Councillor Penny Hulse: We’ve failed to represent the diversity of Auckland
For Auckland is a Spinoff podcast of civic conversations with people working to create and sustain a better Auckland for all. In episode seven, host Timothy Giles speaks to Penny Hulse, longtime Auckland councillor and former deputy mayor, about her time in council, why she’s stepping down and her hopes for the future.
There’s never been an Auckland Council without Penny Hulse. She’s been working in local government for 27 years, first at Waitakere District Council, where she was deputy mayor, and then at the Auckland Council, where she wore the deputy’s hat until 2016. She’ll be stepping aside at the election later this year, and in this interview speaks openly about her time in government, struggles and triumphs.
At the heart of Hulse’s message is a call for change in what the council looks like. She wants more women, more young people and a greater diversity of ethnicity and culture to be represented. She’s unapologetic in her view that male, stale and pale councillors can no longer claim to truly represent the diversity of Auckland City.
With this perspective comes a fair share of criticism. Spend a few minutes on social media and you’ll find plenty of critics and trolls directing their anger at Hulse. She admits sometimes the comments hurt, but her two decades in local body politics has been enriching and rewarding far beyond the reach of haters.
As a council veteran, Penny Hulse has led some tough conversations across the city. She reflects on the resilience she’s grown and how it’s helped her be the best politician she can be for Auckland.