Councillor report September 2020

General update

This is my Councillor report covering the period from 11 August to 4 September.  It has been prepared for the September 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, 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

Summary

  • Auckland moved into Alert Level 3 from 12 August until 30 August following evidence of community transmission. (Attachment 1 Our Auckland: Stay home and stay local, Councillor Pippa Coom urges)
  • The Governing Body voted unanimously to approve all 64 recommendations of the independent review of our Council Controlled Organisations including a merger between Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development and Regional Facilities Auckland.
  • As of 1 September, water levels in Auckland’s nine water collection dams is at 66 per cent. However, the water level in the Hūnua dams, which provide 80 per cent of Watercare’s water storage, is still far below normal. Water restrictions continue.

Covid-19 Response

Council staff responded quickly to Alert Level 3 restrictions from 12 August closing council facilities such as libraries and community centres.  Regular updates were provided to all elected representatives.

I supported the funding being put in place to secure Aotea Great Barrier Island’s essential supply and medical freight service.

Councillors Josephine Bartley, Fa’anana Efeso Collins and Alf Filipaina

The Pasifika community has been particularly hard hit by the impact of the coronavirus and the second round of lockdown restrictions. Councillors Josephine Bartley, Fa’anana Efeso Collins and Alf Filipaina  have been taking an especially strong role leading the community outreach, communications and providing support.

Meetings and workshops were up and running online with minimal downtime. Online continues to be the default meeting setting going into Alert Level 2 from 31 August.

Auckland Council community facilities reopened on Monday 31 August, with health and safety the top priority. Face coverings became mandatory on all public transport.

Example of a “parklet” in a parking space

I welcomed the support Council is providing to make better use of outdoor space for hospitality and retail through a new fast track application process but have followed up about extending this to businesses making use of adjacent car parking spaces rather than blocking access on footpaths.

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 11 August the Finance and Performance Committee approved the Auckland Council Group Policy for Retention Money. The committee received an update on the Emergency Budget 2020/2021 and approved $5.2 million of additional capital expenditure, and associated shovel-ready funding, for the Resource Recovery network project.

On 13 August the Planning Committee approved its forward work programme and established delegations relating to COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) resource consent applications and notices of requirement.

The committee also established a delegation of Planning Committee members to approve the notification of a plan change to the Auckland Unitary Plan (Operative in Part) to remove unnecessary restrictions on the installation of rainwater tanks in urban and rural parts of Auckland.

On 20 August the Parks, Arts, Communities and Events Committee approved 2020/21 funding allocations for the Regional Events Grant Programme; Regional Arts and Culture Grant Allocation; Regional Sports and Recreation Grants Programme; and Cultural Initiatives Fund.

The committee also approved the Māori Outcomes Performance Measurement Framework; progressed the Review of the Regional Parks Management Plan and approved a one-off $100,000 grant funding to the Hibiscus Coast Youth Centre as provided for in the Emergency Budget 2020/2021.

On 27 August Governing Body received a briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic and an Auckland Emergency Management status update from Group Controller Emergency Management, Ian Maxwell, Director Executive Programmes and Phil Wilson, Group Recovery Manager.

That the Governing Body agreed shareholder comments on Ports of Auckland Limited’s 2020-2023 statement of corporate intent. I worked with Councillors Henderson, Casey, Collins and Bartley to ensure that council sought an explanation of what is being done to improve health and safety, including evidence of staff engagement in improving health and safety, and the comments of stakeholders, including unions, on the work done to address any concerns.   Tragically only days later a worker was killed at the Port.

The Governing Body also unanimously approved all 64 recommendations of the independent review of our Council Controlled Organisations including a merger between Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development and Regional Facilities Auckland.

On 3 September the Planning Committee approved an affordable housing forward work programme (available in Attachment A of the agenda report), the formation of a political working group to provide advice to progress affordable housing in Auckland and requested through council’s briefing to incoming ministers, a call for the incoming Minister of Housing to promote:

i)         legislative change to facilitate inclusionary zoning for affordable housing

ii)        increase the building programme for social housing in Auckland

iii)       facilitate investment in build to rent construction

iv)      make changes in the Building Code and Building Act, as outlined in the Mayoral Taskforce on Housing, to lower the cost of building construction.

