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.
- 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
- 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)
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
- Agreed to the proposed communication and engagement approach for the Annual Budget 2022/2023
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
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.
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)
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