Councillor monthly report May 2021

General update

My Councillor report covers the period from 12 April 2021 until 7 May 2021.  It has been prepared for the May 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 public and 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
  • Member, Appointments and Performance Review Committee
  • Member, Joint Governance Working Party
  • Member, Waste Political Advisory Group

Summary

  • Council Finance staff reported to the Finance and Performance Committee that we have saved over $119 million so far this financial year as part of the $120million savings target stipulated in the Emergency Budget 2020/2021.
  • Chair Cath Handley and I met with the representatives of the Kennedy Point Marina development on 29 April. We all agreed that we are aiming for a “best practice” approach to managing and monitoring the Kororā habitat.  We requested that the review of their Little Blue Penguin management and monitoring plans is independently audited.  We strongly urged the developer to hold off re-commencing any works until after the review has been completed and the updated resource consent documents are approved by council.
  • Council announced plans to improve Queen Street and make it more pedestrian-friendly including installing wide boardwalks, seating, planter boxes to replace the temporary plastic sticks put in place during lockdown. A pocket park will also be created on the corner of Queen Street and Fort Street. The High Court decision on 6 May not to grant the injunction sought by Save the Queen Street Society means Auckland Council and Auckland Transport are able to proceed with planned improvements from 10 May.
  • I responded to a The Spinoff opinion column harshly criticising Auckland Council’s decision to fell a stand of trees at Western Springs for the native bush restoration project that I have supported since I was on the Waitematā Local Board.

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 April the Environment and Community Committee received a quarterly update from Auckland Unlimited. As part of the development of a Water Strategy the committee adopted ambitious targets designed to reduce Aucklanders’ use of drinking water by 20 per cent over the next 30 years to create a city more resilient to impacts of drought and climate change.

On 22 April the Finance and Performance Committee received an update on progress on savings targets set out in the Emergency Budget and approved the annual plans and council funding contributions for ARAFA, MOTAT and the Auckland War Memorial Museum. The committee also agreed that staff use existing rating policies to fully remit the fourth quarter instalment of the Accommodation Provider Targeted Rate set for 2020/2021

On 29 April the Governing Body received the final report of the independent review of health & safety at Ports of Auckland, requested a copy of the implementation plan, and that Ports of Auckland present their progress at the July and October Governing Body Meetings. The Governing Body also endorsed Mayor Goff and Deputy Mayor Cashmore as sponsors of the Light Rail Project and approved recommendations on proposed changes to Te Ture ā-Rohe Whakararata Waipiro 2014 / the Alcohol Control Bylaw 2014.

On 4 May the Appointments and Performance Committee appointed directors for Auckland Unlimited and Panuku Development Auckland and approved a shortlist of Board Members for Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Board.

On 6 May the Planning Committee   received public input from Christine Rose and Bevan Woodward on behalf of Movement regarding “The People’s Path”, a proposal for a walking and cycling facility across the Waitematā Harbour, and in response resolved to support Movement discussing with Waka Kotahi a trial of a walking and cycling lane on the Auckland Harbour Bridge and requested Waka Kotahi to seek a practical solution to a cost effective walking and cycling crossing across the Auckland harbour.

In agreeing to delegate development of the submission to the Transport and Infrastructure Committee inquiry into congestion pricing in Auckland, the Planning Committed agreed to  support in principle congestion pricing in Auckland, conditional upon the following issues being addressed:

i)       mitigation of equity impacts ii)      having public transport services and projects in place across Auckland on an equitable basis to allow road users to switch to alternative modes where appropriate iii)     that revenue collected, in addition to that needed to operate the scheme and to address clauses a) i) and a) ii) above, be used to offset and, as revenue and costs allow, replace the Regional Fuel Tax