Plan changes relating to the Avondale Jockey Club, Howick Business Special Character Area and the Pukekoe Park Precinct were also approved.

Other key meetings and events

MC Lucy Lawless and Jenny Cooper of Lawyers for Climate Action NZ

Just before lockdown I was a guest panellist on how NZ’s climate change commitments and legal obligations coalesce with strong advocacy to create a potent context for transforming Auckland’s transport priorities, fast. The panel followed powerful presentations by Dr Paul Winton of the 1 point 5 project and Jenny Cooper QC of Lawyers for Climate Action NZ Inc.   The All Board! Climate action event was hosted by Bike Auckland, Greater Auckland and Generation Zero and MC’d by Lucy Lawless

A number of events were disrupted by the Alert Level 3 restrictions.  Meetings that continued online included:

  • Mayor and Chairs weekly meeting
  • All Councillors briefings
  • LGNZ Metro Sector meeting on 14 August and LGNZ AGM on 21 August
  • Conservation Week online event on 17 August: Hon. Eugenie Sage, Minister of Conservation was joined by conservation commentators to discuss the last few months and its impact on nature in our urban environment in Tāmaki Makaurau.
  • Auckland Domain Committee meeting on 17 August
  • Meeting on 20 August with Manager, Regulatory Compliance to discuss noise complaints in the city centre
  • Ministers Henare, Mahuta and Auckland Council elected representatives – COVID19 discussion on 25 August
  • Joint Governance Working Party Meeting on 25 August
  • Panuku catch up 28 August
  • Auckland City Centre Advisory Board Meeting 31 August
  • Waitematā, Waiheke and Aotea Great Barrier Local Board August business meetings to give my Councillor update
  • Workshops for Governing Body, Finance & Performance Committee (commencing the Long-Term Plan/10 year budget process), Environment & Climate Change Committee (focused on implementation of Auckland’s Climate plan) and Planning Committee
  • Inaugural demographic advisory panel meeting on 31 August (photo right)
  • Pōwhiri for new Chief Executive Jim Stabback on 1 September broadcast online
  • Meeting on 3 September with the Mayor, the CEO, representatives of MUNZ and Councillors Henderson and Casey to discuss the tragic fatality at the Port on 30 August.

Other matters

Hauraki Gulf Forum

The Hauraki Gulf Forum’s meeting on 25 August was held via Zoom. We heard seven public forum presentations and received stocktakes on riparian planting and marine dumping and approved the Annual Report.

A joint government team presented Sea Change Tai Timu Pari Marine Spatial Plan – Government Response Strategy.  Attachment 2 Ponsonby News Column September 2020 A brief reprieve for the Hauraki Gulf during lockdown

Wayfinding

It is great to see a project I have worked on for many years as a local board member finally get delivered.

Almost a decade ago Walk Auckland’s Andy Smith brought to my attention the issue with NO EXIT signage on streets that actually provide a thoroughfare for walking (and often cycling too). These streets are all over Auckland but rarely have signage for those walking. The funding for the project was secured just before the end of my last term on the Waitematā Local Board.

When Auckland went into Alert Level 3 and my local walks increased, I spotted one of the new signs.

LGNZ AGM

I attended Local Government New Zealand’s (LGNZ)’s online AGM on 21 August as one of four Auckland Council delegates.  Member councils passed 9 remits to direct LGNZ’s policy advocacy.

I spoke in support of a water bottling remit (with minor suggested amendments to points 2 and 4) proposed by Queenstown Lakes-District Council, calling for LGNZ to work with the Government to:

  • Place a moratorium on applications to take and/or use water for water bottling or bulk export.
  • Enable regional councils and unitary authorities to review inactive water bottling consents, with a view to withdrawal of the consent and discourage consent ‘banking’.
  • Undertake an holistic assessment of the potential effects of the current industry, its future growth and the legislative settings that enable councils to effectively manage those effects.
  • Initiate a comprehensive nationwide discussion on the issue of water bottling (within the wider basis of water use) and implement any changes to the legislation and policy settings as required.

