Councillor monthly report March 2022

Annual budget 22/23 Climate Action webinar on the panel with Cr Richard Hills

My Councillor report covers the period from 1 February to 7 March.  It has been prepared for the March business meetings of the Waitematā, Waiheke and Aotea Great Barrier 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, 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 and Auckland Zone co-chair
  • Member, Auckland Domain Committee
  • Member, Appointments and Performance Review Committee
  • Member, Joint Governance Working Party
  • Member, Climate Political Reference Group
  • Member, Waste Political Advisory Group
  • All Councillors are members of the Planning, CCO Oversight, Finance & Performance and the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committees

Summary  

  • All meetings and workshops continue to take place online.
  • Consultation on the Annual Budget 2022/23 including the Climate Action targeted rate got underway on 28 February. Consultation events are being held online. The first online community webinar was on the topic of the Climate Action Targeted rate (photo above on the panel with Cr Richard Hills)
  • Wynyard Point, January 2022

    The transformation of Auckland’s city centre waterfront continues. The next stage is a Wynyard Point Te Ara Tukutuku plan (what was tank farm and site of America’s cup bases). It will be the largest new park created in Auckland for 100 years.  Eke Panuku has put a call out to designers for this exciting regeneration project

  • This month I also provide updates from the Hauraki Gulf Forum and progress on the scheduling of notable trees.

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 key decisions.

On 3 February the Planning Committee

  • Delegated authority to the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee and an Independent Māori Statutory Board member to approve council’s input into Transforming Aotearoa New Zealand’s resource management system: Our future resource management system
  • Approved Private Plan Change 58 – 470 and 476 Great South Road and 2 and 8 Gatland Road, Papakura to the Auckland Unitary Plan (Operative in Part), under clause 17(2) of Schedule 1 of the Resource Management Act 1991.
  • Considered private plan change request – O’Hara Farm, Waiuku
  • Agreed to consider the agenda item “Auckland Film Studios budget update” as a confidential item.

On 8 February the Finance and Performance Committee

 On 8 February the Governing Body

  • Adopted the Supporting Information, and the Consultation Document for the Annual Budget 2022/2023, which include a statement of proposal for the proposed amendment to the council’s Waste Management and Minimisation Plan 2018.
  • Approved consultation material for Rating of Whenua Māori Changes to Financial Policies noting the need for the correction of minor errors.

 On 14 February the Auckland Domain Committee

  • Approved in principle the Symphony event to take place in the Auckland Domain for early 2023,
  • Received the Auckland Museum Update report.
  • Received the Auckland Domain – general and financial update report noting:
    • achievement of a green flag award for 2022 which recognises and rewards the Auckland Domain as providing a high quality and innovative recreational experience
    • that the Auckland Botanic Gardens will now be responsible for the horticultural outcomes at the Domain, which will deliver improvements in the curatorial management of the plant collections
    • that the addition of $700,000 of lighting and wastewater pipe renewal projects to this financial year’s programme will ensure that assets in the Domain are fit for purpose and Aucklanders can enjoy a world class park
    • that all the projects within the Auckland Domain work programme are on track and within budget.

Auckland Domain was cleared of anti-mandate protesters after a week-long illegal occupation thanks to a joint operation between Police and Auckland Council officers and with the strong support from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. Ending the occupation as safety and as soon as possible had the full support of the Mayor and Councillors.

On 24 February the Governing Body

  • Considered the public feedback and local board input received on the proposed changes to the Significance and Engagement Policy and adopted the Significance and Engagement Policy 2022 with the following retained as strategic assets in the policy:
    • freehold interests in central Auckland waterfront land
    • shares in substantive Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs).
  • Noted the Auckland Council’s Health, Safety and Wellbeing Report
  • Noted the recommendation from the Appointments and Performance Review Committee – Chief Executive Remuneration Review be released to the public
  • Considered the following under confidentiality:
    • City Rail Link C9 Works Update
    • Eke Panuku Strategic Development Partnership Opportunity

