Penny Hulse dumped as Auckland deputy mayor

When Auckland Mayor Len Brown was politically paralysed by scandal, his deputy Penny Hulse stepped-up and "effectively ...
STEFAN MARKS

When Auckland Mayor Len Brown was politically paralysed by scandal, his deputy Penny Hulse stepped-up and "effectively ran council for a year", Simon Wilson said.

New Auckland mayor Phil Goff has dumped Penny Hulse as his deputy.

An official announcement is expected later this week, but sources close to the mayor's office said Hulse would not be getting the nod.

The sources said Hulse, who was former mayor Len Brown's deputy, had only got as far as being on Goff's short list.

Auckland's new Mayor Phil Goff has kept tight-lipped on who will be his Deputy Mayor.
DAVID WHITE/FAIRFAX NZ

Auckland's new Mayor Phil Goff has kept tight-lipped on who will be his Deputy Mayor.

Hulse said on Tuesday she "hadn't had that conversation with Phil yet" about whether or not she'd been chosen as his deputy.

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When asked if she was disappointed about not being selected as Goff's deputy, Hulse replied, "let's just say I've led the Auckland Plan, led the Unitary Plan, I held the council together through a sex scandal and then topped the poll for the entire region".

Hulse attended Goff's October 8 election victory party.

The two-term deputy mayor under Len Brown was re-elected in 2016 as Waitakere councillor, with the highest number of votes of any elected councillor.

Auckland local body politics commentator and Metro Magazine editor-at-large Simon Wilson said Hulse "did nothing wrong" missing out on re-appointment.

Despite Hulse's achievements helping realise Len Brown's political agenda, Phil Goff probably "wants to break with past" by not picking Hulse, Wilson said.

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"Penny Hulse was a loyal and very effective deputy to Len Brown, she effectively ran council for a year after [Brown's] sex scandal broke."

Just after Len Brown was re-elected Auckland Mayor in 2013, it was revealed he had been conducting an extra-marital affair with a junior council advisor, Bevan Chuang.

North Shore councillor Chris Darby's assessment of Hulse's performance mirrors Wilson's.

"Penny has been an absolute anchor over the last six years, a lot of people don't realise what happens behind the scenes, she did a sterling job."

A Labour Party source close to Goff's advisors said Hulse made a three-councillor short list including Darby.

When asked if he wanted to be Goff's deputy, Darby said he "wants to be in the very best position to implement change".

"The deputy mayor position is up to the mayor to announce".

Goff's senior press secretary Nirupa George said Goff "had made no firm decision" on his deputy but "hopes to make a decision later in the week".

 - Stuff

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