- This is my first Councillor report for 2020 prepared for the Waitematā, Waiheke and Aotea Great Barrier Local Boards’ February business meeting agendas.
- It covers the period from 25 November 2019 until 31 January including the summer break.
- The purpose of my report is to share key information with the local boards including governing body activities, attendance at events, conferences and meetings, regional consultations, media activities and ward issues I have been following up on. I also declare all gifts in my report regardless of value.
Governing Body and Committee meetings*
Governing Body committee met on 26 November and 12 December (photo right of Councillors at the Aotea Square Christmas tree on our way to the final business meeting of the year at the Town Hall). Highlights include:
- agreed the terms of reference for the Council Controlled Organisations Review
- approved allocation of the Auckland Council governance remuneration pool
- approved terms of reference for the Joint Governance Working Party and Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Treaty of Waitangi Settlement Working Party
- adopted the GB meeting schedule from 2020 -2022
- agreed process for appointing the next Auckland Council CEO (appointment to be made by end of 2020)
- Unanimous support for an extraordinary item regarding the bus drivers dispute (reported on below)
The first Environment and Climate Change committee met on 29 November
- approved the grant allocations for the 2019/2020 Regional Environment and Natural Heritage Grant programme funding round
- allocations for the 2019/2020 Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund, September 2019 funding were considered in confidential
The first Council Controlled Organisation Oversight Committee met on 12 December to receive the first quarter reports of the substantive council-controlled organisations and approve the proposed content for inclusion in their 2020/21 letters of expectation.
A minute’s silence was observed at the beginning of our Finance and Performance Committee led by Cr Desley Simpson on 10 December to pay tribute to all those affected by the awful tragedy on Whakaari /White Island.
*Note: This is not intended to be a complete summary of all governing body and committee meetings. Refer https://infocouncil.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/ for full details
Events and other meetings
- A range of briefings have continued for the Environment and Climate Change Committee Chair and Deputy Chair
- In my role as committee Deputy Chair I attend a weekly chairs catch up with the Mayor and a fortnightly Mayor and Councillors catch up
- I have a fortnightly meeting for transport updates relating to ward issues
- On Friday 29 November I hosted my first Councillor “clinic” on Aotea Great Barrier with booked appointments times
- Meeting on 6 December with councillors Barley and Casey and First Union to discuss the bus drivers dispute.
- MUNZ meeting on 9 December with the automation working group of the International Transport Workers Federation
- Cr Hills and I met with Milag San Jose-Ballesteros, Regional Director For Southeast Asia And Oceania, C40 to discuss climate change action on 21 January. C40 Cities is an organisation working with 96 City Councils across the world to work on positive opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and protect our communities.
- Meeting on 22 January convened by the Mayor regarding Fuller Ferry cancellations (reported on below)
- City Centre network meeting at the Ellen Melville Centre on 23 January
- Tour of Aotea Great Barrier (north part of island) with the local board on 27 January (photos right)
- Waiheke Local Board business meeting on 28 January
- Environment and Climate Change Committee: Political Working Group meetings to finalise Council’s submission on the Reducing waste: A more effective landfill levy paper
I also attended the following events:
- Vision Zero celebration at Auckland Transport on 25 November
- 100 years of Zonta International celebration dinner on 25 November hosted by the Zonta Club of Auckland at the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron. Zonta’s mission is empowering powering women through service and advocacy.
- Friends of Sustainable Coastlines celebration on 27 November
Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland Museum 90th birthday celebrations on 27 November.
- Ceremony for the 40th anniversary of the Erebus accident at Government House hosted by the Governor General where the PM and the Chair of Air NZ gave a wholehearted apology to the families for the actions of the government and airline following the disaster that claimed 247 lives. I’m sure that nothing can fully heal the loss from the tragedy for the families and those impacted by Operation Overdue but this apology is long overdue. I hope now we can also move ahead on a fitting Erebus Memorial.
- NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards gala dinner on 28 November at the invitation of Waste Solutions. Auckland Council, TROW and Green Way won the Partnering for Good category for the demolition of the Masonic Lodge in Salisbury Reserve (a project initiated by the Waitematā Local Board)
- Met with the Inspirasi Indonesian Young Leaders delegation (photo right with Cr Hills and Laila Harre) and spoke on the topic of the Role of Local Government and how to engage communities to be sustainably resilient
- Visited Great Barrier on 29 November to hold a Councillor clinic to meet locals, did an interview with Aotea FM (photo right with Toni and Tony from Aotea FM) and meet with local board members
- Raise up Leadership grad dinner at Eden Park on 30 November at the invitation of YMCA
- Hyundai World Championships powhiri and opening ceremony on 1 December
- Franklin Road lights opening on 1 December (photo right with local board member Graeme Gunthorp)
- Grey Lynn Residents Association AGM at the Grey Lynn RSC
- Farewell for Marguerite Delbet as Council’s General Manager, Democracy Services after six plus years at the helm
- Auckland Art Gallery’s 2020 programme launch on 3 December
- Whakawātea for Luna Rossa / Prada bases, America’s Cup on 4 December (photo right)
- Women in Leadership afternoon tea hosted by the Mayor’s office
- LGNZ strategy day in Wellington on 5 December
- LGNZ National Council meeting on 6 December
Citizenship ceremony at the Auckland Town hall on 9 December
- Ports of Auckland community liaison group Christmas drinks on 10 December
- Morning blessing on 17 December led by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei for the start of the St Mary’s Bay water project that will dramatically reduce contamination going into the Harbour (photo right). This significant project is funded from the water quality targeted rate and delivered by Watercare and Healthy Waters (Auckland Council) with Auckland Transport improvements included as well
- End of year afternoon tea hosted by the Mayor on 17 December
- Late Night Christmas event organised by Heart of the City on 19 December
- Community celebration lunch at Ellen Melville Centre on 20 December
- Waiheke Ostend Market zero waste stall volunteer on 21 December and 17 January (photo right)
- I took a Christmas break from 20 December until 13 January
- I joined the Mayor and Panuku on
15 January for a tour of Auckland’s Waterfront Precinct and Wynyard Quarter as well as a look at the new Willis Bond apartment development on Madden Street, the Park Hyatt Auckland site (photo right in hard hats) and a visit to Emirates Team New Zealand.
- Enjoyed a session at the ASB Classic tennis at the invitation of ATEED and a chance to meet the tournament director Karl Budge
- Urban Nerds AKL – special guest appearance by Greg Vann on 23 January
- Moira Lawler’s farewell as CEO of Lifewise held at Merge Café on 23 January
- Supported the Mayor at the SeePort festival opening on 25 January
- International Buskers Day Festival opening on 25 January at the invitation of Crackerjack productions
- On behalf of the Mayor addressed the United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Day event hosted by the Holocaust Centre of NZ at the Mt Eden Memorial Hall (Photo right and speech Attachment 1)
- State of the Nation presentation with the PM and lunch on 30 January at Sky City Convention Centre at the invitation of Business NZ
Regional consultation topics
In December the Mayor’s proposal for the Annual Budget 2020/21 was agreed to go out for consultation on 21 February. The proposal is about showing leadership on climate change as well as continuing to invest strongly in infrastructure and services, and readying Auckland for the international spotlight in 2021, when the city hosts the 36th America’s Cup, APEC, Te Matatini and a range of other events. I have reported on the main topics in my Ponsonby News column.
The Regional Environment and Natural Heritage Grant Fund and Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund applications were agreed by the Environment and Climate Change committee on 29 November.
Significant issues and ward issues (as at 31 January)
New Network bus changes on Waiheke
Following the report that Hana Blackmore prepared for the local board highlighting deficiencies in Auckland Transport’s consultation and presentation of a petition, Auckland Transport agreed to put in place a temporary diversion for every second 50A bus service to loop through Ostend / Wharf Rd. The use of services on these roads will then be assessed around March when AT undertakes the review of the New Network.