Other key meetings and events

  •  On 12 April I met AT staff to discuss the city centre bus plan. The Governing Body held a workshop to discuss the findings of the CHASNZ Independent Review of health & safety at Ports of Auckland. I also attended the City Centre Residents Monthly meeting at the Ellen Meville Centre
  • On 13 April I met with David Abbott, Chair St Marys Bay Residents Association and with Tania Billingsly to discuss her family’s Te Atatu development.
  • On 14 April I attended Auckland Transport’s online RLTP public consultation event.
  • On 15 April Minister Wood met the Mayor and Councillors via Zoom to provide an update on Light Rail. I joined Councillor Desley Simpson in a meeting with the Auckland Bowling Club.
  • I was in the driving seat briefly at a ceremony to mark a major CRL milestone with the start of underground construction on the Aotea Station

    On 16 April I joined Mayor Goff to mark a CRL milestone in the build of the Aotea Station  and joined his visit to Ngai Tai Ki Tamaki’s Umupuia Marae, Cr Dalton gave me a tour of Manurewa on the way there. I attended the Taskforce on Alcohol and Community meeting.

  • On 17 April I attended the opening of the new playground in Western Springs Lakeside Park Te Wai Ōrea with the Waitemata Local Board and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.
  • On 18 April spent the afternoon on Waiheke to visit Kennedy Point and Wharetana Bay where residents wished to discuss long standing issues regarding the public reserve.
  • Visit with the Mayor to Ngai Tai Ki Tamaki’s Umupuia Marae

    On 19 April I received an update on the resource consent conditions for the proposed Kennedy Point Marina and visited a business building and selling sustainable eco-friendly tiny homes. I attended a regular catchup with Waiheke Local board members via Skype

  • On 20 April Cr Hills and I met with attendees from British Consulate General and the Regional COP26 Climate Change Advisor Dr Victoria Hatton.
  • On 21 April I attended the Waiheke Local Board meeting in person.
  • On 22 Minister James Shaw met with the Mayor and Councillors to discuss the government’s action and response to the Climate Change Commission. I also received a briefing on the Cycling Programme Business Case Review.
  • On 23 April I attended the City Link e-bus launch; was taken on a walking tour of Wynyard Quarter by Panuku staff; attended a site visit on Beach Road to discuss noise issues and met with City Centre Residents Group representatives.
  • On April 25 I attended Anzac Services at the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Grey Lynn RSC.
  • On 27 April I attended the first Political Reference Group meeting for the Auckland Cycling Programme Business Case review and attended a Women in Urbanism monthly catch up event.
  • On 28 April I met with Mark Knoff-Thomas of the Newmarket Business Association.
  • On 29 April Chair Handley and I met with the Kennedy Point Marina Director and Project Manager. I also attended the Viaduct Harbour residents’ meeting regarding Project WAVE and the opening night of ‘Single Asian Female’ at the ASB Waterfront Theatre at the invite of ATC
  • On 30 April Local Board I attended local board members Graeme Gunthorp, Julie Sandilands regular catch up with AT to discuss issues in the area and attended the Urban Nerds networking event.
  • On 3 May I met with Christine Rose and Andy Smith to discuss their walking/cycling lane proposal across the Harbour Bridge ahead of their presentation to the Planning Committee.
  • On 4 May I met with Auckland Blues representatives Andrew Finn and Brian Hore. I also attended a meeting for the Hauraki Gulf Forum to discuss the possibility of a Blue Bond and met with the Grey Lynn Business Association to discuss the impact of AT’s work in West Lynn.
  • On 5 May I met with Carolyn Cox to discuss the Hauraki Gulf focus of the Waiheke Local Climate Action Plan
  • MP Chlöe Swarbrick and the owner of Monster Valley, Karl and the opening even for Chlöe’s new office on Karanagahape Road

    On 6 May I attended Bike Auckland’s Bike Breakfast at Terrace café and I attended the opening of MP Chlöe Swarbrick’s new office on Karangahape Road

