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Chairperson address to the Waitematā Local Board 2016-19 inaugural meeting

Making the Chair's declaration with friends and family in support

Making the Chair’s declaration with friends and family in support

Kia ora huihui mai tātau

E te iwi tēnā koutou, mihi mai,  

E ngā mana, e ngā reo e ngā hau e whā

E te rangatira o Ngāti Whātua o Orākei, tēnā koe

E te iwi o Tāmaki Makau rau tēnā koutou katoa

E te whare, tēnā koe,

E te hapori kua tai mai  tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa

Nau mai piki mai, haere mai

inaugural-meeting-mike-lee-and-shale-chambers

With Cr Mike Lee and Deputy Chair, Shale Chambers

On behalf of the board I would like to welcome all our distinguished guests including family and friends who have come along in support. Thank you Matt Maihi and Aunty Margaret from Ngāti Whātua o Orākei for your mihi whakatau and Otene Reweti for responding on our behalf.

Thank you Barry Potter for officiating and our local board services team for their work supporting the inaugural meeting.

Greetings and welcome to Councillor Mike Lee who has been returned for the third time as representative for Waitematā and Gulf ward.  We’re very fortunate to have you here as a strong advocate for the community and look forward to working with you.

The new Mayor Phil Goff gives his apologies but has our full support as he works to build trust and confidence in Council, and tackles the huge challenges facing Auckland. Greetings also to Richard Hills newly elected Councillor for the North Shore Ward who will be working with Mayor Phil to take the city forward.

I’d like to start by acknowledging the founders, all those who have come before us to create and build Tāmaki Makarau and more recently the people who took on the daunting task of establishing the super city and making it work.  An incredible amount has happened over the last 6 years so that, despite many challenges,  Auckland is undoubtedly a better place.

One of the people who has played a significant role over that time has been the inaugural chair of the Waitematā Local Board, Shale Chambers. He has done an outstanding job setting a strong foundation not just for our board but for the governance of Auckland. I’d like to acknowledge his tireless work for the Board in steering a progressive agenda that has achieved results. There is a great deal that Shale can be very proud of making happen with the support of the board including some significant projects like the extensive Myers Park upgrade, securing the funding for the complete refurbishment of the Ellen Melville Centre that is going to create a much needed community hub for the city centre,  and securing resource consent for the Weona-Westmere coastal walkway. He has also been instrument behind the scenes on making things happen. For example securing a venue for the successful Pop Up Globe  and gaining support for a major upgrade of Karanagahape Road from the city centre targeted rate.  In the best tradition of Ken Livingstone he has no wish to ever ride a bicycle but he gets why Auckland should be a bike friendly city.  

He has also been amazingly courageous at times in knowing the time to act and not take the easy path.  I feel particularly proud of the support he gave to the name change of lower Khartoum Place to Te Hā o Hine Place in honour of the suffrage memorial.

I thank him for the opportunity to now lead the board.  It is a huge privilege and I acknowledge the trust, responsibilities and confidence that is being placed in me.  I’ve committed to being collaborative, transparent and to continuing building on the relationships across the community, with our iwi partners and at all levels of the Auckland Council whanau. 

Together with all other previous board members  I’m proud of our many achievements and also to have been part of a Waitematā Local Board that has stood up for social justice, adopted the Living wage, committed to being accessible to everyone, stood up for public transport, for environmental and heritage protection, for public ownership of strategic assets, and for local communities to have a real say.  I’d like to acknowledge all the board members who have previously served for their significant contribution in particular Deborah and Christopher who retired at the end of last term and Greg Moyle for his service to local government. 

Shale, me and Rob are now officially the old timers of the board returned for our third terms.  It is a shock to me to realise that I am now in the senior section of the board!  

I am really delighted that Vernon has been returned for his second term and that we are joined by experienced government veteran Richard Northey, dynamic social entrepreneur and lecturer Adriana Avendano Christie  and planner and business owner Mark Davey.  They, together with the old timers, make up an impressive, talented team who I look forward to working with. We are all committed to working together with effective governance and responsible financial management for the good of Waitematā.

Looking ahead we have much to do over the next three years. We have community assets to enhance and services to maintain including our precious libraries, playgrounds to upgrade, we’re committed to the goals of a smoke free and zero waste Auckland with the establishment of a community resource recovery centre in conjunction with the Puketāpapa and Albert-Eden Local Boards.

We wish to continue the upgrade of Symonds Street cemetery, plant street trees, and the ecological restoration of our native bush and historic streams.  We recognise our role as place makers who can contribute to local economic development in partnership with our 7 business associations.  We value & support the arts, events and culture. We’re determined to connect with our North shore neighbours by finally getting Skypath built (something Shale committed to in his inaugural speech in 2010!)

We also recognise our role to contribute to the wider well-being of  all Aucklanders in creating opportunities for everyone, ending homelessness, providing families with access to quality affordable housing and delivering on real transport choices.

We know that the only way Auckland will truly be the best place in the world to live and a leading international city is if we take care of our people and environment.  We wish to be an age friendly and child friendly local board area that takes local action to meet one of the biggest challenges of our time by becoming a low carbon community.

In thinking about our role as local board members there is one particular aspect I wish to highlight by quoting Jeff Speck the author of Walkable Cities and a supporter of 8-80 cities

The healthiest, wealthiest, most sustainable and vibrant communities in cities around the world are unique in many ways. But there is one factor above all others that these communities have in common: they are, nearly without fail, highly walkable places.

This requires a commitment to slower speeds, people friendly infrastructure, public transport, bikeable streets and public spaces – all very achievable in compact Waitematā with the right political support.  

In finishing I reflect on what it means to serve our citizens and to provide leadership that achieves the aspirations of the community.  I’m committed to celebrating and embracing diversity and providing space for creative innovation and design thinking.   This requires new ways of operating by the Board and Council so all the people of Waitematā (including the growing inner city population) feel that local government matters and that they wish to participate. I look forward to putting this into action with a fantastic team of board members and officers as we start on the term ahead.

So behalf of the Board I’d like  thank everyone for attending today and sharing in the spirit of this very special occasion.  We are committed to working with you to create a strong, enriching, diverse, healthy, safe Waitematā in the beating heart of Tāmaki Makaurau.

Nō reira

E ngā mana, e ngā reo, rau rangatira mā

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa

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