AT also reported that the New Network has significantly grown compared to the old network over the first eight weeks of operation – in average by +5% and more recently by up to +30% for individual weeks. More people are using buses on Waiheke now than before. However, issues remain with a bus driver shortage. I am also aware of continued concerns regarding the location of bus stops.
Leys Institute Library Building
Just before Christmas an operational decision was made to close Leys Institute Library and Gymnasium until further notice. A recently completed seismic assessment has found structural issues that make the buildings unsafe to occupy in the unlikely event of an earthquake.
This caused a lot of concern raised directly with me about the future of the buildings and the continuation of library services. The local board has ensured that services will resume from March at 14 Jervois Road for at least the next three years and that the jobs of all library staff are safe. In the meantime, the mobile library has been parking outside Leys Institute until the end of January
A report on the options for restoring the buildings will be going to the local board.
Bus drivers dispute
The bus driver dispute ended before Christmas following Auckland Council unanimously requesting Auckland Transport to work on finding a solution and signalled the need to find a long-term sustainable way forward to the poor pay and conditions. It was important to take a stand together as Auckland needs professional bus drivers who are well trained and can earn a living. Here is the resolution in full from the 12 December Governing Body meeting:
a) note with concern the industrial dispute affecting bus services and its impact on commuters, bus drivers and their families and potentially undermining a shift to use of public transport
b) request Auckland Transport to work with NZ Bus and the relevant unions to find a solution to end the current dispute
c) request Auckland Transport and the Chief Executive of Auckland Council to work on sustainable long-term solutions
d) request the Mayor to write to the Ministry of Transport on behalf of Council seeking urgency to be accorded to the Public Transport Operating Model (PTOM) Review to ensure that problems of recruitment and retention of bus drivers are addressed and a fair and equitable resolution is reached around drivers wages and working condition
Waiheke Ferry cancellations
On 22 January Mayor Phil Goff convened a meeting of Fullers, the Harbourmaster, Auckland Transport, the Ports of Auckland and elected representatives including Councillor Chris Darby, Chair of the Waiheke Local Board, Cath Handley and Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye and myself. After the meeting the Mayor released the following statement.
“I made clear my expectations that recent ferry cancellations were unacceptable, and the causes had to be addressed collaboratively by the parties directly involved. The inconvenience caused to Aucklanders is not acceptable. I also made clear my expectations that I want to see this issue resolved as soon as possible,” Phil Goff said.
“The discussions were positive, and progress was made. I have asked for a working party to be convened urgently, chaired by the Harbourmaster, and involving Fullers, Auckland Transport, Ports of Auckland and the cruise ship industry.
“I have asked the group to address the following issues relevant to the cancellations:
- whether the restrictions on cruise liner berthing currently from 7.30am to 9am can and should be extended
- what the appropriate safety parameters are for ferries when cruise liners are berthing
- the need for a better communication mechanism between the relevant parties.
“I have asked the working group to report back on these matters to elected representatives as soon as possible.”
- My regular Ponsonby News column was published in the February edition
- I was quoted in an Our Auckland stories regarding Sustainable summer holiday waste tips; the launch of e-bikes at Long Bay for the use of park rangers and regarding the Vector Lights at anniversary weekend
- I was also quoted in sponsored NZ Herald content regarding city centre construction
Conferences and seminars
Te kāwana ngātahi i a Tāmaki Makaurau ‘Governing Auckland together’ symposium was held for all elected members on 2 December. The programme included:
- Deputy Mayor gave the opening address on behalf of the Mayor
- Chief Executive, Stephen Town address
- Strategic briefing – overview of key strategic issues for Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
- No point wasting a good crisis’ – an interactive future-focused session, looking at era scale change and connecting the future to actions in the present. This will be led by Dr Stephanie Pride
- Closing remarks by board Chair Leumaunga Lydia Sosene
Since 25 November I have received the following gifts as well the invites noted above under events:
- Out there SCAPE Public Art 1998 – 2018 a booked valued at $80 gifted by Warren Pringle