Councillor report February 2021

My Councillor report covers the period from 1 December 2020 until 5 February 2021 including a summer break.  It has been prepared for the February business meetings of the Aotea Great Barrier and Waitematā Board Local Boards.

The purpose of my report is to detail my main activities and to share information with the public and local boards in my ward regarding governing body decisions, my attendance at events and meetings, regional consultations, media updates and key issues. This is my first report for 2021.

 Positions
  • Deputy Chair, Environment and Climate Change Committee
  • Co-Chair, Hauraki Gulf Forum
  • Member, Auckland City Centre Advisory Board (ACCAB)
  • Board Member, LGNZ National Council
  • Member, Auckland Domain Committee
  • Member, Appointments and Performance Review Committee
  • Member, Joint Governance Working Party
  • Member, Waste Political Advisory Group
Summary
  • The Mayoral Long-Term Plan (2021-2031) proposal was adopted for consultation on 9 December with a 20:1 vote.  The “Recovery Budget”, going out for consultation on 22 February, focuses on:
    • Auckland’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19
    • Maintaining and renewing community assets and building infrastructure
    • Protecting the environment and responding to climate change
  • Water restrictions were relaxed as of 14 December allowing the use of an outdoor hose provided it is handheld and has a trigger nozzle
  • On Sunday 31 January a rāhui was placed by Ngāti Pāoa prohibiting the take of four species: kōura/crayfish, tīpa/scallops, pāua and kūtai/mussels from Waiheke waters out to one nautical mile.
Covid-19 Response
  • All of New Zealand continues at Alert Level 1 and mask-wearing remains mandatory on all public transport in Auckland. Fortunately Aucklanders have been able to enjoy summer without any community transmission.
Governing Body meetings – Key decisions

The minutes for all meetings are available on the Auckland Council website. The following is intended as a summary only.

On 1 December the Appointments and Performance Committee appointed two directors to Auckland Transport board and appointed Paul Majuery as the Panuku Development Auckland Limited board chair.

On 3 December the Planning Committee approved a number of plan changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan and endorsed the preparation of a plan change to amend the Integrated Residential Development provisions in the Auckland Unitary Plan. The Committee also received the findings from phase two of The Congestion Question project and approved officers scoping the next phase of the project.

On 8 December CCO Oversights Committee received the Quarter 1 CCO Performance report and received Ports of Auckland Limited’s final Statement of Corporate Intent 2020-2023. It was also agreed that the Mayor and Deputy Mayor write to Ports of Auckland Limited about:

i)        implementing a more ambitious timeframe for a Māori outcomes plan and associated reporting

ii)       clarification of estimated timeframes for work on Bledisloe Wharf and exploring alternatives to the dumping of dredged materials (As co-chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum I asked for the dumping issue to be raised with POAL)

On 9 December an extraordinary Finance and Performance Committee meeting approved the mayoral proposal on the 10-year Budget and other matters for consultation.

On 9 December an extraordinary Governing Body meeting approved the 10-year Budget 2021-2031 consultation items and additional rates fees and issues.

On 10 December the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee meeting approved the development of a detailed business case for an aquatic centre in Northwest Auckland and the development of an indicative business case for the City Central Library (I ensured that the needs of city centre residents were explicitly included the “future role” of the library). The Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund 20/21 funding round allocation was considered in the confidential item.

On 15 December an extraordinary Finance and Performance Committee agreed to a recommendation from the Upper Harbour Local Board to consult through the 10-year Budget on a transport targeted rate to provide additional public transport services in Paremoremo. We received updates on progress towards the Emergency Budget, the asset recycling target, and approved the disposal of 1 Wiremu St, Balmoral.

On 17 December the Governing Body received the Auckland War Memorial Museum Quarter 1 2020/2021 report and the Annual Report on the Performance of the Audit and Risk Committee. Cr Greg Sayers Notice of Motion to review the Rodney Local Board area subdivision boundaries was lost ( I voted against)

On 2 February the Appointments and Performance Committee discussed in confidential board appointments to CCOs.

On 4 February the Planning Committee heard public input from the All Aboard campaign to decarbonise transport by 2030 in Auckland. Plan Change 22 and Plan Modification 12 of the Unitary Plan and Auckland District Plan (Hauraki Gulf Island Section) was approved to recognise places of significance to Mana Whenua (in speaking in support I acknowledged Ngāti Pāoa kaumatua George Te Aroha Kahi who passed away on 26 December 2020 who worked closely on the plan change and leaves a considerable legacy).

I was appointed by the Committee to the Auckland Cycling Programme Business Case Review Political Reference Group along with Councillors Darby and Dalton.

Hauraki Gulf Forum
Departing from Ti Point with Mayor Goff, councillors Henderson, Hills and Bartley, DOC Director of Operations Andrew Baucke, University of Auckland Institute of Marine Science Professors Simon Thrush, Nick Shears and Dr Shane Kelly, Hauraki Gulf Forum co- Chair Nicola MacDonald, Executive Director Alex Rogers, Ngati Manuhiri Chair and IMSB member Mook Hohneck.

Ngāti Manuhiri and Ngāti Rehua leaders hosted the Hauraki Gulf Forum co-chairs, the Mayor and key stakeholders on Hauturu-ō-Toi (Little Barrier Island) on 12 January. The visit was made possible with support from University of Auckland and the Department of Conversation.

The day’s discussions focused on understanding the risks and impacts facing the Gulf and supporting mana moana strategies that affect positive transformational change.

On Sunday 31 January, in a dawn ceremony, a rāhui was placed by Ngāti Pāoa supported by Piritahi marae and the Waiheke community prohibiting the take of four species: kōura/crayfish, tīpa/scallops, pāua and kūtai/mussels. It applies to the whole island, out to 1nm (1.825km). A rāhui ensures what little is left of those species is protected while giving space for restoration efforts.  It was very special to be there for this significant event on a stunning morning

Photo credit: Rachel Mataira

From Gulf News “Hauraki Gulf Forum Co-Chair Pippa Coom says that we will all benefit from iwi-led restoration initiatives. A rāhui ensures that we protect what little we have left of those species while giving space for restoration efforts. This customary rāhui is a pathway to a more abundant marine environment around Waiheke.”

Mussel reef restoration work in the Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana/Te Moananui-ā-Toi took a huge step forward, with Auckland Council’s decision on 2 February to approve a resource consent – valid for the next 35 years. The consent gives the green light for green-lipped mussel restoration in areas of the Hauraki Gulf that are within the Auckland regional boundary (Press Release Attachment 2)

Other key meetings and events
  • With Local Board member Alex Bonham

    Attended the reopening of Te Ao Mārama South Atrium at Auckland Museum on 1 December

  • Meeting to receive an update from the Transport Strategy Team on 1 December
  • Mihi whakatau for the joining of Auckland Unlimited and Regional Facilities Auckland at Auckland Town Hall on 2 December
  • Finance and Performance Committee workshop on 2 December
  • LGNZ National Council strategy day and board meeting on 3 and 4 December
  • Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art Exhibition Opening at the Auckland Art Gallery on 4 December
  • Briefing on 7 December regarding the Downtown Projects programme with Cr Hills and Chloe Swarbrick MP for Central Auckland
  • Grey Lynn Residents Association AGM on 7 December
  • Meeting regarding the Hauraki Gulf Forum activities with the Forest and Bird CEO on 8 December
  • Attended the Waitemata Local Board meeting on 8 December to give my Councillor report.
  • Giving the vote of thanks at Auckland Conversations

    Gave the vote of thanks at the Auckland Conversations: So, Auckland has a climate plan… now what?  on 8 December

  • Gift to the Gulf Networking drinks hosted by Sustainable Coastlines on 9 December
  • Meeting to discuss the Auckland Transport’s Statement of Intent cycling targets
  • Helen Clark Foundation Christmas drinks on 10 December
  • Co-chaired the LGNZ Auckland zone meeting on 11 December
  • Opening of Weta Unleashed at Skycity on 14 December at the invitation of Ian Taylor
  • Victoria St cycleway site visit with AT Chair, Adrienne Young Cooper

    Victoria Street cycleway site visit with AT Board Chair and AT staff on 14 December to discuss a range of safety issues .  Despite raising a number of serious safety concerns I have yet to receive a response from AT regarding what action is going to be taken

