Councillor Report April 2021

General update

My Councillor report covers the period from 6 March 2021 until 11 April 2021.  It has been prepared for the April business meetings of the Aotea Great Barrier, Waiheke and Waitematā Board Local Boards.

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

Positions

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

Summary

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

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

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

Governing Body meetings – Key decisions

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

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

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

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

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

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

1)      vehicle fleet and fuel decarbonisation

2)      land transport pricing reform

3)      urban growth management

4)      behavioural change

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

6)      addressing inequities from the impacts of decarbonisation

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

1)      enforcement and compliance mechanisms

2)      regulatory changes to improve safety for vulnerable road users

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other key meetings and events

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

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

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

Regional Consultations

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

Councillor report February 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo credit: Rachel Mataira

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Behind the scenes tour of the Auckland Museum on 22 January

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

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

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

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

Media attachments

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

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

Ponsonby News update February 2021

The Super City turns 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First published in Ponsonby News October 2020

Councillor monthly report July 2020

General update

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

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

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

Positions

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

Summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other key meetings and events

In the period 8 June to 7 July I attended:

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

    Women in Urbanism emergency budget discussion on 15 June

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

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

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

Emergency Budget 2020/2021 

Consultation on the Emergency Budget ended on 19 June.

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

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

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

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

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

Safe Speeds

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

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

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

Innovating Streets

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

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

 

Emergency Budget 3.5% rates rise decision

On 16 July Auckland Council’s Governing Body voted 18 votes to 3 to adopt the Mayoral Proposal for the Emergency Budget 20/21  based on a 3.5 % rates rise (after it had been recommended from the Finance and Performance Committee chaired by Cr Desley Simpson).

The full resolution is as follows: 

That the Governing Body:

a)      receive the Emergency Budget Mayoral Proposal in Attachment A of this report.

b)      agree that the Emergency Budget (Annual Budget 2020/2021) be based on a package including:

i)       an average general rate increase of 3.5 per cent

ii)      an increase to the Uniform Annual General Charge of 3.5 per cent

iii)     continuation of Long-term Differential Strategy

iv)     no changes to Regional Fuel Tax, Water Quality Targeted Rate and Natural Environment Targeted Rate

v)   final budgets for 2020/2021 as set out in the staff report under the 3.5 per cent rates increase option, modified as follows:

A)including additional budgets for Watercare in 2020/2021 of $224 million capital expenditure and $15 million of operating expenditure to respond to Auckland’s drought situation, noting that Watercare will mitigate $121 million of the impact that this will have on group debt

B)updating revenue and funding projections as a consequence of Waka Kotahi fully funding public transport shortfalls from July to December 2020 and confirmation of $98 million of government funding for fully or partially funded transport projects

C)including an additional group-level budget provision of $98 million of additional transport and three waters capital expenditure in 2020/2021 that is assumed to be fully funded by central government, subject to further information about the projects being received

D)noting the $20m reduction to the budget for 2021 Events including America’s Cup

E)noting the reinstatement of $10 million to decrease the proposed reduction in public transport services

F)increasing the target for asset recycling in 2020/2021 by an additional $20 million

G)including $40 million of additional Auckland Transport capital expenditure enabled by the $15m public transport subsidy from Waka Kotahi in 2020/2021 for road safety and death and serious injury reductions, reinstating asset renewals, and project development work

H)including the reinstatement of $3 million funding for Locally Delivered Initiatives (LDI)

I)noting the removal of “Animal shelter consolidation” from the list of parent operational savings to be made in 2020/2021

J)including the reinstatement of $450,000 funding to ensure library hours are not reduced

c)       agree, having had regard to the matters set out in section 100(2)(a) to (d) of the Local Government Act 2002, it is prudent to not balance the budget for the 2020/2021 financial year.

d)acknowledge the record breaking 34,915 pieces of feedback received from the public during the consultation process in May and June 2020.