Member councils also elected Stuart Crosby as LGNZ President, replacing Dave Cull who steps down from the role. Hamish McDouall, Mayor of Whanganui District Council was elected as vice-president.

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

Councillor report December 2019

Pippa Coom Councillor Report – Waitematā and Gulf Ward

General update

  • This is my first Councillor report prepared for the Waitematā, Waiheke and Aotea Great Barrier Local Boards’ business meeting agendas.
  • It covers the period from election day on 12 October until 24 November 2019.
  • The purpose of my report is to share key information with the local boards including governing body activities, attendance at events, conferences and meetings, regional consultations, media activities and ward issues I have been following up on. I also declare all gifts in my report regardless of value.

Governing Body and Committee meetings

  • The Auckland Council governing body, made up of the Mayor and 20 Councillors, was sworn in at the inaugural meeting held at the Town Hall on 1 November. This was a ceremonial occasion with entertainment by the Chinese Blossom Arts Troupe, Auckland City Scoundrels and Sistema Aotearoa performing Maranga Ra composed by Rob Ruha (photo above taken by Ronald Andreassend:  the official party arriving for the inaugural meeting on 1 November held at the Town Hall).
  • Along with the other 3 new Councillors I gave my maiden speech to the governing body meeting on 5 November
  • At the governing body meeting on 12 November the committee structure and appointments were confirmed. I’m really delighted to be confirmed as:
    • Deputy Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee working with Chair Richard Hills (one of 4 committees of the whole plus all councillors are on the CCO oversight committee).
    • A member of the Appointments and Performance Review Committee
    • A member of the Hauraki Gulf Forum
    • Auckland Council representative on the National Council of Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ)
  • Induction for Councillors started on the 17 October and has continued with sessions on legal obligations, standing orders, finance for governing body members, and a range of briefings (photo right: Councillors were treated to lunch in the council café as part of the induction day)
  • The Mayor has introduced a fortnightly catchup with Councillors that started on 4 November with a discussion regarding the proposed CCO review. This review is strongly supported by all Councillors.
  • The new committee structure is in the process of being set up and a range of briefings have got underway. It has been confirmed that the Environment and Climate Change Committee will cover the following areas:
    • Climate change mitigation and adaption policy and implementation
    • Coastal renewals, slips and remediation
    • Auckland Climate Action Framework
    • Natural heritage (including ecology and biosecurity matters such as kauri dieback)
    • Protection and restoration ofAuckland’s ecological health
    • Water including Auckand’s Water Strategy
    • Waste minimisation
    • Acquisition of property relating to the committee’s responsibilities and in accordance with the LTP
    • Grants for regional environmental outcomes

The first meeting is scheduled for 28 November.

Events and other meetings

  • Over the course of one week I attended the three local board inauguration meetings in my ward as well as the inaugural meetings of the Albert-Eden Local Board, Puketāpapa Local Board and Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board. I had the opportunity for an initial meet and greet with the Waiheke Local Board before their inauguration meeting on 4 November. Photo right with the new Waiheke Local Board.  From the left Deputy Chair – Bob Upchurch, Cr Pippa Coom, Paul Walden, Kylee Matthews, Mayor Phil Goff and Robin Tucker, Front, Chair – Cath Handley
  • Photo with the new Aotea Great Barrier Local Board. From the left, Cr John Watson, Deputy Chair – Luke Coles, Cr Pippa Coom, Sue Daly, Chair – Izzy Fordham, Valmaine Toki and Patrick O’Shea following the inauguration meeting on 31 October
  • Photo left with the former Waitematā Local Board Chair Shale Chambers on the left and new Chair, Richard Northey in the middle, following the inaugural meeting of the Waitematā Local Board on 30 October.
  • At the Ōtara-Papatoetoe local board inaugural held at Ngā Kete Wānanga Marae on 5 November with Councillors Josephine Bartley, Cr Pippa Coom, Alf Filipaina and Fa’anana Efeso Collins
  • On 22 October I attended the Auckland Transport board meeting to support the decision on the bylaw which will reduce speed limits on around 10% of Auckland’s urban and rural roads. Following public feedback, most of Auckland’s city centre will have a speed limit of 30km/h (the current 10km/h combined pedestrian and vehicle zones will remain) apart from Hobson, Fanshawe and Nelson Streets which will be 40km/h with engineering treatments to protect vulnerable road users.
  • Auckland Transport elected member morning tea and introduction to AT on 1 November.
  • Meeting to discuss active modes programme with Bike Auckland representatives and Cr Darby on 14 November
  • Fortnightly transport updates relating to ward issues
  • On Friday 22 November I hosted my first Councillor “clinic” at the Waiheke Local Board officers (advertisement right). My first Councillor event on Aotea Great Barrier is scheduled for 29 November with time for booked appointments and an afternoon tea.