  • On 7 May I attended City Rail Link’s “ready to bore” event to mark the launch of the tunnel boring machine by the Mayor and Minister of Transport Michael Wood and joined the Minister again in the evening for his Auckland Light Rail discussion meeting with stakeholders at the Fickling Centre
  • I also attend a range of workshops and committee briefings throughout the month

Projecting and enhancing te mauri o te wai

Update on Auckland’s water strategy

 Watercare, New Zealand’s largest company in the water and wastewater industry and a Council Controlled Organisation, has been extremely good at supplying drinking water of a very high standard to people across Auckland.  The amalgamation of Auckland’s former councils into the Supercity standardised systems and controls with the benefits of efficiencies at scale.  It put Watercare on a path of planning for growth but with a corresponding increase in water consumption which didn’t create the right incentives to encourage water savings or alternative sources of water supply such as rain tanks.

As Aucklanders have demonstrated in the last year in response to the severe drought, we are in fact collectively capable of saving tens of millions of litres of water a day without affecting the quality of our take.  Since restrictions were introduced in May 2020, Aucklanders have saved about 15 billion litres of water. In a climate emergency we must be as ambitious  as possible in lowering per-capita demand for water to manage against the increased risk of water insecurity.

Amalgamation in 2010 also meant we lost the best of what former council’s were achieving with best practice water savings.   The former Waitakere City Council’s Water Strategy was all about reducing water use, rolling out water tanks, rewarding low use homes, supporting innovation and holding Watercare to account to invest in infrastructure to ensure reduced water use.  However there’s now been a significant step forward in the demand management aspect of a new council water strategy 2021 – 2050, which aims to protect and enhance te mauri o te wai/the life supporting capacity of water, to create a future of water security for Tāmaki Makaurau.  Auckland Council and Watercare have jointly committed to adopting ambitious targets designed to reduce Aucklanders’ use of drinking water by 20 per cent over the next 30 years to create a city more resilient to impacts of drought and climate change.  One of the key principles used to develop the long-term water usage targets was ensuring we didn’t use water pricing as a lever to reduce customer demand. Instead, the aim is to educate people and create a more efficient and smarter system that allows for new technologies over time and which lead to behaviour change.

Demand management is just one aspect of council’s water strategy 2021 – 2050, which will cover stormwater, wastewater and freshwater networks and is designed to operate in tandem with infrastructure investment, including securing alternative drinking water sources for the long term.  Technology is a key component of the council group’s water demand management strategy, which includes installing smart meters in all homes by 2034, and investing in a smart, efficient network to monitor and keep leakage to no more than 13 per cent. In signing off on the new water consumption targets at the April Environment and Climate Change Committee we confirmed support for Watercare’s commitment to aim for no more than 11 per cent leakage.

Empowering Aucklanders to manage their demand for water takes a values-based approach to water management. The need for water consumption targets to drive reduced water use per capita is in recognition of Aucklanders’ desire to treasure water/wai as a taonga as the region grows.

First published in Ponsonby News May 2021

Councillor Report April 2021

General update

My Councillor report covers the period from 6 March 2021 until 11 April 2021.  It has been prepared for the April 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 public and 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
  • Member, Appointments and Performance Review Committee
  • Member, Joint Governance Working Party
  • Member, Waste Political Advisory Group
  • Chair, Auckland Council Hauraki Gulf Political Reference Group

Summary

  • At Aotea FM Great Barrier Island following an interview together with Chair Izzy Fordham about the Recovery Budget and its implications for Aotea.

    The Recovery Budget (Council’s 10 year plan) public consultation process concluded on 22 March. I took part in a series of webinars which each focussed on a specific area of Auckland or a specific topic. These were not impacted by the lockdown and an example of council adapting to our current situation and ensuring people have the opportunity to ask questions of councillors and subject matter experts before submitting their feedback. In total, approximately 25,000 pieces of feedback were received. Workshops will be held throughout April and May to discuss the feedback, budget issues and implications before the final documentation will be adopted by the Governing Body in late June.