e)acknowledge and thank Local Boards, Council Controlled Organisations and the Independent Māori Statutory Board for their collaboration and input into the Emergency Budget.

f)note the Emergency Budget includes over $200 million of savings and cost reductions for the council group; which includes a reduction to staff numbers.

g)note that the introduction of the ‘Postponement of Rates for Ratepayers Impacted by COVID-19 Scheme’ will offer support to ratepayers who are financially affected by COVID-19.

h)note that the Auckland Council group will continue to deliver a capital investment programme of over $2.5 billion in FY2020/2021 which will contribute to Auckland’s recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic

Notes for my speech to the Finance and Performance Committee meeting in support of the 3.5% budget package

In speaking in support of the 3.5% package and the resolutions before us I would like to start by acknowledging how we find ourselves with a massive hole in council’s revenue  (Note * $475m plus $224m for water infrastructure to respond to the drought) and considering for the first time ever an emergency budget.  As of yesterday there were over 13.5 million infections of coronavirus and almost 600,000 deaths.  The stats will include my mum’s older sister who died overnight in South Africa of the virus. The pandemic is raging outside our boarders.   It is a situation none of us could have imagined when we started this fresh term back in November and the biggest crisis at the time was the Sky City fire!

Fortunately in Aotearoa, thanks to impressive leadership, informed by science, and a team of 5 million coming together we are in the strongest possible situation.

The phenomenal lockdown response highlighted the best of council and the value of the services and facilities we provide.  We’ve seen food packages distributed, the vulnerable housed, vital supply lines maintained to the Gulf islands, 15,000 calls made to seniors at home by re-deployed library staff, and essential workers provided with transport (further details here of council’s covid-19 response) .  This work continues, for example, at the central library there is now a health service available to rough sleeps who find the library a place of manakitanga . This is only possible through valuable partnerships that have grown stronger through the crisis with Marae, community groups, and NGOs such as the City Mission and Lifewise.

The valued role of council has come through in the submissions on the budget (consultation summary here). There is concern about the impact of cuts on Auckland’s ability to recover at a time when we need investment, jobs and to build community resilience.  The feedback we have heard is very much framed I think along two alternative options in responding to the crisis – an austerity approach or an investment budget .

I can totally understand the wish to see rates cut. There a strong sense of anxiety, of difficult personal circumstances and the hit to household incomes as a result of covid-19.    There are historic inequalities and iwi grievances that this budget doesn’t address.

It is also very difficult to explain why, at a time of economic uncertainty and potentially a serious recession looming,  council needs to put up rates when everyone else is belt tightening.  However, the part of the story that doesn’t hit the headlines is that we are playing catch up on infrastructure investment that didn’t happen to match Auckland’s growth due to historically artificially low rates – especially in the old Auckland City Council area – for example we can’t ignore that the reason there is poo in the harbour is due to chronic under investment because of a failure to plan for the future by previous councils.

I’ve read and heard a lot of anger directed at council.  There is lack of trust that we need to address and a perception that the super city has failed.  I’m sorry for the staff who had to read the vitriol in some of the submissions in part whipped up by a dishonest campaign based on misinformation.   The campaign has actually been counter productive because it hasn’t led to constructive feedback.  There are lots of references supporting cuts to “Vanity” projects, “pet” projects, and getting back to “core” business but without providing details of what is non-essential. The “town hall” rich list campaign based on inaccurate information distorted the debate on the budget.

[Note*: Commentary about overpaid staff isn’t accurate. With an asset base of over $50 billion, Auckland Council is a very large organisation second only to Fonterra on a national scale. Less than 1% of staff earn over $200k.  Comparisons made between the council and the private sector are not always relevant, but it is worth noting that senior staff who have come from executive roles in the private sector have taken significant reductions in salary to work at the council. The mayor and deputy mayor have taken a voluntary 20% salary cut, and councillors have taken a 10% cut. Many of our staff have also taken voluntary salary cuts. Recruitment is taking place only by exception, and restructures are resulting in redundancies across the organisation.  1100 contractors roles have already been reviewed and the emergency budget is going to result in hundreds of job losses ].