I also attended the following events:

  • Late Night Art on 14 October
  • AT Board Rotation farewell event for Lester Levy and Mark Gilbert on 22 October
  • Ponsonby Business Association AGM on 22 October
  • Opening of White & Wong restaurant in Newmarket on 23 October at the invitation of NBA
  • K’rd Business Association AGM on 24 October
  • TUIA 250 Ki Tāmaki Makaurau – Civic Reception at Maritime Museum on 25 October
  • Tour de Waiheke organised as part of the Waiheke Cycling Festival on 2 November (photo right)
  • St Marys Bay Association AGM on 6 November
  • Grey Lynn Business Association AGM on 6 November
  • K3 Legal event on 7 November in the Maritime Room
  • U2 concert and entertainment in the corporate suite at Mt Smart on 8 November at the invitation of Regional Facilities Auckland
  • Armistice Day Commemorations at Auckland Museum on 11 November
  • Ludo Campbell-Reid’s Poroporoaki (farewell) after 13 years championing urban design for Auckland Council on 11 November
  • Herne Bay Residents Association AGM on 13 November
  • City Rail Link tunnel stakeholder walk through on 16 November (photo right with Cr Richard Hills)
  • Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s The New Zealand Herald Premier Series Conflict & Triumph at the Town Hall on 14 November at the invite of Geraint A. Martin (Chairman) and Barbara Glaser (Chief Executive)
  • Parnell Festival of Roses hosted by the Waitemata Local Board on 17 November
  • Launch of the Viaduct Harbour Local Living Compost Hub on 19 November
  • A Gala Concert in the Presence of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to celebrate the launching of the new name of the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre at the Aotea Centre on 20 November (at the invitation of Regional Facilities Auckland)
  • Viewing of the PUSH movie (a gut-wrenching story about housing, injustice and those fighting for better housing at the grass roots) on 21 November at the Academy Cinema at the invitation of the Auckland Community Housing Providers Network
  • Attended the Kai Conscious lunch at the Waiheke Sustainability Centre on 22 November
  • Spoke at the opening of Tatai Whenua – TUIA 250 Encounters exhibition  at the Waiheke Community Art Centre on 22 November (photo right taken by Peter Rees, one of the artists in the exhibition)
  • World Premiere of My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak by Ahi Karunaharan at Q Theatre on 22 November at the invitation of Silo Theatre
  • Grey Lynn Park Festival on 23 November
  • Enjoyed the Santa Parade from the VIP area on 24 November with my 5 year old nephew at the invitation of the Auckland Children’s Christmas Parade Trust
  • 40th anniversary service of Air New Zealand flight TE901 in the presence of the Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy at Holy Trinity Cathedral
  • Pride Launch at the Auckland Art Gallery on 24 November

Regional consultation topics

Southwest Gateway Programme

  • There’s been a lot of debate about extending heavy rail to the airport. I make use of the service train that currently exists via Papatoetoe station (only $4.80 from Newmarket). From 2021 it is going to be even more straight forward with priority bus lanes from Puhinui station to the airport. Confirmation this work is going ahead means the debate is over about heavy rail all the way to the airport. Feedback on a range of projects within the Southwest Gateway Programme is open until 8 December.

