11 December 2012
Auckland Councillor Dr Cathy Casey has today asked the Office of the Ombudsman to review a decision by Auckland Council Investments Limited (ACIL) to withhold information from her regarding their involvement with Ports of Auckland Limited (POAL) during the recent industrial dispute. read more >
01 November 2012
With one year until the local government election, elected representatives from City Vision and supporting organisations in Auckland are pleased with their achievements promoting progressive policies since the new council was established. read more >
29 August 2012
The annual dividend of more than $300 paid by the Auckland Energy Consumers Trust (AECT) to electricity consumers within the former Auckland Electric Power Board area will be maintained and grown and the Trust will be reformed to reduce its directors’ fees and consultancy expenses under policies announced by the YOUR POWER TEAM, which is a new group contesting the postal vote election to be held in October. read more >
27 March 2012
Thirty two Auckland Council Local Board members* today banded together to call for immediate action from their colleagues on the Governing Body of Auckland Council in the wake of the lock-out of workers at the Ports of Auckland. read more >
City Vision is the community voice representing the people of Albert-Eden Roskill and Waitemata & Gulf Wards. We also stand candidates from across the ‘old’ Auckland City for the Auckland District Health Board and for the Portage Licensing Trust in the Avondale area.
We seek competent citizens to represent our local communities and to work for the wellbeing of all Aucklanders. You may be a member of the Green or Labour parties, or a community independent with progressive views. You need to recognise, value, and be able to work for City Vision policies. You can find policy and organisation information on this site.
Nominations close on Sunday 12 May 2013 and selections will take place on the weekend of 18/19 May.
Please note that you must be a New Zealand citizen to stand for selection.
For more information or a nomination form, contact: Gwen Shaw (Campaign Coordinator) 027 414 4074. You can email her here.
If you stopped someone walking down any of our local surbaban shopping centres and asked them what a Local Board of Council does I don’t think they would mention local economic development. For those in the know they might talk about sports fields, community centres, swimming pools and libraries - but there is far more to our work even that those very important facilities.
Local Boards are responsible with Auckland Transport for maintenance of the streetscape and our town centres so they are clean, tidy, and free of graffiti and rubbish and provide a welcoming environment.
In Waitemata our Board has representatives on all the ‘Business Improvement Districts’ formed to further the interests of our shopping strips and commercial centres in Waitemata in partnership with Council. I sit on Heart of the City responsible for the City Centre, my Deputy Pippa Coom Grey Lynn; the only non-BID, Tricia Reade Ponsonby, Jesse Chalmers Karangahape Road, Christopher Dempsey Parnell, Greg Moyle Newmarket and Rob Thomas the newly formed Eden Terrace BID.
We attend their monthly meetings and take part in fulfilling the aspirations of local businesses to develop the local business precincts and town centres as great places to do business. At a time when air-conditioned and rain free suburban shopping malls are drawing people and money out of our communities into the coffers of mainly Australian owed chains, our local business associations do a wonderful job in keeping our local communities shopping and buying locally.
Christmas lights, street festivals and markets days are part of the formula to keep our shopping centres vibrant and keep people returning to spend in our local economy and keep jobs within walking or cycling distance of where we live.
One of the attractors is the quality of the streets which help create an environment that is attractive. Local Boards have ‘place making’ responsibilities and we know that our shopping centres are ‘Good for Business’ when our mostly heritage and character shops are enhanced by quality street design. We make it a priority to provide attractive public spaces, and encourage more cycling and walking and our communities dependent on fewer car movements.
We work with Auckland Transport to continue investment in local streets with wider footpaths, new kerb and channel, planter boxes, and improved street lighting. Our streets must be designed for walking in a business or retail environment rather than just for arterial vehicular movement. Slowing down traffic to 40 kms as in Ponsonby Road and providing safe places to cross the street and cycle as well as better street amenity, is part of our vision for a safe, connected and business friendly place for people.
The Board is in the process of setting up a Ponsonby master plan working group to work on a plan that incorporates urban design, the road corridor, landscaping and best balances safety, multiple users, parking, heritage impacts and retail needs.
Our Board has just completed a draft Greenways plan which links open spaces and parks and which we also hope will assist people walking and cycling through parks to shopping centres.
