Penny Hulse

More talk about Auckland’s housing problems

Nick Smith, housing, environment, building and construction minister, vowed Resource Management Act reform. Deputy major Penny Hulse revealed plans for a new Auckland Development Agency, understood to be a merger of council-controlled Auckland Council Property and Waterfront Auckland. They would become one new more powerful urban transformational unit. But she said she did not want to reveal details before the announcement.

[NZIER principal economist] Mr Eaqub said foreigners were not responsible for driving up prices and at maximum, only 8 per cent of house sales were to non-residents. New Zealand investors and movers dominated new house purchases, he said citing CoreLogic data showing investors made up 45 per cent of house purchases, first-home buyers only 19 per cent and movers 28 per cent.

There are a lot of misconceptions of who are the active participants in our housing market,” he said.

These three form the ‘expert’ panel.  So far I’m underwhelmed.   Read more »

If anyone knows about prohibition it is the Sallies…and they say it doesn’t work

Some very wise words from a Salvation Army boss about prohibition, both of alcohol and cannabis.

Simon Collins takes a break from pimping the poor to talk to to Alistair Herring of the Salvation Army.

A New Zealander who has come home after heading the Salvation Army in Pakistan says prohibition never works, but more restrictions can reduce the harm from drugs and alcohol.

Commissioner Alistair Herring, 63, who returned from Pakistan in April to head the Salvation Army’s NZ addiction services, said Islam’s ban on alcohol did not stop Pakistanis suffering serious addiction problems.

“Muslims are not allowed to hold alcohol licences in Pakistan on the premise that Islam is against addictive substances,” he said. “What tends to happen in reality is that Muslims who want to drink will go to the Christian or non-Muslim community for their alcohol. I have talked to Muslim folk in Pakistan and they acknowledge that it is a problem. There is also a huge drug problem, of course.”

He said Salvationists vowed not to drink or smoke voluntarily “because of who we are and the services we provide”. But compulsion was “quite a different thing”.

“Prohibition is never going to work, has never worked,” he said.

He said he would be “very cautious” about decriminalising cannabis, as proposed by Auckland Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, but he acknowledged the inconsistency of laws on cannabis and alcohol.

“I understand the younger generation saying to their parents, ‘So you are against my drug of choice but what about your drug of choice?'” he said. “We tend to want to use a sledgehammer with drugs and a feather duster with alcohol.”

Read more »

Good intent, but I doubt we need a 3 year study to work out why Pasifika don’t own houses

An interesting if doomed initiative.

An initiative testing the financial management of Pacific Aucklanders is being launched this weekend.

The three-year pilot programme, Turanga, will be trialled on 60 Pacific families in a bid to identify why few Pacific people are homeowners.

Almost half of all Pacific Aucklanders live in crowded households and are likely to experience long-term debt, Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said.

“There are significant challenges for many Aucklanders to become homeowners but it can be especially hard for the Pacific community to get a foot on Auckland’s housing ladder,” Hulse said.

Twenty families a year will take part in Turanga and will provide information about their financial, social and cultural circumstances to identify the challenges they face.

The findings will then be used to develop a programme for each family tailored to their specific needs.

Read more »

We don’t want your stinking apartments

Ever desperate to continue pitching for an intensified future Lawrence Yule and his buddies at Local Government NZ have organised a conference and found someone, anyone who will spout on about apartments.

The cost of properties with over-inflated price tags can be brought down with a rapid increase of high rise apartment blocks and granny flats, according to an expert speaking at a property seminar in Wellington tonight.

Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule will lead a panel discussion on housing affordability with Finance Minister Bill English, Auckland Council Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, economist Arthur Grimes and New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development chairman John Rae.

Aha! Someone who will say that building apartments will make a difference to house prices and demand.

Normally Arthur Grimes is considered to be pretty smart and he has some good things to say.

But it appears he lacks understanding precisely how the mechanism of property and how the buying market works.

In fact – not many people do at all.

New apartments have to sell for between 8,000 and 10,000 per square metre of floor space in Auckland on average to allow a developer a margin. That can drop slightly in the CBD if car parks are discounted off the price by not building them. A 100 sqm apartment therefore would have a sales price around $1m.

New houses have to sell for $3,000-3,500 psqm. A $1m house will most often be a big 250-300 sqm house on land with yard and so on.

Apartments have terribly high ongoing costs distributed through body corporate fees. Houses don’t.    Read more »

Are you as pleased about Len’s pay rise as I am?

via Yahoo! Len Brown celebrating the start of the Year of the Whores

via Yahoo! Len Brown celebrating the start of the Year of the Whores

Len Brown has scored a payrise, as has every councillor in the latest deliberations from the Remuneration Authority.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown will be paid $259,500 from July after the Remuneration Authority approved a 3.4 per cent pay rise well above the rate of inflation and the average wage increase in New Zealand.

The authority, which oversees public sector pay rates, has recommended a 3.4 per cent pay rise for Mr Brown, Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse and the chairs of the major committees. The other 16 councillors will receive a 3.3 per cent pay rise, taking their salaries from $98,672 to $101,900.

The $101,900 salary is embarrassing for Orakei councillor Cameron Brewer, who has criticised a sharp increase in the number of council staff earning fat salaries of more than $100,000.