OuterLink and 650 bus services

  • Consultation went underway on 11 November on proposed changes to some Crosstown services, including the OuterLink and 650 bus services.
    • The proposed changes should result in:
      • A more reliable OuterLink, with less bunching
      • A high frequency Balmoral Crosstown service, the new 65
      • Quicker journey times on the remaining portion of the OuterLink, with fewer (hopefully nil) timing points

Regional grants

  • The Regional Environment and Natural Heritage Grant Fund and Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund applications will be coming to the Environment and Climate Change committee on 29 November

Significant issues and ward issues

NZ International Convention Centre Fire

  • On 23 October, the day after the NZICC fire started I visited the Auckland Council’s Emergency Coordination Centre and was given a quick tour by Sarah Sinclair Acting GM, Auckland Emergency Management. The response to the NZICC fire was managed by Fire & Emergency but the centre sprung into action staffed by council volunteers to provide support across logistics, comms, welfare and health services.In the photo right I’m standing with Sarah in front of a big screen showing live footage of the roof of the convention centre with fires still visible.

Hardship fund for Albert Street businesses

  • I welcomed the news on 31 October that the Government and Auckland Council have brought forward work on establishing a hardship fund for businesses in Auckland’s Albert Street to recognise the difficulty some have faced because of the delay in City Rail Link construction. I have supported Heart of the City in advocating for this fund.

New Network bus changes on Waiheke

  • On 22 November I was taken on a tour by Sue Pawly and Hana Blackmore (in the photo right in a decommissioned bus stop in Oneroa opposite the library) who are campaigning to restore essential bus services that were removed by Auckland Transport following new network changes on Waiheke to introduce greater frequency to the timetable.  I am working with the Waiheke Local Board on this issue.

Helicopters on Sentinel Beach

  • The rebuilding of a boat shed on Sentinel Beach allowing for a helicopter landing pad has been a long running issue. Strong opposition was voiced at the Herne Bay Residents Association AGM to the use of helicopters especially in the coastal environment. I have been advised that there is currently no application for a helicopter landing pad on this property. If there is in the future it will be a non-complying activity and it is likely it will be fully publicly notified.

Tree removal by the Tūpuna Maunga Authority

  • I’ve received a number of queries regarding concerns about the removal of 345 exotic trees from Ōwairaka / Mt Albert. I’ve provided a response along the following lines:
  • 14 tūpuna maunga including Ōwairaka / Mt Albert and Maungawhau/Mt Eden are co-governed by the Tūpuna Maunga Authority established in 2014 following a treaty settlement.  I’m not on the TMA but I acknowledge and respect the authority of the TMA and I support their management plans for the tūpuna maunga after decades of neglect by former councils (providing a link to information about the Authority).
  • The Authority is focused on the long-term restoration of the maunga and is underway to plant many thousands of trees.  The TMA is following advice on the ecological best practice regarding which exotic and pest trees need to be removed as part of the plans and the removal methodology.  You might also be interested to read why the Tree Council support the plans. https://www.treecouncil.org.nz/press-statement-regarding-tree-removal-on-owairaka-and-other-maunga-from-the-tree-council/
  • As the Ōwairaka / Mt Albert tree work is being undertaken by the Tūpuna Maunga Authority which is independent of Auckland Council, it is appropriate for the Authority to answer questions about the detail of their vegetation management. You can email  the Authority at MaungaAuthority@aklc.govt.nz  . I also understand that no trees that are notable, protected or scheduled will be removed as part of the restoration plans.

Transport

  • I am also following up a number of ward transport issues including opportunities to extend the Herne Bay walking and cycling improvements project by leveraging work proposed by Healthy Waters and Watercare, safety on the Western Springs Shared Path, and paid parking on Ponsonby Road not working satisfactorily to encourage turnover due to the low hourly rate for all day parking.

