Penny Hulse

What is going on in the Mayor’s office?

The tipline has been humming for several days about some shenanigans inside the Mayor’s office in Auckland.

It seems that after drink driving incident that caught James Bews-Hair after the Mayor’s office Christmas party was a concerted effort to get rid of him by the Council’s senior executive.

This included the preparation of a proactive media plan to use after the dismissal (prepared by Council media manager Dan Lambert, one time Mayoral spin doctor and ex-mate of Bews-Hair).

In an attempt to discredit Bews-Hair it was the Council that leaked news of Bews-Hair’s accident and its ramifications, including personal details, to the Herald.   Read more »

Did Penny Hulse lie to media?

A general view of newly-built houses at Dadun village of Lingshui ethnic Li autonomous county

Penny Hulse is the Councillor who has overseen the Unitary Plan. Working with top brass she is the one Councillor who has finger prints all over the intensification process.

That means Penny is also well and truly part of the decision tree regarding the move to upzone much of Auckland for intensification.

Only yesterday she was trying to blame  the Independent Hearings Panel – claiming that the panel instructed Council to upzone.

‘But Hulse says it was requested by the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel in order to make intensification more uniform across the city.’

But that’s total porkies. I smelled a rat, so much so that I felt bothered enough to go back through the advice notes issued by the IHP to see what they said.

My recollection was that Council’s dodgy evidence was tested and found to be nonsense of the highest order. Experts around the negotiation table who are caucusing on behalf of submitters and Council agreed the Council numbers were crap and then agreed more realistic formula and inputs. The issue with Council evidence was that it assumed everything existing would be bulldozed and replaced and everyone else said that it was total horsecrap. The IHP subsequently directed Council to use the new agreed formula and to remodel the numbers.    Read more »

Penny Hulse thinks rich suburbs are distasteful for wanting to stay rich

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​If west Auckland is to be intensified and inner-city suburbs are not, then “all the money can come out west too”, Penny Hulse says.

In Auckland, which suburbs pay the highest rates? Which suburbs have old well-established trees and character homes? These suburbs are the “aspirational” suburbs that Penny Hulse finds distasteful for wanting to protect the value of their homes.

112 Mountain Road, Epsom, Auckland City

112 Mountain Road, Epsom, Auckland City

If you were trying to build “affordable housing” in Auckland (the most expensive city in New Zealand) where does it make sense to build, financially? People who need affordable housing do not live in “aspirational” suburbs. Even if they were tenants of “affordable housing” in an “aspirational suburb” the rent would be significantly higher than the same house in West Auckland, for example. Other costs would be higher too. People who need affordable housing cannot afford to send their child to a school in a suburb like Parnell, for example.

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Council digs in on intensification

Auckland Council just won’t give in.

It’s desperate times at Auckland Council. They are desperate because the Compact City dream they have held for years is on the brink of being lost to greenfield expansion.

Unitary Plan submitters have Council on the ropes. The evidence prepared by Council to support the Compact City is rubbish and the Independent Hearings Panel well and truly buys the truth that there is no way Council’s dreams can turn to reality.

The only option is to release more land in greenfield locations. But no, Council is so desperate they would rather zone most of the city for high rise apartments than concede defeat.

The poshest and poorest neighbourhoods in Auckland will be rezoned for more housing and apartments, confidential documents and maps obtained by the Heraldshow.

Some of Takapuna’s most prized streets could lose single house, tree and garden status. Housing density along Lake Rd, one of the city’s worst bottlenecks, will more than double in places.

Many of South Auckland’s poorest suburbs are also set to house more people. Intensive terraced housing and apartment blocks of four to six storeys are planned for Otara, Mangere, Manurewa and Clendon Park.

The full extent of the changes, marked “confidential” and “legally privileged”, were discussed by councillors on the Unitary Plan committee behind closed doors on Tuesday.

They represent the council’s latest position on the Unitary Plan for the North Shore, Rodney, the eastern suburbs of Howick and Pakuranga and South Auckland.

The Herald has not seen the zoning changes for the central isthmus and West Auckland, approved by the Unitary Plan committee on November 10.

This week, the Herald reported senior council planner John Duguid saying tens of thousands of suburban homes in Auckland would probably be rezoned from the single house zone for multiple townhouses and apartments.

Mr Duguid said the rezoning was part of the Unitary Plan process and the council would not notify individual homeowners of the changes. Maps showing the zone changes will be made public next month.

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Penny Hulse soft launches her campaign for the mayoralty

Penny Hulse has been doing most of the heavy lifting at council and has been the de facto mayor after Len Brown’s fall from grace.

