Phil Goff has secured the Super City mayoralty. Now he needs to sit down and choose a deputy. Super City reporter Bernard Orsman looks at three likely contenders.

Penny Hulse

Hulse has been deputy mayor to Len Brown for six years. She is a centre-left independent from West Auckland where she was deputy mayor to former Waitakere City Mayor Bob Harvey.

Hulse has been fiercely loyal to Brown and carried much of the heavy lifting when Brown stumbled. As well as steadying the council, she drove much of the work on housing matters and took charge of the mammoth Unitary Plan process that passed last month.

No-one doubts Hulse's leadership skills, hard work and ability to stay calm and collected in a tight spot.


But as one politician put it, she resorts of flattery and bullying in equal measure. She flayed colleagues for "losing their bottle" on the Unitary Plan and does not have good relations with some councillors.

Goff is expected to include Hulse in his inner circle with a senior role, but he will want to put plenty of distance between his council and the Brown-Hulse regime that has left trust with council's performance at 15 per cent. Goff says this is a "fail".

As one insider says: "When you pin your colours to someone's mast, when they go, you go."

Bill Cashmore

Cashmore, a second-term councillor for the rural ward of Franklin, farmer and National Party member, is highly regarded by some of Goff's advisers.

He is seen as solid, likeable, a good operator, loyal and capable of getting the numbers round the council table - all good attributes for a deputy leader.

Cashmore is seen as a "wet Nat" who would fit with Goff's centrist politics. He farms at Orere, near Kawakawa Bay, not far from where Goff has a bach. The two get along well.

Therein lies the problem. Goff and Cashmore are two, 60-plus white males in a city where 40 per cent of the population was born overseas. Goff is seen as a bit beige, a bit boring. Ditto Cashmore.

Cashmore is also associated with Brown's fiscal policies(he was the architect of transport levy that propelled rates rise to 9.9 per cent in 2015) and is easily captured by the bureaucrats.

"Bill is too much of a prefect and apologist for council management," says one colleague.

Desley Simpson

If Goff wants to be bold and rev up the Super City he will appoint Desley Simpson as his deputy.

Simpson offers the greatest risk, but also the greatest reward.

She is National Party royalty, married to the party's president Peter Goodfellow. She has been a hugely committed and popular chair of the Orakei Local Board who succeeds Cameron Brewer as the Orakei ward councillor.

Simpson has an array of skills; leadership, an understanding of council from a community perspective, a suspicious view of bureaucrats, a tough nut who gets things done.

What's more she has style and personality (her loud pink outfits earning her the nickname Lady Penelope) and will bring some much-needed colour and panache to an otherwise stale council.

An early challenge for Goff' will be to build a united team round the council table. If he wants to be a centrist mayor, Simpson can deliver the right to the table, and open doors at the highest levels of Government.

The risk is she might outshine Goff and pose a threat in three, or six years. Then again, she could be a bigger threat outside the tent.