  • From 17-19 March I attended the 2Walk&Cycle Conference which was held in Dunedin and had the theme ‘Walking and Cycling: Everybody’s Business’. My plenary session presentation is on an issue I’m currently seeking to resolve: ‘Why is it taking so long to deliver an urban cycleway?’ (conference report -attached to my Councillor report on the local board agenda).
  • Following a brief period of lockdown, Auckland moved to Alert Level 2 at 6am on 7 March, and then to Alert Level 1 at midday on 12 March. All of New Zealand continues at Alert Level 1.
  • Over the weekend of 10/11 April I was alerted to the impact on the habitat of Kororā/ Little Blue penguins as a result of the marina construction at Kennedy Point. I am deeply concerned about this and have been working closely with Chair Handley on next steps including a halt to work until all issues are resolved.

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 of the meetings I attended.

On 8 March the Auckland Domain Committee approved the application from the Auckland Holocaust Memorial Trust to create a memorial “the Garden of Humanity” within the Domain and approved progress towards removing car parking in front of the museum, on Cenotaph Road and the Museum Circuit to improve access and views to the Museum.

I didn’t support the Committee decision to endorse a license to the Auckland Bowling Club for 15 car parks at the Grafton Mews car park at 100 Stanley Street (I would have supported the proposal going out for consultation prior to endorsement)

On 11 March an extraordinary meeting of the Planning Committee was held in confidence to approve the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) 2021-31 Package and endorse the draft 2021 Regional Transport Plan prior to approval by the AT Board for public consultation.  The minutes of the meeting are now publicly available.

Approval of ATAP was with the expectation that the following actions are undertaken:

  1. i)        that the Auckland Council Group works with the government to:
  2. A)      ensure transport funding settings enable delivery of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project 2021-31 indicative package
  3. B)      confirm normal requirements around developer mitigation and development contributions apply to Kāinga Ora developments as they apply to all other developments
  4. C)     investigate complementary levers to reduce transport-related emissions in areas such as:

1)      vehicle fleet and fuel decarbonisation

2)      land transport pricing reform

3)      urban growth management

4)      behavioural change

5)      joint development of a transport emissions reduction plan for Auckland

6)      addressing inequities from the impacts of decarbonisation

  1. D)     address inequity of access and transport choice, particularly for south and west Auckland and areas with high Māori population
  2. E)      support transport network safety in areas such as:

1)      enforcement and compliance mechanisms

2)      regulatory changes to improve safety for vulnerable road users

  1. F)      jointly develop appropriate targets to measure progress against key outcomes such as emissions reduction and mode shift
  2. ii)       that the Auckland Council Group:
  3. A)      ensures the Auckland Transport Alignment Project 2021-31 indicative package is a key input to decisions on the Regional Land Transport Plan 2021-31
  4. B)      fully utilises the levers available to it to reduce transport emissions, including:

1)      assessing its growth management approach and programmes against the delivery of climate compatible outcomes and emissions reduction analysis

2)      increasing the focus on intensification within brownfield areas, in particular along the rapid transit corridors

3)      supporting and promoting urban development at a local level that encourages reduced car use and accelerates the uptake of public transport and active modes (including new forms of mobility)

4) prioritising the delivery of public transport and active modes including walking, cycling

5)      showing leadership in encouraging communities and businesses to take practical steps in response to the climate emergency and Te-Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan

On 11 March the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee approved a proposed land exchange in Avondale and approved the decision-making of Colin Dale Park be allocated to the governing body from the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board (with the support of the that local board)

On 23 March the CCO Oversight Committee received the second quarter reports of the substantive council-controlled organisations and received the Ports of Auckland Interim Report for six months ending 31 December 2020.

 On 25 March the Governing Body appointed Governing Body delegates and attendees for the 2021 LGNZ Conference in Blenheim in July (I will be one of 4 Councillors attending plus the Mayor and Deputy Mayor) and agreed to make a by-law to control freedom camping on reserves.

