
    Subject: CIV2011-404-8284: WADSWORTH v AUCKLAND COUNCIL
    Importance: High

    Good day Counsel,

    Justice Ellis has read the memoranda filed by parties seeking order for the quashing District Court injunction.

    Her Honour made a handwritten order on file that reads: “Accordingly” dated 5 April 2013.


    Thank you.

    Yours truly,

    Mel Libre
    Deputy Registrar/Appeals Manager
    High Court Auckland
    Ministry of Justice
    Tahu o te Ture
    PO Box 60

    Are you aware that although Wendy Brandon opposed my application to adduce new evidence, High Court Judge Ellis allowed it, and this Court document is a stinging indictment which proves how the Auckland Council is effectively a ‘Supercity for the 1%’?


    Are you aware that Court proceedings against Occupy Auckland peaceful protestors have cost citizens and ratepayers thousands of dollars, and that Wendy Brandon has lied about the total amount spent (wasted)?



    Arguably, (hopefully) you were aware of this information, which exposes how Wendy Brandon has effectively served the interests of the 1%, against the interests of the ‘99%’?

    Please confirm, at your earliest available opportunity, that you will reconsider your decision to appoint Wendy Brandon as your future Chief of Staff.

    In my considered opinion, there will be a significant number of the voting public, particularly current and potential Labour voters who will be VERY interested in your decision.

    Kind regards,

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-corruption / anti-privatisation’ campaigner

    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate

    [lprent: I knew you’d like a post to put this comment in 😈 Indirectly you’re responsible for my post. A commenter txt’ed me last night with concern about Wendy based on your comments somewhere else on the net.

    That was what got me interested enough to look at what I could see on google. About the occupy auckland stuff, as far as I can see she was simply doing her job. You should look at whoever asked the legal department to do the task of a eviction. ]

    • Ad 14.1

      Good grief Lynn you’re like the blogging version of Magazine’s Sky Vs Spy comic.

    • Blue 14.2

      Gee that didn’t take long

    • Nick K 14.3

      Yep. She was simply doing her job, blind to political persuasions. That shows a lot of things, all good.

    • handle 14.4

      Back to the interminable copy-pasting I see.

    • xtasy 14.5

      I find it important that Penny has her say, so get a life, please, if you choose to disagree. We must be informed, and different sources of info are essential to get a clear, least biased view, otherwise you may as well bring in a dictatorship and one party rule, which will bring with it other undesirable consequences.

      Penny keep John Banks on his toes, by the way!

      • handle 14.5.1

        The internet is made of these things called links. They mean you do not need to paste a duplicate of what you have already put somewhere else.

  15. Murray Olsen 15

    I get very worried when behaviour is excused as “just doing their job.” We all choose which job we do, apart from economic imperatives, and choose how we do it. I put it in the same dangerous category as “If you’ve got nothing to hide……”

    I hope this appointment isn’t a sign that a Cunliffe administration will be following a legalistic view of what can be done. He needs to be better than Phil Goff. While governments should obey laws, they also have the ability to change them, and the laws we have do not often favour the classical Labour voter.

  16. finbar 16

    Would have been nice for a hat tip from the Red Flag to recognizance of the Parties wishes.Or are they just hoha,sucking their thumbs.The Party has spoken, get over it, and stand by the parties decision.Unity is the goal ,not your bench seat of egos importance.The run of the Party and its ultimate run is to govern, is the run.If your ego and its dominance, is your run, your parliamentary pension will give you more reward than any pay packet worker will ever afford.Get on board the bus or catch you later.

  17. peterlepaysan 17

    Brandon, at least will keep the ABC cabal honest (if possible).

  18. Comrade Coba 18

    I’ll give her the tick of approval. Out of the blue I got a call from her ( not that her name rang a bell till now) thanking me personally for the work done supporting DC at one of the Hustings meetings. Obviously an eye for the finer details, which was nice to get a thanks, often overlooked amongst all the noise. Three days later a email from Wellington. Yip the wheels turn slowly, but all good still the same.

  19. xtasy 19

    As I will refrain from expressing my personal views or whatever on this, I still thought it worthwhile doing a bit of “digging” into history and media, which sometimes delivers additional info worth considering:


    So 13 years ago, at least the NZ Herald gave her a good record and summary.

    Something more recent raised some questions, but is that to worry???


    So I will wait and see, I trust that Cunliffe checked credentials and more, also knows her personally, so give her a go perhaps – eventhough being a top earner, at least she is volunteering to sacrifice top salary she gets at Auckland Council.

  20. Tracey 20

    i totally get that riskpool sits behing the acc and that mr heaney of heaney and co has some connection with riskpool. in fact if we had serious journos this would be a fascinating connection to prove or disprove.

    perhaps this job is where she will vent her passion for protecting the powerless from the powerful.

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