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Source: Auckland Council

After 27 years in local politics, Councillor Penny Hulse today gave her final speech around the Auckland Council table.

Penny spoke of her first foray into community representation, an experience that remains her true north and map for politics over 27 years, that she regularly returned to when reflecting on a new challenge or decision that needed to be made.

“I realised early on that if you rolled your sleeves up and worked together, you can achieve great things.

“I first got involved as a protestor, fighting over a landfill in Swanson. This led to the first mediation under the new Resource Management Act and an opportunity to work with the council on a way forward,” she said.

Penny’s first 18 years were spent on the Waitākere Community Board and the Waitākere City Council which she described as thrilling and fun.

“Thank you Waitākere whanau – it was an amazing council. When it comes to Waitākere my rose-tinted glasses are firmly welded on and our Westie bond will be there for some time.

“Waitākere was a council where good councillors were supported by great staff. Together we did brave things, we protected the Waitākere Ranges via the ranges protection act, we embraced great urban design, we laid down the blueprint for Hobsonville Point, we undergrounded the rail in New Lynn, we pushed the boundaries.

“Project Twin Streams laid down kilometres of cycleways, and that was before anyone was thinking about cycleways – they thought we were bonkers out west.”

Penny described the amalgamation of the region’s eight councils in 2010 as having a profound effect on the west. She served two terms as the Auckland Council’s Deputy Mayor, under then Mayor Len Brown who she describes as being exactly the Mayor that Auckland needed to bring seven tribal areas together.

“Len, with his relentless good humour, energised the first term of Auckland Council in a way no one else could have.

“It has been a huge challenge but we brought together the plans that were needed.

As chair of the Auckland Development Committee Penny oversaw the creation of the first Auckland Plan and Auckland’s Unitary Plan.

“I am incredibly proud of the Unitary Plan. It was brave and has done such good things for Auckland. These were also some of the toughest meetings. I often wonder why people are driven to this level of anger when all we want to do is make good decisions for the next generation,” she said.

In the current term, Penny chaired the Environment and Community Committee.

“Environment and Community turned out to be the best committee I have ever chaired. Kauri dieback, 1080, cats, glyphosate, crumbling historic places, cats, water quality, more cats… We have addressed some of these issues and others require more work.

“Our amazing staff are our stunt doubles. They’ve done the mahi, prepared the reports, made recommendations and helped us frame up what we need to do. Our partnership with our council staff is everything, without them we are nothing.”

Councillor Hulse acknowledged Mayor Phil Goff’s leadership and offered some words of advice for the future leadership of the region.

“To make Auckland a place it deserves to be, step up to the plate, partner with the Mayor and the Auckland community and get the mahi done.”

Family support the bedrock of political life

“To my wonderful family, you have been extraordinary. It is the partners and families who give up huge amounts in political life. My husband Paul, my love, my gratitude, my absolute greatness, you are my rock and I am grateful to be able to say this publicly.”

Penny Hulse Supreme Environmental Award

Mayor Phil Goff thanked retiring Councillor Penny Hulse for decades of service to the city and people of Auckland and announced a legacy gift.

The Penny Hulse Supreme Environmental Award has been established as part of the annual Mayoral Conservation Awards. Winners of the six award categories on the night will all be eligible for the supreme award. The supreme winner will get an additional award of $3,000 – taking their total award to $5,000.

“It gives me great pleasure to establish the Penny Hulse Supreme Environmental Award as part of the Mayoral Conservation Awards.

“Penny is a true champion for the environment and has led our conservation, environment and sustainability work. The creation of this award is a fitting way to honour and continue to build on her legacy,” says the Mayor.

MIL OSI New Zealand News