Auckland’s rapid growth, particularly in the CBD has caused Council to reassess the now uneven numbers of people each Councillor represents. We need to spread some of that city growth representation to immediate neighbouring Wards to keep Councillor/constituent numbers as even as possible. This naturally has a flow on affect. After internal deliberations the proposal out for consultation seeks feedback for the Auckland Councillor for Orakei to absorb parts of Newmarket and Parnell ( to minimise the Councillor/constituent ratio in Waitemata Ward) and relinquish parts of Ellerslie and St Johns to the Councillor for Maungakiekie-Tamaki.
Public consultation on the proposal allowing you to have your say on the proposal is from 8 August to 11 September by visiting www.akhaveyoursay.nz. If the proposal is accepted the changes will apply for the upcoming 2019 elections. This is a process that is driven by legislation and whilst I personally would be sorry to lose constituents from Ellerslie and St Johns, if the proposal goes ahead, it is a process that I must remain sanguine about: this is about ensuring that our democracy keeps pace with the changing shape of Auckland. As ever, I strongly encourage everyone to make a submission and let your views be known.
PLEASE NOTE- the Orakei Local Board representation and boundaries will not be affected through this process.
Further drives to reduce council’s costs
Being cost effective is something Auckland Council should be championing as opposed to reacting to budget blow outs. I was pleased recently to move a resolution to review our Group Financial services. We have a large group expenditure planned over the next ten years with $4.2 billion in operating expenditure and $1.3 billion in capital expenditure in organisational support services including Finance. Amongst other things, the review will cover financial transactions, tax and revenue management, financial planning and budgeting and capital planning. The reviews scope will cover the overall management of Councils financial services from the development of policies and strategies to the commissioning of funding, the cost and resource use, and the effectiveness of these services within Auckland Council and its Council Controlled Organisations. The review will be supported by an external independent reference panel with expertise in public finance, public policy and management and local government operations. We must be able to prove to our ratepayers we have robust financial systems in place to deliver value for money. This needs to be approved by the Governing Body on 23 August and then it will begin.
Orakei Basin Shared Path Boardwalk
After months of advocacy on your behalf, I am extremely pleased to advise I now have agreement from both NZTA and Auckland Transport that the current fence design running alongside the Orakei Basin will be changed. Public consultation on the design for the remaining two stages of the pathway will go out for feedback in September this year. This will include the opportunity for residents to have input into the shared path design for the final two stages. When that design is confirmed, it will be applied to the Ōrākei Basin section. As Rachel Hunter famously said “ it won’t happen overnight but it will happen”. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you who have contacted me over this issue. It’s been an interesting journey and a learning curve for both agencies involved. Everyone agrees that communication needs to be better in the future, and I have had confirmation on that too.
Bastion Point Pou
There has been significant media attention given to the concept of a 30m high pou or sculpture on Bastion Point. This is a concept only and one that would be led by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei if it was something that they wished to progress.
I would like to confirm to everyone that there is no funding agreement between Council and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei for such a structure. Because this exists only a concept and the desire for it from the Trust Board is uncertain, much of the debate on this is, while interesting, is somewhat premature.
Ngapipi/Tamaki Drive Intersection
The Ngapipi /Tamaki Drive intersection was opened on July 9. I’m always happy to see a piece of infrastructure be completed under budget and this was (over a million dollars under budget). It was also completed ahead of time and kudos to those who delivered both. The project though was about improving the safety of the intersection and is not about improving traffic flows. Whilst I support that, I’ve also been concerned about the effects that the intersection may have on traffic movements.
Fortunately, (with only a few exceptions) the feedback I’ve received, is that the intersection is working well. Obviously its only in its first few weeks of operation, but generally cyclists, pedestrians and motorists are impressed with it. Even so, there will always be scope to improve and I will be meeting with Auckland Transport staff later in the month once they have optimized the light phases and will report back on any further fine tuning. If you have any suggestions please feel free to contact me Desley.firstname.lastname@example.org before August 15th.
