July Newsletter

Think you could and/or should be on the ATEED or Watercare Board?

The process has started to recruit new non-executive directors for two of Auckland Council’s CCOs, Watercare ( Ix position)  and ATEED ( Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development ( 2x positions). Expressions of interest close for these on August 4. Please contact me if you want further information or contact Council direct. Having quality directors is integral to good decision making and I am positive our community has many who may well be interested and qualified.

Open space

Bluestone Park, Stonefields an example of open space with intensification.

It’s interesting  to note , that in the past year Auckland Council has spent $46.4 million on 35 new parks and open spaces. This spend has been mainly in areas of growth. I believe it’s very important to keep intensification balanced with open space provision and am pleased to see we are delivering to achieve that.

Film studios

At the latest Finance & Performance Committee meeting, we discussed the restructuring of Auckland Film Studios Limited for efficiencies and savings of approx.$7 million. The business will remain (in fact it’s business as usual) just a governance restructure which identifies savings back to our organization.


Talking of savings….A little known fact, since amalgamation Auckland has found just under a quarter of a BILLION dollars in savings from that of the combined amalgamated authorities. Is there more to find? Indeed yes! But you have to admit, it’s quite a good start.

 One IT system to deal with all queries


This month we have finally delivered one of the most significant projects since amalgamation – it's called   NewCore. In simple terms this is an IT system that means people can go to any Service Centre to request services, and those requests are able to be shared  more easily across departments and  the region.  Notably, this project has come in under its true budget ($2.8 million less), and was delivered both on time and within agreed scope.  The other good news is that as a result of this spend, NewCore will deliver about $10 million of savings each year. 

I’ll keep you posted as to how we will monitor those savings and its efficiency as time progresses.

Branded clothing for elected members ?

I was flabbergasted that our communications and engagement team even thought branded polo shirts for elected members was a good idea but they did. I am pleased to advise, Auckland Council will not be going ahead with plans to spend $20,000 on branded clothing for local boards and councillors as suggested. The idea was initially raised when a councillor (obviously not me) at an elected member reference group meeting stated that elected members aren’t always recognized at community gatherings and events.

Read more from the NZ Herald on this here.

How the government has helped Auckland recently

Auckland Council will be receiving a $300 million interest-free loan from central government to support the development of up to 10,500 homes in greenfield areas of Whenuapai and Red Hills. This includes funding for five roading projects and five water projects. This loan is a part of the $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund that is also providing funding to Hamilton and Tauranga, among others.

Last week we heard that central government will be setting up a new agency with $600 million of funding over two years, to co-fund basic infrastructure. This will enable the council to lift the scale and pace of new housing developments, and hopefully encourage new investors to help fund infrastructure services. The first two projects to be considered will be in Drury and Wainui. 

With our debt to revenue figures so tight, Auckland Council is most grateful for these key ‘tools’ and money to help us with growth and funding pressures.

In the last month, we’ve had some exciting news from central government regarding new funding for housing and infrastructure in the Auckland region.

Value for Money Political Oversight Group

A key question asked when looking at efficiencies is  "Do we get goodvalue formoney for what we spend and do?"  As deputy chair of the Finance and Performance team I’m part of the team  going through various aspects of the council to find out how we are really tracking, and what, or if, there is a better or more efficient way to deliver core services to Aucklanders. Our first meeting will address our governance and operations for our water supply, waste water, stormwater along with domestic waste. I will keep you posted as to progress.


Auckland has announced we wish to be predator and pest free by 2050.  We’ll be expanding pest eradication and restoration activities across the Auckland region – starting with our islands, peninsulas, and through increasing the number of ‘pest-free corridors’ to link the pest-free areas. This will require the cooperation and action of everyone to sure this is successful. In Orakei we have a number of residents who assist us with trapping of possums. Possums are bad for our environment because they are destructive to our trees, spread disease such as bovine tuberculosis, compete with and predate on indigenous fauna.

If you would like to volunteer and be a part of these initiatives please contact biodiversity@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Chairing Finance and Performance

While my colleague, Councillor Ross Clow, has been away, I’ve filled in as Chair of Finance & Performance. Amongst other things, this  involved chairing the first workshop briefing for all councillors on the Long-Term Plan process –  Councils first ‘start again’ budget. Involving all parts of Council and our communities,  will be integral to our success looking ahead. My monthly newsletter will keep you abreast of progress and ways to get involved, so you can have your say on how and what, your money should be spent on over the next 10 years.

Keeping in touch

Remember I am always available via email or phone to discuss any issues you may have. It’s always good to keep in touch 😊

If you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate in contacting me on 021 971 786 or by emailing desley.simpson@auckandcouncil.govt.nz