This year we are drawing up an economic plan for the city fringe in areas outside the City Centre. In the coming 2013-14 year we have provided for a discretionary budget of $50,000 for the first time enabling local economic development iniatives to be funded. We also have a new Local Board Auckland Transport capital expenditure fund of $10m a year shared between all 21 Local Boards and we see Waitemata’s share largely being directed towards streetscape and Greenways investment projects.
The summer holidays are over for most of us, our children are safely back in school but while the sun is shining warmly, we still have lots of choice of things to do. The Pride Festival is returning to the city 8-24 February, with Ponsonby Road once again hosting a parade on February 16 at 4pm after a long abeyance. Expect much colour, sequins, drag queens, toned bodies, fantastic music and even the army on parade.
The Lantern Festival is at Albert Park on the weekend of 22 February with marvellous Chinese eating offerings and performances again. The Fringe Festival starts on 15 February with an exciting menu of edgy shows at the Basement and other inner city venues to warm us all up for the Auckland Festival in March.
Auckland is indeed blessed.
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
The SH20 motorway works started in Waterview in 2012. The Albert Eden Local Board pushed for better open space, environmental and community outcomes alongside the community, during the Board of Inquiry in 2011.
Kuaka Park is a direct result of that process.Expansion of the former Saxon Reserve and the total redesign of the space was a consent condition. The Local Board also renamed the park to reflect the natural landscape in which it is located.It was officially opened by Margi Watson in December 2012 and the park has quickly become a magnet for the community to come together.
The opening day saw the community come together to celebrate its fantastic new park, with free refreshments and activities, including the making of manu under the guidance of expert harakeke weavers.
Kuaka is the te reo name for the godwit and was suggested by manawhenua. Kuaka can be seen flying over or feeding on tidal mudflats in the area during the summer months. Kuaka were a valuable source of food for Maori. The Board supported this suggestion and the name was formally bestowed on the whenua at a dawn blessing.
After an absence of 80 years – pontoons are back in the water at Point Chevalier.
The new pontoons were fully funded by the Albert Eden Local Board and went into the water in December 2012.
Margi Watson, Deputy Chair of the Albert Eden Local Board suggested the pontoons and says that “Getting the best out of our open space means making the most of what we’ve got – Coyle Park already has a great playground, the two pontoons will add some more fun to summer. The new pontoons are 21st century, similar to the 1920’s design but more durable. By comparison, a pontoon costs less than a playground to install – and can be used by a wide range on people including people keen to try out some swim training for fitness, recreational swimmers, older children, young people and adults. We hope the community enjoy them again as much as they did in the 1920’s!”
All parks and reserves in the Albert Eden Local Board have gone smokefree.
The Local Board signaled introducing smokefree parks and reserves, including all sportsfields, parks, walkways and playgrounds, in its Local Board Plan in 2011.
Although not regulated through bylaw, it is assumed that there will be strong community support for such an initiative. Recentresearch has shown that the majority of NZ’ers surveyed believed that smoking should be banned in all outdoor places that children are likely to go to.
The public announcement of the Albert Eden Local Board initiative was well received by the community with loud cheers and clappingat the official opening of Kuaka Park in December 2012.
On New Year’s Day 2012, the area’s parks officially became smokefree. Park users will start to see new signage and stickers in their parks supporting its Smokefree- AuahiKore status.
We not only improve our parks by decreasing rubbish and promoting cleaner air but more importantly we are improving our communities’ health, decreasing exposure to second hand smoke for other park users and supporting positive and healthy role models for our children ” says Margi Watson, Deputy Chair of the Board.
If New Zealand is to become Smokefree by 2025 – we all need to play our part. Currently, Auckland’s regional parks have been smokefree since 2010, the former Waitakere and Manukau City Councils adopted smokefree policies in their local parks before the Auckland Council was formed, Auckland Zoo, Mt Smart and Eden Park stadiums are all smokefree. All Wellington’s park and reserves are smokefree too.
For more information, contact Margi Watson, email@example.com
Much needed work on Owairaka-Mt Albert started on Monday 5 November 2012.
This package of work was vigorously sought by Councillors Cathy Casey and Glenda Fryer under the old Auckland City Council. And now, under the Albert Eden Local Board, it is actually happening.
Stage 1 works address the state of the road which is the number one priority and includes new measures to stop erosion of the roadside bank. New speed tables will slow vehicles and improve conditions for pedestrians walking on the Maunga.
Stage 2 works will follow after public consultation on landscaping, paths networks and facilities.
Margi Watson, Parks Rep and Deputy Chair for the Albert Eden Local Board says “The Board looks forward to the Stage 1 works being completed quickly and the Maunga being safer, tidier and more enjoyable for everyone. We will also ensure that the community get an opportunity to have their say on Stage 2 soon.”
Owairaka is part of the Nga Mana Whenua o Tamaki Makaurau Collective Deed (Tamaki Settlement) and will be part of the co-governance arrangement from 2013.
For more information, contact Margi Watson, firstname.lastname@example.org
With one year until the local government election, elected representatives from City Vision and supporting organisations in Auckland are pleased with their achievements promoting progressive policies since the new council was established.
The new Auckland Council came into existence two years ago and at that time many people worried it would mean local communities would lose their voice.
“We’ve been fighting to make sure the new structure looks after our local communities,” says spokesperson for City Vision and councillor for Albert-Eden-Roskill Ward Cathy Casey.
“Progressive elected members on the Governing Body and Local Boards of Auckland Council have had their shoulders to the wheel delivering better public transport, keeping rates fair, protecting heritage and the environment, and supporting investment in our local communities.
Cr Casey was speaking to launch the two year accountability report for City Vision and supporting organisations. She says City Vision and supporting groups (made up of Labour, Greens and community independents) have been working together to try and make the new unified governance structure a success.
“We think it’s important to communicate what we have been doing at the same time as listening to what people think is important about their city. Many people tell us they’re pleased to see progressive values becoming embedded in Auckland”, says City Vision member of the Waitemata Local Board Shale Chambers.
“Many people had strong reservations about the ‘Supercity’ at the time of its creation, and while concerns remain, we’re working to bring Auckland together, end the negative do-nothing politics of the past and give our communities a voice.
The reports covering the Waitemata Local Board, the Albert-Eden Local Board, the Puketapapa Local Board, and the Councillors for Waitemata & Gulf and Albert-Eden-Roskill Wards show our elected members delivering on their election commitments, including:
“While some on Council have chosen to snipe from the sidelines and play negative political games, we have focussed on the issues that matter for Aucklanders.
“Two years since the establishment of the new Auckland Council we are proud of our achievements, but also see much to be done. The disastrous Ports dispute must be solved fairly, CCOs need to be opened up to more public scrutiny, Local Boards need more equitable funding, the government should support our public transport agenda and Council must hold its nerve on the vision of a quality compact city. Our elected members will continue to speak up for our communities on all of these issues”, says Shale Chambers.
Media are welcome to attend a photo op with Cr Cathy Casey or Shale Chambers who will be delivering the leaflets from 1 November. Please contact us to make arrangements.
Cr Cathy Casey 027-474-4231
Shale Chambers 027-476-5284
City vision has produced 3 separate two year accountability reports covering Waitemata, Albert-Eden and Puketapapa. Around 90,000 reports in total have been produced for the whole area.
City Vision is Auckland's progressive local body political group. It represents the local Labour and Green parties and progressive community independents.
In the 2010 first "super city" election City Vision stood candidates for the Waitemata Local Board, Albert Eden Local Board, Albert-Eden-Roskill Ward councillors. City Vision endorsed Councillor Mike Lee for the Waitemata & Gulf Ward and supported Roskill Community Voice for the Puketapapa Local Board and Labour in Maungakiekie-Tamaki.
Waitemata Local Board - 5 City Vision members (out of 7) led by Chair, Shale Chambers
lbert Eden Local Board - 5 City Vision members (out of 8 from 2 subdivisions) led by Chair, Peter Haynes
Puketapapa Local Board - 2 Roskill Community Voice members (out of 6) led by member Michael Wood
Albert-Eden-Roskill Ward - Councillor Cathy Casey (1 of 2 Councillors)
Waitemata & Gulf Ward - Councillor Mike Lee
Every power account holder will get a voting paper in the mail on about 10 October. Please vote for the YOUR POWER TEAM. That is the Green, Labour, community independent grouping that will absolutely guarantee not to sell off any more of Vector, the power lines company owned by you, the community, through AECT. Think of it as a mini-referendum on asset sales. Keeping Vector is the only way to safeguard your annual dividend - and the current C&R trustees sold off a quarter of it before, despite saying in the election that they wouldn't. Would you trust them not to do it again?
Vote YOUR POWER TEAM to stop the tTrust selling off any more of Vector; to keep paying your annual power dividend cheque; to stop the current gravy train of high trustee and consultant fees; to make sure energy is affordable for your kids and their kids.
You can read more about YOUR POWER TEAM and its candidates at http://yourpowerteam.org.nz/
Readers can be forgiven for missing the debate about whether local bodies should have their role severely curtailed. Despite the prospect of the most far-reaching reforms to local government in a generation, there has been remarkably little public debate.
The proposed reforms narrow local bodies’ role from the current “four well-beings”—
social, economic, environmental and cultural—to just local infrastructure, public services and regulation. Views range widely. To some it is the biggest attack on civil society since Margaret Thatcher; others pine for the “good old days” when local bodies restricted themselves to roads, rubbish and rats.
The latter view ignores the changes to the world over the past fifty years. My own experience in office tells me that people today have higher expectations of local government than their grandparents had. Underlying the buzz around the prospect of a livelier, more interesting and more easily navigated city, there is recognition that this requires investment in public spaces, assets and events.
The same trend is seen elsewhere. Can we be different? Well, we’re told Auckland competes with other Pacific Rim cities like Sydney and Melbourne rather than Wellington or Christchurch. Their authorities are spending heavily to make them more attractive places to live and invest. Do we want to hobble ourselves so that we can’t compete?
It’s not that local bodies have greatly increased their functions since the four well-beings were introduced in 2002. As the Government’s adviser (the Department of Internal Affairs) puts it, “There is no clear quantitative evidence to suggest that the [2002 Act] has resulted in a proliferation of new activities, or that local government is undertaking a wider group of functions.”
So the scope for savings by cutting functions is limited. Almost all of your local board’s spending is on maintaining or operating parks and local facilities (chiefly libraries, halls and recreation centres). We could cut grants to community organisations, but that’s just .006% of our total budget. Further, we are careful about spending—we didn’t send anyone to the Queenstown conference last month. We question officials closely about budgets for projects.
Government is more concentrated at the national level here than in similar countries. For example, some friends from the UK visiting recently were surprised to learn that Auckland Council didn’t run the local schools, as they do there. Is it good for our democracy to further concentrate power in a unicameral parliament at the centre?
Also, councils and local boards are closer to the ground and better placed to shape and deliver community development, local arts funding and the like. The Council’s tourism and local development arm has no interest in providing the support to local businesses that I outlined in the issue before last. What chance central government taking this on effectively?
For all these reasons and more your local board supported the Auckland Council submission opposing narrowing of local bodies’ functions. Interestingly, delegates at the recent Local Government New Zealand conference voted unanimously to oppose. We are not alone in this stance.
Contact me: email@example.com
Article in The Garden, the magazine of the Mt Eden Business Association
The Ports of Auckland is an integral part of the economic, social, historic and cultural life of our city. The founding fathers and mothers who arrived here in the mid 1800s saw the Waitemata Harbour and the waterfront area that is now owned by Auckland Council as an entranceway to Auckland and New Zealand. Wharves were built and land reclaimed from the sea to take the new buildings for marine and fishing endeavours and warehousing. Boats came into the harbour to disgorge passengers and freight and then loaded up again to take our produce and goods to the world. Roads and rail joined up with the ports and then trams and motorways. Our villages and city were built outwards from our waterfront to the south, north, east and west.
Working on the wharves to unload and then reload freight and goods has always been an important industry, first for mostly semiskilled labour but then as mechanisation kicked in for highly skilled machine drivers and operators. The Watersiders union has been the backbone of the union movement and all the major industrial disputes has seen them stand up for all New Zealand’s workers in disputes with employers and Government.
The wharfies’ employers have changed over the years but they were always within a Government or Local Body ownership… the Harbour Board, the Auckland Regional Council and now our Auckland Council.
So to many it may have seemed like ‘business as usual’ when the Ports were legislated as a Council Controlled Organisation in the reorganisation of Auckland Local Government in 2010. However a National Government had put a ‘silver lining’ in the pocket of the Ports Chief Executive Tony Gibson. The Auckland Transition Authority at the Government direction had removed all but two of the experienced directors of the Ports. In addition they had put the appointment of the Ports of Auckland directors into the hands of the ACIL, the Investments CCO and thus twice removed from its owners … the people of Auckland via the Auckland Council.
As a twice removed Council asset with only an ‘at arm’s length’ ability to have any say over one of Auckland’s important institutions, the newly appointed directors have been able to hoodwink Councillors with soothing words about how they were bargaining in good faith with the union. Their real game plan was not even a secret… we all knew they were advertising abroad to replace union workers with cheaper contract staff and privatisation was back in the vocabulary as the ultimate aim of the CCO.
At a time when the Waitemata Local Board elected members are meeting with their constituents and fronting up in public meetings to discuss residents priorities in the Waitemata area, non-elected directors of the Ports that supports 22% of the Auckland economy and sustains 187,000 jobs are doing the opposite. Behind closed doors they were making changes they could never sell at a public meeting and get public support for.
The dispute has revealed the ‘real agenda’ of Auckland’s local government reorganisation. Aucklanders now appear to have no say over one of our enormously critical assets, and the future use of the money from those assets are put at risk with risky decisions by the new Ports’ directors and the CEO. Tying the Port up in knots in a manufactured dispute while not telling the owners the real agenda, and loosing large amounts of trade for Auckland are not what we bought into when we elected local politicians to lead our city.
Hundreds of millions of dollars of profits and dividends from the highly successful Ports have been returned to the Auckland economy over the last 20 years which has allowed the renaissance in public transport to occur. Former owner of the Ports, the ARC, with local Councillor Mike Lee at its head, oversaw the wise spending of that money in investment in trains, ferry terminals, train stations, and the North Shore busway.
It was only in September last year that Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson himself boasted the rate of cargo unloaded off ships was “the best ever recorded at the Ports of Auckland”. The union says Auckland’s port is the second most time-efficient in Australasia, second only to Tauranga.
Your Waitemata Local Board has been one of the many voices urging both union and Ports management to get back to the bargaining table and bargain how the labour laws of our land intend. In good faith. We all hope that the discussions and negotiations now happening after the successful court case by the union to bring the Ports management back to the table will end up in a new collective and the Ports and its unionised workforce working again in the Auckland economy.
The city and its elected representatives have many difficult hurdles and challenges ahead of us over the last 18 months of this term, and risky decisions by Council Controlled Organisations have no place in our future.
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
While the 18 Paget Street demolition of an 1880s heritage home may be out of the media spotlight, within the bowels of Council much has been afoot. The Internal Review of the resource consent clearly said ‘a different conclusion could have been reached which would have equally been defensible’. That’s Council speak for ‘we fouled up’. The system of ingrained ‘secrecy’ that helped the developer obtain the demolition away from ‘public eyes’ let heritage and our community down. In a win for more ‘public eyes’ the Review gave the Waitemata Local Board a new role and we will be briefed now on any proposed demolition in Residential 1 and 2 zones and our views will be included in the Planner’s Report. The more eyes overseeing the management of the resource consent department and making them accountable for elevating the importance of assessment of relevant character heritage in planning decisions the better!
A newly formed local heritage group, the Western Bays Community Group that had its inaugural meeting in late February will be a welcome additional set of eyes to help preserve our heritage. I am sure they would welcome any new members into their fold. Local Ponsonby resident and long-time heritage campaigner Gerry Hill is a good contact on 3765527.
After what must seem like an eternity our Waitemata Local Board Agreement, with its 10-Year Plan budget proposals is out …in Draft of course as part of Council’s overall first draft 10-Year Plan awaiting your comments.
Our initiatives focus on upgrading our parks and facilities for our growing inner-city population; identifying, protecting and promoting our heritage; making our city centre a more accessible child and family friendly place to be; and protecting and enhancing our natural environments with a focus on clean water, carbon emission reduction and better management of waste.
On the transport front we are advocating for the delivery of initiatives by Auckland Transport that improve pedestrian and cyclist safety through slowing traffic, improving intersections, increasing cycle infrastructure and developing masterplans for two of our local roads.
We are advocating to ensure good local governance of our assets – like our parks, the waterfront and ports, swimming pools and streets. Policies must be developed that improve connectivity of decision-making responsibility and budgets between local boards, the governing body and council controlled organisations.
To put our Plan in everyday ‘doing’ language, below are some of our 2012/3 and beyond local board priorities:
Please tell us what you think. The draft Long Term Plan and Local Board Agreement and a submission form can be accessed on www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/longtermplan or in libraries or the local board office. We would love to see your submission and remember it has to be in by 23 March 2012. You have only a few days left.
The Mayor's Alternative Transport Funding discussion document - Getting Auckland Moving is alos receiving submissions. Graeme Easte gives a good summary on: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10783927
Another successful Pacifica event was held a few weekends ago in Western Springs opened by champion kapa haka students from Western Springs College and the Mayor. It was bigger than ever and a real tribute to those volunteers who have put the festival together for 20 years.
Contact me: email@example.com
Edited from Ponsonby News article in the March edition
Old habits die hard. The many headed monster that was the resource consenting and planning department of the old Auckland City Council we hope has finally had its last gasp and is now dead.
Using the old Auckland City Council’s tame ‘yes men’ consultants and commissioners to flout the intention of District Plan rules simply can’t be the answer going forward. The District Plan rules are quite clear in the protection of heritage, especially in Residential 1 zoned areas. The plan change in 2007 bought about by locals and their political representatives in Western Bays was done to make sure our homes in Residential 1 would be safe from the wrecker’s ball. An old original heritage home still standing from 1882 in Paget Street should have been firmly out of bounds from threat of demolition … no matter who owned it and what they had paid for it.
A ‘compact city’ is a focus for the Auckland Plan and next Unitary Plan due to be notified this year. If our communities see entrenched Council staff processes assisting to demolish heritage houses in Residential 1 suburbs like Freemans Bay, and heritage town centre buildings like ‘Cook the Books’ in Ponsonby and Turoa Street in St Heliers, they will fearlessly resist, not embrace intensification.
The only way a compact city can work for historic communities is if Council keeps its promises to residents and town centre building owners who have lovingly fixed up their heritage homes and building in heritage precincts. These owners must be assured that despite land prices rising, these homes and buildings will not be allowed to be demolished by ‘tame’ consultants bought in by the very Council which is legally and morally bound to protect the District Plan provisions.
A great compact city is one where heritage buildings and homes are meticulously protected and cherished as a reminder of the past lives of a city and its forbears. Well-designed 5-20 storied apartments blocks, midsized blocks and smaller town houses with good amenity are built close to public transport in areas that are not heritage precincts. There are plenty of streets in Auckland where high rise is appropriate and where heritage homes and buildings will not be overshadowed and where volcanic sight-lines won’t be impinged upon. Balanced growth is critical.
The key will be for our inner city heritage streets in Ponsonby, Herne Bay, Grey Lynn, Freemans Bay and Westmere, and also Parnell areas to be correctly identified in the review of the District Plan. The Waitemata Local Board’s Heritage and Planning portfolios holders, Christopher Dempsey and Tricia Reade have been working to make sure that our Local Board and our communities’ view of heritage precincts is quite clear to those who make the decisions and rules when notifying the Unitary Plan. A new owner must be under no illusion that they can bowl a home or building in a heritage street, make unsympathetic renovations, or neglect structures until they fall into a bad state of disrepair. ‘Demolition by neglect’ must not be able to happen.
The Governing Body Councillors made the wrong decision to ‘take Local Boards’ out of the planning process last year and instead put all the power into the hands of Council planning managers. Your local elected representatives are the ‘eyes and ears’ of our community within Council and are the ones that must be given the ability to challenge recommendations of planning officers like in 18 Paget Street, and ‘Cook the Books’, and the character heritage buildings down in the Wynyard Quarter.
The Review of Council consenting processes in late January which occurred after the fated decision has bought in new roles in demolition resource consents for Local Boards.
There is now a new step in the process of Res 1 and 2 houses that gives the Local Board an opportunity to provide their views on whether they think the application should be notified. Moreover this view must form part of the planning report that goes before independent commissions or the Hearings Committee who will be making the ultimate decision on notification.
Thanks must go to the fourth estate for their role in making heritage decisions transparent.
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Edited from Ponsonby News article in the February edition
The concerns I believe that Auckland Council as owner on behalf of Auckland residents and businesses can legitimately have about the Ports industrial dispute are relatively narrow ones:
1. Both the Maritime Union and Ports of Auckland very much need to make every effort to resolve the dispute speedily and fairly and to achieve more efficiency, and to negotiate in good faith. The obligation to negotiate in good faith is a clear legal requirement and moral obligation and both sides, particularly the Port Company that Aucklanders own, need to negotiate in good faith to achieve a settlement.
2. Many Auckland businesses, farmers and workers owe their viability and livelihood to having an efficient and effective Port operating in Auckland. I am concerned at the risk that major disruption of the Port operation, particularly if it came as a consequence if the Port Company were to act to contract out the workforce, could severely harm Auckland manufacturing and exporting businesses and their workers. The Port Company should make every effort to achieve a good new collective agreement because of the potential damage to the Auckland economy that could well result from acting to contract out the workforce.
3. Medium term disruption of the Ports operation would also risk the Auckland Council’s dividend and total income and lead to a significant cutback in Council services or alternatively a rate rise.
4. I support the Port Company seeking to make the work practices of the Port more flexible to make an already efficient Port of Auckland more efficient and effective. However, a directly employed and fully engaged workforce is preferred because it materially contributes to that objective. If better efficiency can be achieved through the collective agreement negotiations, having a directly employed workforce using their skills, experience and offering proposals for further improvements can be secured for us all to benefit.
Contact: Cr Richard Northey, Richard.email@example.com,
027 247 9662
I am not going to deviate into discussing the merits of the proposed link under the central city except to say that while a few argue that it is unaffordable, many more of us know that we simply cannot afford not to build it. My model is Sydney which began developing its underground system 85 years ago when its population had also just passed 1.5 million people heading rapidly towards 2 million.
Although that is a huge amount of money, it will not require payment all at once. About $200 million will be required this year and next for planning and land purchase. The rest of the cost will be incurred as a series of progress payments during construction which is expected to take about four years. Assuming that the target date for completion is 2018, repayment could be manageably spread over the next six years. Payments could be smoothed over an even longer time by using debt funding, though this would add interest charges to the bill.
Thus the annual repayments would never exceed $500 million per year – still eye-watering but manageable. By comparison, Auckland Transport has already budgeted $586 million for capital works this year. While they could use part of existing budgets for some of the Link expenditure, Auckland Transport cannot be expected to cancel most of their other capital projects for years on end in order to pay for it all.
So Len is correct in saying that we need to investigate other sources of funding specifically for this project. However, the gap looks a whole lot less frightening when put into proper perspective.
But knowing that the Government has not completely closed the door, the Mayor has chosen his words very carefully, saying that “so far, the Government has declined to contribute to the project”. While they are certainly playing very hard to get, I believe that he is correct to believe that they must eventually come to the party.
Government has literally heaps of cash available in their GPS (Government Policy Statement) which allocates $35.75 billion for nation-wide transport expenditure over the 2012-22 decade. This money is collected for that purpose and can only be spent on transport projects. Aucklanders will pay one third of that sum in taxes and levies as we make up a third of the nation by both population and economic activity. It is only fair therefore to expect that expenditure in Auckland will approximately match our contribution (about $12 billion dollars).
About two-thirds of that $12 billion or so share from the GPS will be required for necessary maintenance, local road projects, minor safety works, public transport operations, etc. But that still leaves several billions available for major new transport projects in our region. A decent share of that should go into Auckland’s priority of connecting up our public transport network and the City Link in particular.
Some rural and small town mayors were very quick to bleat that Government funding of yet another major project in Jaffa country would come at the expense of their country roads. Sensitivity to this false but potent argument may partly explain why Governments over many years have been reluctant to fund a series of commuter rail projects in Auckland. Curiously however, it has not stopped them from spending up large on new motorways even when Auckland has consistently lobbied over many years for action on railway infrastructure as its greatest priority.
Len and the Council could make it easier for the Government if they offered them a quid pro quo: in return for Auckland agreeing to a moratorium on new motorway projects in the region for the rest of this decade, Government should fund a half share in the City Rail Link.
Contact Grame Easte, 027 209 7565
The parliamentary election is over and we have another Minister of Local Government in Hon Nick Smith. Let us hope he has moved from his 2005 position as National Spokesman for Local Government when he presented his draft Local Government policy to Local Government New Zealand with the phrase “National believes the new Local Government Act’s purpose, which is to give councils a broad role in ‘social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of communities’ is flawed and idealistic nonsense.”