  • Joined honorary consulars at an informal flag raising event at Auckland Town Hall on 16 December
  • Eden Park – Tour and Overview of operating model and community projects with the CEO Nick Sautner on 16 December
  • Auckland Unlimited councillor update on 16 December
  • Attended the Waiheke Local Board meeting on 16 December via Skype to give my Councillor Report
  • Opening of Te Komititanga with Mayor Goff and Hon Michael Wood

    Gave a speech at the dawn blessing for Te Komititanga (the new downtown square) on 18 December

  • Meeting with new MP Camila Belich
  • Meeting with Chair Northey on 18 December
  • Attended the Blackcaps v Pakistan T20 match at Eden Park on 18 December at the invite of the Eden Park Trust Board
  • Sunday Blessings volunteers and supporters

    Attended Sunday Blessing Christmas Meal at Ellen Melville Hall with the Mayor on 20 December

  • catch up with Waiheke Local Board members on 21 December (via Skype)
  • Meeting with co-chair Freemans Bay Residents Association on 21 December
  • Greater Auckland Christmas drinks on 22 December
  • Visit to Hauturu-ō-Toi, Little Barrier Island on 12 January at the invitation of mana whenua and with the support of the Department of Conservation and University of Auckland  (see details above)
  • Tour of the Franklin Local Board (Wairoa subdivision) with Deputy Chair Angela Fuljames and board member on 21 January with Cr Richard Hills. We went to 5 regional parks, various council facilities, checked out coastal erosio, new upgraded parks and their long term plans and vision for town centre upgrades with the growth in the area. We saw how the natural environment and water quality rates were being spent, to protect our kauri and clean up our waterways.  Lunch was hosted at McCallum’s Residence with Deputy Mayor Cashmore. We caught the Pine Harbour Ferry to the start of the tour and the train back from Papakura Station.
  • On the Museum roof with Director David Gaimster, David Reeves, Director Collections & Research and Cr Richard Hills

    Behind the scenes tour of the Auckland Museum on 22 January

  • Panuku update meeting on 25 January
  • Chairs and Mayor weekly meeting resumed on 25 January
  • Spoke at Waiheke Rotary meeting on 25 January (my hosts gifted me a bottle of wine)
  • Meeting with the Deputy Mayor to discuss the Councillor strategy day as one of four councillors leading a session
  • The Mayor and Councillors who attended the Councillor strategy day and CEO Jim Swarbrick

    Councillor Strategy Day on 28 January at Te Manana library, Westgate

  • Met with Sustainable Coastlines new CEO on 26 January
  • As Co-Chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum meet with Foundation North Chief Executive Peter Tynan and Strategic Advisor Nicola Brehaut on 26 January and met with Eugene Sage MP on 29 January
  • Received a briefing on a mooring issue at Aotea Great Barrier Island
  • Attended UN International holocaust Remembrance Day on 27 January at Auckland Museum
  • Meeting on 29 January to discuss AT’s cycling programme business case
  • British High Commissioner reception on 2 February at the Northern Club to farewell Consul General Robin Shacknell and welcome new Consul General Alasdair Hamilton
  • Attended a day of committee workshops on 3 February
  • Attended via Skype the Waiheke Local Board meeting on 3 February
  • Attended Bike Auckland’s monthly Bike Breakfast at The Store, Britomart on 4 February
  • Auckland Pride Festival Director, Max Tweedie, Mayor Goff and Councillor Richard Hills at Q Theatre

    Attended the Pride Gala on 4 February with Cr Hills at the invite of Auckland Pride.

Media attachments

Our Auckland: Get on board – waste-wise tips for boaties

Our Auckland: The transformation of Tyler Street is about to begin

Ponsonby News update February 2021

A year in review

Ponsonby News update December 2020

There’s no doubt this year has been a tough one.  I could never have imagined what we were going to face as a city in my first year as a Councillor. Here’s a bit of a run through the challenges we’ve confronted on Auckland Council and some of the highlights.

At the start of the first level 4 lockdown in March, a temporary Emergency Committee of the whole of the Governing Body (the Mayor and Councillors) was established in response to the pandemic.  One of the first steps of this committee was to put in place a COVID-19 contingency fund of $22.5 million for any urgent expenditure required to respond to the pandemic. Council stepped up to provide support across the community including library staff making welfare calls.

Auckland Council’s 2020/2021 annual budget that was consulted on in March had to be thrown out once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Aucklanders were then asked to have their say on a second proposed ‘emergency budget’ in response to a massive budget hole.

In July the Governing Body adopted the Emergency Budget 2020/21, along with a rate increase of 3.5 per cent and a rates postponement scheme to assist ratepayers facing financial hardship.  We had to make tough calls in the budget to continue providing essential services and respond to the challenges of the pandemic and drought.  The focus more recently has been on putting together the priorities for Council’s 10 year budget that will go out for consultation in February.

Late in 2019 an independent panel was appointed to undertake a review of the 5 CCOs (council controlled organisations).  The new council CEO Jim Stabback, appointed by the Governing Body for a 5 year term in September,  is leading the implementation of all 64 recommendations presented by the panel including the merger of two CCOs—Regional Facilities Auckland and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development into a single entity now called Auckland Unlimited.

In May, in response to one of the most severe droughts in Auckland’s history, the Emergency Committee voted to introduce mandatory water restrictions.  In June we agreed to waive resource consent fees for residential rainwater tank installation. Savings are up to 40 million litres of water a day, with Watercare on track to boost supply by another 40 million litres a day by December.

The downtown programme of works is continuing at pace and new spaces are already opening up in the city centre and waterfront after many months of construction.  I was fortunate to speak at the opening by Panuku of the final stage of the Westhaven promenade.

A personal highlight, as Deputy Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee, was the unanimous adoption in July of Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan. It provides a bold response to drive climate action working together across Tāmaki Makaurau. In another positive decision by the committee we unanimously agreed to support standardising the weed management budget across Auckland (rather than standardising methodology as recommended which would have increased glyphosate use in some areas), provided for local decision-making on preferred methodologies, and re-confirmed our support for the Weed Management Policy goals to minimise agri-chemical usage.

In September the Governing Body approved an independent review into health and safety at Ports of Auckland. I have been one of a group of Councillors supporting the Mayor to launch a review to take a close look at the workplace culture at the Port and systemic failings that have led to a number of tragic deaths.

Another personal highlight was my appointment in February as Co-Chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum under a new co-governance structure.  As a forum we have signed off more ambitious goals and are committed to the preservation and restoration of the Hauraki Gulf Tipaka Moana Te Moananui-a-Toi.

I’ve enjoyed a close working relationship with the three local boards in my ward over the year even though for a big chunk of it we were only able to meet online.  I was fortunate to be on Waiheke recently for the launch of 5 new electric buses and visited Aotea Great Barrier in November for the first time since lockdown.  I end the year feeling very privileged to represent the beating heart of Auckland and the stunning gulf islands.

Ngā mihi o te wā and best wishes for the year ahead.

Councillor monthly report December 2020

This is my Councillor report covering the period from 3 November to 30 November.  It has been prepared for the December business meetings of the Aotea Great Barrier, Waiheke and Waitematā Board Local Boards.

The purpose of my report is to detail my main activities and to share information with the local boards in my ward regarding governing body decisions, my attendance at events and meetings, regional consultations, media updates and key issues. This is my final report for 2020.  My year in review (Ponsonby News December update).

Following the Governing body meeting on 26 November Councillors, the  Mayor and CEO recorded a message for Chinese New Year

Positions
  • Deputy Chair, Environment and Climate Change Committee
  • Co-Chair, Hauraki Gulf Forum
  • Member, Auckland City Centre Advisory Board (ACCAB)
  • Board Member, LGNZ National Council
  • Member, Auckland Domain Committee
  • Member, Appointments and Performance Review Committee
  • Member, Joint Governance Working Party
  • Member, Waste Political Advisory Group

Summary

Covid-19 Response
  • All of New Zealand continues at Alert Level 1
  • On Friday 13 November, Aucklanders were asked to avoid the central city area if possible following community case of COVID-19. This was described as a measure of extreme caution and was lifted the following day.
  • Subsequently, the government voted to make mask-wearing mandatory on all public transport in Auckland as of Thursday 19 November
Governing Body meetings – Key decisions

The minutes for all meetings are available on the Auckland Council website. The following is intended as a summary only.