Many of those arguing for a rates freeze or a lower rates rise in their feedback were actually asking for a 3.5% package of services and for council to continue to play a role in the covid-19 recovery and improving community well being.  This is what came through strongly from the local boards who were unanimous in supporting 3.5% and referred frequently to the key budget considerations/principles that the Mayor spoke of and in particular protecting the most vulnerable. They are on the ground with their communities and understand the hardship that will be caused by aggressive cuts.  For this reason I support the reestablishment to local board of their discretionary budget (known as Locally Driven Initiatives – LDI budget) . They can act nimbly and responsively to community needs though grants, environmental programmes, events and extended hours and programmes at valued community facilities.  Huge credit to you madam chair for bringing the local boards along on the emergency budget journey right from the earliest days of our Skype meetings in lockdown.   As has been said it has been the most collaborative co-governance process ever and you have done a superb job.

In taking into account the feedback  it also needs to be emphasized, while acknowledging the huge effort to collate 34k submissions, that there is a gap in the consultation summary.   The submissions from organisations have been lumped together and counted individually if identified as “regional” rather than as a stakeholder or mana whenua group.    There is in fact strong support for a 3.5% package proposal from diverse groups across Tamaki Makaurau  – faith groups, sports and environmental organisations, residents associations, service clubs, unions, arts and culture organizations and business associations – collectively representing hundreds of thousands of members.

If I have any misgivings about the budget is that in responding to an emergency we haven’t achieved a strategic reset, there is a tendency to fall back on business as usual rather than building back better and a push to side line our climate initiatives as a “nice to have” rather  integral to the council’s crisis response to avoid an even worse emergency.

I also find it hugely frustrating that cycleway projects have been deferred that Auckland Transport should have delivered 3 years ago from funding first announced when John Key was PM – that sure feels like a life time ago! These projects shouldn’t even be part of this discussion.

But overall there is a lot to support as a package developed in very difficult circumstances. I thank the Mayor for protecting the new budget for reducing council’s green house gas emissions, living wage and our homelessness response.   I’m pleased that we have additional budget for road safety and that there is scope for the work programme to be further tweaked and reviewed on the way through if additional funds become available.  I also heard Auckland Transport confirm that they are committed to taking a more innovative approach.  I hope that carries across the council whanau in all our programmes.

I believe we have a strong mandate for what is before us taking into account the feedback, the views of local boards, all the financial information and the updated information we have received on the expenditure required to respond to the drought.  We’ve found considerable reductions to expenditure including cuts to staff numbers are already underway – and I acknowledge how difficult that is .  I think we have taken the right approach targeting support for rate payers facing financial hardship (through the rates postponement option) rather than an across the board rates cut that would have led to dire consequences.  The budget takes the investment approach to the post covid recovery rather than austerity [Note*: The 2020/21 capex budget (pre-Covid-19) was set at a record $2.6 billion. To help us remain fiscally prudent in the face of a projected $500 million revenue shortfall and retain community and investor confidence in our financial position, one of the measures we consulted on was smaller capex programme of $2.3 billion. However, by working through our budget and collaborating with central government, it is likely we will have the capacity to increase this back close to previously planned levels so that we can keep the economy moving forward and supply the assets that Aucklanders require, including drought related works. Reducing our investment program would only drive the economy deeper into recession.]

Going into the long term plan / 10 year budget  (a process starting in only a few weeks)  I wish to see us not lose momentum on work to build community health, well being and resilience. If this has been an emergency budget  the next one – the LTP must be a climate action budget.

I’d like to end with a quote that is attributed to Joe Biden but is said by city leaders around the world:

Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value

Thanks to everyone for their hard work.