On 1 April the Planning Committee deferred a decision on Downtown Carpark development transport options until further information is received (I do not support Auckland Transport’s current recommendation to include a bus terminal and short term parking in the redevelopment) and approved new Auckland Plan 2050 Environment and Cultural Heritage measures. I voted against Cr Walker’s Notice of Motion to retain the Wasp Hanger in Hobsonville for a temporary recreation and sports facility (the Hanger will be retained as part of a sale process).

Other key meetings and events

  • On 7 March I took part in the Recovery Budget consultation webinar focussing on issues in the North of the Region and attended an online discussion around water quality issues with the Ōrākei and Waitematā Local Boards.
  • On 8 March I did a walkabout with the Karangahape Road Business Association GM and the Recovery Budget consultation webinar focusing on community investment.
  • On 9 March I met with Mayor Goff to discuss Auckland Transport’s delivery of the cycleways programme and took part in Waitematā Local Board’s Recovery Budget Hearing Style consultation event.
  • On 10 March I attended the Regional Stakeholder presentations on the Recovery Budget (a Finance and Performance committee workshop)
  • On 11 March I took part in the Recovery Budget consultation webinar focusing on the Water Quality Targeted Rate.
  • On 12 March I attended the LGNZ Auckland Zone meeting, an all Councillor meeting with Minister Wood (photo right) and an online Three Waters Reform engagement workshop. I also travelled to Manukau Bus Station for the Mayor and Minister Wood’s press conference on ATAP
  • On 13 March I attended the Recovery Budget consultation drop-in session at Waiheke Library (photo right).
  • On 14 March I took part in the Recovery Budget consultation webinar focusing on rates.
  • On 15 March I attended the Governing Body/Independent Maori Statutory Board Joint Meeting and the Joint Governing Body/Local Board Chairs meeting via phone as I was on my way to Waiheke for the Local Board’s Recovery Budget consultation roundtable.
  • On 16 March I attended the unveiling of the plaque at Three Lamps dedicated to the work of the Polynesian Panther Party as part of the Auckland Arts Festival (photo right) and the Waste Advisory Political Group meeting
  • From 17-19 March I attended the 2Walk and Cycle Conference in Dunedin (conference report back attachment 1)
  • On 20 March I attended the Ngāti Paoa deed of settlement signing ceremony at Wharekawa Marae (photo right taken from behind Ministers Little and Mahuta)
  • On 22 March I attended a meeting with Waikato District Council representatives in Hamilton as co-chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum to discuss marine park collaboration and co-chaired the Hauraki Gulf Forum meeting in Te Aroha (photo right)
  • On 23 March I was interviewed in relation to renewal of the Natural Science Galleries at Auckland Museum and attended the Joint Governance Working Party Meeting
  • On 24 March I attended the Waiheke Local Board meeting (via Skype) to give my Councillor report
  • On 25 March I met with Viv Beck, GM Heart of the City
  • On 26 March I attended the Whakawatea for the Rainbow Crossing on Karangahape Road
  • On 29 March I attended a Watercare briefing ahead of the workshop regarding the development of Auckland’s Water Strategy; met with the AT CEO, AT Board Chair, AT Board member Tommy Parker and Mayor Goff and Councillors Darby and Hills to discuss concerns regarding AT’s delivery of the cycling programme; and attended the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board meeting
  • On 30 March I attended a Hauraki Gulf Forum hui with Minister David Parker, attended the Appointments and Performance Review Committee meeting and attended a Grey Lynn and Around Q&A event with guest Chloe Swarbrick. I also co-chaired the Auckland Council Hauraki Gulf Political Reference Group (the first meeting of the group for this term)
  • Councillors and one of the attendees Elia from MyRvr, and speakers Tania Pouwhare, Manager Community and Social Innovation, and Assoc Prof Damon Salesa

    On 31 March I attended a session on Auckland’s Strategic Recovery from COVID-19 at the Aotea Centre following a full day of workshops

  • On 1 April I attended with the Mayor and Councillors the Living Wage celebration in the Council Chamber
  • During the week of 5-11th April, the governing body held a ‘recess week allowing a break from formal meetings.