 On 3 March the Planning Committee

  • Approved the grant allocations for the 2021/2022 Regional Historic Heritage Grants Programme funding round
  • Approved Auckland Council’s submission on the proposed amendments to the National Environmental Standards for Sources of Human Drinking Water
  • Endorsed the following principles for the application of the new policy 3(d) in the National Policy Statement – Urban Development for the purpose of developing draft proposals for public engagement in mid-April to early May in order to give effect to what central government has required of council:
    • no change to building heights and density of urban form withinNeighbourhood, Local and Town Centre zones (subject to a review of the Height Variation Controls to ensure consistency with the heights of proposed new zones surrounding the centres)
    • no additional Policy 3(d) intensification (beyond the application of zone(s) containing the Medium Density Residential Standards) for:
      • A)     All Neighbourhood Centres
      • B)      Local Centres that are small in size and/or have low accessibility
      • C)      Town Centres that have low accessibility
    • apply the Terrace Housing and Apartment Buildings zone to residential zoned sites adjacent to the edge of a centre zone (up to around 200 metres) for:
      • A)      Local Centres that are both large in size and have high accessibility
      • B)      Town Centres that are small in size, but have high accessibility
    • apply the Terrace Housing and Apartment Buildings zone to residential zoned sites adjacent to the edge of a centre zone up to around 400 metres for:
      • A)Town Centres that are large in size and have high accessibility.

Hauraki Gulf Forum

Photo James Liddell

The Hauraki Gulf, Aucklanders’ marine playground, is in a dire environmental state. This was seen first-hand on a visit to The Noises on 21 February at the invitation of the Neureuter family who hold the islands in a private trust.  The visit included representatives of the Hauraki Gulf Forum, the Helen Clark Foundation, Waiheke Marine Project and the Auckland Museum.

We heard about the collapse of the scallop beds, the depletion of key species, and the decline of sea bird populations all in a couple of generations. We also saw the kina barrens, a key indicator that the marine environment is dying. This is in contrast to the lush bush and bird life on the main island Ōtata where the removal of pests opened the way to phenomenal regeneration.

Fortunately, the family, working with mana whenua, are determined to restore the mauri of the moana. They have joined forces with Auckland Museum and the University of Auckland to put forward a marine protection proposal to government for The Noises (60km 2) to be included as a High Protection Area. It is an incredible place just 30 mins by boat from downtown Auckland.

The following Monday, the Hauraki Gulf Forum agreed to adopt an advocacy position for updating and strengthening the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000.  What should have been a very straight forward and logical step became the subject of a misinformation campaign leading up to the Forum’s meeting on 28 February.

The Forum’s decision, which is about how we can better advocate for the Gulf by raising the status of the Gulf for decision-makers and through revitalisation of the Forum under a Treaty partnership model, will have no impact on the ownership of private or public land such as Auckland’s Regional Parks, nor will it restrict access to the Hauraki Gulf in any way.

As I said in our co-chairs’ media release following the decision  “I look forward to taking our proposal to Ministers as I am convinced that we will see far greater action and transformational change by raising the status of the Hauraki Gulf for decision-makers and through revitalisation of the Forum under a Treaty partnership model.”

Scheduling of notable trees

Auckland Council is commencing assessment of 610 tree nominations for inclusion in the Notable Tree Schedule, with work underway to prepare a plan change for notification in 2023 to add trees that meet notable tree criteria to Schedule 10 of the Auckland Unitary Plan.

It follows a Planning Committee decision in November 2020 to schedule the trees when resources permit, with a longer-term focus on seeking the reinstatement by the government of general tree protections.

The November 2020 decision came about because I got support to change the recommendation from “agree that it is NOT financially viable to undertake tree scheduling” into a positive decision to “agree to schedule trees when resources allow”.  It has taken longer than anticipated to secure the resourcing but in the meantime lobbying to the government to reinstate tree protection has continued.

City Centre safety

A number of issues were brought by Chair Northey and me to the City Centre Community Safety Taskforce meeting on 18 February including the need for action on car sirens and the noise from modified vehicles (particularly an issue at the moment for Wynyard Quarter residents), hotspots in the city centre as a result of emergency housing and the safety concerns raised by representatives of the hospitality industry in a meeting I attended organised by MP Chlöe Swarbrick.

The taskforce has a new “Intention to collaborate” replacing the terms of reference of the original group and increased resourcing from council.