On 3 November the Appointments and Performance Committee approved appointments to the Auckland War Memorial Museum and Museum of Transport and Technology and agreed a set of performance objectives for the Chief Executive.

On 5 November the Planning Committee received a presentation on Affordable Housing and Inclusionary zoning and agreed not to make any changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan at this time.   We agreed to review or make changes to the notable tree schedules in the Auckland Unitary Plan and the Auckland District Plan (Hauraki Gulf Islands Section) when resources permit. I would like the scheduling to happen so suggested this more positive wording rather than the officer recommendation to “agree that it is not financially viable to review or make changes to the notable tree schedules”.  This allows sources of funding to be investigated for example from local boards. The committee also supported council’s ongoing involvement in the Waitematā Harbour Connections Business Case.

On 12 November the Environment and Climate Change Committee unanimously agreed to support standardising the budget for weed management in the road corridor (including berms/grass verges) across Auckland; providing for local decision-making on preferred methodologies; and re-confirmed support for the Weed Management Policy goals to mininimise agri-chemical usage. The Chair Richard Hills and I as Deputy Chair worked on this approach to put forward instead of the officer recommendation to standardise the methodology which would have seen an increase in glysophate use in some local board areas.

The committee also approved Auckland Council’s submission on the Ministry for the Environment’s consultation on hard-to-recycle plastics and single-use items; adopted the scope of the Auckland Water Strategy Forward Work Programme 2020-2021; and agreed the continuation of the Manukau Harbour Forum while supporting building better relationships between council and mana whenua around the Manukau Harbour with a view to working towards co-governance.

On 19 November the Finance and Performance Committee received the Auckland Council group and Auckland Council quarterly performance report for the period ended 30 September 2020 and a monthly update on Emergency Budget savings to date.  We approved the Treasury Management Policy and received a presentation on interest rate hedging that has been the subject of inaccurate media reports.

The committee also approved the submission on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment consultation on extending the Government Procurement Rules to government entities in the New Zealand public sector.

On 24 November the CCO Oversight Committee approved the Statement of Intent for Auckland Unlimited 2020-2023. I raised the issue that the SOI doesn’t cover “Destination Management” which is of critical importance to Aotea Great Barrier and Waiheke Islands.  CE, Nick Hill agreed to look into it for the next version which is required in 7 months time.

On 26 November the Governing Body agreed to relax water restrictions from 14 December to allow use of an outdoor hose provided it is handheld and has a trigger nozzle.

Governing Body also agreed the scope for a review of the Auckland Council Code of Conduct and delegated authority to Waiheke Local Board to make decisions on and formally adopt the Waiheke Area Plan on the recommendations of the Waiheke Area Plan working party. I was pleased to be able to move this motion.

Other key meetings and events
  • On 3 November I met with Planning staff to discuss the Waiheke Area Plan. I also met with the Grey Lynn Business Association and viewed the new plants & pots on the corner of Williamson Ave and Great North Road.
  • On 4 November I attended the opening of the PwC Tower on Customs Street – New Zealand’s largest commercial building (photo right with the Mayor and Seumanu Simon Matāfai leader of the Auckland Gospel Choir who performed at the opening)
  • On 5 November I attended a blessing for the new changing rooms in Grey Lynn Park.
  • On 6 November I took part in the LGNZ Metro Sector Event via Zoom
  • On 8 November I attended the Italian Festival in Parnell and the launch of Brake’s Road Safety Week where Auckland Harbour Bridge was lit up in yellow to mark the occasion (photo right with Hon Julie Anne Genter and Cr Chris Darby).
  • On 9 November I took part in a site visit along with members of the Auckland Domain Committee followed by the Committee meeting held at the Wintergarden Café for the first time. In noting the financial update with many projects deferred due to budget constraints we requested staff investigate options to extend pathway connections and safety for walking and cycling in the Domain using interim low cost interventions such as painted pathways on the existing carriageway, consistent with the Master Plan
  • On 10 November I travelled to Waiheke for the launch of the electric bus fleet 
  • On 12 November I attended the Herne Bay Residents Association AGM
  • On 15 November I attended the Parnell Festival of Roses.
  • On 16 November I spoke at the Karakia whakawātea (dawn blessing) for Westhaven Promenade and Marine Village – a Panuku/Auckland Council project that has been almost 10 years in the making. I also met with Auckland Transport staff and received a briefing on the Unsealed Roads Improvement Programme (with specific reference to Aotea Great Barrier Island and Waiheke) and an update on the Connected Communities Programme
  • On 17 November I attended the Waitemata Local Board meeting and spoke in support of the Erebus Memorial decision. I was a guest at INEOS Team UK’s reception hosted by British High Commissioner Laura Clarke with Sir Ben Ainslie (photo right with INEOS team UK CEO Grant Simmer and the Mayor)
  • On 18 November I attended the launch of Auckland’s Pride Festival 2021 and a reception to celebrate the awards of the Order of the British Empire to Phil Wood and the British Empire Medal to Robin Shackell at the Northern Club.
  • On 19 November I attended the Sustainable Business Awards at the invite of the Environmental Services Team. Auckland Council’s Future Fit carbon footprint tool was nominated in the ‘Tech for Good’ and ‘Climate Change Innovator’ categories.
  • On 20 November I travelled to Aotea Great Barrier Island to meet with the Local Board; Auckland Transport staff; Destination Aotea staff; and to hold Councillor Clinics (photo above)
  • On 21 November I attended the Grey Lynn Park Festival (photo right at the Pest Free Auckland stand with local board member Alex Bonham)
  • On 23 November I attended the Governing Body / Independent Māori Statutory Board Joint Meeting and met with Waitematā Local Area Manager Trina Thompson; and discussed the Resource Recovery Network with Waste Solutions staff.
  • On 24 November I attended the Joint Governance Working Party and attended the Waiheke Local Board meeting via Skype.
  • On 26 November I facilitated a session with economist Shamubeel Eaqub on the political and economic outlook and key issues facing Auckland. This was held via Skype and attended by the mayor, several councillors and senior staff.
  • On 30 November I co-chaired the Hauraki Gulf Forum workshop and meeting held at Pūkorokoro Shorebird Centre (photo right). The Co-Chair’s report includes the briefing to the incoming government looking at how we wish to partner to restore Tikapa Moana Te Moananui a Toi, the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

Councillor monthly report November 2020

General update

Opening night of  SALTWATER/Interconnectivity at Tautai Gallery for Artweek 2020 with Katharine Losi Atafu- Mayo, artist Shawnee Tekii, Tautai Director, Courtney Sina Meredith and Councillor Josephine Bartley

This is my Councillor report covering the period from 7 October to 2 November.  It has been prepared for the November business meetings of the Aotea Great Barrier, Waiheke and Waitematā Local Boards.

The purpose of my report is to detail my main activities and to share information with the local boards in my ward regarding governing body decisions, my attendance at events and key meetings, regional consultations, media updates and key issues.

Positions

  • Deputy Chair, Environment and Climate Change Committee
  • Co-Chair, Hauraki Gulf Forum
  • Member, Auckland City Centre Advisory Board (ACCAB)
  • Board Member, Local Government New Zealand National Council
  • Member, Auckland Domain Committee
  • Member, Appointments and Performance Review Committee
  • Member, Joint Governance Working Party Member, Waste Political Advisory Group

Summary

  • Some of the new MPs elected to parliament on 17 October 2020

    An historic NZ General Election result on 17 October looks like being good news for Auckland (Ponsonby News: A new government to deliver for Auckland).

  • Weekly Finance and Performance workshops continued as part of the Long Term Plan (2021-2031) process.
  • Auckland Council has so far made $78million of savings towards our target of $120million (OurAuckland Performance on Track with Emergency Budget)
  • Our new CCO formed through the merger of Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) will be named ‘Auckland Unlimited
  • 1 November marked 10 years since the amalgamation of 8 former councils into Auckland Council (Ponsonby News update: Super City turns 10)

Covid-19 Response

All of New Zealand continues at Alert Level 1. The majority of my meetings have returned to face-to-face format but with the option of Skype where required.

Governing Body meetings – Key decisions

The minutes for all meetings are available on the Auckland Council website. The following is intended as a summary only.

On 15 October the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee approved the Public Art Regional Work Programme

The committee also approved the Sport and Recreation Facility Investment Fund preliminary allocation programme for 2020-2023.

On 22 October the Finance and Performance Committee received an update on progress for financial year 2020/2021; an update on the Value for Money programme and an update on commercial arrangements for the 36th America’s Cup.

The committee also recommended adoption of the draft Annual Report 2019/2020 to the Governing Body.

On 27 October the CCO Oversight Committee agreed that the name for the council-controlled organisation comprised of the merger of Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) will be: Auckland Unlimited.  It was noted that work on a Te Reo Māori name is also progressing, with involvement from the Mana Whenua Forum and individual iwi. Te Reo Māori name will be gifted to the new organisation in the near future.

On 29 October the Governing Body agreed to a two year extension of the Tripartite Economic Alliance between Auckland, Los Angeles and Guangzhou.

The Governing Body also adopted a proposal to put in place a new bylaw regarding Navigation Safety and adopted the Auckland Council Annual Report 2019/2020.  For the first time the Annual Report includes a Volume 4 highlighting disclosures on climate-related financial risk. Disclosures of this type play a key role in how organisations direct capital flow towards climate positive solutions and investments. Reporting of the group’s response to climate change risk also holds the group publicly accountable, and ensures the business maintains its focus on addressing climate change risk at all levels across the group.

The preparation of Volume 4 using the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework represents global best-practice in climate disclosure. It aligns with the government’s plan for mandatory TCFD disclosures from 2023 and provides an example for other organisations seeking to disclose their approach to managing climate risk.

Other key meetings and events

  • Councillors had a recess week 5 – 9 October (no official meetings) but I took the opportunity to meet with the GMs ofHeart of the City and Karangahape Road Business Association; met with staff from Auckland Transport for an update on the Road Safety Programme; met the new CEO and carried out a site visit with a constituent regarding coastal enhancement in Mechanics Bay.
  • On 10 October I attended the first opening of Artweek Auckland 2020: Waiheke sculptor Anton Forde’s MINE. This is the 10th year of the week-long festival. We made it to Alert Level 1 just in time to celebrate the visual arts of Auckland.
  • On 12 October I met with Panuku to discuss the Wynyard Point Masterplan consultation and attended the Kelmarna Gardens consultation meeting held at Bread and Butter to share future plans for the organic farm
  • On 13 October I attended Late Night Art in the City Centre for Art Week
with Councillor Josephine Bartley and artist Telly Tuita at Tautai Art Gallery
  • On 15 October I attended Open Late in the Arts Precinct on K’rd and opening night of  SALTWATER/Interconnectivity at Tautai Gallery for Artweek 2020 with Councillor Josephine Bartley
  • On 16 October Councillor Richard Hills and I attended the Manukau Harbour Forum workshop
  • On 19 October I supported Councillor Josephine Bartley standup at the Raw Comedy Festival Semi-Final (she made it through to the finals)
  • On 20 October I attended the International Women’s Caucus hui at the invitation of Pacific Women’s Watch-NZ, the Waitematā Local Board meeting and the Weed Management Political Advisory Group meeting
  • On 22 October I attended the Connect Art opening at Galleria. A major City Rail Link contract has ended after 4 years with the completion of the tunnel under Albert St and reinstatement of the street with wider footpaths, trees, and new furniture. To celebrate the contractor Connectus and CRL commissioned local artists to create artworks using old project signage
  • On 23 October I visited the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki with Councillor Richard Hills for an introduction to new work at the gallery I’m Your Man (A Portrait of Leonard Cohen) by the internationally acclaimed artist, Candice Breitz with director Kirsten Lacy. We also met MP (elect) for Auckland Central Chloe Swarbrick.  The backdrop to the photo right is a climate catastrophe work explored in performance art by acclaimed NZ artist Alicia Frankovich. AQI2020 is a commissioned choreographic work drawing upon the imagery, personal stories and news media that emerged during the Australian bush fire season of summer 2019–2020.
  • On 24 October I was invited to be a panelist at the New Zealand Institute of Planners (Auckland Branch) climate change discussion: ‘A well-timed disaster’ (I was gifted a bottle of wine)
  • On October 25 I volunteered to do surveying as part of Biketober valet bike service offered at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market.
  • On 29 October, Executive Officer Alex Rogers, Hauraki Gulf Forum and I met with MP (elect) for Auckland Central Chlöe Swarbrick. We discussed the state of the Gulf and how we can heal it together, something Chlöe has identified as a priority.
  • On 29 October I spoke at the Again Again Auckland crowdfunding to build a tech platform to open access to reusable serveware launch. Again Again is a circular, sharing economy system for reusable cups.
  • For 3 days 30 October to 1 November I attended the Waiheke Marine Project’s Future Search Hui: How to protect and regenerate Waiheke’s marine environment. There were no costs for me to attend the Hui.
  • On 2 November I attended the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board meeting and workshop and the Western Bays Community Group AGM (via Zoom)

The Super City turns 10

I’m happy to admit to having been a Super City sceptic.  In the lead up to the forced amalgamation 10 years ago of Tāmaki Makaurau’s eight councils into Auckland Council I had become active in community-led development.  The governance structure for the new body, with the majority of council business driven by Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs), didn’t appear to sit well with local decision making and sustainable community building.  If there had been a referendum, I’m sure I would have joined the majority of Aucklanders in voting “no” to a Super City.

10 years on I’m convinced the Super City has been for the best.  It shifted the strategic planning up a gear and made it possible to transform Auckland into truly international city.  It brought to an end the many, and often expensive, conflicts between the former councils and the old Auckland Regional Council and set the foundation for bold action and a united vision for the region.  Grass roots decision making has been able to flourish via local boards who are funded to make things happen within their communities.  This is particularly satisfying for the parts of the city neglected by their former councils.

However, throughout the 10 years I have been on Auckland Council, first as a local board member and since October 2019 as the Councillor for Waitematā and Gulf ward, I’ve consistently felt uneasy and frustrated with the CCO model.  It has been difficult to justify the lack of real control by democratically elected decision makers for over half of council’s operational budget when many of the promised benefits of CCOs have failed to materialise.

Over the years I’ve got to know Auckland Transport (AT) especially well because one of the reasons I put myself forward for public office in the first place was to make Auckland a great place to cycle as part of a sustainable, safe, healthy, connected city.   The stars seemed to align with funding, political backing and broad community support almost from the get-go.  The CCO model should have allowed AT to focus on delivery without operational interference from politicians.  However, it has been painfully slow going and AT’s approach to consultation has pleased no one.  So much of what the local board achieved in my time – greenways, traffic calming, pedestrian safety, street trees – was despite AT rather than as a result of AT operating as a CCO.

The review of Council’s CCOs by an independent panel led by Miriam Deans released on 11 August found many of the ways to improve the model, accountability, and culture of CCOs hiding in plain sight.  The report is written in plain English, the recommendations are easily digestible and make sense.  The review has forced the Auckland Council “family” to collectively reflect on our role in making the governance structure work effectively for Aucklanders.

The panel found the CCO model is overall fit for purpose but needs to be strengthened using many of the tools and mechanisms available.   It established that there’s significant room for improving the council’s relationship with and oversight of the CCOs.  One of the key recommendations is for AT to urgently review how it designs, consults on, funds and implements minor capital works.   These kinds of projects have been the source of much of my own frustration in dealing with AT and led to public criticism of CCOs being “out of control”.

On 27 August Auckland Council’s Governing Body agreed unanimously to progress all 64 of the panel’s recommendations. This includes agreeing to the merger of two CCOs—Regional Facilities Auckland and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development into a single entity to be established by 1 December 2020.

As we approach the 10th anniversary of the Super City I’m looking forward to the reset provided by the CCO review. I don’t think implementation will be as simple and straightforward as presumed by the panel due to the deep rooted cultural and systemic shakeup needed.  Nonetheless, I’m hopeful that the implementation of the recommendations will be a circuit breaker to move beyond the scapegoating of the Super City and its CCOs so we can focus on achieving the best from all parts of Auckland Council.

First published in Ponsonby News October 2020

Councillor monthly report October 2020

General update

This is my Councillor report covering the period from 7 September to 6 October.  It has been prepared for the October business meetings of the Aotea Great Barrier, Waiheke and Waitematā Local Boards.

The purpose of my report is to detail my main activities and to share information with the local boards in my ward regarding governing body decisions, my attendance at events and meetings, regional consultations, media updates and key issues.

Positions

  • Deputy Chair, Environment and Climate Change Committee
  • Co-Chair, Hauraki Gulf Forum
  • Member, Auckland City Centre Advisory Board (ACCAB)
  • Board Member, Local Government New Zealand National Council
  • Member, Auckland Domain Committee
  • Member, Appointments and Performance Review Committee
  • Member, Joint Governance Working Party
  • Member, Waste Political Advisory Group

Summary

  • On Wednesday 23 September at 11.59pm Auckland moved from Alert Level 2.5 to Alert Level 2 meaning that gatherings of up to 100 people were permitted. Council meetings and workshops have largely taken place via a combination of ‘in-person’ and Skype.
  • As of Friday 2 October, storage levels in Auckland’s dams remains at 67%. On 24 September the Governing Body voted to continue water restrictions but with an amendment to restrictions on commercial use. These changes will allow commercial entities to use a hose outdoors as long as it is handheld and has a trigger nozzle. Restrictions on commercial car washes will also be removed. Non-residential irrigation is still permitted as long as the system is connected to a soil moisture or rain sensor.
  • An independent review into health and safety as Ports of Auckland got underway.

Governing Body meetings – Key decisions

The minutes for all meetings are available on the Auckland Council website. The following is intended as a summary only.

On 10 September the Environment and Climate Change Committee endorsed Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan’s proposed partnership and governance approach in principle and approved establishing a Climate Political Reference Group to advise and direct staff on the implementation and delivery of the plan.

On 10 September the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee approved the 2020/2021 Community Facilities Work Programme.

On 17 September the Finance and Performance Committee received an update on the progress for financial year 2020/21; an update on the Value for Money programme; and noted Auckland Council has achieved $69million towards the $120million savings target this far.
The committee also approved the Panuku Development Auckland and Auckland Transport Park and Ride Integrated Development programme allowing for a process to start to consider development opportunities at transport hubs.

On 22 September the Council Controlled Organisation Oversight Committee approved 2020-2023 statements of intent for Auckland Transport, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development Limited, Panuku Development Auckland Limited, Regional Facilities Auckland and Watercare subject to requested modifications.

At the meeting I raised the concern that Auckland Transport has cut the delivery of cycleways target for 20/21 from 10km to 5km despite feedback from council to pursue the “potential for innovative and low-cost techniques to be deployed to achieve council priorities.  Areas where this may apply include road sealing, renewals, and active modes (building on recent momentum in walking and cycling)”.   I have yet to receive a satisfactory response from AT and do not support the cut to the target.

On 24 September the Governing Body voted to maintain water restrictions and adjust the restrictions for commercial users.

The Governing Body also approved the terms of reference for an independent review into health and safety as Ports of Auckland.   I have been one of a group of Councillors supporting the Mayor to launch a review to take a close look at the workplace culture at the Port and systemic failings that have led to avoidable deaths.

On 1 October the Planning Committee approved private plan changes in Drury, Patumahoe South, Flat Bush and Smales Farm.

I voted against progressing the private plan change request in relation to 34.5ha of land at Patumahoe South.  The land in question is 98% elite and prime soils, the land is not identified for intensification in the Unitary Plan, Auckland Plan Development Strategy or Future Urban Land Supply Strategy and there are significant transport issues north of the site. I also didn’t think the Climate Impact Statement in the report was adequate. The next step was for the private plan change to go out for public consultation before a series of independent hearings.

Other key meetings and events

  • On 7 September we had an online session to welcome our new Chief Executive Jim Stabback
  • Extraordinary meeting of the Appointments and Performance Committee on 8 September
  • Attended a series of weekly workshops as part of the 10 year budget process
  • On 11 September I co-chaired the LGNZ Auckland Zone Meeting with Richard Northey. The new LGNZ President Stuart Crosby and Vice President Hamish McDougall presented at the meeting
  • On 11 September I met with Auckland Transport staff on the Future Connect project and on 25 September met to discuss the Auckland Cycle Programme
  • On 15 September, Councillor Richard Hills and I visited a nursery in Māngere where native trees are being grown for Auckland Council projects
  • Attended the Waitematā Local Board meeting on 15 September and the Waiheke Local Board meeting on 23 September to give my Councillor’s report.
  • Governing Body / Independent Māori Statutory Board Joint Meeting on 21 September
  • On 25 September I attended the “Governors’ Hui” involving the Mayor, Councillors, Local Board Members and Executive staff members. It was an opportunity to come together to think strategically about moving from a COVID-19 phase of reaction to one of future-focus and recovery.
  • ACCAB workshop and meeting on 28 September
  • On 29 September I took part in a City Rail Link tree planting event on the new Lower Queen Street Square “Te Komititanga” (photo right)
  • On 2 October I travelled to Wellington for the LGNZ combined National Council Meeting and Strategy Day
  • On 6 October I held a ‘Conversations with your Councillor’ session at the Waiheke Local Board office, I met with board member Kylee Mathews and was taken on an informal tour of Piritahi Marae by Biana Ranson. I also had the opportunity to meet with Kristin Buscher coordinator at Waiheke Resources Trust to hear about their wetlands restoration & native tree planting work

Regional Consultations

Regional Parks Management Plan Review is out for consultation until 26 October 2020 to help protect natural, cultural and heritage values and guide the activity and use of regional parks for the next decade. Suggestions are wanted on how our 28 regional parks are protected, used and managed.

Other matters

Hauraki Gulf Forum

On 8 September my Hauraki Gulf Forum co-chair Nicola Macdonald and I had our official photographs taken wearing our Kahu Korari / Pake (woven capes). Nicola commissioned these as a symbol of the enduring relationship and commitment to uphold the values and and aspirations to protect our taonga tuku iho, the Hauraki Gulf.

Co-chairs Hauraki Gulf Forum with Mayor GoffOn 29 September, we met with Mayor Phil Goff to update him on new forum goals and co-governance structure; to discuss the proposed briefing to incoming Ministers, the likely Government response strategy to Sea Change and key issues regarding the Gulf for consideration in preparation for Auckland Council’s 10 year budget.

 

Councillor report September 2020

General update

This is my Councillor report covering the period from 11 August to 4 September.  It has been prepared for the September business meetings of the Aotea Great Barrier, Waiheke and Waitematā Board Local Boards.

The purpose of my report is to detail my main activities and to share information with the local boards in my ward regarding governing body decisions, my attendance at events and meetings, regional consultations, media updates and key issues.

Positions

  • Deputy Chair, Environment and Climate Change Committee
  • Co-Chair, Hauraki Gulf Forum
  • Member, Auckland City Centre Advisory Board (ACCAB)
  • Board Member, Local Government New Zealand National Council
  • Member, Auckland Domain Committee
  • Member, Appointments and Performance Review Committee
  • Member, Joint Governance Working Party
  • Member, Waste Political Advisory Group

Summary

  • Auckland moved into Alert Level 3 from 12 August until 30 August following evidence of community transmission. (Attachment 1 Our Auckland: Stay home and stay local, Councillor Pippa Coom urges)
  • The Governing Body voted unanimously to approve all 64 recommendations of the independent review of our Council Controlled Organisations including a merger between Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development and Regional Facilities Auckland.
  • As of 1 September, water levels in Auckland’s nine water collection dams is at 66 per cent. However, the water level in the Hūnua dams, which provide 80 per cent of Watercare’s water storage, is still far below normal. Water restrictions continue.

Covid-19 Response

Council staff responded quickly to Alert Level 3 restrictions from 12 August closing council facilities such as libraries and community centres.  Regular updates were provided to all elected representatives.

I supported the funding being put in place to secure Aotea Great Barrier Island’s essential supply and medical freight service.

Councillors Josephine Bartley, Fa’anana Efeso Collins and Alf Filipaina

The Pasifika community has been particularly hard hit by the impact of the coronavirus and the second round of lockdown restrictions. Councillors Josephine Bartley, Fa’anana Efeso Collins and Alf Filipaina  have been taking an especially strong role leading the community outreach, communications and providing support.

Meetings and workshops were up and running online with minimal downtime. Online continues to be the default meeting setting going into Alert Level 2 from 31 August.

Auckland Council community facilities reopened on Monday 31 August, with health and safety the top priority. Face coverings became mandatory on all public transport.

Example of a “parklet” in a parking space

I welcomed the support Council is providing to make better use of outdoor space for hospitality and retail through a new fast track application process but have followed up about extending this to businesses making use of adjacent car parking spaces rather than blocking access on footpaths.

Governing Body meetings – Key decisions

The minutes for all meetings are available on the Auckland Council website. The following is intended as a summary only.

On 11 August the Finance and Performance Committee approved the Auckland Council Group Policy for Retention Money. The committee received an update on the Emergency Budget 2020/2021 and approved $5.2 million of additional capital expenditure, and associated shovel-ready funding, for the Resource Recovery network project.

On 13 August the Planning Committee approved its forward work programme and established delegations relating to COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) resource consent applications and notices of requirement.

The committee also established a delegation of Planning Committee members to approve the notification of a plan change to the Auckland Unitary Plan (Operative in Part) to remove unnecessary restrictions on the installation of rainwater tanks in urban and rural parts of Auckland.

On 20 August the Parks, Arts, Communities and Events Committee approved 2020/21 funding allocations for the Regional Events Grant Programme; Regional Arts and Culture Grant Allocation; Regional Sports and Recreation Grants Programme; and Cultural Initiatives Fund.

The committee also approved the Māori Outcomes Performance Measurement Framework; progressed the Review of the Regional Parks Management Plan and approved a one-off $100,000 grant funding to the Hibiscus Coast Youth Centre as provided for in the Emergency Budget 2020/2021.

On 27 August Governing Body received a briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic and an Auckland Emergency Management status update from Group Controller Emergency Management, Ian Maxwell, Director Executive Programmes and Phil Wilson, Group Recovery Manager.

That the Governing Body agreed shareholder comments on Ports of Auckland Limited’s 2020-2023 statement of corporate intent. I worked with Councillors Henderson, Casey, Collins and Bartley to ensure that council sought an explanation of what is being done to improve health and safety, including evidence of staff engagement in improving health and safety, and the comments of stakeholders, including unions, on the work done to address any concerns.   Tragically only days later a worker was killed at the Port.

The Governing Body also unanimously approved all 64 recommendations of the independent review of our Council Controlled Organisations including a merger between Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development and Regional Facilities Auckland.

On 3 September the Planning Committee approved an affordable housing forward work programme (available in Attachment A of the agenda report), the formation of a political working group to provide advice to progress affordable housing in Auckland and requested through council’s briefing to incoming ministers, a call for the incoming Minister of Housing to promote:

i)         legislative change to facilitate inclusionary zoning for affordable housing

ii)        increase the building programme for social housing in Auckland

iii)       facilitate investment in build to rent construction

iv)      make changes in the Building Code and Building Act, as outlined in the Mayoral Taskforce on Housing, to lower the cost of building construction.

Plan changes relating to the Avondale Jockey Club, Howick Business Special Character Area and the Pukekoe Park Precinct were also approved.

Other key meetings and events

MC Lucy Lawless and Jenny Cooper of Lawyers for Climate Action NZ

Just before lockdown I was a guest panellist on how NZ’s climate change commitments and legal obligations coalesce with strong advocacy to create a potent context for transforming Auckland’s transport priorities, fast. The panel followed powerful presentations by Dr Paul Winton of the 1 point 5 project and Jenny Cooper QC of Lawyers for Climate Action NZ Inc.   The All Board! Climate action event was hosted by Bike Auckland, Greater Auckland and Generation Zero and MC’d by Lucy Lawless

A number of events were disrupted by the Alert Level 3 restrictions.  Meetings that continued online included:

  • Mayor and Chairs weekly meeting
  • All Councillors briefings
  • LGNZ Metro Sector meeting on 14 August and LGNZ AGM on 21 August
  • Conservation Week online event on 17 August: Hon. Eugenie Sage, Minister of Conservation was joined by conservation commentators to discuss the last few months and its impact on nature in our urban environment in Tāmaki Makaurau.
  • Auckland Domain Committee meeting on 17 August
  • Meeting on 20 August with Manager, Regulatory Compliance to discuss noise complaints in the city centre
  • Ministers Henare, Mahuta and Auckland Council elected representatives – COVID19 discussion on 25 August
  • Joint Governance Working Party Meeting on 25 August
  • Panuku catch up 28 August
  • Auckland City Centre Advisory Board Meeting 31 August
  • Waitematā, Waiheke and Aotea Great Barrier Local Board August business meetings to give my Councillor update
  • Workshops for Governing Body, Finance & Performance Committee (commencing the Long-Term Plan/10 year budget process), Environment & Climate Change Committee (focused on implementation of Auckland’s Climate plan) and Planning Committee
  • Inaugural demographic advisory panel meeting on 31 August (photo right)
  • Pōwhiri for new Chief Executive Jim Stabback on 1 September broadcast online
  • Meeting on 3 September with the Mayor, the CEO, representatives of MUNZ and Councillors Henderson and Casey to discuss the tragic fatality at the Port on 30 August.

Other matters

Hauraki Gulf Forum

The Hauraki Gulf Forum’s meeting on 25 August was held via Zoom. We heard seven public forum presentations and received stocktakes on riparian planting and marine dumping and approved the Annual Report.

A joint government team presented Sea Change Tai Timu Pari Marine Spatial Plan – Government Response Strategy.  Attachment 2 Ponsonby News Column September 2020 A brief reprieve for the Hauraki Gulf during lockdown

Wayfinding

It is great to see a project I have worked on for many years as a local board member finally get delivered.

Almost a decade ago Walk Auckland’s Andy Smith brought to my attention the issue with NO EXIT signage on streets that actually provide a thoroughfare for walking (and often cycling too). These streets are all over Auckland but rarely have signage for those walking. The funding for the project was secured just before the end of my last term on the Waitematā Local Board.

When Auckland went into Alert Level 3 and my local walks increased, I spotted one of the new signs.

LGNZ AGM

I attended Local Government New Zealand’s (LGNZ)’s online AGM on 21 August as one of four Auckland Council delegates.  Member councils passed 9 remits to direct LGNZ’s policy advocacy.

I spoke in support of a water bottling remit (with minor suggested amendments to points 2 and 4) proposed by Queenstown Lakes-District Council, calling for LGNZ to work with the Government to:

  • Place a moratorium on applications to take and/or use water for water bottling or bulk export.
  • Enable regional councils and unitary authorities to review inactive water bottling consents, with a view to withdrawal of the consent and discourage consent ‘banking’.
  • Undertake an holistic assessment of the potential effects of the current industry, its future growth and the legislative settings that enable councils to effectively manage those effects.
  • Initiate a comprehensive nationwide discussion on the issue of water bottling (within the wider basis of water use) and implement any changes to the legislation and policy settings as required.

Member councils also elected Stuart Crosby as LGNZ President, replacing Dave Cull who steps down from the role. Hamish McDouall, Mayor of Whanganui District Council was elected as vice-president.

A brief reprieve for the Hauraki Gulf during lockdown

Hauraki Gulf Forum co-chairs

 Through the disruption, anxiety and uncertainty thrown up by the coronavirus, the lockdowns have provided the opportunity to reconnect with nature, to listen, to stop and observe.  I’m particularly interested in the impact on the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park because earlier in the year I was elected co-chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum alongside Nicola MacDonald, the tangata whenua co-chair.

The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is New Zealand’s first marine park. It’s a big park, stretching from Te Arai in the north to Waihi in the south.  At 1.2 million hectares, or 20 times the size of Lake Taupō, it includes the Waitematā Harbour, Gulf Islands, Firth of Thames and the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula.  It is the seabird capital of the world, and a whale superhighway. Many will feel a close affinity with the Gulf as Auckland’s playground.

The State of the Gulf report published to mark the 20th anniversary of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park made for grim reading and put a spotlight on the ongoing environmental degradation.  The park is suffering from the decimation of shellfish beds, decreasing fish stocks, a seabed littered with plastics, sediment issues and increased pressure from development and tourism.   The key point from the report is we need much more protection, and we need it fast.

During the first lockdown there was an immediate and observable effect of noise reduction on our marine and bird life from the significant decline in the number of vessel movements resulting in a much quieter and less pressured marine environment.  There were sightings of birdlife where we haven’t seen them for some time.    Ultimately the positive impact was not ongoing and not particularly ecologically or environmentally significant given that we are fighting decades of degradation.

In May the Forum adopted an updated set of ambitious goals for the Gulf including ending marine dumping in or near the marine park and protecting at least 30 per cent of our moana in a way that respects biodiversity and habitats.  Less than half a percent of the area is currently protected in marine reserves.

The Minister of Conservation Eugene Sage supports implementing significant marine protection.  As she has said “We have to get beyond asserting our rights to thinking about our responsibilities for the domain of Tangaroa, because we all share an interest in having a healthy gulf with abundant fisheries and marine life. It means putting aside our assertion of rights. We’d really like to see some ambitious vision, with the fishing industry offering to stop bottom trawling and other bottom-damaging methods – to take that step to inspire other action.”

What marine protection does go ahead will be in the hands of the incoming government. The government’s response strategy to Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari, the marine spatial plan for the park designed to secure a healthy, productive and sustainable future, will be critical.  Adoption of a strategy has the potential to transform the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

It was a brief reprieve during lockdown but the tide may be starting to turn for the health of Hauraki Gulf Tipaka Moana Te Moananui-a-Toi.

Ponsonby News update September 2020

Councillor report August 2020

General update

This is my Councillor report covering the period from 8 July 10 August.  It has been prepared for the August business meetings of the Aotea Great Barrier, Waiheke and Waitematā Board Local Boards.

The purpose of my report is to detail my main activities and to share information with the local boards in my ward regarding governing body decisions, my attendance at events and meetings, regional consultations, media updates and key issues.

Positions

  • Deputy Chair, Environment and Climate Change Committee
  • Co-Chair, Hauraki Gulf Forum
  • Member, Auckland City Centre Advisory Board (ACCAB)
  • Board Member, LGNZ National Council
  • Member, Auckland Domain Committee

Summary

  • Auckland Council adopted the Emergency Budget on 30 July.
  • On 21 July the Environment and Climate Change Committee unanimously voted to adopt Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Action Plan
  • As of 4 August, water levels in Auckland’s nine water collection dams remain at 59.5% per cent. Water restrictions continue.

Governing Body meetings – Key decisions

The minutes for all meetings are available on the Auckland Council website. The following is intended as a summary only.

On 16 July the Finance and Performance Committee agreed by 20 votes to 3 to recommend to the Governing Body that the Emergency Budget be based on a package of a general rate increase of 3.5%.

The committee also agreed to recommend that Governing Body adopted the Rates Remission and Postponement Policy.

The committee approved implementation of the Asset Recycling Budget and recommended that Governing Body approve disposal of the properties named in the budget.

On 21 July the Environment and Climate Change Committee voted unanimously to adopt Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan. The final plan will be launched digitally on council’s website later this year.

The committee also received a progress report on implementing Auckland’s Urban Ngahere Strategy ( Our Auckland: Auckland’s tree canopy cover grows by 60 hectares).

The committee approved a programme of work to develop a 100 year management policy to respond to the hazards caused by ‘too much water’ – specifically flooding, coastal inundation and coastal erosion.

On 30 July the Governing Body adopted the Emergency Budget 2020/2021, including 21 Local Board Agreements, and set rates for the 2020/2021 financial year.

The committee also agreed the Tupuna Maunga Authority Operational Plan 2020/21; adopted the amended Elected Members’ Expenses Policy; and confirmed appointments to the Demographic Advisory Panels.

The committee agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Crown, Kaipara Uri entities and the Northland Regional Council to progress the proposed Kaipara Moana Remediation Programme, and establish a joint committee to provide stewardship and governance for the programme.

Other key meetings and events

In the period 8 July -10 August I attended:

  • Co-Chairs met to Hauraki Gulf Forum business with Minister Eugenie Sage on 9 July
  • On behalf of the Hauraki Gulf Forum I spoke at Hauraki Gulf Watershed // The Awakening on 11 July at Maungauika. An event bringing together tikanga, science, technology and art to bring attention to the need to restore the mauri of Tīkapa Moana
  • Councillor Richard Hills and I received an update on the Regional Pest Management Plan on 13 July
  • I met with Auckland Arts Festival Chief Executive David Inns and Artistic Director Shona McCullagh on 14 July
  • Cr Cathy Casey, Council colleagues and Auckland City Missioner, Chris Farrelly

    Launch on 15 July at the Auckland Central Library of ‘Opening Little Boxes’ a book written during lockdown by Cr Cathy Casey, partner Kees Lodder, daughter Alex Casey and Manu Bertao. All author royalties go to help the homeless through Auckland City Mission and Lifewise.

  • Auckland transport announcement by Ministers Phil Twyford and Julie Anne Genter at the Te Atatu Boatclub on 18 July (photo right)
  • On 20 July I attended an introduction by the joint central and local government Three Waters Steering Committee to the recently announced National Three Water Reform Programme.
  • Waiheke Local Board meeting on 22 July (via Skype)
  • The Karangahape Road Business Association hosted Mayor Goff and I for a walkabout on 23 July. We observed progress on the K’rd City Rail Link station; met with Business Association Chair Muy Chhour and General manager Michael Richardson for an update on issues they are facing; and visited local businesses including Monster Valley (photo right).
  • Manaaki Tāngata event hosted by Lifewise, Auckland City Mission and the Police at the Ellen Melville Centre on Saturday 25 July
  • Aotea Great Barrier Local Board meeting on 28 July (via Skype)
  • Auckland City Centre Advisory Board Meeting 29 July
  • Mayor Goff and I met with Auckland Police District Commanders on July 29 where we discussed post-COVID-19 issues around the city (photo right: Superintendent Jill Rogers from Counties Manukau, Superintendent Karyn Malthus from Auckland District and Inspector Michael Rickards standing in for Superintendent Naila Hassan from Waitematā)
  • Waitematā Local Board Plan consultation – Hearing style event on 29 July
  • 3 August – 7 August was arecess week for the governing body (no official meetings). I was fortunate to enjoy part of the break on a “busman’s holiday” on Waiheke. I spent a morning in at the Waiheke Local Board office for councillor catch ups.

Other matters

Emergency Budget 2020/2021 

On July 16, the Finance and Performance Committee agreed, by 20 votes to 3, to recommend to the Governing Body that the Emergency Budget be based on a package of a general rate increase of 3.5%. On July 30, the Emergency Budget was formally adopted by the Governing Body and rates were set for the 2020/2021 period.

The Governing Body also voted to adopt the Rates Remission and Postponement Policy to assist those financially impacted by COVID-19 with rates payments. ( Ponsonby News Column – Emergency Budget 2020/2021 Decision)

I read the feedback on the budget proposal carefully. A majority of submitters in my ward supported the package based on a 3.5% rates increase. Importantly the majority of organisations across Auckland supported the Mayor’s proposal – organisations representing union members, businesses, employers, faith, environment and arts groups. A lot of the feedback asked council to invest in jobs and communities to assist the recovery and rebuild rather than taking an austerity approach.

Once we had worked through all the financial information carefully – including the need to find an additional $224m to respond to the drought – every councillor supported the budget except one.

Auckland’s rates and annual increase continue to be comparably lower that other cities (eg Tauranga 4.7%, Hamilton 4.7%, Wellington 5.1% and Christchurch 3.5% 2020/21 increases).  It is important to note that Council is supporting financially distressed ratepayers with targeted assistance via the rates postponement scheme.

There is still a lot of pain in the budget and cuts to jobs, projects and services but retaining the commitment to extend the living wage to contracted cleaners is one of the positives the Mayor and councillors were able to celebrate with the Living Wage team straight after the budget was adopted on 30 July (photo right).

Auckland’s Climate Plan

Photographed with Committee Chair Richard Hills and I are mana whenua representatives, Katrina Cole from Generation Zero and some of the key council staff who have been integral in putting this piece of work together.

On 21 July the Environment & Climate Change Committee unanimously passed Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan. A plan to halve our emissions by 2030, to get to net zero by 2050, keep to 1.5 degrees of warming and to adapt our city to cope with the affects of climate change which we are seeing more intensely each year. The final plan will be launched digitally later this year.

Hauraki Gulf Forum

Hauraki Gulf Forum Co-Chair Nicola Macdonald and I met with Minister Eugenie Sage on 9 July to discuss Hauraki Gulf Forum Business (photo right). On July 24 we met with Minister Nanaia Mahuta via Zoom on 24 July to discuss the Forum’s shift to a co-governance leadership model; our goals for the Haukaki Gulf Marine Park; and our commitment to delivering for Māori.

On 19 July I was hosted by Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki at the inaugural launch of the Hukunui Pā restoration project on Te Motu Tapu a Taikehu (Motutapu Island). The project was launched with a special Matariki planting day as part of the One Billion Trees programme. The aim for the day was to plant 2500 trees of the 123,000 that will be planted over the next 3 year in a partnership between the Iwi and the Ministry for Primary Industries and with Te Papa Atawhai (Department of Conservation).

On 31 July, Hauraki Gulf Forum Co-Chair Nicola Macdonald, Executive Officer Alex Rogers and I spent the day visiting with Forum members in the Waikato – a great opportunity for regional collaboration as we work to heal the Gulf. We met with Mayor Sandra Goudie and Regional Councillor Denis Tegg in Thames; Councillor Donna Arnold in Te Aroha; Councillor Phillip Buckthought in Paeroa and Councillor Rob McGuire in Hamilton.

Acknowledgement to Hon Nikki Kaye

Many thanks to Nikki for all her hard work as MP for Auckland Central.  She can be really proud of everything she has achieved during her time in parliament.   We’ve enjoyed a positive working relationship and I have valued her advice and support in my role.  Nikki is tireless in following up on issues for constituents and fronting at meetings and events.   I wish Nikki all the best for her next adventure.

Other attachments:

Our Auckland:  Building a resilient city

Our Auckland: New public spaces in Auckland’s city centre coming to life this summer

Councillor monthly report July 2020

General update

At the CRL event on 23 June to mark the start of works on the underground Aotea Station

This is my Councillor report covering the period from 8 June – 7 July.  It has been prepared for the July business meetings of the Aotea Great Barrier, Waiheke and Waitematā Board Local Boards.

The purpose of my report is to detail my main activities and to share information with the local boards in my ward regarding governing body decisions, my attendance at events and meetings, regional consultations, media updates and key issues.

Positions

  • Deputy Chair, Environment and Climate Change Committee
  • Co-Chair, Hauraki Gulf Forum
  • Member, Auckland City Centre Advisory Board (ACCAB)
  • Board Member, LGNZ National Council
  • Member, Auckland Domain Committee

Summary

  • As NZ moved to Alert Level 1 on 8 June a phased re-opening of council facilities was able to happen more quickly. Meetings are now all in person but with more flexibility to join by Skype.
  • As of 6 July, water levels in Auckland’s nine water collection dams remain at a record low, sitting at 55.8 per cent. Water restrictions continue.
  • From 30 June most of Auckland’s city centre moved to a speed limit of 30km/h
  • Consultation on the Emergency Budget closed on 19 June. The budget has been my main focus as the Governing Body works towards the decision making meeting on 16 July.
Governing Body meetings – Key decisions

The minutes for all meetings are available on the Auckland Council website. The following is intended as a summary only.

On 9 June Governing Body held a confidential meeting to appoint the new CEO.   The successful candidate has yet to be announced (updated: the CEO announcement was made on 17 July).

On 11 June the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee approved the initiation of a comprehensive review of the Regional Parks Management Plan 2010.

On 18 June the Finance and Performance Committee approved Auckland Museum’s amended Annual Plan and Levy for 2020/2021.

The committee also approved the proposed amendments to the Local Government Funding Agency legal documents and Foundation Policies.

On 25 June Governing Body received an update from Watercare on the water shortage and agreed to waive resource consent fees for residential rainwater tank installation.

The committee also amended the standing orders to allow elected members to attend electronically if they prefer to, but without voting rights.

The governing body agreed to urgently contact central government to request an announcement on shovel ready project funding be made prior to our emergency budget decision making on July 16th.

On 2 July the Planning Committee approved several private plan changes in Drury East and Whenuapai.

The committee also approved the preparation of Spatial Land Use Frameworks for the Kumeu-Huapai and Wainui Silverdale Dairy Flat areas and established a Political Working Party to approve the draft frameworks for consultation.

Other key meetings and events

In the period 8 June to 7 July I attended:

with CRL CEO Sean Sweeney and the Mayor at the tree planting on Albert St
  • Event with the Mayor to mark the planting of native trees as part of CRL works along Albert Street. Eight trees were planted over the week, with a total of 23 trees (Totora, Golden Totara, Pohutukawa, Black Maire and Puriri) planned as part of CRL’s Contract 2 works
  • Ports of Auckland Community Reference group meeting held via Zoom on 10 June
  • Dawn blessing and opening by the PM of Commercial Bay on 11 June
  • Black Lives Matter rally on 14 June
  • On International Day of Justice for Cleaners and Security Guards, joined the Mayor to receive a petition and deputation from supporters of Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand
  • At the opening of Commercial Bay with the PM, Mayor Goff, Hon Phil Twyford and Cr Darby

    Women in Urbanism emergency budget discussion on 15 June

  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 16 June and the Aotea Great Barrier Local Board meeting on 23 June
  • Presented to Westhaven Rotory’s breakfast meeting on 23 June
  • CRL event on 23 June to mark the start of works on the underground Aotea Station
  • ACCAB workshop on 23 June
  • On International Day of Justice for Cleaners and Security Guards, joined the Mayor to receive a petition and deputation from supporters of Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand

    Grey Lynn Business Association networking event on 25 June at Malt bar

  • Media briefing for the Safer Speeds rollout on 29 June
  • A low key opening of the new high canopy primate habitat for orangutans and siamangs at Auckland Zoo
  • KBA convened meeting to discuss Karangahape Road/ Auckland Street Whanau issues and responses.
  • Panel member for Bike Grey Lynn’s Quick Smart speaker series on 28 June
  • Sam Judd farewell from Sustainable coastlines on 3 July
  • NZ Trio concert Origins at the Concert Chamber on 6 July (this was the first live performance at the Town Hall post lockdown)
  • Piki Toi exhibition opening on 6 July at Merge Cafe
Other matters

Emergency Budget 2020/2021 

Consultation on the Emergency Budget ended on 19 June.

During the consultation period I participated in three online community webinars.  A Have your Say event for regional stakeholders was held on 10 June.

A record 34,000 submissions were received through the three weeks consultation period.

The budget and consultation were in response to the financial impact of COVID-19.   At the start of the consultation the forecast shortfall in revenue was of more than half a billion dollars over the next financial year.

Unfortunately, it is likely a further $224m needs to be found for Watercare measures to increase the supply of water in the face of the worst drought ever experienced in the city. This number is higher than the estimate provided in the draft emergency budget documentation and places further pressure on the council.

A series of workshop are underway to discuss the feedback and all elements of the budget leading up to the final decision on 16 July.

Safe Speeds

At Auckland Transport’s media briefing to unveil the new signage with Cr Darby and Rodney Local Board member Louise Johnston

From 30 June most of Auckland’s city centre moved to a speed limit of 30km/h (the current 10km/h combined pedestrian and vehicle zones will remain). Speed limits on Hobson, Fanshawe and Nelson streets will be reduced to 40km/h instead of 30km/h.

This is a major milestone since Auckland became a Vision Zero region last year. Rodney Local Board member Louise Johnston.  (Attachment 2:  Opinion piece:  Together our streets can be safer)

Innovating Streets

The temporary COVID-19 works installed in the northern end of Queen Street were planned to undergo some refinement over the week beginning 5 July.  These improvements are based on feedback received from businesses and residents to make the purpose of the new spaces clearer for users and improve the overall appearance of Queen Street.

Later this month, the ‘Access for Everyone’ pilot for the Waihorotiu Queen Street Valley will begin through a co-design process, which will test new ways to lay out Queen Street prioritising space for pedestrians. Access for buses, emergency and service vehicles will be retained, while non-essential traffic will be discouraged.  The pilot is funded from NZTA’s innovating streets fund and the City Centre Targeted rate.  (Attachment 3: Our Auckland Access for Everyone Pilot to begin on Queen Street)