Regional Consultations

Feedback opened on 29 March until 2 May for consultation for the Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP), the 10-year investment programme for transport in Auckland. The draft RLTP is developed by AT together with the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and KiwiRail to respond to growth and challenges facing Auckland over the next decade. It also outlines the proposed 10-year investment programme for specific transport projects.

Our urban forest

One of the final decisions I made as a Chair of the Waitematā Local Board was to approve Auckland’s first localised Urban Ngahere Action Plan.  The plan is a road map for replenishing the urban forest and delivering on Auckland Council’s Urban Ngahere (Forest) Strategy to achieve the goal of 30% tree cover by 2050.   There are now 16 local boards who have either finalised or are in the process of taking Waitematā’s lead on their own plan.  There are numerous benefits associated with having, developing and maintaining a flourishing urban forest.

If the Recovery Budget is supported with a one off 5% rates rise there will be an additional $14m to invest in growing our urban and rural forests.   We will be able to plant an additional 11,000 street trees. We will be able to partner with the community to establish a nursery and produce 200,000 native seedlings a year to support community and marae planting.  There will be funds for planting an additional 200 ha of native forest.   Surveying is currently underway to determine locations for street trees targeting local board areas with the lowest canopy cover.   This is part of a package of proposals to address climate change in addition to the planting and ecological restoration already underway.

We are currently deep into the second year of the Mayor’s million tree initiative.  The goal of planting between 250,000 and 350,000 trees was well overshot last year by focusing on 4 major sites for new trees.  The Waitematā Local Board area has had an overall increase in canopy cover from 368ha of urban forest in 2013, increasing to 371ha in 2016/2018.   This provides a promising indication that clearance of trees is not occurring as has widely been predicted even with the removal of tree protection rules over a decade ago.

All trees will reach a stage where they become unwell or unsafe, so if we can plan for the  future we can achieve much better outcomes.  The Recovery Budget supports a 10 year programme that takes a long-term view of tree management and planting. Trees aren’t like other infrastructure, if they are planted properly they will give dividends well into the future.   I fully support the Tupuna Maunga Authority taking this long-term view to plan for the restoration of indigenous native ecosystems. The removal of inappropriate exotic weeds and trees is part of that process.

Wynyard Quarter is one of the best examples of planting to a masterplan.  There are now over 800 maturing trees many of which have been successfully moved from Quay Street. However, planting is becoming more challenging because of changing weather patterns.  Last year there was barely a winter.  This year the traditional planting season is likely to move to July until September.  In all maintenance contracts there are now standard clauses to ensure streets trees are well looked after for two years before being handed over as council assets.

When tree removal is required, for example, for much needed housing, improvements to community amenities or for safety,  council has to ensure proper processes are followed, mitigation is provided for and appropriate tools are used to protect significant trees.  At Western Springs I want to see council push ahead to remove the unsafe and failing pine trees so significant planting can get underway during the planting season and the track opened up again for the community (read more about the Western Springs Native Bush restoration project here on the Auckland Council website).  The long-term benefits will be enjoyed by generations to come.