Last October, Mr Brewer said a 256 jump in staff earning more than $100,000 in 12 months “will go down like a cup of cold sick among our stretched suburban ratepayers”.    Read more »

Police against cannabis reform

funny-stick-man-drawings-art

No surprises here, the Police are opposed to cannabis reform preferring instead to continue waste resources prosecuting people for using cannabis. They have already virtually decriminalised cannabis in any case by not prosecuting most users caught with a joint or two…instead going after larger quantities.

But for all the years of battling cannabis they are no closer to eradicating it from our shores. You have to wonder why they bother…then again this is the same people who say having a pistol grip on a rifle is bad…for no reason whatsoever and no scientific proof that having a pistol grip makes the owner of a rifle a homicidal maniac.

Still they are opposed to legalisation of cannabis and the sole basis for coming to this conclusions is that 5 people last year removed themselves from the gene pool by driving drugged.

Police say they do not support the decriminalisation of natural cannabis despite calls by Auckland’s Deputy Mayor that it’s safer than banned synthetic versions.

Penny Hulse said it was time New Zealanders discussed the decriminalisation of cannabis, much as they had had discussions on prostitution and same-sex marriage.

But a police national headquarters spokesman said there was no political will for decriminalisation and their stance on the issue was clear.

“Police do not support the decriminalisation of cannabis.”

[...]    Read more »

Why are the centre/right letting Len Brown get away with it

C&R, which is the old Citizens and Ratepayers in drag, have really dropped the ball on holding dodgy rooting ratbag Len Brown to account.

Insiders at C&R say that the position is that Len should be allowed to get on with being mayor, rather than putting him under more pressure for his shamelessness.

The soft option was taken when Len was forced to pay on $40,000 of the legal fees.

“The group’s chairwoman, Christine Fletcher, says there has been a “full and final agreement” that he will contribute $40,000, in addition to paying $20,000 for his own legal
costs, which are separate to the $250,000 cost of the review.

The group also included Dick Quax, one of Mr Brown’s staunchest opponents, along with Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, George Wood and Penny Webster.”  Read more »

Has Len Brown never heard of the LGOIMA?

Len Brown is fighting to keep his deal with councillors over repayment secret. He has got bad news coming down the line if he thinks he can do that.

Bernard Orsman reports:

Expectations are rising for a settlement by Auckland Mayor Len Brown towards the $100,000-plus cost of a review into his extramarital affair to be made public.

Three of the five councillors negotiating a settlement – Chris Fletcher, George Wood and Dick Quax – believe it is the wish of the group to make the settlement public.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse and Penny Webster, the other two on the negotiating group, are staying quiet.

Mr Brown told the Herald last week that when councillors set up a group last month to enter into binding negotiations, the resolution was the settlement would be confidential.

He can’t hide, there is a little problem for Len Brown called the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act and it will most definitely apply to the meetings of 5 councillors and him settling a repayment. They made it council business.  Read more »

Colin Espiner on Len Brown

Len Brown is running out of support.

Colin Espiner is the latest to abandon ship.

The bruised and battered corpse of Len Brown’s credibility was dragged into the Auckland Council chamber yesterday and given a damned good public thrashing.

He was labelled a cheat and a liar, a fornicator and a deceitful sleaze-merchant. A grubby, two-timing, duplicitous philanderer who had lost all credibility, trust and respect. And that was by his fellow councillors. A woman in a cowboy hat in the public gallery said much worse.

So did other protesters who heckled and harangued throughout yesterday’s censure vote.

The noise level at times drowned out the meeting’s acting chairwoman, deputy mayor Penny Hulse, who struggled to maintain order.

After giving up trying to quieten the protesters, Hulse tried a different tack: “Could we at least just have one interjection at a time?”

The anger in the room was palpable. Many were out for blood.

Even Hulse, a long-time Brown confidante, said she was “angry, disappointed and worn out”. Some councillors spoke in favour of the move to censure Brown. Some wanted a motion of no-confidence. A few seemed to think he should – or could – be sacked. Everyone wanted him to pay, financially if nothing else.

Nobody spoke in his favour.  Read more »

Metro Editor on Len Brown, dead man walking

Simon Wilson is a hard left whinger from way back.  He is the editor of Metro magazine.

Even he has abandoned Len Brown.

Len Brown will soon resign. The governing body of the Auckland Council has been meeting since 10am, and it’s still not over, and it’s clear in the debate that the mayor has lost the support of most councillors. That will make it extremely difficult for him to do his job.

When he understands that – and how longer could that possibly take? – he will step down.

The council has two options in front of it. One is the much publicised proposal to pass a vote of no confidence in the mayor. That is destined to fail.

The other is a motion jointly proposed by deputy mayor Penny Hulse, formerly a Brown loyalist, and leading centre-right councillor Christine Fletcher. Their motion is the outcome of a five-hour informal meeting yesterday. It uses words like “profound disappointment and disapproval”, it censures the mayor, it calls on him to reimburse all personal costs and make an “appropriate contribution” to council’s other costs in relation to the affair. It also requires a “stronger working relationship and level of accountability”. Finally, it accepts Brown’s apology and “signals its willingness to work with the mayor in the best interests of the people of Auckland”.

That motion will be carried.  So why will Len Brown stand down?

In the current issue of the magazine, I have suggested that Brown’s misdemeanours are not sufficiently serious to require resignation, but if he loses his ability to do his job, that changes. If he cannot lead the council, he needs to find the courage and grace to step aside.

He’s reached that stage.   Read more »