The taskforce provides a formal platform to connect key stakeholders including NZ Police with an interest in alcohol and safety management within the central city, and to build effective relationships and coordinate action in line with council’s safety plan.

Events

With Cr Cathy Casey at the ATC production Grand Horizons

Due to the rising cases of Omicron and the on-going red restrictions there have been limited opportunities to attend in person meetings or events.  I was fortunate to work from the Waiheke Local Board office on 18 February from where I participated in an online Kāwanatanga workshop (enhancing the mana and mauri o te moana) as one of the panel members to talk about the Waiheke Marine Project future search experience.  I also met with a constituent to discuss the work underway on the Transport Emissions Reduction plan.

The production of Auckland Theatre Company’s Grand Horizons was able to go ahead but with limited audience numbers (photo right with Cr Cathy Casey)

Community mulching day at Harry Dansey Reserve, Freemans Bay

On 12 February I joined Waitematā Local Board members and volunteers to help spread mulch at Harry Dansey Park in Freeman’s Bay.  The project to revitalise a local park was orchestrated by local gardener Mark van Kaathoven and organised by Local Board member Adriana

Councillor monthly report December 2021

General update 

My Councillor report covers the period from 6 November to 6 December 2021.  It has been prepared for the December business meetings of the Waitematā, Waiheke and Aotea Great Barrier 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, regional consultations, media updates and key issues. This is my final 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 and Auckland Zone co-chair
  • Member, Auckland Domain Committee
  • Member, Appointments and Performance Review Committee
  • Member, Joint Governance Working Party
  • Member, Climate Political Reference Group
  • Member, Waste Political Advisory Group
  • All Councillors are members of the Planning, CCO Oversight, Finance & Performance and the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committees

Summary  

  • At the time of writing this report, Auckland has emerged from 107 days of lockdown. On December 3rd, Auckland entered the Covid-19 Protection Framework at the Red setting. At Red setting, all Council’s staffed services and facilities will require the use of vaccination passes until at least 17 January 2022. All Council meetings and workshops are continuing online until the end of the year.
  • I was acting Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee meetings during November and chaired the final Committee meeting of the year on 2 December
  • Transport Emissions Reduction Plan progress report received at the meeting confirmed Auckland’s emission are not remotely tracking in line with the target to reduce emissions by 50 percent by 2030.
  • Major pieces of the work progressed during the month include adoption of the Age-Friendly Tamaki Makaurau Action Plan, Council’s submission on the Enabling Housing Supply Bill, Council’s submission on Te hau mārohi ki anamata – Transitioning to a low-emissions and climate-resilient future (I was a signatory to the submission), adoption of the Water Strategy Framework and the Annual Budget 2022/23 Mayoral Proposal with a billion-dollar climate action package was announced (it was unanimously supported to go out for consultation at the Governing Body meeting on 8 December)
  • Consultation opened on 3 December seeking Aucklander’s views on how the government might set up a new water entity for Auckland (and the northern councils). Feedback on the Three Waters Reform is open until 19 December.
  • A groundbreaking new poll was released showing huge public support for measures to protect and restore the Hauraki Gulf, Tīkapa Moana, Te Moananui-ā-Toi.

It has been a demanding year dominated by the pandemic response and an extensive lockdown. I’m sure everyone is looking forward to a rest and a fresh start to 2022. Ngā mihi o te wā season’s greetings ki a koutou.

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 key decisions.

On 11 November the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee

  • Received a presentation on Sport and Recreation Facilities Investment Fund 2021/2022 and approved $300,000 from the 2021/2022 Sport and Recreation Facility Investment Fund to be managed by Community Facilities as part of a targeted sports field investment programme.
  • Received the annual Auckland Council Group Māori Outcomes Report: Te Pūrongo a Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau Ngā Huanga Māori 2020-2021
  • Endorsed the Te Kete Rukuruku programme and process for Māori naming of regional parks, noting that it supports the visibility of te reo Māori and seeks to capture and tell the unique stories of Tāmaki Makaurau.
  • Adopted the Tāmaki tauawhi kaumātua – Age-friendly Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland Action Plan.
  • Received the indicative business case for aquatic provision in Albert-Eden, and agreed that no further investigation of investment options to maintain aquatic services in the Albert-Eden Local Board area as part of a detailed business case be undertaken.

On 23 November the Council Controlled Organisations Oversight Committee

  • Received the 2021/2022 first quarter reports of the substantive Council-controlled Organisations and Ports of Auckland Limited
  • Received the update on the implementation programme for the Council-controlled Organisations Review
  • Considered under confidentiality the Unsolicited Bid Guidelines – Report back of bid

On 25 November the Governing Body

  • Received a COVID-19 briefing and Auckland Emergency Management status update from Phil Wilson, Acting Controller Auckland Emergency Management
  • Adopted the recommended new Public Trading, Events and Filming Bylaw
  • Adopted the recommended amendments to Animal Management Bylaw 2015 and associated controls
  • Adopted the recommended amendments to Water Supply and Wastewater Network Bylaw 2015
  • Approved the transfer of the ex-Glenfield Bowling Club buildings at Ross Reserve, Glenfield to Pest Free Kaipātiki Restoration Society.

On 30 November the Planning Committee

  • Received a presentation from the Herne Bay Residents Association Inc about the nuisance caused by helipads (I have also received a substantial number of emails from Waiheke on this matter). I have confirmed that I share the community’s concern around the environmental and social impact of helicopter landings and take-offs in residential areas. I am looking at what follow-up action to amend the Unitary Plan can be taken in the new year
  • Endorsed Eke Panuku as the lead agency for the implementation of the City Centre Masterplan 2020, by adding the city centre to the Eke Panuku Waterfront Transform location.

On 2 December the Environment and Climate Change Committee

  • Adopted the Auckland Water Strategy Framework as the core content for a new Auckland Water Strategy brought to committee for consideration and adoption in the first half of 2022.
  • Received a progress update on the Transport Emissions Reduction Plan. The following is the resolution in full as it is a significant piece of work and the Committee supported the early implementation of actions. I added e) iv) as a chairs recommendation to progress work by AT to leverage renewals to reduce emissions and realise co-benefits from safer streets.

That the Environment and Climate Change Committee:

a)      tuhi /note the progress update provided on the Transport Emissions Reduction Plan, in particular the scale of the challenge to meet Auckland’s transport emissions reduction target and that every available lever will have to be pulled as hard as possible to meet that target

b)      tuhi /note the emphasis that Auckland Transport is already placing on climate change

c)      tuhi /note that mode shift is the most powerful lever for reducing transport emissions, and that some action can be taken in advance of having an emission reduction pathway endorsed

d)      request Auckland Council staff to progress the following actions, and to report back to the Environment and Climate Change Committee in March 2022 with a progress update:

i)an investigation into council’s own corporate mobility to ensure alignment with the Transport Emissions Reduction Plan, which would cover, amongst other things, the provision of corporate car parking

ii)further and more detailed research into all people’s willingness and ability to change travel behaviour, taking note of the equity implications of mode shift, the barriers that people face, and the importance of a just transition

iii)          an investigation into a methodology and feasibility of a region-wide spatial assessment of access via walking, cycling and public transport

e)      Requested Auckland Transport and Auckland Council staff jointly progress the following for early delivery and report back to the Transport Emissions Reference Group with a progress update in March 2022:

i)development of a public communications campaign on climate change to present a vision of a low carbon transport system and build momentum for action

ii)a tactical behavioural change programme focused on mode shift to public transport and active modes, for implementation as soon as possible

iii)  work to ensure that all capital and renewals projects on corridors designated as part of the Future Connect active modes strategic networks include safe walking, cycling and micro-mobility infrastructure

iv)    the use of the renewals programme to deliver improved outcomes for sustainable transport modes, including a summary of work already underway, any impediments to taking this approach across the entire renewals programme, and the actions required to overcome these impediments

v)the development of a pipeline of active and public transport projects that could be ready for delivery to capitalise on any potential funding injection from central government

vi)an investigation into the feasibility of different options of public transport fare reductions for particular groups in advance of Government providing further details on its commitment to reducing public transport fares

vii)     an assessment of how the faster roll-out of the public transport related minor infrastructure programme could be resourced