First published in Ponsonby News April 2021

Councillor Report March 2021

My Councillor report covers the period from 9 February 2021 until 5 March 2021.  It has been prepared for the March 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 public and 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
  • Member, Appointments and Performance Review Committee
  • Member, Joint Governance Working Party
  • Member, Waste Political Advisory Group
Summary
  • Following the discovery of cases of COVID-19 in the community, Auckland moved to Alert Level 3 for a 3-day period from Monday 15 February. The rest of New Zealand moved to Alert Level 2. All of New Zealand dropped to Alert Level 1 on midnight on Wednesday 17 February.
  • Auckland again moved to Alert Level 3, and the rest of New Zealand to Alert Level 2, on Sunday 28  February for a 7-day period. At the time of writing, an announcement about Alert Levels beyond Sunday 7 March is expected on the afternoon of Friday 5th March.
  • During Alert Level 3, all council meetings were held online and all in-person events were cancelled. Unfortunately, this included the Lantern Festival, Auckland Pride Festival events and the beginning of the Auckland Arts Festival
  • The consultation period for the ‘Recovery Budget’ Long-Term Plan (2021-2031) began on 22 February. This included a series of online webinars on specific topics such as rates, and climate change. Some in-person events scheduled while Auckland was at Alert Level 3 were cancelled.
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.

Dr Rod Carr, Chair of the Climate Change Commission, Deputy Chair Deputy Chair Lisa Tumahai and CEO Jo Hendy with Mayor Goff and Cr Richard Hills

On 11 February the Environment and Climate Change Committee received an engaging and informative presentation from Climate Change Commission Chair Dr Rod Carr, Deputy Chair Lisa Tumahai and CEO Jo Hendy.

It was a great opportunity to ask questions about the commission’s draft advice to the Government and how Auckland must play a big part in our pathway to net zero emissions by 2050.  I reported on the meeting in my Ponsonby News March update (Attachment 1)

The committee delegated authority to the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee, and an Independent Māori Statutory Board member to approve Auckland Council’s submission on the Climate Change Commission’s draft advice to Government, endorsed Auckland’s commitment to meeting C40’s revised leadership standards, adopted the revised Resource Recovery Network Strategy 2021, received a quarterly update from Auckland Transport and endorsed the key submission points for the draft Auckland Council submission to central government’s Water Services Bill.

On Thursday 18 February the Governing Body adopted Consultation Document and Supporting Information for the Long-term Plan 2021-2031 and agreed to the communications and engagement approach. Governing Body also agreed to consult on options for introducing a Transport Targeted Rate to provide public transport services in Paremoremo; and agreed to consult on the proposed amendments to the Revenue and Financing Policy. consult on the proposed amendments to the Revenue and Financing Policy.

Following the unanimous Governing Body support for the Waiheke rahui with Chair Cath Handley and Mayor Phil Goff

On Thursday 25 February the Governing Body agreed to tautoko (support) Ngāti Paoa’s rāhui around the motu of Waiheke and confirmed me and the Mayor will write to Minister Parker with Auckland Council submission in support of the application by Ngāti Pāoa for a two year temporary closure on the taking of four species of shellfish pursuant to s186A of Fisheries Act 1996  (Attachment 2 my speech notes to the meeting) and confirmed the amended Water Supply and Wastewater Network Bylaw 2015. Governing Body also approved proposed changes to the Cemeteries and Crematoria Bylaw 2014 and received Auckland War Memorial Museum’s Quarterly Report and draft Annual Plan 2021/2022.

On Thursday 4 March the Planning Committee approved the high-level implementation plan as a basis for Auckland Council’s implementation of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020.   Decision-making on the Auckland Transport Alignment Plan and the draft Regional Land Transport Plan was postponed a week.

Consultations

Consultation on Auckland Council’s 10-year Budget for 2021-2031, called the “Recovery Budget” opened on 22 February. The budget increases council’s total capital investment in our city from $26 billion to $31 billion over the next 10 years to deliver infrastructure for transport, housing, water and within our communities, helping to stimulate jobs and our economy.

It responds to the impacts of climate change (for the first time there is budget for a package of climate action proposals), protects our environment, and continue to provide essential and key services to Aucklanders. The budget also sets out our commitment to prudent management of our finances and a continued focus on savings to manage the loss of council income from COVID-19, with cumulative losses projected to reach around $1 billion by 2024.

Feedback is open until Monday 22 March on the budget and Local Board priorities akhaveyoursay.nz/recoverybudget.