Media

  • Since my election as Councillor I have been interviewed for Gulf News (Attachment 2), and the Barrier Bulletin (Attachment 3) and interviewed by Chris Walker on Waiheke Radio. I also have a regular column in Ponsonby news. My first column as Councillor was published in the November edition (Attachment 4)
  • I attended the media briefing for the High St tactical urbanism trial on 16 October and for the Mayor’s announcement of the new Committee structure and positions on 4 November
  • I was quoted in an Our Auckland story following the upgrade of Ellen Melville Centre and Freyberg Place project winning the Planning and Urban Design category in the 2019 New Zealand Architecture Awards

Conferences and seminars

ACENZ Panel discussion

  • On 15 October I was invited by ACENZ (Representing consulting and engineering professionals in Aotearoa) to be part of a panel discussion with Ida Dowling, Sarah Woodward and Alec Tang following a presentation by Auckland Transport CEO Shane Ellison on the Future Transport Challenges for Auckland

Trafinz Conference 2019

  • I attended the Trafinz (The New Zealand Local Authority Traffic Institute) 2019 conference in Hamilton on 12/13 November. I am on the Exec Committee of Trafinz. The conference theme focused on “Smart, safe and accessible places”.
  • Highlights from Wednesday’s programme included keynote sessions with Skye Duncan, the Director of the Global Designing Cities Initiative at the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), Putting people first: shaping urban streets for healthy and sustainable cities, Frith Walker, Panuku, Placemaking ‐if you are not doing it for people then you are doing it wrong and Prof Graham Currie, a renowned international Public Transport research leader and policy advisor from Monash university Transit fightback ‐ pushback on technology hype for stronger city futures
  • I co-hosted a Q&A panel  “bringing it all together” and provided the final thoughts on putting people first and roundup of the conference on behalf of Trafinz. I also got to announce that the conference next year will be in Auckland
  • My conference registration and one-night accommodation ($836) was covered by Auckland Council. I used a fleet car for transport to and from Hamilton

Disclosures

  • Since election day I have received the following gifts as well the invites noted above under events:
    • 2020 Calendar from the Moths and Butterfly NZ Trust (value unknown)
    • Sea Edge: Where the Waitemata meets Auckland coffee table book by Sir Bob Harvey (value $75)

Chairperson address to the Waitematā Local Board 2016-19 inaugural meeting

Making the Chair's declaration with friends and family in support
Making the Chair’s declaration with friends and family in support

Kia ora huihui mai tātau

E te iwi tēnā koutou, mihi mai,  

E ngā mana, e ngā reo e ngā hau e whā

E te rangatira o Ngāti Whātua o Orākei, tēnā koe

E te iwi o Tāmaki Makau rau tēnā koutou katoa

E te whare, tēnā koe,

E te hapori kua tai mai  tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa

Nau mai piki mai, haere mai

inaugural-meeting-mike-lee-and-shale-chambers
With Cr Mike Lee and Deputy Chair, Shale Chambers

On behalf of the board I would like to welcome all our distinguished guests including family and friends who have come along in support. Thank you Matt Maihi and Aunty Margaret from Ngāti Whātua o Orākei for your mihi whakatau and Otene Reweti for responding on our behalf.

Thank you Barry Potter for officiating and our local board services team for their work supporting the inaugural meeting.

Greetings and welcome to Councillor Mike Lee who has been returned for the third time as representative for Waitematā and Gulf ward.  We’re very fortunate to have you here as a strong advocate for the community and look forward to working with you.

The new Mayor Phil Goff gives his apologies but has our full support as he works to build trust and confidence in Council, and tackles the huge challenges facing Auckland. Greetings also to Richard Hills newly elected Councillor for the North Shore Ward who will be working with Mayor Phil to take the city forward.

I’d like to start by acknowledging the founders, all those who have come before us to create and build Tāmaki Makarau and more recently the people who took on the daunting task of establishing the super city and making it work.  An incredible amount has happened over the last 6 years so that, despite many challenges,  Auckland is undoubtedly a better place.

One of the people who has played a significant role over that time has been the inaugural chair of the Waitematā Local Board, Shale Chambers. He has done an outstanding job setting a strong foundation not just for our board but for the governance of Auckland. I’d like to acknowledge his tireless work for the Board in steering a progressive agenda that has achieved results. There is a great deal that Shale can be very proud of making happen with the support of the board including some significant projects like the extensive Myers Park upgrade, securing the funding for the complete refurbishment of the Ellen Melville Centre that is going to create a much needed community hub for the city centre,  and securing resource consent for the Weona-Westmere coastal walkway. He has also been instrument behind the scenes on making things happen. For example securing a venue for the successful Pop Up Globe  and gaining support for a major upgrade of Karanagahape Road from the city centre targeted rate.  In the best tradition of Ken Livingstone he has no wish to ever ride a bicycle but he gets why Auckland should be a bike friendly city.  

