Desley Simpson named Auckland's deputy mayor

3:39 pm on 27 October 2022

Sitting councillor Desley Simpson has been selected to be Auckland City's deputy mayor.

Auckland's mayor-elect Wayne Brown confirmed the appointment of the Ōrākei Ward councillor this afternoon.

In a statement, Brown said Simpson was both his choice for deputy mayor and was overwhelmingly supported by members of the new governing body.

Speaking to media, Brown said Simpson was universally admired for her integrity, professionalism and loyalty.

"She's highly regarded as a regional leader with a broad Auckland perspective, she maintains the greatest support for her own community of any councillor in the governing body having topped the poll with nearly 25,000 personal votes.

"Desley and I are going to be a great team."

Auckland Council finance and performance Committee Chair Desley Simpson.

Desley Simpson. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Simpson said it was a great honour and privilege to accept the position.

She was excited by the opportunity to work with Brown to help deliver on his mandate for change and to work with their colleagues to help them deliver on their priorities too.

"We're very different people."

They wanted to put a team together that made decisions, got on with the job and fixed Auckland, she said.

Asked by an RNZ reporter about his media strategy, Brown said his team had been issuing a lot of statements everyday.

"And I am very busy, so the media strategy is to inform with written stuff everyday so you know what's going on and so that everybody knows what's going on. But I just don't have the time to respond to all the requests for interviews."

Asked by another reporter if this strategy would change, Brown said it was possible.

"I mean my first thing is to be available to the elected members and to senior management and the many layers of management in here ... so there's a fair clamour for my time."

He said his first three weeks in office had been "interesting".

"I've enjoyed meeting my councillors, meeting the staff ... part of my other strategy is I'm the leader of the largest city in New Zealand and so I don't have time to fly to Wellington and that's working well, it seems that prime ministers and ministers have time to fly here and so that's working well as well."

He said he discussed a number of things with Ardern and the pair made good progress on the things they agreed on.

"We both agreed to take steps forward on the port and in terms of Three Waters she explained her position and I await to be further encouraged towards support of that. But we didn't declare war or anything."

He said it would be most unwise for the council to look at interest to buy the ports. "That's off the agenda, don't you worry about that."

Simpson said it was her job to put Brown's ideas to the elected members and to find a consensus.

"I'm very aware of some of his key points he stood on, Auckland's voted for that and I think we have to respect that and we will have a discussion on how they are debated and decided on around the governing body, around the local board table and include the CCOs..."

Brown said at the election he stood on four or five very simple points that were "quite sensible".

Councillors were aware that if they went against these points they would be going against the people who voted them in, he said.

"With they be sworn to utter allegiance? No. If you offer sensible things it's surprising how people follow them."

Committees and chairs would be announced over the next week or so, after Brown had a chance to speak to all councillors.

"I think that if you want to make strong, steady progress, which I do, then you've gotta set out the groundwork to make sure the people are happy and will come with you."

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