I have attended a number of engagement events including presenting to the St Marys Bay Residents Association committee with local board member Adriana Christie and the 10-year Budget 2021-2031 Webinar- Climate change focus with fellow Councillors and subject experts (photo right on zoom before the Webinar Q&A started)

Attachment 3: Our Auckland:  Aucklanders urged to have a say on critical 10-year Recovery Budget

Other key meetings and events

All meetings which took place during either period at Alert Level 3 were held online

  • Visit to Mint Innovation with Cr Cooper

    On 9 February attended the Environment and Climate change Committee agenda run through, weekly Chairs meeting and fortnightly Councillors catch up with the Mayor. I also visited Mint Innovation (E-Waste Recycling Facility) with Cr Linda Cooper

  • On 10 February attended the Finance and Performance Committee workshop on the Recovery Budget
  • On 11 February met Dr Rod Carr, Chair of the Climate Change Commission and Cr Richard Hills before his presentation to the Environment and Climate Change Committee and attended the opening night of Two Women at the ASB Waterfront Theatre at the invitation of Auckland Theatre Company
  • On 12 February attended the LGNZ Metro meeting in Wellington (I attended via Zoom). Hon Grant Robertson joined the meeting to discuss his focus as Infrastructure Minister and travelled to Waiheke to attend the Blackpool Residents Association “Dog and Pony” social evening with Chair Cath.
  • Cr Hills, Mayor Goff, Pride Festival chair, Kaan Hiini and director Max Tweedie at the Big Gay Out

    On Sunday 14 February I took part in a walkaround with the Mayor and some of my fellow councillors at Big Gay Out (photo right with Cr Hills, Mayor Goff, Pride Festival chair, Kaan Hiini and director Max Tweedie)

  • On Monday 15 February I discussed safety concerns relating to the Franklin and Victoria Street cycleways; and speed enforcement in the City Centre with Auckland Transport, attended the Climate Political Reference Group meeting and the Auckland Domain Committee workshop
  • On Tuesday 16 February I met with staff to discuss the Regional stakeholder consultation process and I attended the Waitematā Local Board meeting to give my Councillor’s update
  • On Wednesday 17 February I attended the fortnightly catch up with the Chief Sustainability Office and committee workshops
  • On Thursday 18 February I had my monthly catch up with Waiheke Local Board members
  • On Monday 22 February attended the weekly Chairs meeting and fortnightly Councillors catch up with the Mayor
  • On Tuesday 23 February attended the CCO Oversight Committee meeting and the Waitematā Local Board workshop to discuss the financial overview of proposed local board budgets
  • On Wednesday 24 February I attended committee workshops, a meeting with AT and council staff to discuss the approach to the RLTP, the Auckland Art Fair opening at the Cloud and presented to the St Marys Bay Residents Association committee regarding the Recovery Budget
  • On Friday 26 February I spent the day on Aotea Great Barrier Island. I met with Local Board members; took part in an interview about the Recovery Budget on Aotea FM and held Councillor Clinics.
  • On Saturday 27 February I attended the ‘Have Your Say’ LTP consultation event on Aotea Great Barrier Island and took part in the ‘Central’ LTP webinar in the evening. (Right: Photos from an eventful 24 hours on Aotea)
  • On Monday 1 March I attended a Waiheke Area Plan Workshop and attended the first of two webinars on the topic of rates.
  • On Tuesday 2 March I was briefed by Auckland Transport on the Central City Bus route plan and attended the Appointments and Performance Review Committee meeting
  • PM Jacinda’s view of the Local Government/ Central Government Forum via Zoom

    On Wednesday 3 March I attended the LGNZ National Council meeting and the Central Government/Local Government Forum in Wellington via Zoom. The Governing Body also received an update on the LTP communication and engagement approach while at Alert Level 3. I then took an active role in the LTP webinar on the topic of Climate Change in my capacity as Deputy Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee.

  • On Thursday 4 March attended the Planning Committee ATAP workshop

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