He has also been amazingly courageous at times in knowing the time to act and not take the easy path.  I feel particularly proud of the support he gave to the name change of lower Khartoum Place to Te Hā o Hine Place in honour of the suffrage memorial.

I thank him for the opportunity to now lead the board.  It is a huge privilege and I acknowledge the trust, responsibilities and confidence that is being placed in me.  I’ve committed to being collaborative, transparent and to continuing building on the relationships across the community, with our iwi partners and at all levels of the Auckland Council whanau. 

Together with all other previous board members  I’m proud of our many achievements and also to have been part of a Waitematā Local Board that has stood up for social justice, adopted the Living wage, committed to being accessible to everyone, stood up for public transport, for environmental and heritage protection, for public ownership of strategic assets, and for local communities to have a real say.  I’d like to acknowledge all the board members who have previously served for their significant contribution in particular Deborah and Christopher who retired at the end of last term and Greg Moyle for his service to local government. 

Shale, me and Rob are now officially the old timers of the board returned for our third terms.  It is a shock to me to realise that I am now in the senior section of the board!  

I am really delighted that Vernon has been returned for his second term and that we are joined by experienced government veteran Richard Northey, dynamic social entrepreneur and lecturer Adriana Avendano Christie  and planner and business owner Mark Davey.  They, together with the old timers, make up an impressive, talented team who I look forward to working with. We are all committed to working together with effective governance and responsible financial management for the good of Waitematā.

Looking ahead we have much to do over the next three years. We have community assets to enhance and services to maintain including our precious libraries, playgrounds to upgrade, we’re committed to the goals of a smoke free and zero waste Auckland with the establishment of a community resource recovery centre in conjunction with the Puketāpapa and Albert-Eden Local Boards.

We wish to continue the upgrade of Symonds Street cemetery, plant street trees, and the ecological restoration of our native bush and historic streams.  We recognise our role as place makers who can contribute to local economic development in partnership with our 7 business associations.  We value & support the arts, events and culture. We’re determined to connect with our North shore neighbours by finally getting Skypath built (something Shale committed to in his inaugural speech in 2010!)

We also recognise our role to contribute to the wider well-being of  all Aucklanders in creating opportunities for everyone, ending homelessness, providing families with access to quality affordable housing and delivering on real transport choices.

We know that the only way Auckland will truly be the best place in the world to live and a leading international city is if we take care of our people and environment.  We wish to be an age friendly and child friendly local board area that takes local action to meet one of the biggest challenges of our time by becoming a low carbon community.

In thinking about our role as local board members there is one particular aspect I wish to highlight by quoting Jeff Speck the author of Walkable Cities and a supporter of 8-80 cities

The healthiest, wealthiest, most sustainable and vibrant communities in cities around the world are unique in many ways. But there is one factor above all others that these communities have in common: they are, nearly without fail, highly walkable places.

This requires a commitment to slower speeds, people friendly infrastructure, public transport, bikeable streets and public spaces – all very achievable in compact Waitematā with the right political support.  

In finishing I reflect on what it means to serve our citizens and to provide leadership that achieves the aspirations of the community.  I’m committed to celebrating and embracing diversity and providing space for creative innovation and design thinking.   This requires new ways of operating by the Board and Council so all the people of Waitematā (including the growing inner city population) feel that local government matters and that they wish to participate. I look forward to putting this into action with a fantastic team of board members and officers as we start on the term ahead.

So behalf of the Board I’d like  thank everyone for attending today and sharing in the spirit of this very special occasion.  We are committed to working with you to create a strong, enriching, diverse, healthy, safe Waitematā in the beating heart of Tāmaki Makaurau.

Nō reira

E ngā mana, e ngā reo, rau rangatira mā

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa