This is my Councillor report covering the period from 7 September to 6 October. It has been prepared for the October business meetings of the Aotea Great Barrier, Waiheke and Waitematā Local Boards.
The purpose of my report is to detail my main activities and to share information with the local boards in my ward regarding governing body decisions, my attendance at events and meetings, regional consultations, media updates and key issues.
- Deputy Chair, Environment and Climate Change Committee
- Co-Chair, Hauraki Gulf Forum
- Member, Auckland City Centre Advisory Board (ACCAB)
- Board Member, Local Government New Zealand National Council
- Member, Auckland Domain Committee
- Member, Appointments and Performance Review Committee
- Member, Joint Governance Working Party
- Member, Waste Political Advisory Group
- On Wednesday 23 September at 11.59pm Auckland moved from Alert Level 2.5 to Alert Level 2 meaning that gatherings of up to 100 people were permitted. Council meetings and workshops have largely taken place via a combination of ‘in-person’ and Skype.
- As of Friday 2 October, storage levels in Auckland’s dams remains at 67%. On 24 September the Governing Body voted to continue water restrictions but with an amendment to restrictions on commercial use. These changes will allow commercial entities to use a hose outdoors as long as it is handheld and has a trigger nozzle. Restrictions on commercial car washes will also be removed. Non-residential irrigation is still permitted as long as the system is connected to a soil moisture or rain sensor.
- An independent review into health and safety as Ports of Auckland got underway.
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 10 September the Environment and Climate Change Committee endorsed Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan’s proposed partnership and governance approach in principle and approved establishing a Climate Political Reference Group to advise and direct staff on the implementation and delivery of the plan.
On 10 September the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee approved the 2020/2021 Community Facilities Work Programme.
On 17 September the Finance and Performance Committee received an update on the progress for financial year 2020/21; an update on the Value for Money programme; and noted Auckland Council has achieved $69million towards the $120million savings target this far.
The committee also approved the Panuku Development Auckland and Auckland Transport Park and Ride Integrated Development programme allowing for a process to start to consider development opportunities at transport hubs.
On 22 September the Council Controlled Organisation Oversight Committee approved 2020-2023 statements of intent for Auckland Transport, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development Limited, Panuku Development Auckland Limited, Regional Facilities Auckland and Watercare subject to requested modifications.
At the meeting I raised the concern that Auckland Transport has cut the delivery of cycleways target for 20/21 from 10km to 5km despite feedback from council to pursue the “potential for innovative and low-cost techniques to be deployed to achieve council priorities. Areas where this may apply include road sealing, renewals, and active modes (building on recent momentum in walking and cycling)”. I have yet to receive a satisfactory response from AT and do not support the cut to the target.
On 24 September the Governing Body voted to maintain water restrictions and adjust the restrictions for commercial users.
The Governing Body also approved the terms of reference for an independent review into health and safety as Ports of Auckland. I have been one of a group of Councillors supporting the Mayor to launch a review to take a close look at the workplace culture at the Port and systemic failings that have led to avoidable deaths.
On 1 October the Planning Committee approved private plan changes in Drury, Patumahoe South, Flat Bush and Smales Farm.
I voted against progressing the private plan change request in relation to 34.5ha of land at Patumahoe South. The land in question is 98% elite and prime soils, the land is not identified for intensification in the Unitary Plan, Auckland Plan Development Strategy or Future Urban Land Supply Strategy and there are significant transport issues north of the site. I also didn’t think the Climate Impact Statement in the report was adequate. The next step was for the private plan change to go out for public consultation before a series of independent hearings.
Other key meetings and events
- On 7 September we had an online session to welcome our new Chief Executive Jim Stabback
- Extraordinary meeting of the Appointments and Performance Committee on 8 September
- Attended a series of weekly workshops as part of the 10 year budget process
- On 11 September I co-chaired the LGNZ Auckland Zone Meeting with Richard Northey. The new LGNZ President Stuart Crosby and Vice President Hamish McDougall presented at the meeting
- On 11 September I met with Auckland Transport staff on the Future Connect project and on 25 September met to discuss the Auckland Cycle Programme
- On 15 September, Councillor Richard Hills and I visited a nursery in Māngere where native trees are being grown for Auckland Council projects
- Attended the Waitematā Local Board meeting on 15 September and the Waiheke Local Board meeting on 23 September to give my Councillor’s report.
- Governing Body / Independent Māori Statutory Board Joint Meeting on 21 September
- On 25 September I attended the “Governors’ Hui” involving the Mayor, Councillors, Local Board Members and Executive staff members. It was an opportunity to come together to think strategically about moving from a COVID-19 phase of reaction to one of future-focus and recovery.
- ACCAB workshop and meeting on 28 September
- On 29 September I took part in a City Rail Link tree planting event on the new Lower Queen Street Square “Te Komititanga” (photo right)
- On 2 October I travelled to Wellington for the LGNZ combined National Council Meeting and Strategy Day
- On 6 October I held a ‘Conversations with your Councillor’ session at the Waiheke Local Board office, I met with board member Kylee Mathews and was taken on an informal tour of Piritahi Marae by Biana Ranson. I also had the opportunity to meet with Kristin Buscher coordinator at Waiheke Resources Trust to hear about their wetlands restoration & native tree planting work
Regional Parks Management Plan Review is out for consultation until 26 October 2020 to help protect natural, cultural and heritage values and guide the activity and use of regional parks for the next decade. Suggestions are wanted on how our 28 regional parks are protected, used and managed.
Hauraki Gulf Forum
On 8 September my Hauraki Gulf Forum co-chair Nicola Macdonald and I had our official photographs taken wearing our Kahu Korari / Pake (woven capes). Nicola commissioned these as a symbol of the enduring relationship and commitment to uphold the values and and aspirations to protect our taonga tuku iho, the Hauraki Gulf.
On 29 September, we met with Mayor Phil Goff to update him on new forum goals and co-governance structure; to discuss the proposed briefing to incoming Ministers, the likely Government response strategy to Sea Change and key issues regarding the Gulf for consideration in preparation for Auckland Council’s 10 year budget.