The Auckland Domain is loved by many and I’m proud to say, is one of only six parks to be recognized in the prestigious International Large Urban Parks Awards for 2018. Fact is, it is the only New Zealand park to feature. This is a very well deserved recognition of a world class park that is beloved by Aucklanders and visitors alike. The judges awarded a Bronze award to the Domain “for its well protected and managed parklands, its supply of recreation opportunities and preservation and interpretation of indigenous culture in cooperation with community.”
Within the Domain is the Wintergarden Nursery. This is the longest functioning nursery in NZ and will go from a multitude of small sheds and glasshouses (several dating back to the 19th Century) to two large high tech greenhouses far more suitable to grow the 20,000 plants needed. However, all the history will not be lost. Three of the original Victorian glasshouses which have been noted to have historical significance will be kept and used.
The new bright blue (yes, I chose the colour) Tāmaki Link bus which travels from Britomart along Tāmaki Drive to the St Heliers Bay shops and then via St Heliers Bay to the Glen Innes Train Station is proving popular from the feedback I’m receiving. However there are still some concerns on the new central bus routes by some, especially the school routes. Please remember to email to your concerns of you have them to email@example.com as the routes and timetables will be reviewed 3 months, 6 months and 12 months post their July 8 start.
Mid- July saw another king tide which like many before it, threatened to swamp low lying areas of the Eastern Bays. After strong advocacy, I was very grateful for the quick action of Council staff to deploy sand bags on the boat ramp at Kohimarama on Sunday 15 July to pilot the success of sandbagging at that location. As it happened, the tide didn’t reach the sandbags on this occasion. So the pilot will have to wait for another time. Auckland Council is aware of the continuing need to look at the issues at this site and the council family taskforce are currently discussing options to address coastal inundation.
No Retirement Village on Parson Paddock, St Johns…yet.
Sommerset Holdings Ltd applied to Auckland Council for a resource consent to build a 344 unit retirement village up to 7 storeys on what’s locally known as Parson Paddock in St Johns.
The height limit for that site is 3 storeys. The application was refused by planning commissioners who said in their decision “ that while the site would be suitable for a retirement village, the proposed development would result in adverse effects which did not sufficiently balance the benefits”
Orakei Point Development
32 residential dwellings have been given the green light by planners on the old Kings Plant Barn site by Orakei Train Station. My understanding is that his development complies with the Unitary Plan rules for that location.
Seen a lot of cranes in the city? At least 26 hotel projects are planned or under construction in Auckland. They include NZ’s first Hotel Indigo which is proposed as a $250m 41-level 225-room hotel project in addition to 24 luxury private residences on an under utilised strategic mixed-used site in Albert Street, comprising of a dual fronted historic facade and adjacent to St Patrick's Cathedral.
Plastic Bag free Day in St Heliers
I had the pleasure of attending Plastic Bag free Day in St Heliers and judged the children’s sustainable art competitions. We need more initiatives like Plastic Bag Free St Heliers and my congratulations to all contributors, winners and also to the organisers.
Remuera’s Bastille Day
Thanks to all supporters, sponsors and organisers of Remuera's Bastille Day. A huge crowd filled the Remuera Town Centre, streets with French themed window displays, music and entertainment for a very successful day..
Citizens Advice Bureau
I joined with my colleagues on the Environment and Community Committee to approve an additional $200,000 in funding for Citizens Advice Bureau across Auckland. This is an invaluable service which behind the scenes does a huge amount of work to help our communities to know their rights and resolve disputes. This funding will be distributed to the 32 CABs around Auckland and to help the Bureau plan for the future. We are fortunate to have a Citizens Advice Bureau located in our ward which receives approximately 9000 enquiries per year. Currently this is located at 4 Victoria Ave, Remuera.
CRL (City Rail Link)
I wasn’t a Councillor when the CRL was approved, but do know that people using our trains are well ahead of projections. Council has voted on expanding the CRL capacity for longer trains. Doing this while the CRL is still under construction will avoid closing the whole underground system for 2 years less than ten years after it opens and as always, doing it right first time will be more cost effective in the long run. If you are young enough to remember, the Auckland Harbour Bridge had this very problem. It opened with a reduced lane (4) capacity and then ten years later was retrofitted with 2x extra lanes each side which cost more than the original bridge itself. Let’s hope we deliver the ‘do it once do it properly’ concept with this project.