The alternative – cuts under a 2.5% rates increase budget package 

Three Councillors voted against the budget package based on a 3.5% rates increase. They didn’t put up any alternatives.  A budget based on a 2.5% rates increase would have significant cuts including:

  • cuts to library hours
  • cuts to road safety projects
  • hundreds of additional job loses
  • a 20% cut to the local boards’ discretionary budget
  • charging at Park & Rides
  • higher public transport fares
  • removal of the evening peak concession for gold card users
  • significant deferral of projects such as track upgrades and playground renewals
  • reduced open space maintenance standards through reduced footpath cleaning, closing some public toilets and removing litter bins to reduce emptying costs.
  • cuts to local board One Local Initiative (OLI) projects including Waiheke Local Board’s Matiatia project

Further reading:

Radio NZ : ‘We had to slash our spending’: Auckland Council cuts jobs, defers projects

Our Auckland: Auckland Council endorses Mayor Phil Goff’s Emergency Budget proposal

Todd Niall in Stuff:  Auckland Council budget: Rates up 3.5 per cent and more than 500 jobs to go

NZ Herald: Auckland Council approves ’emergency budget’, passes a 3.5 % rates rise and restores library cuts

Our Auckland: Deputy Mayor praises leadership

How Auckland’s rates rise compares

  • 3.8 per cent proposed increase in Hamilton City,
  • 4.1 per cent decided by Dunedin City
  • Tauranga’s proposed 4.7 per cent.

*Notes taken from  Auckland Council’s Emergency Budget – The Facts by the Deputy Mayor, Bill Cashmore in response to the Auckland Ratepayers Alliance campaign “Is the Council really ‘cutting back’ or is the Mayor telling porkies?” circulated before the vote.  For a copy please email me on pippa.coom@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Together we can make our streets safer

In uniting against Covid-19, Aucklanders stayed home, stayed safe and went out of their way to be kind.  Local trips during lockdown for exercise and essential travel were on relatively quiet, stress-free roads. Low traffic volumes allowed Aucklanders to reclaim their neighbourhoods and gave many the confidence to take to walking and cycling.

We have an opportunity to embed this kindness into our collective culture; and extend it to our behaviour behind the wheel. The changes coming on 30 June 2020 will make for permanently safer streets for everyone and build on the enthusiasm for active transport.

New speed limits in the city centre from 30 June 2020

On this day Auckland Transport will roll-out safe new speed limits around the region designed to stop people being killed or seriously injured on our roads. In the first phase, more than 600 self-explaining and high-risk roads will have new and safe speed limits.

From 30 June 2020, 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). Speed limits on Hobson, Fanshawe and Nelson streets will be reduced to 40km/h instead of 30km/h. In addition, AT will implement engineering treatments on these arterials to protect vulnerable road users like people walking and cycling.

Slower speeds in the city centre will create a safer environment for everyone and complement the initiatives already underway to create a people focused city centre.  Auckland is falling into line with international best practice and joining communities aspiring to a transport system where nobody dies if someone stuffs up.

Setting safe speeds is one the quickest and cost-effective ways to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

The work towards the roll out of lower speed limits began with the Auckland Council Planning Committee’s September 2018 resolution requesting Auckland Transport to accelerate the road safety and speed management programmes and seek input from partners to make Auckland a Vision Zero region.   In September 2019 Auckland Transport’s board approved the Vision Zero strategy for the Auckland region.

This was a major milestone that I had worked towards with many other road safety advocates advocates including Living Streets Aotearoa, Bike Auckland, Brake NZ the road safety charity and NZ School Speeds.  Sweden may have followed a fatally misguided response to Covid-19 but when it comes to a different kind of crisis Sweden’s Vision Zero road safety strategy, first introduced in 1995, has proved successful as a pathway towards eliminating road trauma. Vision Zero is an ethics-based approach that puts human life ahead of any other benefits and has now been adopted around the world.

Road crashes will happen but what we need to do is to make them “survivable” when people inevitably make mistakes. Survivable means that people involved in a crash should be able to walk away rather than be carried away by first responders.

No matter what causes a crash, speed is the undeniable factor in whether a crash is likely to occur and whether it kills or seriously injures those involved.   Evidence also shows that for every additional kilometre of speed, the chances of getting involved in a fatal crash are at least four times greater.

The benefits extend beyond lives saved.  Safer speeds are a pro-community and pro-business response. Lower speed limits have the potential to improve traffic flow, improve fuel efficiency, reduce pollution and noise. Fewer severe crashes mean less time delays and decreased business interruption.

Speed limit reductions are only one part of a package of measures that what will make our neighbourhoods more liveable, equitable, healthy and safe. We need to continue investment in road safety treatments, driver education that entrenches a “be kind” approach to everyone on the road and walking and cycling infrastructure to incentivise choosing active transport

30 June is an important date for Auckland. It marks the next stage of our journey to making our roads and streets kinder and safer for everyone.

 

A version of this article appeared in the July Ponsonby News

 

 

Councillor Report April 2020

This is an extraordinary Councillor report covering the period from 13 March 2020 until 20 April.  It is prepared for the Waitematā Local Board business meeting to be held on 5 May.

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.

Council staff have been deployed to help Aucklanders experiencing hardship as a result of the lockdown. Deliveries of essential supplies including food and toiletries began on 1 April via an 0800 22 22 96 phone number provided for those needing assistance with accessing essential supplies (the service also covers Aotea Great Barrier and Waiheke islands).

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).

On 17 April the chief executives of council and its five council-controlled organisations announced they will take a pay cut of 20 per cent for the next six months.  In addition, board chairs, directors and senior executives have volunteered a range of reductions.

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.

Auckland Council’s submission on the Accessible Streets Regulatory Package was approved.

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.

Other matters

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’s Innovating Streets for People initiative 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

Councillor Report March 2020

General update

  • 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
  • First Mayor and Councillors catch up of the year held on 3 February

    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
  • Minister of Transport Phil Twyford, the Mayor and elected representatives

    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
  • Mayor Phil Goff, Sir Bob Harvey, Covert Theatre Trustee Mike Hutchinson and founder Wade Jackson at the opening of Covert Theatre, Ponsonby

    Opening Covert Theatre at the invitation of The Yes and Trust

Regional grants

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

Transport

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)

Media

  • I was quoted in the Hauraki Gulf Forum media release: The Hauraki Gulf is hurting and needs our help
  • My regular Ponsonby News column was published in the March edition
  • I wrote an OpEd for the NZ Herald about the positive side of seeing so many orange road cones in Auckland. Humble orange cone means the future is coming  (Our Auckland version)

Disclosures

There are no gift disclosures this month.  Invitations to events are all noted above.

 

Orange road cones show Auckland is getting stuff done

OPINION  first published in the Herald NZ on 26 February (premium content) with the heading:  Humble orange cone means the future is coming

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.

New Ferry Basin public space “Te Wananga” due for completion in December 2020

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.

Councillor Report February 2020

General update
  • This is my first Councillor report for 2020 prepared for the Waitematā, Waiheke and Aotea Great Barrier Local Boards’ February business meeting agendas.
  • It covers the period from 25 November 2019 until 31 January including the summer break.
  • The purpose of my report is to share key information with the local boards including governing body activities, attendance at events, conferences and meetings, regional consultations, media activities and ward issues I have been following up on. I also declare all gifts in my report regardless of value.
Governing Body and Committee meetings*

Governing Body committee met on 26 November and 12 December (photo right of Councillors at the Aotea Square Christmas tree on our way to the final business meeting of the year at the Town Hall). Highlights include:

  • agreed the terms of reference for the Council Controlled Organisations Review
  • approved allocation of the Auckland Council governance remuneration pool
  • approved terms of reference for the Joint Governance Working Party and Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Treaty of Waitangi Settlement Working Party
  • adopted the GB meeting schedule from 2020 -2022
  • agreed process for appointing the next Auckland Council CEO (appointment to be made by end of 2020)
  • Unanimous support for an extraordinary item regarding the bus drivers dispute (reported on below)

The first Environment and Climate Change committee met on 29 November

  • approved the grant allocations for the 2019/2020 Regional Environment and Natural Heritage Grant programme funding round
  • allocations for the 2019/2020 Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund, September 2019 funding were considered in confidential

The first Council Controlled Organisation Oversight Committee met on 12 December to receive the first quarter reports of the substantive council-controlled organisations and approve the proposed content for inclusion in their 2020/21 letters of expectation.

A minute’s silence was observed at the beginning of our Finance and Performance Committee led by Cr Desley Simpson on 10 December to pay tribute to all those affected by the awful tragedy on Whakaari /White Island.

*Note: This is not intended to be a complete summary of all governing body and committee meetings. Refer https://infocouncil.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/ for full details

Events and other meetings
  • A range of briefings have continued for the Environment and Climate Change Committee Chair and Deputy Chair
  • In my role as committee Deputy Chair I attend a weekly chairs catch up with the Mayor and a fortnightly Mayor and Councillors catch up
  • I have a fortnightly meeting for transport updates relating to ward issues
  • On Friday 29 November I hosted my first Councillor “clinic” on Aotea Great Barrier with booked appointments times
  • Meeting on 6 December with councillors Barley and Casey and First Union to discuss the bus drivers dispute.
  • MUNZ meeting on 9 December with the automation working group of the International Transport Workers Federation
  • Cr Hills and I met with Milag San Jose-Ballesteros, Regional Director For Southeast Asia And Oceania, C40 to discuss climate change action on 21 January. C40 Cities is an organisation working with 96 City Councils across the world to work on positive opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and protect our communities.
  • Meeting on 22 January convened by the Mayor regarding Fuller Ferry cancellations (reported on below)
  • City Centre network meeting at the Ellen Melville Centre on 23 January
  • Tour of Aotea Great Barrier (north part of island) with the local board on 27 January (photos right)
  • Waiheke Local Board business meeting on 28 January
  • Environment and Climate Change Committee: Political Working Group meetings to finalise Council’s submission on the Reducing waste: A more effective landfill levy paper

I also attended the following events:

  • Vision Zero celebration at Auckland Transport on 25 November
  • 100 years of Zonta International celebration dinner on 25 November hosted by the Zonta Club of Auckland at the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron. Zonta’s mission is empowering powering women through service and advocacy.
  • Friends of Sustainable Coastlines celebration on 27 November
  • Museum Board Chair Orchid Atimalala, Deputy Chair Tarun Kanji and Director Finance Jignasha Patel

    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
  • The official party for the citizenship ceremony L-R Deputy Chair Waiheke Local Board Bob Upchurch, Kaumatua Bob Hawke, Kaumatua Alec Hawke, Richard NortheyChair Waitematā Local Board, and new citizen Kiri McCutcheon who works at Auckland Council

    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
    Tour of Wynyard Quarter Developments with Mayor Goff

    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.

Regional grants

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.”

Media

Conferences and seminars

Te kāwana ngātahi i a Tāmaki Makaurau ‘Governing Auckland together’ symposium was held for all elected members on 2 December.  The programme included:

  • Deputy Mayor gave the opening address on behalf of the Mayor
  • Chief Executive, Stephen Town address
  • Strategic briefing – overview of key strategic issues for Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
  • No point wasting a good crisis’ – an interactive future-focused session, looking at era scale change and connecting the future to actions in the present. This will be led by Dr Stephanie Pride
  • Closing remarks by board Chair Leumaunga Lydia Sosene
Disclosures

Since 25 November I have received the following gifts as well the invites noted above under events:

  • Out there SCAPE Public Art 1998 – 2018 a booked valued at $80 gifted by Warren Pringle