The purpose of my report is to detail my main activities and to share information with the local board regarding governing body decisions, my attendance at events and meetings, regional consultations, media updates and key issues.
Deputy Chair, Environment and Climate Change Committee
Co-Chair, Hauraki Gulf Forum
Member, Auckland City Centre Advisory Board
Board Member, LGNZ National Council
Member, Auckland Domain Committee
In my previous written report to the local board, I reported on Auckland Council’s response as the pandemic unfolded and through the lockdown period.
As NZ moved from Alert Level 3 to 2 council facilities and venues opened up and planning was well underway for the post Covid-19 recovery.
The Emergency Committee was established as an ad hoc committee of the whole of the Governing Body due to the pandemic. The final Emergency Committee meeting was held on 28 May. Workshops and Committees of the whole have recommenced meeting again from the beginning of June.
Following advice from Watercare, mandatory water restrictions came into effect on 16 May due to the ongoing drought
The first co-chaired Hauraki Gulf Forum meeting was held on 25 May
Consultation on the Emergency Budget 2020/2021 started on 29 May
Governing Body meetings
The minutes for all meetings are available on the Auckland Council website. The following is intended as a summary only.
On 23 April the Emergency Committee approved the levy for funding Auckland’s regional amenities for the next financial year, appointed Phil Wilson as the Group Recovery Manager for COVID-19 and received its regular Auckland Emergency Management update.
Watercare Chief Executive Raveen Jaduram also provided an update on Auckland’s water shortage situation and the requirements for stage one water restrictions.
On 30 April the Emergency Committee received the regular weekly update on the Covid-19 pandemic and the Auckland Emergency Management response.
The committee approved the total levy applied for by the Museum of Transport and Technology of $14,890,578 for 2020/2021 and made appointments to the District Licensing Committee. A governing body meeting was also held to approve Bylaw Panel recommendations on the proposed new Food Safety Information Bylaw 2020 and approve procedural plan changes.
On 7 May theEmergency Committee received the regular weekly update on the Covid-19 pandemic and the Auckland Emergency Management response.
In response to one of the most severe droughts in Auckland’s history, the committee voted unanimously to introduce mandatory water restrictions, which will come into effect across the region from Saturday 16 May.
Auckland Council’s submission on the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport was approved and the committee endorsed Auckland Transport’s applications to the first tranche of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Innovating Streets for People pilot fund. It also approved the process for developing a recommended package of projects for the second funding round closing on 3 July 2020, which will include Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and Panuku Development Auckland projects.
On 14 May the Emergency Committee received the regular weekly update on the Covid-19 pandemic and the Auckland Emergency Management response.
The committee unanimously endorsed the rationale, scope, and proposed process for updating the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) 2020 and its terms of reference. Within the terms of reference, it was agreed to propose an additional objective for the shared government and council priorities for transport in Auckland to improve the resilience and sustainability of Auckland’s transport system and significantly reduce greenhouse gases. The refresh will consider a number of emerging issues including the impact of Covid-19 on funding, any government economic stimulus packages, the New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP) of transport investment in Auckland, climate change, mode shift and emerging brownfield and greenfield priorities.
The committee considered the reappointment of three directors of the Tāmaki Redevelopment Company (TRC). Of the directors on the board, Auckland Council and the government appoint one director each and the remaining directors are jointly appointed by both the government and the council. With the terms of three of the current directors ending soon decisions need to be made about appointments to those positions.
On 21 May the Emergency Committee received the regular weekly update on the Covid-19 pandemic and the Auckland Emergency Management response.
The committee received Local Board feedback on the first round of public consultation on the Emergency Budget 2020/2021 for consideration when decisions are made.
The committee agreed to consult alongside the Emergency Budget 2020/2021 on the addition to the Rates remission and postponement policy of a COVID-19 Rates postponement scheme.
The committee agreed unanimously to publicly consult on a Covid-19 rates postponement scheme alongside the consultation on the Emergency Budget 2020/2021. Under the proposed scheme rates postponement will be available to all residential and business ratepayers financially stressed because of Covid-19.
The council consulted with Aucklanders on the Annual Budget 2020/2021 from mid-February to mid-March this year. However, due to the impact of Covid-19 the council is proposing to consult on further matters for the Emergency Budget 2020/2021.The committee made a recommendation to the council’s Governing Body to endorse a recommended engagement approach for further consultation on the Emergency Budget to take place from 29 May 2020 to 19 June 2020.
On 28 May theEmergency Committee received the regular weekly update on the Covid-19 pandemic and the Auckland Emergency Management response.
The committee endorsed the Water Supply and Wastewater Network Bylaw 2015 Review findings report. A further options report will be brought to the Regulatory Committee in June.
The Governing Body meeting on 28 May minor changes to rating policy and some fees for inclusion in the Emergency Budget 2020/2021 and amendments to the council’s Revenue and Financing Policy were adoped. These changes were publicly consulted on in February and March this year and some of the changes recommended are subject to the consideration of further feedback.
The Governing Body endorsed the engagement approach for public consultation on the Emergency Budget following a recommendation from the Emergency Committee. To adhere to Covid-19 health and safety requirements a digitally led engagement approach is recommended, including the use of online webinar events, with feedback options through written, telephone and digital channels.
On 4 June the Planning Committee approved Auckland Transport and Auckland Council’s proposed list of projects for further development and assessment prior to submission to the second application round of the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Innovating Streets for People pilot fund closing on 3 July 2020.
The Planning Committee endorsed Auckland Council’s draft submission on the proposed amendments to the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality: Particulate Matter and Mercury Emissions (included as Attachment A of the agenda report).
The Planning Committee delegated authority to the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Planning Committee, Chair of the Regulatory Committee and an Independent Māori Statutory Board member to approve the council’s submission on the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Bill and requested that staff forward the draft submission to the Planning Committee and Local Board chairs for high-level feedback.
The committee also support a Notice of Motion from Cr Walker seeking a joint water conservation campaign with Watercare and the development of a water climate-resilient strategy for Auckland (The strategy is being progressed by the Environment and Climate Change Committee).
Other meetings and events
In the period 21 April to 5 June I attended:
A virtual service observed with neighbours joining from their bubble for Stand at Dawn on Anzac Day
Hauraki Gulf Forum drop in with the co-chairs for forum members on 4 and 5 May and meetings with the forum’s Executive Officer in preparation for the meeting on 25 May
The weekly meeting with the Mayor for Chairs and Deputies of the committees
The LGNZ metro sector meeting on 8 May as alternate for the Mayor and the Infrastructure Commission briefing to local government representatives. I also attended the National Council board meeting on 15 May and the meeting on 5 June to meet the new CEO of LGNZ.
On 27 May I attended the Central Government and Local Government annual Forum hosted by the Prime Minister
Online Waiheke Local Board meeting on 22 April and 27 May, the Waitematā Local Board meetings on 5 and 19 May the Aotea Great Barrier Local Board meeting on 12 May
I was invited to speak to the National Council of Women Auckland Branch meeting on 11 May
The Auckland City Centre Advisory Board workshop and meeting on 27 May (High St pilot project is one of the projects supported by ACCAB in the City Centre. Attachment 1 Our Auckland More space for pedestrians on High Street)
Appointments and Performance Review committee CEO interviews on 18 May
The Governing Body and Independent Maori Statutory Board Joint meeting on 19 May
Finance and Performance Committee workshops regarding the Emergency Budget
Meetings relevant to the work programme of the Environment and Climate Change Committee
Auckland Festival of Photography exhibition opening on 4 June at the Grey Gallery (first function in real life since Alert level 3 prior to lockdown)
Emergency Budget 2020/2021 consultation
Auckland Council has produced an Emergency Budget to address the $525m shortfall in revenue due to Covid-19 and in so doing has to make some tough decisions about where to find significant savings and what to prioritise.
In response to a “rates freeze” campaign and many emails from constituents seeking a zero rates rise I provided the following information (prior to consultation starting on 29 May):
The draft 2020-21 annual budget that was consulted on prior to the lockdown proposed a 3.5% rates increase. We now need a new “emergency” budget that responds to these extraordinary times. We are in incredibly challenging times dealing with the Covid-19 crisis and there is no doubt the economic downturn is going to continue hitting hard across our businesses and communities.
At the Emergency Committee meeting on 16 April Councillors were unanimous that the council needs to take decisive steps to reduce the pressure on residents and businesses facing economic hardship, while ensuring we can protect and maintain the essential services Aucklanders rely on. There will be another round of consultation including the option of limiting any rise to 2.5%. For the average ratepayer, a 2.5 % increase would be equivalent to an extra $1.35 per week, while a 3.5 % increase would be $1.83 per week.
The final details of the Emergency Budget 20/21 including rates will not be voted on until July.
In considering the options it is clear that cutting rates will end up costing ratepayers more and will slow down Auckland’s recovery. It is important to note:
There is going to be a substantial reduction in non-rates revenue caused by the recession, some projects and services will need to be cut or postponed to reduce expenditure. Development Contributions and fees make up 53% of council’s income. Potential reductions in cash revenue of $350-650m for 20/21 depending on the length of disruption caused by Covid-19
The credit rating agencies have allocated Auckland Council an AA/Aa2 rating. This enables council to borrow for capital projects at attractive interest rates, for longer time periods, and means there is no shortage of those wishing to invest. Our financial policy is to limit our debt to revenue ratio to 270%, although internally we manage to a 265% ratio to give ourselves a buffer. Lowering income could potentially put this at risk. The outcome would be higher interest rates, reduced funding abilities and shorter timelines for debt renewals. All these add up to very real costs which would be to the detriment of ratepayers, both now and well into the future. A 1% increase in rates equals $17 million in additional income. 3.5% equates to $59 million net. A 1% increase in interest rates equates to around $100 million of additional interest costs. A single notch credit rating downgrade would cost council approximately $15 million every year in additional interest costs.
Even at a 3.5% rates rise there will be substantial cuts to the infrastructure projects, maintenance and services provided by the Council. This work is already underway with many temp or contracted staff having been given notice.
At the same time, council has already driven savings of $270 million in operational expenses. $62 million of additional savings are budgeted for this year. All opportunities to cut spending still need to be reviewed from across the council group.
The CEO and senior executives have voluntarily agreed to pay cuts
The Emergency Committee agreed to consult on targeted measures including suspending the Accommodation Provider Targeted Rate and the broadening of council’s rates postponement policy. We also announced more help to ratepayers and business who may be struggling to pay their rates in the financial year to 30 June.
I believe we have taken a principle-based approach with a strong commitment to financial prudence and sustainability. An austerity budget based on zero rates rise will hit our most vulnerable communities hardest and limit council’s ability to play a key role in working with Government to promote economic recovery. I think targeted assistance to ratepayers suffering financial stress is preferable.
Consultation on the Emergency Budget 20/21 budget started on 29 May for three weeks. The consultation material provides a clear explanation of what each rating option will mean for council services and infrastructure. Please take the time to review the information and provide feedback. (Attachment 1 Emergency Budget decisions will impact Waitematā and Gulf says Councillor)
Hauraki Gulf Forum
I have been working with the Executive Officer and Tangata Whenua co-chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum, Nicola MacDonald to develop a work plan and governance statement. We hosted two co-chair drop-in sessions via Skype to provide Forum members the opportunity to give feedback ahead of the Forum meeting held on 25 May. On 14 May a media release went out about the new governance arrangements for the Forum (Attachment 3: Our Auckland: Co-Chairs to lead Hauraki Gulf Forum)
On 25 May the Hauraki Gulf Forum adopted the new work plan with an updated set of ambitious goals for the Gulf:
In the photo right with co-chair Nicola MacDonald wearing pake (capes) commissioned by Nicola for the co-Chairs to symbolise our enduring relationship and stewardship to protect our taonga tuku iho. These kahu korari will pass from co-Chairs to successive co-Chairs and serve to remind us of our duty to look after Te Moananui o Toi and Tikapa Moana
I am wearing a kahu korari beautifully made by master weaver Meleta Bennett, Te Arawa, named Tipaka Moana, a name gifted by the Hauraki tangata whenua members.