  • Received the Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan Progress Report, November 2021 and noted despite the progress being made, as shown in the Progress Report, Auckland’s emission are not remotely tracking in line with the target to reduce emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and that work on the Transport Emissions Reduction Plan shows the stark reality of the scale of the challenge and the level of intervention required and that more work and investment will be required
  • Allocated Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund, and Regional Environment and Natural Heritage grants

On 2 December the Extraordinary Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee

Other meetings 6 November to 6 December 2021 

  • On 8 November I attended a CCO Oversight Committee briefing from Auckland Unlimited.
  • On 9 November I chaired the Waste Advisory Political Group.
  • On 10 November I attended the Waiheke Community Forum where the forum received a presentation from Living Waters on emergency accommodation.
  • On 12 November I attended
    • LGNZ Sector update for Mayors, Chairs and Chief Executives.
    • Staff briefing on the Wai Horotiu Queen Street project
    • Meeting with Minister David Parker and all Auckland Councillors where RMA Reform, Taxation Bill, and a ban on public sale and use of fireworks (not supported by the Minister) were discussed.
  • On 16 November I presented my monthly councillor report to the Waitematā Local Board business meeting.
  • Also on 16 November I attended a CCO Oversight Committee briefing from Eke Panuku.
  • On 17 November I attended an extraordinary business meeting of the Waiheke Local Board.
  • On 18 November I received a presentation from Seniors Climate Action Network called ‘Thriving within Planetary Boundaries – A Framework for Aotearoa/NZ – Net Zero Emissions by 2030’
  • On 22 November I chaired the meeting of the Climate Political Reference Group.
  • Advisory Panel co-chairs and Governing Body members

    Also on 22 November I attended a meeting of the Advisory Panel co-chairs and Governing Body members where the following were discussed:

    • Recovery and resilience/communities living with covid
    • Climate change and sustainability
    • Diversity in employment and leadership including civic participation in elections
  • On 24 November I presented my monthly councillor report to the Waiheke Local Board business meeting.
  • On 25 November I attended
    • meeting with AT’s Connected Communities Team regarding and received an update on plans for Great North Road.
    • A catch up with Waikehe Local Board members.
    • A meeting with Waka Kotahi representatives to receive an update on Newton Road.
  • On 3 December I attended the LGNZ National Council meeting.
  • On 6 December I attended the Governing Body / Independent Māori Statutory Board joint meeting and the joint Governing Body / Local Board Chairs meeting

Event highlights – all online!

  • Aotea GBI Schools Marine project presenting to an audience of over 100 stakeholders from the island and beyond

    On 12 November I was a guest speaker at the Grey Lynn Residents Association AGM

  • On 19 November I was a presenter at the Wynyard Quarter Neighbours’ Forum celebrating 10 years of Wynyard Quarter (My speech is attached to my report on the local board agenda).
  • On 25 November I attended the Mayoral Conservation Awards as a judge and presented the Penny Hulse Supreme Environmental Award to Aotea GBI Schools Marine project.
  • On 30 November attended Auckland Conversations – Ka hao te rangatahi: The new net goes fishing
  • On 3 December I gave the opening address at the Enviroschools Celebrations for 2021 ‘Papatuanuku is breathing’. (My speech is attached to my report on the local board agenda)
  • On 6 December I attended the Three Waters webinar consultation event

Hauraki Gulf Forum

A groundbreaking new poll was released showing huge public support for measures to protect and restore the Hauraki Gulf, Tīkapa Moana, Te Moananui-ā-Toi. The poll of 1020 respondents was conducted by Horizon Research from 27 September to 17 October 2021. Respondents were asked whether the Gulf was important to them, what they valued about it, and whether they supported or opposed the goals of the Hauraki Gulf Forum. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3 percent. (Attachment 1).

On the same day as the Hauraki Gulf Forum meeting on 29 November we heard the wonderful news that the Minister of Oceans and Fisheries has approved Ngāti Pāoa’s request for a temporary closure around Waiheke. There is no take allowed of scallops, mussels, rock lobster or pāua from the closure area while the notice is in force. It comes into force from 1 December 2021.

The forum supported the rāhui laid down in January and has the ambitious goal of at least 30% marine protection for Tīkapa Moana Te Moananui-ā-Toi.