She is as manipulative and devious as the mayor and has been making a soft play to take over the mayoralty. All pretence fell away yesterday as she attacked Len Brown in a bid to raise her profile.

Outgoing Auckland Mayor Len Brown is “not a team player”, his deputy says.

Brown announced on Sunday that he would not take another tilt at the Auckland leadership, conceding revelations over his extramarital affair had affected his re-election chances.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse says councillors had told Brown some time ago not to contest the 2016 election.

“Some of us had to gird our loins several months ago and have a very difficult conversation with him about the fact that standing again for him was not an option,” she said.

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Len Brown brings “relief” to others, instead of himself

An interesting insight into the way Len Brown has hung on to his position while completely isolated from those he is supposed to work with.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said she was standing again but her focus was on getting the region’s new rule book for growth, the Unitary Plan, into shape for council to approve in July or August.

Councillors told the Herald they were annoyed by getting word of Mr Brown’s decision at 9am on Sunday – when a news release was sent out by the mayoral office.

This was described as “typical” of Mr Brown’s aloof leadership style by Penny Webster, who is the chair of the finance and performance committee.

“We’ve been telling him for months to put us all out of our misery so we can move on.”

Yeah nah.   Very few on the council will survive the cull that’s ahead.   Auckland hasn’t forgotten the cowardice to act that amounted to tacit approval of Len Brown’s behaviour.   Read more »

Council squabbles miss the real story

Auckland Councillors squabbling like old hens isn’t anything new. Nor are the barbed jibes about past decisions. So to see Councillor Chris Darby come out to rain on Penny Hulse about Auckland’s newest shopping mall isn’t exactly news.

A crowd larger than a full-capacity Eden Park poured through Auckland’s newest mega-mall on just one day last week – and left Auckland councillors at each other’s throats over it.

One councillor, Chris Darby, went as far as to dub the vast new $160 million NorthWest as “the anchor of more sprawl, and a dire Henderson town centre left in its wake”.

But Penny Hulse is easy fodder when it comes to that new West Auckland mall that opened last week. She was right in the depth of negotiating with developers to allow the project to happen before the supercity amalgamation.   Read more »

Auckland Council have blown it again on housing

Auckland Council have blown it again.

Their dirty attempts to stop greenfield expansion of the city are stronger than ever, despite the Government wanting them to release more land to increase housing supply.

But no matter how hard the Council tries to pull a trick they just cannot find the evidence to support them.

An expert report to Auckland Council suggests a huge shortfall in the amount of affordable terraced housing likely to be built over the next 30 years.

Just 3.6 per cent of new housing intended to address Auckland’s housing shortfall and cater for forecast population growth of up to one million new residents is likely to be terraced houses.

The report found many of the city’s local board areas marked for intensification would likely have no terraced housing or apartments built under proposed planning rules because they would not be financially viable.

“The political game that’s been played with the Unitary Plan has really fought against sense, so market-attractive areas have been deemed to be political hot potatoes for intensification,” Construkt Architects director David Gibbs said.   Read more »

Len and Penny go for the Nuclear option: build anything, build it anywhere

Thousands of homes in Auckland’s leafy house and garden suburbs and rural townships could be rezoned for multiple townhouses, apartments and studios, say resident groups.

They believe large swathes of the city where single houses sit on a single site will be rezoned to allow developments with no density controls.

Last night, Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said there was no intention to reduce the size of the “single house” zone, but would not say how far proposed changes could go. The proposed changes were to ensure a clear distinction between the single house zone and mixed housing suburban zone, and to provide precise language that could be legally defended, she said.

The extent of the changes would not be known until zoning maps were finalised: “It [single house zone] may increase in some areas and decrease in others,” Ms Hulse said.

Herne Bay Residents Association chairwoman Christine Cavanagh said the council’s new position came as a bolt out of the blue. Read more »

And they think that is going to save them? [UPDATED]

Some Auckland councillors think that abstaining from a vote means they didn’t make one and can’t be blamed for the consequences.

That’s so dumb its incomprehensible.

It’s like saying the dog ate one’s homework.

Not voting – abstaining – is still supporting the Mayor. It just comes with a bit of posturing. The result will still be a win for the Mayor’s budget.

And being scared by Stephen Town into believing that there will be dire financial consequences?

That’s even dumber.

Several Auckland councillors are expected to abstain from a budget vote this week to avoid plunging the Super City into a financial crisis.

Mayor Len Brown looks set to pass his new 10-year, $60 billion budget with less than half the votes of his council at Thursday’s governing body meeting.

He will get there after councillors were told the consequences of not passing the budget by chief executive Stephen Town and chief finance officer Sue Tindall over lunch last Thursday.

Councillors attending the lunch said the consequences were dire.   Read more »