Nicola’s kahu korari is called Te Moananui o Toi the name was gifted by Ngāti Wai Tangata Whenua members and was woven by master weaver Maakere Taane no Ngai Tahu.
These emergency measures were reviewed going into Alert Level 2. I agreed at that point with the removal of the temporary measures on Ponsonby Road because I didn’t think the scheme was strong enough to withstand a significant increase in traffic. (photo right of the additional space on Ponsonby Road during Alert Level 3).
However, the temporary measures provided a valuable opportunity to re-image how Ponsonby Road could be made far more people friendly and has directly contributed to a Ponsonby Road pilot being included as an application in the second round of the Innovating Streets Funding considered by the Planning Committee on 3 June.
The temporary works on Queen St installed for Alert Level 3 are intended to transition into an Innovating Streets pilot if the NZTA funding application is successful
We are in incredibly challenging times dealing with the Covid-19 crisis and there is no doubt the economic downturn is going to continue hitting hard across our businesses and communities. In Auckland, the worst hit industries of Accommodation and Food Services have had a 95% reduction in active employment during the lockdown. Fortunately it does increasingly look like the “go hard, go early” strategy led by the Ministry of Health is working and indications are that we will soon be moving from Alert Level 3 to Level 2.
Although there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the economic recovery we know there won’t be a return to “normal” any time soon. The draft 2020-21 annual budget that was consulted on prior to the lockdown proposed a 3.5% rates increase. We now need a new emergency budget that responds to these extraordinary times.
At the Emergency Committee meeting on 16 April Councillors were unanimous in council taking decisive steps to reduce the pressure on residents and businesses facing economic hardship, while ensuring we can protect and maintain the essential services Aucklanders rely on. There will be another round of consultation including the option of limiting any rise to 2.5%. For the average ratepayer, a 2.5 % increase would be equivalent to an extra $1.35 per week, while a 3.5 % increase would be $1.83 per week.
It is very valid to ask why a rates freeze is not on the table. It comes down to the fact that cutting rates will potentially end up costing ratepayers more, jeopardize council services and projects at a critical time and will slow down Auckland’s recovery.
There is going to be a substantial reduction in non-rates revenue caused by the recession. Development Contributions and fees make up 53% of council’s income. The potential loss of revenue is $350-650m for 20/21 depending on the length of disruption caused by Covid-19.
The credit rating agencies have allocated Auckland Council an AA/Aa2 rating. This enables council to borrow for capital projects at attractive interest rates, for longer time periods, and means there is no shortage of those wishing to invest. Our financial policy is to limit our debt to revenue ratio to 270%, although internally we manage to a 265% ratio to give ourselves a buffer. Lowering income could potentially put this at risk. The outcome would be higher interest rates, reduced funding abilities and shorter timelines for debt renewals. All these add up to very real costs which would be to the detriment of ratepayers, both now and well into the future. A 1% increase in rates equals $17 million in additional income. 3.5% equates to $59 million net. A 1% increase in interest rates equates to around $100 million of additional interest costs. A single notch credit rating downgrade would cost council approximately $15 million every year in additional interest costs. A $59m revenue loss of revenue also means $600m of capital investment in infrastructure that council will be unable to make over 10 years.
The Emergency Committee agreed to consult on targeted measures including suspending the Accommodation Provider Targeted Rate and the broadening of council’s rates postponement policy. We also announced more help to ratepayers and business who may be struggling to pay their rates in the financial year to 30 June – anyone who is facing difficulty can contact council on 09 3010101.
I believe we have taken a principled based approach with a strong commitment to financial prudence and sustainability. An austerity budget based on a zero rates rise will hit our most vulnerable communities hardest and limit council’s ability to play a key role in working with Government to promote economic recovery. I think targeted assistance to ratepayers suffering financial stress makes more sense.
Consultation on the Emergency Budget 20/21 budget is due to start by the end of May for three weeks. The consultation material will provide a clear explanation of what each rating option will mean for council services and infrastructure. Please take the time to review the options and provide feedback.
The purpose of my report is to provide an update on the key governing body decisions as the Covid-19 crisis escalated and during the lockdown as well as my focus during this time as Councillor.
Auckland Council’s response to the Covid-19 crisis
Following the WHO declaration of an official pandemic on 11 March the first indication of the seriousness of the situation was the need to cancel the Pasifika Festival on 13 March due to concerns about the risk of the virus spreading into the Pacific. As more cases were confirmed Auckland Council closed pools, libraries, galleries and other community facilities on 20 March. The next day the Government introduced a four-level alert system to help combat Covid-19. The Prime Minister announced New Zealand would go to Alert Level 4 at 23.59 on 25 March 2020. A state of emergency was declared putting the country into lock-down for a minimum of four weeks. People were told to stay home to save lives and only go out for essential work, supplies and local recreation.
It is an unprecedented situation that is evolving every day as we get to grips with the new “normal”. First and foremost, Council is taking the advice of the Ministry of Health, which is leading New Zealand’s Covid-19 response.
Essential Council services continue including storm water infrastructure repair and maintenance and water treatment, animal welfare management, biosecurity and hazard monitoring., Auckland’s kerbside rubbish and recycling are considered essential services and will continue as usual. Unfortunately, there is currently no market for recycled paper so temporarily it will be going to landfill (paper and cardboard can still go out in the recycling bin). The inorganic collection has been postponed.
Over 300 Council facilities have closed including recreation centres, pools, community centres. Parks and reserves remain open for local recreation but playgrounds and recreational facilities in parks are closed. Most public toilets are closed although some remain open for essential workers and rough sleepers.
Auckland Libraries e-lending services like audiobooks, video streaming services and learning databases like Lynda.com continue to be available for free and have been extended. Library fines for overdue books have been suspended and gym memberships are on hold.
Road maintenance undertaken by Auckland Transport is considered an essential service so continues during the lockdown. However, this is being limited to only that maintenance required to keep the network safe and operational during this period.
Auckland Council and homeless agencies have been working together to ensure there is accommodation, food and essential support available for rough sleepers.
The Our Auckland website was transformed quickly to provide a one stop shop for all Auckland Council related Covid-19 information. Just before the Easter break a further plea was made to boaties to not visit the islands against level 4 lockdown rules. While New Zealand Police and other agencies have reminded boaties to stay off the water during the lockdown, unfortunately some have still been visiting Aotea Great Barrier.
Local board chairs supported by local board members have been on the front line dealing directly with a range of challenging issues in their communities especially at the outset of the lockdown. I have been in regular communication with chairs in my ward and available to follow up on issues as requested.
An emergency management fund established on 24 March was accessed quickly to guarantee one flight per day to Aotea Great Barrier to ensure essential services, products and workers continue to be available to all residents. A service for essential supplies was also put in place for Rakino Island.
Work is underway to identify potential cuts to expenditure required due to the substantial reduction in non-rates revenue caused by the recession. Steps have already been taken to reduce spending on external contracts and contract staff in non-essential services, as part of plans to manage the financial impact of COVID-19 (Refer Attachment 1 regarding the Annual Budget 20/21).
Regular Covid-19 briefings for councillors have been held since 18 March. At the time of writing the Prime Minister has announced that Alert Level 4 has been extended until 11.59pm on Monday 27 April. Council’s focus over the next week will be to work through what moving to Alert Level 3 means for the organisation and the additional services it will be able to provide. Planning for the post Covid-19 recovery is also underway.
Governing Body meetings
The minutes for all meetings are available on the Auckland Council website here.
On 19 March the Finance and Performance Committee meeting received the Auckland Council Group and Auckland Council quarterly performance report for the period ended 31 December 2019; a Financial update on current status due to Covid-19 as an extraordinary item, and a presentation from the Eden Park Trust Board noting the uncertainty of future financial projections due to Covid-19. (this was the last meeting with all members in attendance at the Town Hall prior to lockdown)
On 24 March, an extraordinary meeting of the Governing Body met to discuss Governing Body decision-making continuity during the COVID-19 response period. It was agreed unanimously that members could attend any meetings of the Governing Body or it’s committees by audio or audiovisual link, and be counted as present, during the COVID-19 response period.
A temporary Emergency Committee of the whole of Governing Body was established with a quorum of 2, with others participating via audio link, which meets weekly and includes 2 members of IMSB. All functions and powers of the Governing Body have been delegated to this committee other than those in Audit and Risk.
We also agreed to establish a COVID-19 contingency fund of $22.5 million for any urgent expenditure required to respond to the pandemic or its impacts.
Following this meeting Governing Body members had to quickly adapt to skyping into meetings, and although there have been a few teething issues, in general the process is working well to maintain good governance.
On 26 March Governing Body met and endorsed the proposed membership for the Heritage Advisory Panel and the updated terms of reference. 3 items were deferred, being Referred from the Audit and Risk Committee – Health, Safety and Wellbeing Update – emerging risks and issues, Summary of Governing Body information memoranda and briefings (including the Forward Work Programme) – 26 March 2020 and Review of remuneration of independent members of the Audit and Risk Committee which included a report in the confidential section.
On 2 April the Emergency Committee met with all members attending via electronic link. The meeting considered 2 items of extraordinary business. The meeting delegated all emergency powers and roles to the Group Controller and ratified all decisions made by the controller since declaration of a state of emergency. We were also provided with a report on activities undertaken by council to support the wider community in response to Covid-19. A verbal update was provided on the Summary of Infrastructure criteria for “shovel ready” projects announced by Government. Reappointment of board members to City Rail Link Ltd and Haumaru Housing was considered in the confidential section.
On 9 April the Emergency Committee received a written and verbal briefing from Ian Maxwell, Director Executive Programmes and Kate Crawford, Group Controller, Auckland Emergency Management. We unanimously approved Auckland Council’s list of ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure projects and programmes to be submitted to Crown Infrastructure Partners Ltd and delegated the final priorisation of 20 projects to the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, IMSB Chair and four Councillors. (the final list of 73 ‘shovel-ready’ projects submitted to CIP was announced on 14 April)
We also discussed the Healthy Waters southern and regional maintenance contracts in the confidential section
On 14 April an Extraordinary Audit and Risk Committee met via electronic link. Members were briefed on the COVID-19 pandemic and Auckland Emergency Management status and received two confidential updates on the approach to risk management and assurance activities, and the approach to identify and manager financial risks.
On 16 April the Emergency Committee received a verbal briefing from Ian Maxwell, Director Executive Programmes and Mace Ward, Group Controller, Auckland Emergency Management. Representatives from the Taxpayers Union and the Auckland Ratepayers Alliance presented in public forum. Cr Darby introduced an extraordinary item regarding Auckland International Airport share purchase plan. Members agreed 18-5 to seek a report looking at improving the council’s oversight of the airport company, including whether as the biggest shareholder, it should seek to appoint a director.
The confidential part of the meeting covered council’s Financial position and Annual Budget 2020/2021 Update. Councillors were unanimous that the council needs to take decisive steps to reduce the pressure on residents and businesses facing economic hardship, while ensuring we can protect and maintain the essential services Aucklanders rely on. It was agreed that another round of consultation including the option of limiting any rates rise to 2.5%. (Our Auckland: Councillors agree rates support for Aucklanders)
Other meetings and events
As NZ moved to Alert level 2, I stopped attending events and meetings in person from 20 March. In the days prior to that I attended the Waitematā Local Board monthly business meeting and CCO Oversight Committee workshop with Auckland Transport on 17 March. The CCO update on Covid-19; Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee workshop on the proposed Burial and Cremation Act 1964 submission and the Planning Committee Briefing: Supporting Growth Alliance – on transport network proposals in greenfield areas on 18 March.
On 17 March I also spoke at the EV’s and Beyond Conference held on Waiheke in relation to Auckland’s commitment to the Climate Change Emergency.
I was interviewed by BfM on 19 March and 20 April for an item called “City Counselling” covering council’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, the Annual Budget, tactical urbanism and the Auckland Climate Action Plan work underway.
LGNZ’s National Council meeting in Wellington on 20 March was held via Zoom. It was agreed to postpone the annual conference until 2021.
The weekly meeting with the Mayor for Chairs and Deputies of the committees of the whole has continued via Skype. A fortnightly Auckland Transport catch up on ward issues has also continued during the lockdown.
I worked with Cr Richard Hills, Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee to seek the inclusion of a climate lens and other Auckland focused criteria to the prioritisation process for the “shovel ready” programme considered at the Emergency Committee meeting on 9 April (letter attached here) . I also submitted a spreadsheet of shovel ready projects for consideration which included local board projects in my ward.
The work of the Environment and Climate Change Committee has continued with briefings and catch-ups via skype. The covid-19 crisis has had an impact on the timeline for Auckland’s Climate Action Plan but the current aim is bring the final plan to a committee meeting in July.
I have been working with the Executive Officer and Tangata Whenua co-chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum to create a draft work plan for consultation with forum members ahead of the Forum meeting planned for 25 May. We also wrote to the Infrastructure Industry Reference Group, Crown Infrastructure Partners regarding the shovel-ready projects and the Hauraki Gulf, Tīkapa Moana, Te Moananui-ā-Toi.
I provided feedback on Auckland Council’s submission on the Accessible Streets Regulatory package that went to the Emergency Committee meeting on 16 April. I am working with Cr Darby on progressing council and Auckland Transport’s response to NZTA’sInnovating Streets for Peopleinitiative and funding. The programme supports measures that can quickly increase the amount of space available for physical distancing (photo right showing the use of “tactical urbanism” to create a cyclelane). I am also supporting Auckland Transport’s work to identify locations where measures can be put in place immediately to create more space for walking and cycling.
I think leadership on a pay cut is important when there is no doubt the economic downturn is going to hit hard across our businesses and communities. It is about acknowledging the pain and showing solidarity with those on the frontline of the crisis. As the current legislation doesn’t allow for any Councillor pay cut to go back into the Council’s budget I will be donating an amount to charity in line with the pay cuts announced by the Mayor, other councillors and the executive leadership. However, as I don’t believe any pressure should be put on low paid members or workers to take a cut I will keep my donations private.
I continue to be contacted by members of the public seeking reassurance and answers to a wide range of issues.
Report to the Waiheke Local Board meeting on 22 April is available here
Report to the Aotea Great Barrier Local Board meeting on 12 May is available here
There is no rule book for responding to the COVID-19 crisis. It is an unprecedented situation that is evolving every day. First and foremost, Council is taking the advice of the Ministry of Health, which is leading New Zealand’s COVID-19 response.
At the time of writing we have moved quickly from Alert Level 2 into Alert Level 4 and a State of Emergency has been declared. Lockdown has been put in place and we are getting to grips with the unknown new “normal.” Everyone has to do their part to save lives.
Essential Council services continue including storm water infrastructure repair and maintenance and water treatment, animal welfare management, biosecurity and hazard monitoring. As of 24 March 2020, Auckland’s kerbside rubbish and recycling are considered essential services and will continue as usual. The inorganic collection has been postponed. Wet wipes and other hygiene products, should be bagged and placed in rubbish bins never down the toilet. Over 300 Council facilities have closed including recreation centres, pools, community centres.
Auckland Libraries e-lending services like audiobooks, video streaming services and learning databases like Lynda.com continue to be available for free and will be extended. Library fines for overdue books have been suspended and gym memberships are on hold. Our parks and reserves are always open for recreation, but be mindful to keep physical distances. Please keep children off equipment as playgrounds are closed. More COVID-19 information can be found on the front page of the Auckland Council website.
Road maintenance undertaken by Auckland Transport is considered an essential service so will continue during the lockdown. However, this is being limited to only that maintenance required to keep the network safe and operational during this period.
It’s important our communities come together to support each other. I really appreciate one of my neighbours taking the initiative to ensure we all have each other’s contact information so she was able to set up a street WhatsApp chat group. As the homeless and other vulnerable groups will be particularly impacted, homeless agencies are working very closely with Council on ensure accommodation is provided with showers, food, and other amenities available in ways that manage the risk.
Auckland Council has unanimously approved emergency measures to ensure effective governance of the city while it is in lockdown. A temporary ‘supercommittee’ has been established made up of the whole Governing Body to assume the functions and power of all committees except for the Audit and Risk Committee. Meetings will occur weekly by audio-visual link. We also agreed to establish a COVID-19 contingency fund of $22.5 million for any urgent expenditure required to respond to the pandemic or its impacts.
The number one priority at the moment is public health. In the next month or so we’ll have a better idea of the impact on Council finances, what additional support can be provided and ability to deliver projects that are in the pipeline as we move to finalise the Annual Budget 20/21 by 1 July.
I’m working from home and can be contacted at email@example.com or on 021 926 618.
My Councillor report, covering the period from 31 January until 29 February 2020, is prepared for the Waitematā, Waiheke and Aotea Great Barrier Local Boards’ March business meeting agendas.
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*
The minutes for all meetings are available on the Auckland Council website here.
Planning Committee on 4 February 2020
Approved Auckland Council’s submission on the Land Transport (Rail) legislation bill
Approved approach to the Auckland Council’s submission on the Urban Development Bill
Governing Body on 12 and 27 February 2020
Adopted the Draft Tūpuna Maunga Operational Plan 2020/2021
Adopted the consultation material and supporting documentation for Annual Budget 2020/2021
Adopted the amendments to the Revenue and Financing Policy
Approved the draft submission to the Justice Committee’s inquiry into the 2019 Local Elections and Liquor Licensing Trust Elections, and Recent Energy Trust Elections
Approved the submission on funding options for Fire and Emergency New Zealand
CCO Oversight Committee on 18 February
Received the updated report on the CCO Review work programme and requested the report be circulated to local boards
Auckland Domain Committee on 25 February
Requested staff explore costs and possible funding to implement recommendations in the master plan
Requested staff investigate options to meet the shortfall for the Accessible Improvement Programme (aiming to improve walking and cycling in the Domain)
*Note: This is not intended to be a complete summary of all governing body and committee meetings. Refer Auckland Council’s website for full details
Hauraki Gulf Forum
The Hauraki Gulf Forum is a statutory body, which promotes and facilitates integrated management and the protection and enhancement of the Hauraki Gulf, under the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000.
Hauraki Gulf Forum members are representatives of the Ministers of Conservation, Fisheries and Māori Development, elected representatives of Auckland Council (7 in total including representatives from Waiheke Local Board and Aotea Great Barrier), Waikato Regional Council, Thames-Coromandel, Hauraki, Waikato and Matamata-Piako District Councils and 6 representatives of the tangata whenua of the Hauraki Gulf and its islands appointed by the Minister of Conservation.
At the first Hauraki Gulf Forum meeting of the term on 17 February the historic decision was made to adopt a co-governance model with co-chairs (one elected by all forum members and one co-chair recommended by the tangata whenua representatives). I was delighted to be elected one of the co-chairs.
The ‘State of our Gulf 2020’ report released on 27 February by the Hauraki Gulf Forum puts a spotlight on the ongoing environmental degradation facing the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. (Attachment 1: Media Release from the Hauraki Gulf Forum: The Hauraki Gulf is hurting and needs our help)
Events and other meetings
Attended a range of meetings with the Environment and Climate Change Committee Chair in my role as 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
Attended the LGNZ National Council meeting on 10 February and the Metro Sector meeting (as alternate to the Mayor) on 14 February
Attended the Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 18 February to give my Councillor’s update
Met with the Chair of the Environment and Climate Change committee to finalise the Council’s submission on the Reducing waste: A more effective landfill levy paper
On Friday 21 February I hosted a Councillor “clinic” on Waiheke with booked appointment times including meeting Cycle Action Waiheke (photo below), caught up with the Waiheke Community Art Gallery Director, enjoyed a delicious Kai Conscious Cafe lunch, got taken on a site visit to the WWII lookout and historic buildings, popped by the Whitaker’s music museum (gate crashed MP Nikki Kaye’s meeting!) and wrapped up the day meeting local board chair Cath Handley.
The Auckland City Centre Advisory Board meeting on 26 February confirmed Heart of the City’s CEO Viv Beck as chair
Met with the CCO Review panel on 28 February
Throughout the month I meet constituents on request and request a range of meetings to follow up on issues raised with me.
I also attended the following events:
Official Opening on 4 February of Te Ipu Kōrero o Maungawhau and Whau Cafe on Maungawhau / Mount Eden hosted by the Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority (photo right with Councillors Bartley, Filipaina and Casey and members of the Authority)
Waitangi Day ki Ōkahu 2020 festival hosted by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei
Farewell reception for Stephen Jacobi from New Zealand China Council at the Northern Club on 10 February
Scales to Tails dinner hosted by Peter Gordon at the invite of The Sugar Club and Ōra King
Whales Tales Auckland 2021 launch at the Auckland Art Gallery on 11 February
Wynyard Quarter Celebration hosted by Willis Bond & Co on 12 February
Opening by the PM on 13 February of Te Whare Hīnātore, City Mission’s new transitional housing programme, assisting wāhine experiencing homelessness
Sod turning for the portal where the boring machine will launch to build the City Rail Link tunnels connecting Mt Eden Station to the new Aotea Station (photo right)
Opening night of Roger Hall’s play Winding Up at the invitation of Auckland Theatre Company on 13 February
Sod turning for the start of the Tamaki Drive cycleway on 16 February (photo right the Mayor and Minister of Transport Phil Twyford with the spades)
Waitematā Local Board’s Myers Park Medley festival on 16 February
Opening of the Auckland Fringe Festival 2020 on 17 February at Caluzzi Cabaret
Launch by the Mayor of City Hop’s EV vehicles at the Crowne Plaza on 20 February
Auckland Museum Medals on 26 February
Media briefing for the release of the State of the Gulf report by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage MP and two of the authors. The report is a major piece of work led by the former Hauraki Gulf Chair John Meeuwsen and Deputy Chair Moana Tamaariki-Pohe.
Participated on the panel of the Auckland Conversations “Gift of the Gulf” at the RNZYC on 27 February (photo right)
A walk of the Waitematā Local Board boundary on 29 February with Living Streets Aotearoa’s Andy Smith, continuing the tradition of starting the new term with Beating the Bounds – a walk of the boundary to ensure neighbouring local boards haven’t “encroached” over the last three years and to check out projects along the way. I walked with local board members until the point on Newton Road (photo right) where my ward boundary diverges and then walking the shared Ōrākei boundary with Cr Desley Simpson to Tamaki Drive
Ponsonby Road Street Festival on 29 February
Opening Covert Theatre at the invitation of The Yes and Trust
The Regional Event Fund and the Regional Community Development Grants were allocated at the Parks, Arts, Community and Events committee on 13 February.
Regional consultation topics
The Annual Budget 2020/21 consultation started on 21 February and will continue until 22 March. Have your save events are being held across the region.
The independent panel appointed to review how well Auckland Council’s CCOs are working is hosting drop-in sessions across the region so Aucklanders can provide their feedback into the review. Consultation on the review closes on 22 March.
The engagement and consultation documents are available at akhaveyoursay.
Significant issues and ward issues (as at 29 February)
Leys Institute Library Building
In response to a planned “save the Leys Institute building” protest on 26 February I provided this update:
I appreciate the considerable concerns regarding the sudden closure of the much-loved Leys Institute buildings and the desire to see the restoration happen as fast as possible and library services resumed.
I am not able to attend the protest but want to provide a reassurance that I am not aware of any part of council that considers demolition to be a viable or desirable option for a class A scheduled building (even if it were possible under the Leys bequest) .
The report on the options will be going to the local board in June. I am absolutely committed to the restoration of the building and the return of library services (temporary services are due to open in mid-March at 14 Jervois Road). My role is to work with the local board to ensure the project secures what is likely to be a considerable budge, from the governing body (Councillors and Mayor).
On-going water issues during the dry weather
The lack of rainfall over summer has been particularly hard for Aucklanders on tank water. Updates have been provided regularly on the support available during the dry weather.
Watercare is monitoring water levels and reports that, with nearly 65 per cent storage in its dams, the municipal water supply is stable. It is running a campaign to remind customers to be waterwise during dry periods when demand is high.
An advice brochure for tank owners is being distributed via council’s community networks and is available to download from OurAuckland.
COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
The Mayor has been in regular contact with the Director General of Health and is providing regular updates. Since the first case arrived in New Zealand the main message is that Aucklanders should be prepared but should not panic – they should take sensible measures and contact health officials if they are worried:
There is no reason for people to change the way they go about their daily lives
The first case is being well managed, and the patient is in a stable condition
Ministry of Health and the airport are moving to meet everyone coming off flights to give people information on what to do should they feel unwell
Together with the Local Board transport portfolio lead Graeme Gunthorp I have been following up on a number of transport issues that I would like to see Auckland Transport resolve including:
Car transporters unloading illegally on Great North Road
Enforcement of car parking on berms and on footpaths. I dispute AT’s position on this issue and do not agree that signage is required before AT can take enforcement action.
East bound bus lanes on Customs Street that are needed as a result of the ongoing closure of Lower Albert Street.
The positive resolution by Auckland Transport of issues I have raised on behalf of constituents includes:
confirmation that traffic calming on Clifton Road is going ahead as part of the Herne Bay walking and cycling project
the installation of new safety barriers on the Westerns Springs Shared path (photo right)
Quietly, over the past six years, Willis Bond & Co has been building a new neighbourhood of award-winning apartments at Wynyard Quarter. Private investment has followed the public spend to create people-orientated spaces designed for modern urban living. This “placemaking” includes wide footpaths, new plazas and parks, rain gardens, activated event spaces and lush ngahere.
I was fortunate to attend a recent celebration hosted by managing director Mark McGuiness to welcome the new residents and thank those involved in the development. Inevitably, the conversation turned to Auckland’s prolific orange road cones.
Orange cones have become a convenient focus of rage for some commentators in Auckland.
In McGuiness’ view the cones are a positive symbol that the city is getting stuff done. They show progress is underway, and the city is improving after decades of under-investment, poor planning and short-sighted decision-making.
I think of it as Auckland moving from a town with a cowboy mentality focused on short-term gains, to Tāmaki Makaurau, a truly international city with a uniquely indigenous point of difference.
Auckland Council is making progress on the things that matter for our city. We’re working to stop poo from entering our harbour and we’re getting on with essential work such as improving our ferry infrastructure and ensuring the Quay St sea wall doesn’t collapse.
We’re delivering new public spaces and creating the right conditions for new residential, retail and office investment. I don’t think it makes sense for any of this construction to be slowed down or stopped.
When the cones are removed from Quay St a stunning street will be revealed; one that will never go back to a four-lane road. Just as other international cities have embraced their waterfront, Quay St, together with a new downtown square, will be our welcome mat for international events happening in 2021. Slow speed, pedestrian-focused environments will become the new normal in our city centre.
It is time for Aucklanders to move on from the myths that “public transport is rubbish” and “no one uses cycle lanes”. All the evidence (that could fill a separate column) points to the opposite.
We are no different to people in other international cities. We embrace the most convenient, reliable and affordable transport option. We jump on bikes when we feel safe. We shop, relax, linger and spend in inviting places where people – not cars – are king.
Wynyard Quarter was the “guinea pig” for perfecting placemaking in Auckland, but this best-practice approach is now spreading benefits across the city.
It is also time to drop “CBD” and instead refer to it as the city centre as it has a growing residential population, with more than 33,000 people already calling it home.
The work symbolised by the humble orange cone work will benefit not just the residents I represent, but all Aucklanders, because a functioning, thriving city centre is good news for our region and our country.
Our city centre generates a fifth of Auckland’s GDP and more than 130,000 people work there.
Our biggest infrastructure project, City Rail Link, will double the number of people who live within 30 minutes of the city centre when it opens in 2024.
Along with our construction partners, we have to do more as a council to share the vision of what is happening in the city centre so Aucklanders can see the wider benefits. We need to ensure traffic management is exemplary, projects are coordinated and efficiently managed, and that businesses and residents are looked after through the construction. We must help all those who need to travel into the city regardless of transport mode.
Collectively as Aucklanders, we’ve got to put the orange cone “chaos” into perspective. When I recently missed an early morning flight it wasn’t cycleway construction that delayed me getting to the airport. It was the traffic I created, other traffic on the road, and a minor crash. These types of delays are so commonplace Aucklanders consider this a “normal” inconvenience.
I agree with McGuiness that we shouldn’t turn orange road cones into the enemy. When the first stage of Wynyard Quarter opened in August 2011, Aucklanders were amazed at the welcoming transformation and flocked to the waterfront. As parts of downtown are completed and pedestrians are welcomed back, I have no doubt that we’ll get the same reaction.
Delivering people-friendly, safe and vibrant environments continues not just in downtown but across the city. We can all feel proud at the stuff that is getting done. The future is in progress.
• Pippa Coom is an Auckland Councillor for Waitematā and Gulf Ward.
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.
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
Pippa Coom Councillor Report – Waitematā and Gulf Ward
This is my first Councillor report prepared for the Waitematā, Waiheke and Aotea Great Barrier Local Boards’ business meeting agendas.
It covers the period from election day on 12 October until 24 November 2019.
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
The Auckland Council governing body, made up of the Mayor and 20 Councillors, was sworn in at the inaugural meeting held at the Town Hall on 1 November. This was a ceremonial occasion with entertainment by the Chinese Blossom Arts Troupe, Auckland City Scoundrels and Sistema Aotearoa performing Maranga Ra composed by Rob Ruha (photo above taken by Ronald Andreassend: the official party arriving for the inaugural meeting on 1 November held at the Town Hall).
Along with the other 3 new Councillors I gave my maiden speech to the governing body meeting on 5 November
At the governing body meeting on 12 November the committee structure and appointments were confirmed. I’m really delighted to be confirmed as:
Deputy Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee working with Chair Richard Hills (one of 4 committees of the whole plus all councillors are on the CCO oversight committee).
A member of the Appointments and Performance Review Committee
Induction for Councillors started on the 17 October and has continued with sessions on legal obligations, standing orders, finance for governing body members, and a range of briefings (photo right: Councillors were treated to lunch in the council café as part of the induction day)
The Mayor has introduced a fortnightly catchup with Councillors that started on 4 November with a discussion regarding the proposed CCO review. This review is strongly supported by all Councillors.
The new committee structure is in the process of being set up and a range of briefings have got underway. It has been confirmed that the Environment and Climate Change Committee will cover the following areas:
Climate change mitigation and adaption policy and implementation
Coastal renewals, slips and remediation
Auckland Climate Action Framework
Natural heritage (including ecology and biosecurity matters such as kauri dieback)
Protection and restoration ofAuckland’s ecological health
Water including Auckand’s Water Strategy
Acquisition of property relating to the committee’s responsibilities and in accordance with the LTP
Grants for regional environmental outcomes
The first meeting is scheduled for 28 November.
Events and other meetings
Over the course of one week I attended the three local board inauguration meetings in my ward as well as the inaugural meetings of the Albert-Eden Local Board, Puketāpapa Local Board and Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board. I had the opportunity for an initial meet and greet with the Waiheke Local Board before their inauguration meeting on 4 November. Photo right with the new Waiheke Local Board. From the left Deputy Chair – Bob Upchurch, Cr Pippa Coom, Paul Walden, Kylee Matthews, Mayor Phil Goff and Robin Tucker, Front, Chair – Cath Handley
Photo with the new Aotea Great Barrier Local Board. From the left, Cr John Watson, Deputy Chair – Luke Coles, Cr Pippa Coom, Sue Daly, Chair – Izzy Fordham, Valmaine Toki and Patrick O’Shea following the inauguration meeting on 31 October
Photo left with the former Waitematā Local Board Chair Shale Chambers on the left and new Chair, Richard Northey in the middle, following the inaugural meeting of the Waitematā Local Board on 30 October.
At the Ōtara-Papatoetoe local board inaugural held at Ngā Kete Wānanga Marae on 5 November with Councillors Josephine Bartley, Cr Pippa Coom, Alf Filipaina and Fa’anana Efeso Collins
On 22 October I attended the Auckland Transport board meeting to support the decision on the bylaw which will reduce speed limits on around 10% of Auckland’s urban and rural roads. Following public feedback, most of Auckland’s city centre will have a speed limit of 30km/h (the current 10km/h combined pedestrian and vehicle zones will remain) apart from Hobson, Fanshawe and Nelson Streets which will be 40km/h with engineering treatments to protect vulnerable road users.
Auckland Transport elected member morning tea and introduction to AT on 1 November.
Meeting to discuss active modes programme with Bike Auckland representatives and Cr Darby on 14 November
Fortnightly transport updates relating to ward issues
On Friday 22 November I hosted my first Councillor “clinic” at the Waiheke Local Board officers (advertisement right). My first Councillor event on Aotea Great Barrier is scheduled for 29 November with time for booked appointments and an afternoon tea.
I also attended the following events:
Late Night Art on 14 October
AT Board Rotation farewell event for Lester Levy and Mark Gilbert on 22 October
Ponsonby Business Association AGM on 22 October
Opening of White & Wong restaurant in Newmarket on 23 October at the invitation of NBA
K’rd Business Association AGM on 24 October
TUIA 250 Ki Tāmaki Makaurau – Civic Reception at Maritime Museum on 25 October
Tour de Waiheke organised as part of the Waiheke Cycling Festival on 2 November (photo right)
St Marys Bay Association AGM on 6 November
Grey Lynn Business Association AGM on 6 November
K3 Legal event on 7 November in the Maritime Room
U2 concert and entertainment in the corporate suite at Mt Smart on 8 November at the invitation of Regional Facilities Auckland
Armistice Day Commemorations at Auckland Museum on 11 November
Ludo Campbell-Reid’s Poroporoaki (farewell) after 13 years championing urban design for Auckland Council on 11 November
Herne Bay Residents Association AGM on 13 November
City Rail Link tunnel stakeholder walk through on 16 November (photo right with Cr Richard Hills)
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s The New Zealand Herald Premier Series Conflict & Triumph at the Town Hall on 14 November at the invite of Geraint A. Martin (Chairman) and Barbara Glaser (Chief Executive)
Parnell Festival of Roses hosted by the Waitemata Local Board on 17 November
Launch of the Viaduct Harbour Local Living Compost Hub on 19 November
A Gala Concert in the Presence of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to celebrate the launching of the new name of the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre at the Aotea Centre on 20 November (at the invitation of Regional Facilities Auckland)
Viewing of the PUSH movie (a gut-wrenching story about housing, injustice and those fighting for better housing at the grass roots) on 21 November at the Academy Cinema at the invitation of the Auckland Community Housing Providers Network
Attended the Kai Conscious lunch at the Waiheke Sustainability Centre on 22 November
Spoke at the opening of Tatai Whenua – TUIA 250 Encounters exhibition at the Waiheke Community Art Centre on 22 November (photo right taken by Peter Rees, one of the artists in the exhibition)
World Premiere of My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak by Ahi Karunaharan at Q Theatre on 22 November at the invitation of Silo Theatre
Grey Lynn Park Festival on 23 November
Enjoyed the Santa Parade from the VIP area on 24 November with my 5 year old nephew at the invitation of the Auckland Children’s Christmas Parade Trust
40th anniversary service of Air New Zealand flight TE901 in the presence of the Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy at Holy Trinity Cathedral
Pride Launch at the Auckland Art Gallery on 24 November
Regional consultation topics
Southwest Gateway Programme
There’s been a lot of debate about extending heavy rail to the airport. I make use of the service train that currently exists via Papatoetoe station (only $4.80 from Newmarket). From 2021 it is going to be even more straight forward with priority bus lanes from Puhinui station to the airport. Confirmation this work is going ahead means the debate is over about heavy rail all the way to the airport. Feedback on a range of projects within the Southwest Gateway Programme is open until 8 December.
A high frequency Balmoral Crosstown service, the new 65
Quicker journey times on the remaining portion of the OuterLink, with fewer (hopefully nil) timing points
The Regional Environment and Natural Heritage Grant Fund and Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund applications will be coming to the Environment and Climate Change committee on 29 November
Significant issues and ward issues
NZ International Convention Centre Fire
On 23 October, the day after the NZICC fire started I visited the Auckland Council’s Emergency Coordination Centre and was given a quick tour by Sarah Sinclair Acting GM, Auckland Emergency Management. The response to the NZICC fire was managed by Fire & Emergency but the centre sprung into action staffed by council volunteers to provide support across logistics, comms, welfare and health services.In the photo right I’m standing with Sarah in front of a big screen showing live footage of the roof of the convention centre with fires still visible.
Hardship fund for Albert Street businesses
I welcomed the news on 31 October that the Government and Auckland Council have brought forward work on establishing a hardship fund for businesses in Auckland’s Albert Street to recognise the difficulty some have faced because of the delay in City Rail Link construction. I have supported Heart of the City in advocating for this fund.
New Network bus changes on Waiheke
On 22 November I was taken on a tour by Sue Pawly and Hana Blackmore (in the photo right in a decommissioned bus stop in Oneroa opposite the library) who are campaigning to restore essential bus services that were removed by Auckland Transport following new network changes on Waiheke to introduce greater frequency to the timetable. I am working with the Waiheke Local Board on this issue.
Helicopters on Sentinel Beach
The rebuilding of a boat shed on Sentinel Beach allowing for a helicopter landing pad has been a long running issue. Strong opposition was voiced at the Herne Bay Residents Association AGM to the use of helicopters especially in the coastal environment. I have been advised that there is currently no application for a helicopter landing pad on this property. If there is in the future it will be a non-complying activity and it is likely it will be fully publicly notified.
Tree removal by the Tūpuna Maunga Authority
I’ve received a number of queries regarding concerns about the removal of 345 exotic trees from Ōwairaka / Mt Albert. I’ve provided a response along the following lines:
14 tūpuna maunga including Ōwairaka / Mt Albert and Maungawhau/Mt Eden are co-governed by the Tūpuna Maunga Authority established in 2014 following a treaty settlement. I’m not on the TMA but I acknowledge and respect the authority of the TMA and I support their management plans for the tūpuna maunga after decades of neglect by former councils (providing a link to information about the Authority).
As the Ōwairaka / Mt Albert tree work is being undertaken by the Tūpuna Maunga Authority which is independent of Auckland Council, it is appropriate for the Authority to answer questions about the detail of their vegetation management. You can email the Authority at MaungaAuthority@aklc.govt.nz . I also understand that no trees that are notable, protected or scheduled will be removed as part of the restoration plans.
I am also following up a number of ward transport issues including opportunities to extend the Herne Bay walking and cycling improvements project by leveraging work proposed by Healthy Waters and Watercare, safety on the Western Springs Shared Path, and paid parking on Ponsonby Road not working satisfactorily to encourage turnover due to the low hourly rate for all day parking.
Since my election as Councillor I have been interviewed for Gulf News (Attachment 2), and the Barrier Bulletin (Attachment 3) and interviewed by Chris Walker on Waiheke Radio. I also have a regular column in Ponsonby news. My first column as Councillor was published in the November edition (Attachment 4)
I attended the media briefing for the High St tactical urbanism trial on 16 October and for the Mayor’s announcement of the new Committee structure and positions on 4 November
I was quoted in an Our Auckland story following the upgrade of Ellen Melville Centre and Freyberg Place project winning the Planning and Urban Design category in the 2019 New Zealand Architecture Awards
Conferences and seminars
ACENZ Panel discussion
On 15 October I was invited by ACENZ (Representing consulting and engineering professionals in Aotearoa) to be part of a panel discussion with Ida Dowling, Sarah Woodward and Alec Tang following a presentation by Auckland Transport CEO Shane Ellison on the Future Transport Challenges for Auckland
Highlights from Wednesday’s programme included keynote sessions with Skye Duncan, the Director of the Global Designing Cities Initiative at the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), Putting people first: shaping urban streets for healthy and sustainable cities, Frith Walker, Panuku, Placemaking ‐if you are not doing it for people then you are doing it wrong and Prof Graham Currie, a renowned international Public Transport research leader and policy advisor from Monash university Transit fightback ‐ pushback on technology hype for stronger city futures
I co-hosted a Q&A panel “bringing it all together” and provided the final thoughts on putting people first and roundup of the conference on behalf of Trafinz. I also got to announce that the conference next year will be in Auckland
My conference registration and one-night accommodation ($836) was covered by Auckland Council. I used a fleet car for transport to and from Hamilton
Since election day I have received the following gifts as well the invites noted above under events:
2020 Calendar from the Moths and Butterfly NZ Trust (value unknown)
Sea Edge: Where the Waitemata meets Auckland coffee table book by Sir Bob Harvey (value $75)
As one of four new Auckland Council councillors elected for the 2019-2022 term I had the opportunity to give a maiden speech to the inaugural governing body meeting on 5 November 2019:
Tēnā koutou e ngā rau Rangatira mā e huihui mai nei
E ngā mate, moe mai, moe mai
Ka hoki ki tēnēi ao
E te Whare e tū nei,
E te wāhi taonga nei nā Ngāti Whātua,
E ngā Mana Whenua me ngā Matāwaka,
E te Koromatua,
E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e nga hau e whā
Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou
Ko te kaupapa o tenei rā
Ka mihi whānui ki a koutou katoa, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa
Greetings to everyone gathered today. I acknowledge mana whenua and the land we stand on. I acknowledge this house of democracy. I acknowledge the founders of Auckland from the earliest times and remember those who have passed. I acknowledge the Mayor and all my councillor colleagues, friends, family, staff of the council whanau and those tuning in on the live stream. A big huge warm mihi to you all.
It is a great honour to give a maiden speech as the newly elected Councillor for Waitematā and Gulf ward representing the beating heart of Tāmaki Makarau and the stunning gulf islands. An area contributing 20% of Auckland’s GDP, of tremendous population growth, increasing diversity, major cultural institutions, world class places of learning with residents who experience everything from dense urban vertical living to off grid rural lifestyles.
I acknowledge my predecessor Mike Lee, long serving councillor and former Chair of the ARC. Among many achievements he was instrumental in the renaissance of the Auckland’s public transport and expansion of the regional parks network. Passing the torch graciously is not always easy and I wish him and Jenny well.
It’s a privilege to have been part of Auckland Council right from the exciting, but at times daunting, beginning in 2010. I acknowledge Auckland’s first Mayor Len Brown for his massive contribution that has yet to be written – and for also making those early days fun. I pay tribute to my many colleagues over the years who have tried hard to make the super city experiment work for the best interests of our communities. It is very timely for the CCO review announced by the Mayor to examine the part of the governance model that was deliberately set up to corporatize Auckland and remove democratic decision-making.
I come to the governing body with the experience of nine years on the Waitematā local board working for, what can be summed up as, inclusive, accessible, safe, healthy, connected, sustainable, resilient communities for everyone to enjoy. It has been a challenging but immensely satisfying and enjoyable time. I’d like to think that I bring to the big table the ability to get stuff done, make the most of modest budgets, work alongside community and business organisations always with a commitment to genuine partnership with mana whenua. There is still much to learn, and I thank everyone who has supported me on that journey.
Former Chair Shale Chambers contribution to establishing the Waitematā Local Board and setting the foundations for strong local decision making across council can’t be underestimated. Remarkably as the chair and deputy chair combo over 9 years we never once had a bust up. I thank him for his support, guidance and for becoming such a strong advocate for Auckland being a great place to cycle even though you will never see him on a bike.
It was easy to let go knowing the Waitematā Local Board is in good hands under new chair Richard Northey and with an impressive team. A shout out too to the wonderful, committed local board staff who support the board so professionally and effectively.
It goes with the territory to be on the receiving end of nasty comments and the odd insult. Supposedly this includes “I get on well with bureaucrats and management”. I think that means you Mr Town and your team! Absolutely I will continue to value positive working relationships and collaboration with everyone who is committed to working for and serving the best interests of Auckland. My role is to ask the difficult questions and to know when to challenge advice but I make a commitment to always do that with kindness, empathy and respect. (just warning everyone I have a naturally resting bitch face that I can help!)
I acknowledge my fellow class of 2019 – Angela, Tracey and Shane. As former board chairs I believe we will bring to this table an approach of collaboration, cheerfulness and working together that we have experienced at the Chairs forum. I know we are all here to bring our A game. Actually forget A’s and B’s – I am calling it now that I am on team C – Team collaboration!
Like everyone around this table I was elected independently. What I do hold as a badge of pride is that I am part of the City Vision whanau and join Cathy Casey as a City Vision councillor. Like Cathy I don’t belong to a political party and just to put the record straight there is no party master (at least I am yet to meet him or her or find the so called back room where the deals are meant to be taking place). We are a progressive coalition with shared values of social justice, commitment to the Living Wage, outstanding public transport, environmental restoration, action on climate change, ownership of public assets, and a real say for local communities. We are upfront about what we stand for because we believe our role is far more than about us as individuals.
I respect that around this table we all come from different political traditions of the legacy councils. But the reality is that I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for being part of City Vision. It was the only way for progressives to break the C&R stronghold over the old Auckland City Council. I acknowledge and thank all those who have supported my election. Robert Gallagher Chair of City Vision, Jeremy Greenbrook-Held, my campaign manager, the wider support team of volunteers including on Waiheke and the great team of candidates I stood alongside.
In many ways my path here started early on with community activism, volunteering and community-building. Like 39% of Aucklanders I was born overseas. I was born in London and raised in a post war new town called Hemel Hempstead where my politics were shaped from a young age by the threat of nuclear war, the toxicity of apartheid and the rise of Thatcherism.
My family immigrated to New Zealand just after I turned 14. Surprisingly for that difficult teenage period it was a move I embraced (in my version of the family history it was actually my idea to immigrate here and thank god we did). I immediately felt at home living in Ponsonby and attending Auckland Girls’ Grammar School, where my interests in service and activism were encouraged. It is also where my north London accent was beaten out of me! I acknowledge Miss Pountney my principal at AGGS who is here and who I am now allowed to call Charmaine and is a neighbour in Grey Lynn.
In 5th form I was a founding member of Auckland City Youth Council established under then Mayor Dame Cath Tizard. Many of the issues then we sought to bring a youth voice to continue to this day but now with increased urgency led by school strike for climate.
I was fortunate to spend my last year of school as an AFS student in Peru and to have completed a law degree at Otago University. I first experienced what it was like to be brutally defeated in an election when I came second to last for the OUSA exec well behind now Mayor of Whangerei Hamish McDouall.
My community activism continued during a 15 year legal career. It was awesome to be mentored along the way by John Edwards who gave me my first legal job and is now the Privacy Commissioner and Una Jagose my manager at the Ministry of Fisheries in Wellington who is now the Solicitor General.
During this time my dad Mel Coom was killed in a car crash at the age of 49. Many years later, and now as Vision Zero campaigner, I’ve come to think of dad’s death not just as a family tragedy but also as an example of why the “safe systems” approach to creating a forgiving roading network is so vital. I applaud Auckland Transport for moving ahead with the slower speeds bylaw work and I will continue to be a tireless advocate for road safety and transport choice.
It was redundancy from an inhouse legal job at Vector over 10 years ago that really kick started my political career. It allowed me to pursue my passions and to throw myself into community busybody-ness, cycling advocacy, sustainability as chair of the Grey Lynn Farmers Market and Trustee of Grey Lynn 2030, and organiser of major climate action events. I am still working with many of the fabulous people that I met through that time and I give thanks for all the encouragement I received to pursue politics in particular from Suzanne Kendrick and Barb Cuthbert.
The challenge for this term of council cannot be overstated. Bold leadership is needed like never before. There can be no more business as usual. Our agreed 1.5°c target requires urgent climate action in the next 10 years. Everything has to be seen through the lens of the climate emergency and climate action must be at the heart of all our decision-making. I’m honoured to have the deputy chair role on the Environment and Climate Change committee working with Cr Hills as chair. We have big shoes to fill to continue the work led by Penny Hulse. I thank her also for her tremendous support to become councillor.
All of us as councillors need to be focused and prepared for the challenge ahead.
Decisions must be made for the long term, not just the short term
We must recognise the inter-relations between issues – climate, water, coastal risks, public transport, the central city transformation, economic development- and the broad benefits we can deliver for all communities across Auckland if we take an integrated approach.
We must ensure we are not locked into future pathway that could increase our emissions and decrease our resilience to climate impacts.
Every community will be impacted by climate change so regardless of personal viewpoints around the table, everyone has an important role to play in terms of preparing our communities for the impacts and transitions to come. We must ensure the inevitable transition is just.
It’s not just about a central city response, but from Rodney to Franklin, South Auckland and West Auckland. We need everyone around the council table reaching into their communities to help articulate the challenge ahead and also bring back the knowledge, insights, concerns and priorities to help craft community-specific responses to the climate emergency. This is why we must all be team collaboration.
I know you have indulged me extra time for this speech. But there are a few important acknowledgements I would like to end with. I’d like to acknowledge the Mayor, our koromatua. He is a good man with a warm heart who works incredibly hard for us all. I’d just love him not to drive so much (even if it is an e-car) and have more time for experiencing our communities on foot or bike. I think it is hugely symbolic that both the Mayor and councillor Fletcher have both spoken publicly about having grandchildren born in the week after the election. There’s been a reset on a fresh start this term to work together for future generations.
My partner Paul, also known as the Dennis Thatcher of Auckland politics, is here. You won’t see him at much but he is a constant support behind the scenes (please forgive me for always having an excuse not to do housework). Paul’s lack of interest in being my plus one is great news for my wonderful mum Barbara Grace who is always up for everything. Thank you to you both, my family and my wider urban whanau.
In the last week I’ve had the opportunity to attend the inaugural meetings of the local boards in my ward – Aotea Great Barrier, Waitematā and Waiheke (I have to fess up to missing the plane to Aotea and arriving late!) I look forward to building strong relationships with the three local boards, serving my entire ward and working hard to fulfil the aspirations of all Aucklanders.
There is a lot of work to get on with and I am here for it!
No reira tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa
This is my final report after nine years on the Waitematā Local Board. I have reported monthly throughout my time on the local board. This month I take the opportunity to provide my reflections on the 2016- 2019 term and to give thanks and acknowledgements. ( It is on the agenda for the final local board meeting for the term on 17 September 2019)
Since the local board’s establishment in 2010, for the first two terms under the leadership of Shale Chambers, we have put in place a clear direction for being an accessible, connected, sustainable, inclusive, vibrant local board area. We have built a reputation for being an effective, collaborative, hardworking local board that takes our local responsibilities seriously, but always considers the bigger strategic picture.
The “Super City” governance structure was imposed on Aucklanders and came with ongoing concerns about what it would mean for local decision making and identity. We have focused on making Auckland Council, together with the CCO’s, work properly and deliver for the community. We can see the impact we have made across our responsibilities for local parks, events, arts and recreational services and facilities, community facilities, libraries, and environmental management. A key role of the local board is also place making and shaping responsibilities, which has required active involvement in wider transport and heritage, urban design and planning issues affecting the local level.
At times far too much energy has gone into “educating” all the parts of the council family about the governance structure and the role of local boards. After nine years we have seen huge improvements but there is still more to do. I welcome a proposed review of the Council Controlled Organisations next term.
It has been a real honour to Chair the local board for the 2016-2019 term and a privilege to represent the city centre and central suburbs of Auckland. We are the beating heart of Tāmaki Makaurau, the economic engine room of the region, and home to outstanding cultural, educational and arts institutions, and major events. It is an exciting place to live, visit, work, play and study. Our local board area is the front door for international visitors and increasingly the place to experience Māori culture in Auckland. It is home to vibrant and diverse neighbourhoods and a growing city centre population who are embracing urban living.
This report seeks to cover some of the highlights of what we have achieved this term. Shale, in his report, has comprehensively covered the 2010- 2013 and 2013- 2016 terms. I’ve tried my best to capture as much as possible and to acknowledge everyone who has provided a huge amount of support and encouragement. Apologies in advance if I have missed anything significant – at a certain point I had to bring to a close what was becoming a very long report!
A local board of firsts
As a progressive board we are committed to social justice and have been willing to take risks and adopt policy often before any other part of council. We are the first local board to approve an Accessibility Plan and a Low Carbon Community Action Plan. We led the way in committing to a City for Peace, Smokefree parks and playgrounds, the Living Wage, to Auckland becoming a Fairtrade City and CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women).
And if agreed at our final meeting we will be the first local board to adopt a localised urban ngahere action plan, which is intended to deliver on Auckland Council’s Urban Ngahere (Forest) Strategy.
Community Engagement and Partnerships
We are fortunate to have very active, engaged community members. Over nine years it has been a pleasure to build relationships, work with a wide range of community leaders and to seek out new ways of engaging and consulting to reach our diverse and growing residential populations. I made a point of reading every piece of feedback received by the board through the many consultation processes.
Our Local Board Plans 2011, 2014 and now 2017 have provided an opportunity to sweep up the community’s projects and initiatives to deliver on the priorities we have been told are important. I have enjoyed taking an active role in the process of developing each plan.
A few highlights of our approaches to engagement include:
Beating the bounds a walk of the local board boundary at the beginning of each term (first initiated by myself and Andy Smith of Walk Auckland in 2011)
A one-off Pecha Kucha Town Hall edition that launched our 2014 local board plan
Taking part in Auckland Council’s first Facebook live engagement event with board member Adriana Christie as part of the Annual Budget consultation 2019/2020 (photo right)
Hearings style feedback sessions – we are one of the few boards to continue with this format
Taking consultation events into the community with co-hosted public meetings, library pop-ins and info stands at events
There is still more to improve engaging with the hard to reach particularly with city centre residents, residents with English as a second language and young people.
Our partnerships have continued to flourish this term with established organisations and emerging ones. As a former Trustee of Kelmarna Gardens I’m pleased to see how the board’s support has provided stability and allowed the organic farm to become more sustainable.
I’ve maintained close relationships with our well-run community centres – Parnell, Grey Lynn and Ponsonby and regularly attended the lively and informative Central City Community Network meetings funded by the local board.
Planning for the future
The drafting, consultation on and approval of development plans covering all our major parks and town centres has been a major focus of the board first initiated by Shale Chambers. The plans guide renewals and planning to avoid ad hoc projects and investment.
The value of development plans can be seen in places such as Western Park where we have ticked off nearly every project listed in the implementation plan as budget has become available including new lighting, new paths, upgrade playground, new boardwalk and stairs down from Hopetoun Street, new toilet block and new fitness equipment. Further work is underway on a tree management plan.
Plans completed or underway include:
Meola Reef Development Plan
Western Springs Lakeside Park (to be signed off by the incoming board in February 2020)
Western Park Tuna Mau Development Plan
Point Resolution Taurarua Development Plan
Grey Lynn Park Development Plan
Symonds Street Cemetery development plan (photo right: new paths in the cemetery)
Newmarket Laneways Plan
Karangahape Road Plan 2014-2044
Newton Eden Terrace Plan (2016-2046)
Ponsonby Road Plan 2014-2044
We were also only the second local board to develop a City Fringe Economic Development Action Plan in 2014 that was then further revised in 2017.
Iwi relationships and working with Māori
Delivering on Council’s commitment to Māori at a local level is a priority for the local board. I’ve worked to strengthen our iwi relationships. I’ve particularly valued the constant presence during my time on the local board of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Kaumatua Bob Hawke and Matt Maihi who have led us through many significant opening and blessings.
For 2019/2020 we have allocated funding to a new programme called Te Kete Rukuruku, which aims to showcase the Māori history and stories of Tāmaki Makaurau. One element is to add names significant to Māori to local parks.
It was with great sadness that we heard the news that Dean Martin, Principal Advisor, Māori and Te Tiriti Relationships and Governance, Te Waka Anga Mua ki Uta passed away suddenly in April. Dean provided steady guidance to the local board, led our visit to Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Marae early in the term and wrote my mihi for the opening of Ellen Melville Centre.
The bigger picture
The local board has taken every opportunity to take a strategic view of national and regional issues. We are able to sustain a substantial output of work thanks to the portfolio structure (established under Shale’s leadership) that has allowed local board members to take responsibility for specific areas of interest. In this term we have provided input into the following policies, bylaws proposals and plans:
QEII Square Private Plan Change
Auckland Plan Refresh
Urban Development Authorities Discussion Document
Justice and Electoral Select Committee’s Inquiry into the 2016 local authority elections
Tākaro – Investing in Play discussion document
Governance Framework Review
Four Wellbeings Bill
Dog Bylaw and Policy
Single Use Plastic Shopping Bags
Residential Tenancies Act 1986
Healthy Home Standards
Low emissions economy draft report
Regional Pest Management Plan
Waste Management and Minimisation Plan 2018
Draft 2018-2028 Regional Land Transport Plan
draft Regional Fuel Tax proposal
draft Contributions Policy
Rates Remission and Postponement Policy
Child and Youth Wellness Strategy
Natural Environment Targeted Rate
Draft Facility Partnership Policy
Auckland Water Strategy
Regional Public Transport Plan
Sports Investment Plan 2019 – 2039
Productivity Commission Issues Paper – Local Government Funding and Financing
Freedom Camping in Vehicles Bylaw
Department of Conservation’s proposed revocation of certain delegations to Territorial Authorise under the Reserves Act 1977
Trade Waste Bylaw 2013
The Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities Bill
Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill
Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw 2019 and amendments to the Trading and Events in Public Places Bylaw 2015
Moving light vehicle fleet to low-emissions: discussion paper on Clean Car Standard and Clean Car Discount
Road to Zero: A New Road Safety Strategy for NZ
Proposed priority products and priority product stewardship scheme guidelines
Proposed biodiversity strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand
I would particularly like to acknowledge board member Richard Northey who always takes the time to review and comment on every local board submission (even when not within his portfolio areas) and has drafted many pieces of feedback directly.
The local board has embraced the opportunities to fund, facilitate and encourage community-led development and empowerment. I am particularly proud of the role I played in initiating the Ponsonby Park design through a community-led process.
In 2006 the former Auckland City Council purchased a site on Ponsonby Road to create a civic space. In 2011 Shale Chambers identified this as a project for inclusion in the first Waitematā Local Board plan. Consultation on options for the site followed in the Ponsonby Road masterplan led by me and former local board member Tricia Reade.
As the feedback was split between three options and as, following further consultation, we had reached an impasse I suggested we kick off a community-led process (inspired by Jim Diers community building presentation on his visit to Auckland) but never tried before on such a large project.
Seed funding from the local board led to the establishment of the Ponsonby Park working group. After lots of work and community engagement a winning design by Landlab became the board’s priority project for delivery (in Council speak known as an OLI – One Local Initiative).
It was fantastic news for the project in August when the Finance and Performance Committee agreed to fund the project from the sale of 200 Victoria Street (in addition to funding secured through the OLI process). If all goes to plan sod turning on “Ponsonby Park” will take place towards the end of next year.
We’ve also been open to innovative and creative approaches to achieving community outcomes.
Following determined advocacy of the Parnell Business Association and Parnell Community Committee we developed a Parnell Plan through a community working group process.
Other community-led projects that are flourishing include the Grey Lynn Pumptrack, Pollinator Path at Hakanoa Reserve, new Waiatarau Freemans Bay Park, Kelmarna Gardens, and OMG Organic Market Garden.
The launch and celebration of a Local Living Compost Hub at O.M.G – Organic Market Garden funded by the Ministry of Environment (photo above) shows how there is workable alternative using urban farms and localised collection points that is far better for the environment and healthy communities.
Sarah Smuts-Kennedy is the vision holder who has done an amazing job leading the way with a fabulous team. The transformation of a piece of dirt on Symonds Street is super impressive.
Stream restoration, natural environment and water quality
Restoring and caring for the environment has been a core part of the local board’s kaupapa. For many years we have allocated $70,000 to top up of the council’s ecological restoration contracts to control pest plants and improve reserves like Jaggers Bush, Meola and Lemmington.
Other projects include:
Waipapa Stream: community-led project funded by the local board over many years. If it wasn’t for Parnell Community Committee and Parnell Heritage this stream would have ended up piped and lost for ever
Newmarket stream: community-led restoration and planting project (known as “off the Deck” in partnership with the Gecko Trust) co-funded with the Ōrākei Local Board
Restoration of Waiparuru stream in Symonds Street Cemetery
I would have liked to have seen the restoration of Western Springs Native Bush get underway in partnership with the community this term (a project I have been involved in since 2011 when I first walked the bush area with officers to assess the potential for native tree planting and track renewals after the zoo had tried to take the area for walking an elephant herd). However, the project is currently held up by the appeal of the Council’s resource consent to remove the remaining pine trees to make way for planting.
Vibrant, local, zero waste events and support for the arts
We are host to a multitude of events and support the delivery of many more through event grant funding including:
Lightpath Festival held in 2017 and 2018
Franklin Road Christmas lights
West End Tennis Cup
We also directly deliver the popular Myers Park Medley (photo above with AK Samba) and Parnell Festival of Roses. Through our advocacy and leverage with funding we’ve been successful in pushing events towards zero waste and promoting active travel.
We have committed to supporting our creative community, professional artists and arts organisations through the delivery of arts programmes.
A few firsts in the 2019/2020 budget include a $85,000 grant to TAPAC and the establishment of an Arts Space coordinator.
I was delighted to see that Walking in Trees is back in Albert Park – a project the local board first funded through the POP programme in 2014 (photo right with artist Richard Orjis).
The Rainbow Machine was eventually delivered earlier this year as a regionally funded project, but first came to life as a local board initiative to create pop up child friendly play spaces (eg swings in bus stops) but morphed into a major art project picked up by the Public Art Team.
Progress on maintenance and renewals
A major restructuring a couple of years ago saw a new “Community Facilities” department take over all project delivery and maintenance for all Council assets. For local boards this was a source of frustration as local knowledge disappeared and local boards lost direct points of contact especially for Park projects.
In 2017 Ventia became the contractor covering the Waitematā Local Board. There were notable teething issues to start with but recently we have seen huge improvements in maintenance.
Albert Park (photo right) is an example of where a big push has been made to improve the levels of service to maintain it as a premier park. Ventia also took over street and town centre cleaning from Auckland Transport on 1 July 2019. This has led to a noticeable improvement and areas being cleaned for the first time especially in the city centre. The maintenance in four city parks is being done without any agrichemical sprays thanks to funding from the local board.
We’ve also made a lot of progress in the organisation’s approach to renewals. We’ve pushed to ensure that every renewal is an opportunity to enhance a community asset rather than done on a like for like basis. This has resulted in wider park paths, new seating, and enhanced community facilities (photo right: before and after of the stairs at Point Resolution with the inclusion of a bike channel).
Other changes at Community Facilities have resulted in more streamlined project delivery and a dedicated point of contact for the local board. Rod Sheridan, General Manager, Community Facilities was thanked at the August Chairs’ Forum for the success of Project Streetscapes, the many improvements and hard work that has been seen across all local boards.
New and improved playgrounds and parks
The local board has been responsible for upgrading and improving play opportunities across Waitematā, including new playground equipment at:
Ireland Street Reserve
Grey Lynn Park
Coxs Bay Reserve
Old Mill Road
New playgrounds are also about to get underway at Western Springs, Outhwaite Park, and Home Reserve (indicative image right).
We’ve identified gaps in the play network in Newmarket especially for young people and in the city centre. There is also the need to improve shade at our playgrounds.
A long running initiative of the local board has been to install drinking fountains into every park and streetscape upgrade. We’ve also installed three on-street drinking stations via Local Board Capex Transport Funding. The locations of all the city centre drinking fountains are about to go live on the Project AKL website.
Following extensive consultation on the Te Wai Ōrea Western Springs Development Plan and feedback from bird experts we have recently confirmed a new local board policy that feeding the birds at Western Springs park will now be “actively discouraged” due to disease and environmental risks, with new signage and on-site education. Attachment 3: Bird feeding at park “actively discouraged” amid fowl and public health concerns.
I’m really pleased that long-standing project to build new changing rooms in Grey Lynn Park that will be available for use by the Richmond Rovers Rugby League Club is about to start construction.
Action on homelessness
Homelessness has become a growing issue and one that traditionally local government didn’t get involved with. Fortunately, the Mayor has embraced Housing First with the support of the local board. The City Centre Targeted rate provided $2 million of funding for a major restoration of James Liston Hostel emergency accommodation and more recently $600,000 for outreach services.
We’re the only local board to support the wider regional strategy by allocating $20,000 last year and this year to support homelessness solutions.
We also opened up Outhwaite Hall for outreach services while James Liston Hostel was being upgraded and have supported groups through our community grants including a trial of showers at Ellen Melville Centre, support for Lifewise Merge Café, St Columba for their community lunch and Sunday Blessings for their weekly dinner outside Central Library .
I was able to play a role helping the City Mission navigate Council processes to secure a $5million grant for the HomeGround housing and social services project.
Support for Local Business
We have focused on initiatives that bring prosperity to our town centres, empower start-ups and social enterprise and underpin the important work done by the seven business associations in Waitematā. We provide funding to the Young Enterprise Scheme to reach students from all secondary schools in the area.
I have been on the Ponsonby Business Association for six years and am really pleased to see the organisation is going from strength to strength under new leadership. I’ve enjoyed regular catch ups with Newmarket Business Association’s Mark Knoff-Thomas, Parnell’s Cheryl Adamson and Karangahape Road Business Association’s Michael Richardson. It is a pleasure to work with all the General Managers who are determined, focused and passionate on behalf of their members. More recently I have been working more directly with Viv Beck, General Manager of Heart of the City in her role as Chair of Auckland City Centre Advisory Board, since I replaced Shale as the Board’s representative earlier in the year.
As a foundation committee member of the Grey Lynn Business Association I was particularly pleased to hear a recent presentation to the local board covering a range of activities and the difference an annual grant of $10,000 from the local board has made to the volunteer-led association.
Looking ahead the Newmarket Business Association has brought a proposal to the local board to investigate the possibility of a targeted rate to fund improvements that were identified in Newmarket Laneways Plan (building on the upgrade of Teed Street completed in 2018). At our August board meeting we confirmed our support in principle and referred the matter to Financial Strategy and Planning to provide advice on the process, governance and feasibility of introducing a new targeted rate for Newmarket.
Through the City Rail Link (CRL) project we have seen how important a Development Response package is to assist businesses. Barbara Holloway in the Auckland Design Office has done some great work on the template involving a package of support such as business advice, mentoring, activation around projects, signage, and communications.
A Development Response package was trialled initially for CRL on Albert Street by CRL Ltd (the organisation responsible) but it took my intervention and Heart of the City for it to be properly rolled out. I’ve also escalated issues for the Karangahape Business Association to ensure the Development Response is effectively in place during the enhancement project and City Rail Link construction. The ongoing issue of how our severely impacted businesses will be supported during the civil works, for example through a hardship fund, is yet to be resolved.
As part of Auckland’s City Fringe Economic Development Plan implementation, we’ve allocated $57,000 for a web branding ap that can be skinned by each individual Business Association. At our August meeting we heard an update on how the project is progressively positively.
Placemaking and tactical urbanism
One of the roles of the local board I enjoy the most is placemaking to create inviting people-focused places. As a progressive local board we’ve enabled and promoted innovative approaches to placemaking and encouraged the organisation to embrace tactical urbanism and the use of trials. One of the first trials I helped make happen was the installation of a bike parking corral on Ponsonby Road. I’ve also played a role in the removal of parked cars from the Eastern Viaduct (photo right) for a public plaza.
A local board responsibility that is often overlooked is the naming of streets and public spaces. I’m proud that we’ve been very receptive to adopting names recommended by mana whenua such as the new Tīramarama Way and recognised the civic contribution of women with two new names Amey Daldy Park and Freda Barnes Plaza soon to open at Wynyard Quarter.
The renaming of lower Khartoum Place as Te Hā o Hine Place (photo right with Ngāti Whātua representatives who gifted the name and National Council of Women) was a project I initiated following the upgrade of the stairs and successful fight to retain the suffrage memorial located there.
From the outset the local board has made it a priority to provide accessible, connected, safe transport networks with well-designed streets. As the transport portfolio lead for nine years (this term with co-portfolio holder Vernon Tava) I have been involved in many projects that have made a contribution to better public transport, safer streets and increased numbers giving cycling a go. A few highlights include:
Franklin Road: This project took years to get underway due to it being in the too hard basket. We kept the pressure on resulting in a $21million transformation including new lighting, storm water separation, undergrounding, traffic calming, cycle lanes and new tree pits.
Opening of Parnell Station March 2017: The local board was instrumental in helping to make this happen by funding a new pathway connection between the station and Carlaw Park
Grey Lynn Greenway opened June 2017.
Ponsonby Road pedestrian safety project completed in 2018 part funded by the local board. The side street raised tables on Ponsonby Road and as part of the Franklin Road are as a result of the local board’s advocacy.
Victoria Park lighting improvements currently underway will create a safe pathway between Franklin Road and Wynyard Quarter. Securing the budget took a lot of wrangling.
Freyberg Place pedestrian mall: Thanks to the local board advocacy AT went ahead with re-classifying the road as a “pedestrian mall” well in advance of the agreed timeframe that was originally negotiated. In the end there was very little objection.
Return of the bus service to Williamson Ave: A win for people power.
New and improved pedestrian crossings: My heart sings when I see kids able to get to school safely because of a new crossing.
Cycleway openings: There haven’t been enough, but every one has been cause to celebrate including Grafton Gully, Ian McKinnon Drive, Quay Street, Beach Road and Te ara I whiti/ Lightpath (see below). After five years of debate and planning I am delighted that the Karangahape Road enhancement project including cycle paths in the design got underway in July.
Renewals: As with the renewal of community assets (covered above) we have aimed to ensure that every Auckland Transport renewal is leveraged to provide a better outcome for the community for example through the inclusion of street trees or safety improvements. The local board often has funding to contribute. Recently we have made significant progress with the renewals team to ensure we don’t get any more “like for like” renewals.
Quick wins: A cultural shift at Auckland Transport has opened up the way for more willingness to consider “quick wins” to improve safety for active transport. I’ve suggested a number of ideas including a contra-flow on Crummer Road (image right) and a dedicated cycling route from Queen Street to the Domain.
I’ve particularly appreciated the support I have received from all local board members to take a leadership role on safe speeds, vision zero, pedestrian safety, effective parking management, removal of slip lanes, wayfinding, route optimisation for active transport and cycle infrastructure.
A couple of issues that remain unresolved that I am determined not to give up on with Auckland Transport include the current non-enforcement of berm parking that is causing damage and is unsafe and the unacceptable practice of unsafe and illegal unloading from car transporters on Great North Road.
Effective parking management
We’ve provided consistent support for effective parking management that provides access to parking for residents, businesses and short-term visitors. During the Unitary Plan process I organised a “good for business” seminar about the economic and wider benefits of removing parking minimums.
It was through our advocacy that AT was able to trial the first residential parking zone in St Marys Bay in 2014 and push ahead with zones for all the city fringe suburbs.
One of my pet projects over nine years has been to improve the wayfinding experience of people travelling around on foot or by bike. After sustained advocacy there is finally wayfinding on the North-Western Cycleway and the local board is funding new signage for all vehicle no exit streets (if approved at our September meeting).
When I was first elected in 2010 riding a bike was considered to be a fringe activity and not taken very seriously. Since then there has been a massive increase in people cycling especially where there are connected, safe cycle paths.
Through numerous consultations and surveys we know that the majority of Aucklanders own a bike and would like to cycle if they felt safe. The local board has been a strong advocate for transport choice including increasing opportunities for walking and cycling. We’ve celebrated the opening of Te ara I whiti / Lightpath, the Quay Street cycleway, Grafton Gully shared path, Ian McKinnon Drive and new greenway connections but overall the rate of progress has been incredibly slow. No new work has been started in Waitematā for over a year.
I never imagined when I became a member of the Urban Cycling Investment Panel in 2014 that allocated $100 million New Zealand wide for urban cycling infrastructure that so much would remain undelivered by 2019. The original 2018 delivery date has now been pushed out to 2021.
Unfortunately, the mistakes AT made over the West Lynn and Garnet Road/Surrey Crescent project has contributed to the delay to the programme as well as the increasing costs of meeting community expectations to deliver a whole range of streetscape improvements beyond just cycle lanes. Following further consultation regarding fixes to the design at the West Lynn shops AT is looking to progress with improvements to the crossing (image right of the preferred design following consultation with the local businesses and affected residents).
AT has a target of only 10km of new cycleways a year across Auckland – a significant chunk of which has been funded and delivered by the local board. However, I am hopeful that going forward, AT will take a new focus on safety to push ahead with a connected network with temporary designs and solutions where possible. This is absolutely essential work especially with the explosion of micro-mobility and the need to prioritise footpaths for people on foot.
At the Waitematā Local Board’s August meeting we voted on a package of safety improvements from a one-off $1.4m community safety fund. The fund was launched following the introduction of the fuel tax. I’ve worked with my co-transport portfolio holder Vernon Tava on putting together the recommendations of what should be prioritised based on community feedback.
The following safety improvements will be made across the local board area:
A raised pedestrian crossing will be introduced on West End Road / Fife Street by the bus stops next to the West End Lawn Tennis Club in Westmere
Hopetoun Street in Freemans Bay will see various additional safety improvements as part of a wider footpath renewal project
Pedestrian crossings on Lower Domain Drive at Lovers Lane and Domain Drive in the Auckland Domain will be formalised
A raised pedestrian crossing will be introduced outside ACG Parnell College on Davis Crescent next to Olympic Reserve in Newmarket
A suite of safety improvements will be introduced outside and around Newton Central School in Grey Lynn.
We also received a petition from Western Springs College students seeking a pedestrian crossing on Meola Road that Auckland Transport has reassured the local board will be delivered as part of the Pt Chev cycleway project.
Attachment 2 Our Auckland: Road safety improvements on the way in Waitematā
Vision Zero – safer speeds
The Waitematā Local Board was the first to adopt Vision Zero as an advocacy position and three years ago I was part of a coalition – Brake New Zealand, Living Streets Aotearoa, NZ School Speeds, Cycling Action Network- that launched Vision Zero NZ.
At the Auckland Transport Board September meeting we achieved a truly significant milestone with the announcement that Auckland is now a Vision Zero region – under the Tāmaki-Makaurau Road Safety Governance Group’s new safety strategy. For the first time there’s a goal, backed by a partnership of agencies, of no deaths or serious injuries on our transport network by 2050.
Many thanks to all the people who have worked so hard to bring this strategy together to save many lives.
Auckland Domain Committee
The local board, under Shale’s leadership was instrumental in initiating the Domain Masterplan (2015) and the setting up of a joint governance committee. I have been the Deputy Chair of the Domain Committee this term. I would have liked to have seen much quicker progress on making the Domain more accessible and safe. It is currently dominated by the 600 car parks that are predominately used by commuters and there is a lack of continuous footpath around the Domain.
Officers have been able to progress some exciting new projects such as refurbishment of the Wintergarden, a new path Te Ara Oranga to the museum, a new natural play area, and the Kari commons that is about to be built (multi-sport area with part to be used by the University while their gym is rebuilt).
Other projects that have progressed thanks to the local board coming to the party with over $1.5 million in new funding including for signage, new footpaths and car parking improvements (to allow for on road car parks to be removed on shared paths).
The final Auckland Domain Committee of this term of Council voted to remove 40 car parks from in front of Auckland Museum to improve safety and open up views to an iconic building and war memorial. This is an important step towards improving accessibility in one of our premier parks. The Museum is right behind it and doing their own bit by increasing public car parks at the southern entrance and reducing fees in their car park.
Auckland’s City Centre
We’ve seen major changes to the city centre since 2010 when the residential population was approximately 20,000. It is now almost 60,000. The majority of commuters arrive other than in private cars, and vehicles entering the city centre continue to decline.
In anticipation of the growth and the needs of the city centre residents, the refurbished Ellen Melville Centre was opened in 2017 as a vibrant community centre (photo right). Programming at the centre is becoming more focused on the needs of residents. We have also allocated funds so that the Central Library can open for an extra hour on weekends.
We’ve adopted the role of toilet “champions” by advocating for a full review of amenities in the city centre and the identification of gaps in the available toilets and information about locations. We’ve taken up the issue of the need for the new CRL train stations to have toilets available other than behind ticket barriers.
We’ve worked with Auckland Transport to identify locations for new toilet blocks that include drinking fountains and bus driver facilities (photo right: new toilet on Victoria Street).
The local board contributed to the development of the 2012 City Centre Masterplan (CCMP) and Waterfront Plan. We’ve been supportive of the CCMP refresh that presents a vision of a city centre that is more family-friendly, more pedestrian-friendly and more environmentally-friendly.
Waitematā Local Board welcomed the decision in June by the Environment and Community Committee to declare a climate emergency. This followed a resolution passed by the local board a week prior calling on Auckland Council’s Governing Body to declare an ecological and climate emergency for the Auckland region.
We have funded for a number of years low carbon initiatives projects aligning with the Live Lightly themes: Eat, Move, Shop, Grow, Talk and Energy including:
Low carbon lifestyles project – behaviour change actions such as reducing shower times implemented at 165 households resulting in savings of 19,356kg of CO2
Low carbon Multi-unit Dwellings – energy and carbon assessments resulting in savings of $27,000 and 37,178kg of CO2. Three more apartment blocks will be assessed in 2019/2020 to move towards a tool available to property managers
Waitematā Low Carbon Network – a platform to connect individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses to empower and enable local climate champions to meet the Local board’s respective carbon emissions reduction targets. The network members were instrumental in taking the Climate Emergency declaration to Council
And a business food waste initiative
Going forward the aim of just “low carbon” is looking woefully inadequate. Auckland Council’s new goal is to achieve a zero net emissions by 2050, but bold moves will need to come out of the Climate Action Framework currently out for consultation until the end of September if we are going to have any chance of limiting temperature rises to the IPCC recommended 1.5 degrees. (photo right with the School Strike for Climate student organisers).
Another important goal that we have consistently supported is to achieve Zero Waste by 2040. Following strong community support through our first local board plan consultation we identified the need for a local Community-led resource recovery centre as part of a regional network that developed into the Western Springs joint project with Puketāpapa and Albert-Eden Local Boards.
It is fully funded with plans ready to go for consent but unfortunately the project has been held up by the Horticultural Society wanting to remain in the main building and not shift to a repurposed Western Springs community hall (image right: a model of the proposed centre at Western Springs)
I have really enjoyed all the civic duties that come with being Chair especially officiating at citizenship ceremonies, delivering the Anzac Day address at the Grey Lynn RSC service and attending events and school assemblies.
Most recently I attended the Richmond Road School assembly on behalf of the Mayor. Anna and Daneka (photo right) wrote to him with their concerns about so much plastic going into the ocean. The assembly was led by the school’s Mua I Malae (the Samoan bi-lingual unit) and celebrated Tongan language week as well as the students’ environmental projects.
Local Government New Zealand
It has been a privilege to serve on National Council, LGNZ, as an ex-officio member since May 2018 representing local boards with the support of all the local board chairs.
Next term a local board representative will be voted on to National Council following a rule change at the LGNZ conference in July. The rule change is the accumulation of many years of advocacy seeking appropriate local board representation and recognition and was made possible with the support of LGNZ CEO Malcolm Alexander who works tirelessly for the sector.
I’ve also appreciated the opportunity to attend the annual LGNZ conference when all of local government comes together to network and share ideas and information (I have reported back on every conference I have attended).
There are a number of key projects that I’m excited about but it will be for the incoming Chair to lead including:
the refurbishment of the Plunket building in Heard Park
the Waipapa Valley Greenway connecting Newmarket to Parnell via the old Parnell train tunnel (image right)
Myers Park underpass
upgrade of Hobson Bay walkway
Myers Park Cottage restoration
Meola Reef improvements including new pathways, improved off leash area, restoration work and closing the end of the reserve to dogs
New paths and playground in Basque Park
Bi-lingual park naming
Accessibility Plan refresh
Rose Road Plaza (a project identified in the Ponsonby Road masterplan- indicative image right)
Establishment of the community-led resource recovery centre at Western Springs
In addition to the many transport projects and issues that are currently underway (Attachment 4 – to be tabled).
There are also regionally significant projects supported by the local board that I would like to have seen delivered by now, but I hope to stick around to see them through including:
Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway (Skypath)
Restoration St James Theatre
Removal of the Dominion Road flyover
Grafton Gully Boulevard (first supported in principle by the local board in 2016 and now part of the City Centre masterplan refresh)
Major corridor enhancements including Hobson/Nelson streets, Broadway and Ponsonby Road
Implementation of slower speeds in the city centre.
Acknowledgements and Thank Yous
We are fortunate to be supported by an amazing Local Board Services team. I would like to thank them all for their support, quality advice and good humour.
Thanks to those who have been part of my term as Chair: Relationship Managers: Kathryn Martin (on secondment) and Trina Thompson; Senior Local Board Advisor: Simon Tattersfield; Local Board Advisors: Corina Claps, Caroline Teh and Heather Skinner; Democracy Advisors: Sybil Mandow and more recently Liz Clemm. Engagement Advisors: Carlos Rahman, Maria Hernandez-Curry and Zigi Yates. PA Supports; Tammy Hendricks and Priscila Firmo (photo right with some of the team on a visit to Ellen Melville Centre).
We have always been able to rely on the support of Dee Sims, David Kemeys and Cathy McIntosh as our Communications Advisor; Shamila Unka, our Strategic Broker, and Pramod Nair and Mark Purdie as our Finance Advisors.
Karl Beaufort and Jacqui Thompson Fell are doing a tremendous job on behalf of the local board in Community Facilities. Ben Halliwell as our Auckland Transport Liaison has been instrumental in ensuring so many of our transport projects have progressed. I’m also thankful for the constant support and guidance provided to me personally by Otene Reweti, Senior Advisor Maori Relationships.
Across the council family I’m impressed by the dedication and hard work of the many people who are all committed to making Auckland a better place.
I’m grateful to be Chair of a local board with members who are positive, skilled, constructive and focused on achieving results. My heartfelt thanks to Deputy Chair Shale Chambers, Richard Northey and Adriana Christie, who are both standing again, and Vernon Tava, Denise Roche and Rob Thomas.
In my latest Ponsonby News update I acknowledge all the retiring board members. All board members have embraced taking on responsibilities through portfolios, are passionate about serving Waitematā and work hard for the community.
A special thanks to Vernon Tava, my co-portfolio holder for transport and portfolio lead for Planning and Heritage with me as he co-portfolio holder. I’m grateful that in practice he does all the planning work for the board leaving me to focus on my role as chair. Vernon has been a huge asset to the board, he is smart, focused and super-efficient at reviewing and reporting on the substantial number of resource consent applications (far more than any other board). Among his many achievements, that he has detailed in his own report reflecting on his time on the board over six years, is the mapping of all the amenities in the city centre long before council got on to the task.
Throughout this report I have highlighted Shale Chambers’ leadership in a range of areas. His contribution to establishing the local board and setting the foundations for strong local decision making across council can’t be underestimated. His ability to work tirelessly and make difficult decisions at crucial times has achieved impressive results for Waitematā. As the Chair and Deputy Chair combo over nine years I have been fortunate to have learned a huge amount from Shale. I thank him for his support, guidance and for becoming such a strong advocate for making Auckland a great place to cycle even though he has no wish to ride a bike! I wish Shale and all the board members the best for the future