We are all on Christmas countdown. Whether it is the amount of ‘sleeps’ before the big day, anticipation of a quiet time at the beach or a music fuelled noisy time at a festival or just in the back yard we have yet to get through the Christmas present buying, and cooking up a storm on Christmas day for our loved ones and friends.
Just in case you are wondering who the Grinch was who stole Ponsonby Road Christmas Telecom tree that was a magnet for families, teenagers and friends over the last few years as part of the wander between Franklin Road lights and the tree at Western Park, it was Waterfront Auckland. It’s now at the new Wynyard Quarter despite the fervent lobbying by your Waitemata Local Board to the tree’s telecommunication owners to keep it in Ponsonby Road.
It is the little victories and losses that are day to day work of your very busy Local Board. The nice pictures and stories in local news media of the Victoria Park Skate Park, going smoke free in our local playgrounds and sports grounds, planting trees in local parks, making Waitemata a Fair Trade area, calling upon developers to keep to their promises about opening up public space they promised when they got additional development rights in the city centre are only a small part of what we have had to do over the last year.
The Waitemata Local Board are proud supporters of the Grey Lynn Park Festival and Art in the Dark and it was great to see so many people - locals and from greater Auckland - taking advantage of attending well-staged events.
We should have the Three Lamps back on the corner of Jervois and Ponsonby Road in their almost original position. The new water fountain in West Lynn is one of many that will be coming into the parks and shopping centres where you need fresh clean water for drinking. Bikers will be able to rest their bikes up safely in new bike stands. Walkers, bikers and car drivers should be safer when we implement the results of representations on unsafe crossroads, and roads. The staged walkway around our coast will be a valuable asset for our communities. The destination playground at Myers Park will be great for our children.
Waitemata has become an ‘assessable’ Board so that all our residents no matter what their needs will find it easier to enjoy our buildings and public places. New path lights for Western Park will enable dog walkers and locals to enjoy evening walks. More trees will be safe from developers’ chainsaws.
These are the little things but sporting and recreational clubs will be pleased we have been able to budget for some bigger items as well such as new all-weather turfs at Seddons Fields, a refurbished athletics clubroom building at Grey Lynn Park, and hopefully upgrading the Pt Erin Pools before long.
Residents have all been busy writing submissions this year about how you want to see in your community over the next 3-30 years. My thanks go out to all the submission writers for caring and participating, and helping to plan for Auckland to be the world’s most livable city. Plans have been coming out of the Auckland Council system this year for your comment like lollies handed out to children by the jolly man in the red suit at Christmas.
Wresting local control of the funding from where the Auckland Transition Authority put it has been one of our major challenges as a local board, as our funding has been wrongly given to other Boards, Departments and CCOs. But the end is in sight. Waitemata Local Board has been allocated $34 million projected to increase to $60 million over the next 10 years to spend in our communities and we have listened to you about your priorities and how residents want their rates prudently and carefully spent. The Local Board Plan setting out our direction for the next 3 years and beyond has now been published.
Property revaluations have meant some families will be paying higher rates in these tough times. All residents demand that it is well spent in our communities in an accountable way.
We have a great responsibility to make sure you get the biggest bang for the bucks. Our accountability report on our first year will shortly be online on the council website and will be an on-going account of how we have or intend to spend your money.
On behalf of the Waitemata Local Board I wish you and your loved ones season’s greetings.
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Edited from Ponsonby News article in the December edition
Thousands of local families - young and old - walked down the emergency exits and through the tunnel on 29 October before it opens to traffic. There was a real buzz about the occasion. It must have been similar to the opening of the Harbour Bridge, but without the views, of course. It was an extremely well organised event and a fundraiser (by donation) for Freemans Bay Primary School who are raising money for a new school hall. Many thanks to the Victoria Park Tunnel people for making it happen.
Like most of you over the last month I have been caught up in the razzmatazz of the Rugby World Cup or, alternatively, the marvelous arts, community and cultural events that have been rolled up into this international sporting event that has sent Auckland into event exhilaration and at the same time event exhaustion. It is sometimes easy to forget that at the end of the day this is a sporting event that sits on the shoulders of grass-roots sport and recreation clubs facilities in our community.
Community sport and recreation is held together by enthusiastic parents who act as coaches, dedicated committees that serve our community year in year out, bright eyed children wh