Auckland Conversations: Fixing Auckland’s Transport

Auckland Conversations is an exciting series featuring leaders and experts in design, planning, heritage, environment and socio-economics discussing the issues facing Auckland’s development.  Tonight Auckland Conversations tackles the topic of Transport and I am really delighted to be one of the panelists.

Fixing Auckland’s Transport – The 10-Year Budget 2015-2025

Monday 2 March, doors open 5pm for a 5.30pm start
Lower NZI Conference Room, Aotea Centre, central Auckland

Auckland is the country’s fastest-growing region with transport considered the single biggest issue. Major investment will be needed in the next decade to avoid worsening congestion and the impact this will have on our economy, environment and way of life.

We have a choice to make. Do we accept a basic transport network which costs less, or do we invest more to get the advanced transport programme set out in the 30-year vision for our region, known as the Auckland Plan.

If we choose to fix Auckland’s transport issues and get our city moving, we need to consider how we should pay for it. This could be through increased fuel taxes and higher rates, or through the introduction of a new motorway charge.

Hear from a range of experts who will outline the key transport issues facing Aucklanders in the 10-year budget.

MC Fran O’Sullivan – NZ Herald

Presentation: Mayor Len Brown: The 10 Year Budget and outline of Transport Options


David Warburton – CEO, Auckland Transport

Sudhvir Singh – Generation Zero

Peter Winder – Transport Funding – Independent Advisory Board

Patrick Reynolds – Transport Blog

Pippa Coom – Waitematā Local Board

More information on Fixing Auckland’s Transport

Khartoum Place re-opening – the new Kate Sheppard Place

Speech for the reopening of Khartoum Place on behalf of the Waitematā Local Board 

10 September 2014

  • Suffrage memorial Khartoum Place It’s a pleasure to be here to help celebrate the re-opening and upgrade of what is a special and significant space for Auckland city
  • Waitematā Local Board Chair Shale Chambers, your co-host, has stood aside so I can make some very specific acknowledgements today.
  • As the Mayor touched on, this is the site of the Woman’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial,   which honours the strength and determination of Auckland women who worked towards the goal of women’s suffrage. The memorial is made of over 2000 coloured tiles designed by artists Claudia Pond Eyley and Jan Morrison commissioned for Suffrage Centennial Year in 1993
  • We’ve come together here many times to commemorate Suffrage Day Aotearoa New Zealand – coming up next week on 19 September (all invited back) – and International Womens Day. And yes I always have my bike with me – the transport of the suffragists symbolised in the tiles.!
  • Khartoum place with Art GalleryAs many of you may know, during the redesign of this space the Memorial came under attack and was at risk of being moved.  Khartoum place was described as a “sordid blot on Auckland’s urban landscape” and the memorial a “makeshift urinal”.
  • The suffrage mural was designed for this space and brings an added depth to what  Khartoum Place is. I hope you agree the re-design that we are celebrating today has enhanced the Memorial and secured its place in the city centre as a cultural and heritage asset. In fact the upgrade would not look so amazing with out the memorial as the centre piece
  • I’d like to acknowledge all those who have fought to retain the Memorial in particular Margaret Wilson, Michelle Wright, Patricia Woodley, Julie Fairey and pro bono lawyers from Ellis Gould Joanna van den Bergen and Julie Goodyear.  I also acknowledge the unwavering determination of Cr Cathy Casey supported by the Mayor and political colleagues who  secured the memorial (Cathy moved the last amendment  at the end of 5 days of Unitary Plan meetings to get support for lifting the proposed draft Unitary Plan designation of “road reserve” from Khartoum Place and replacing it with an “open space” zoning.  Women’s Suffrage Memorial in Khartoum Place is identified as “a historic heritage place” in the Unitary Place).
  • Khartoum Place reopening with Len Brown and Shale ChambersI think we can now relax that he battle of Khartoum has been won and that the memorial is here to stay.
  • The Mayor has thanked the many people involved in the Khartoum place upgrade . As a politician I attend many openings when the politicians are acknowledged but really have done very little but show up for the refreshments.  Today is different.
  • Today I acknowledge not just those who politically fought for the retention of the Suffrage memorial in Khartoum Place but also those who had the courage and tenacity to forge ahead with the upgrade.  The upgrade project was in danger of being delayed or canned about 2 years ago but Shale doggedly pushed it through with the support of the Mayor.  He knew that if we lost our nerve we would lose momentum and the upgrade could be in danger of not happening at all (Some of the opposition to the upgrade was very unstandable neighbouring businesses had already experienced a lot of disruption in the area).   I think today he has been vindicated and I thank him.
  • For too long Auckland has just been ok and our street spaces have not lived up to the majesty of our natural environment or our desire to be taken seriously as an international city. However projects such as this, completed to an exceptionally high standard to last for generations, have allowed us to see our city in a new light and to take pride in our city centre.
  • The Waitematā Local Board is committed to continue to play our role in making the inner city a more liveable, vibrant and connected place that welcomes all people of all ages.
  • Looking around now at how  beautiful Khartoum place looks with the memorial at its heart I think all that is needed is for this space to be  named not after an imperial battle that New Zealand actually refused to take part in but in the future I look forward to it being named Suffrage Place or Kate Sheppard Place.

Khartoum place portraits Revamp of Iconic Auckland location complete – Auckland Council media release

Margaret Wilson representing the National Council of Women officially reopened Khartoum Place following the upgrade with the Mayor Len Brown and Waitemata Local Board Chair, Shale Chambers.

Entertainment in the square after the ribbon cutting was provided by a band made up of very talented Council employees. Fine arts students from Auckland University provided portraits (Briony right working on my sketch)


The Power of You celebrating Fair Trade Auckland

Fair Trade Auckland celebration L-R Wayne Walker, Pippa Coom, Rose from Ghana and Penny HulseAt the Fair Trade Auckland Power of You celebration this evening we heard from Rose, a cocoa farmer from Ghana  who highlighted the many benefits the fair trade premium has brought to her village including clean water.

 Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse also spoke about how much Fairtrade certified product has been consumed at Auckland Council since May 2012 (when Auckland became a Fair Trade City) 

10,905kg of  fairtrade coffee

2,796kg of fairtrade hot chocolate

1430 kg of instant coffee

4290kg of sugar

and a staggering 1,253,250 tea bags!

In total this has returned more than $20,000 in fair trade premiums to producers.  It really shows the Power of You and the direct benefits of purchasing fair trade.

Fair trade fortnight 3 – 18 May 2014

Resetting the compass for cycling in Auckland

Cycling celebration after the infrastructure committee meetingA fantastic collaboration of the Transport strategy unit at Auckland Council,  Auckland Transport, councillors, Greenways Project, Generation Zero, Cycle Action Auckland, Transport Blog, Walk Auckland, with NZTA and AA in support came together at the Infrastructure Committee chaired by Cr Mike Lee on 12 March.

After years of feeling like we are making very little progress, as Cr Chris Darby said “we reset the compass for cycling in Auckland” when the Infrastructure committee voted to support a significantly enhanced effort to improve cycling infrastructure in Auckland with the following resolution.

a)    acknowledge the importance of cycling in contributing to the vision of creating the world’s most liveable city particularly through enabling Auckland Plan Transformational Shift #3, “Move to outstanding public transport within one network” and Auckland Plan Transformational Shift #4, “Radically improve the quality of urban living”

b)    working with the Auckland Development Committee, support greater financial commitment within the Long-term Plan for cycleways, including the preparation of an integrated regional implementation strategy.

c)    encourage Auckland Council and Auckland Transport to explore innovative trial projects in the near-term that increase safety and attract a wider range of people to cycling

d)    request staff to review baseline data monitoring and its adequacy in understanding cycling and walking contribution to transport, and further to provide recommendations on key performance indicators (kpi’s) that may then be incorporated into the Auckland Transport Statement of Intent (SOI)

e)    endorse that the committee Chair writes to the Chairman of Auckland Transport forwarding the report ‘Role of Cycling in Auckland’ and communicates the Infrastructure Committee decisions on the need for a significantly enhanced effort to improved cycling infrastructure in Auckland.

Generation Zero, as one of the groups presenting, made some compelling points:

  • Auckland’s per capita cycling investment spend is $6.05 compared with Christchurch’s $38.47
  • With the current budget it is going to take 40 years to complete the Auckland Cycle Network (the Auckland Plan target is completion by 2030)
  • Just by increasing cycling to 5% mode share of transport trips will lead to big health benefits (such as avoiding 116 deaths a year from increased physical activity)
  • Cycle lanes are the best tool in the urban tool book for attracting young talent to cities.
  • The US experience is that the number one thing tech companies want is cycle lanes

An excellent officer report “Role of Cycling in Auckland” (search on the agenda for the Infrastructure Committee) was also presented to the committee. I highly recommend this report for providing a comprehensive analysis of the benefits of investing in cycling.

The decision of the committee is great news as it means we are going to see a very different integrated transport plan come out of Auckland Transport and increased funding in the LTP.

Waitematā Local Board transport advocacy areas

Auckland Council Annual plan 14 15Submissions on the Auckland Council Annual Plan 14/15 close on Monday at 4pm. This is a good opportunity to let your Local Board and the Governing Body (the Mayor and Councillors) know what key transport projects you think should be prioritised. 

The plan is essentially the Council budget for year 3 of the Long Term Plan. Publicity has been very low key this year  because there are so few new spending proposals or changes from the Long Term Plan and the main focus at the moment is on the proposed Unitary Plan consultation (submissions close on 28 February). But it is still worthwhile making a submission.

As part of the Annual Plan, Local Boards consult on their one year agreements with the governing body – our funding and service levels – and outline our proposed projects and activities (the proposed budget changes of each Local Board are available here)

In their annual agreement Local Boards also put forward all the projects they are advocating for to the Governing Body and the CCO’s in particular Auckland Transport. The Waitematā  Local  Board has the longest list of advocacy areas of any Board in relation to transport projects that we want Auckland Transport to fund and take forward. Our complete list is below. 

So in providing feedback on the Annual Plan 204/15 you can comment on the Governing body’s key transport priorities ( I find the Transport theme very disappointing as it  doesn’t include any walking and cycling projects as priorities  – full document here ) and your Local Board’s transport advocacy areas. The online feedback form is available here

cycle lane Lower Domain DriveWaitematā Local Board Advocacy areas to Auckland Transport 

Cycle infrastructure

Consult with local boards on the development of the Cycling Business Plan and routes and priorities of the Auckland Cycle Network.

Improve cycle infrastructure through the completion and extension of the Auckland Cycle Network with safe, connected, dedicated cycleways including:

  • Carlton Gore Road (bike lanes currently planned).
  • Beach Road, linking with the Grafton Gully Cycleway and with Tamaki Drive and Parnell Station.
  • Parnell to the City Centre walk/cycleway, through the new underpass south of the Parnell Train Station.
  • Nelson & Hobson Street (with separated two-way cycleways, as described in the City Centre Masterplan).
  • Wellesley St connection to Auckland Domain under Symonds St overbridge and on-road connection to the NZTA funded / constructed Grafton Gully Cycleway.

Prioritise the upgrade of all routes in 2014/2015 currently identified as “complete” on the Auckland Cycle Network within the Waitematā Local Board area, but are not of a safe standard.

Traffic calming

Work with the local board on identifying traffic calming measures for the shopping areas in Parnell, Ponsonby, Karangahape Road and Richmond Road to support 40km per hour zones. This would include for example, raised crossings, raised intersections and kerb build-outs to narrow the road.

Undertake a trial of a slow speed zone in a residential area.

Implement the city centre 30km per hour speed zone (as described in the City Centre Masterplan).

Cycle safety

Prioritise the installation of advance cycle stop boxes with feeder lanes including in the following locations:

  • Williamson Avenue northeast coming onto Ponsonby Road
  • College Hill Road westbound coming onto Ponsonby Road
  • Tamaki Drive, westbound at The Strand
  •  St Stephen’s Avenue westbound coming onto Parnell Road
  • Karangahape Road eastbound at Symonds Street, onto the Grafton Bridge
  • Great North Road eastbound coming on to Karangahape Road.

Ensure safe, connected and continuous cycling is provided for in the St Lukes bridge widening including undertaking cycling safety works at the Bullock Track and Great North Road intersection.

Pedestrian safety and amenity

Improve intersections for pedestrians with substantial foot traffic and develop solutions to improve safety and amenity for pedestrians. This includes:

  • All intersections with left–turn slip lanes and no pedestrian facility
  • Intersections with long pedestrian crossing delays
  • Undertaking route optimisation for pedestrians in the city centre including automatic pedestrian phases on one way streets.

Advocate for a change of the give way rule requiring motorists to give way to pedestrians crossing parallel to the priority (main) road at intersections.

Richmond Road Safety Plan

Complete the implementation of the safety improvement action plan during the 2014-2015 financial year in conjunction with Auckland Council for the shopping areas and school zones of Richmond Road, concentrating on the following elements

  • Pedestrian and cycle safety
  • Traffic calming and slower speeds
  • Urban design.

Franklin Road upgrade

Undertake the planned upgrade of Franklin Road to provide for safe and continuous walking and cycling pathways from Ponsonby Road to Victoria Park including continuous pedestrian facilities (i.e. an unbroken footpath on both sides of the road) across all side streets, driveways and intersections (for example by installing raised tables).

Newmarket traffic management plan

Develop a traffic management plan for Newmarket to make traffic flow in a way that is logical and supports public transport, walking and cycling and economic development. This would include consideration of parking, arterial infrastructure, motorway access and signage.

Residential parking zone

Auckland Transport to implement the residential parking zone scheme to manage commuter parking in central Auckland suburbs.

Auckland Domain traffic management

Auckland Transport to improve walking and cycling access to and around the Domain, while discouraging commuter parking use of the Domain through:

  •  Implementation of a parking scheme for the Domain that works to discourage commuter parking (e.g. through pricing)
  •  Improving walking and cycling options
  • Contribute to the development of a Masterplan for the Domain (to be led by Auckland Council).


Auckland Transport and Auckland Waterfront to progress the Auckland Harbour pathway project (the SkyPath) for delivery in 2014/2015.


  • Prioritise the 2014/2015 footpath renewal programme in conjunction with the Waitematā Local Board.
  • Create an agreed public consultation framework for the footpath renewal programme.


Fund and deliver the on-road components of the Waitematā Local Board greenways project prioritised for 2014/2015.

Set the three year programme of works in collaboration with the Waitematā Local Board with regards to footpaths, road safety initiatives, cycleways, parking, greenways.

Support other Waitematā Local Board agreement priorities including:

  • the introduction of low impact storm water solutions in the Local Board area;
  • delivery of green walls, roofs and community gardens on Auckland Transport assets e.g. car park buildings;
  • drinking water fountains in the street environment;
  • development and implementation of the Ponsonby Road master plan;
  • Wayfinding signage for pedestrians; and
  • Upgrade of Teed Street (western part), York Street and Kent Street, Newmarket.

Beautiful Waitematā berms

Since Auckland Council stopped paying for the grass verges/berms to be mowed in October last year the landscape of our streets has been changing in new and beautiful ways. Yes there are some scruffy roadsides (and as a Board we have been following up with Auckland Transport to maintain berms that have no obvious “owner”- the NZ Herald has reported on this today) but for the most part as I travel around the Waitematā area I have been impressed with what’s starting to grow and how well cared for our neighbourhoods are looking.

There have been other spin offs too. The bees and butterflies are new beneficiaries  enjoying all the roadside food from the flowing berms (one of my neighbours has been leaving a patch of meadow grass for the bees).  Maintaining the berms encourages neighbourly interactions as I have seen on my own road. My neighbour mows our berm as we don’t have a lawn mower. I took the opportunity to meet new neighbours when they were outside planting their berm. Other neighbours finally got talking again after a long running dispute.

It’s also made me appreciate how many residents have been proudly looking after their berms for many years despite it previously being a paid service (not surprisingly as the contractors often did a very poor job).  It was only in the old Auckland City Council area that berms were mowed at ratepayer expense- the rest of Auckland can’t figure out what the fuss is about.  I am all for Auckland Transport maintaining verges that are not getting looked after (usually for very good reasons) but I think we should enjoy, encourage and celebrate our new urban landscapes that have been liberated from expensive Council mono-mowing.

More information

Berm mowing responsibilities on Auckland Transport’s website

Alternative ideas for berm mowing – Auckland City Harbour News, 9 October 2013

Tips for planting bio-corridors – Grey Lynn 2030


Pimp my berm – berm planting in Elleslie on Seven Sharp 12 February 2014

Declaration of member interests December 2013

Auckland Council’s Code of Conduct requires elected representatives to complete an annual declaration of interests. My first declaration was  submitted as requested at the end of June 2012.   No request for a further declaration was made to elected representatives until early December 2013 (due date 20 January 2014) requesting a declaration back dated to 1 January 2012. However I have reported all gifts in my monthly board reports and have declared all interests for this term at the Board’s first business meeting on 10 December (recorded in the minutes).

I have also maintained a Registry of interests on my website since August 2012.  (A declaration of interest summaries is available for Ward Councillors on the Auckland Council website.  The summary is not currently available for Board Members).

As an elected representative I wish to be as transparent and open as possible about all my interests.  I take very seriously my responsibility to approach decision making with an open mind, to make decisions in the public interest and to be fully accountable for my decisions and actions. Being completely open about my interests is just one of the ways I personally wish to maintain the high standard of conduct that is expected of me in my role.

December 2013 Declaration

Interests in land: 16 Firth Road, Grey Lynn (jointly with my partner)

Companies: (partner) Paul Shortland Limited, Pallet Lock Limited, Firth Road Trustees Limited

Trusts: Connected Media, Grey Lynn 2030, Kelmarna Community Garden (until May 2013)

Memberships: Grey Lynn Farmers Market, Grey Lynn RSC, Cycle Action Auckland (until December 2013), YWCA (2012-13), Vintage Austin Register, Auckland Girls Grammar Old Girls Association, Sustainable Business Network, Grey Lynn Business Association (until November 2013).

Name of debtors: n/a

Name of creditors: n/a

Appointments: n/a

Gifts: (1 July 2012 – 31 December 2013) Tickets to Auckland Arts Festival, Basement Theatre, ATC opening nights, Tim Bray Productions, Seafood Festival 2012, Taste Auckland, NZ Ballet, Q Theatre  (value unknown but only package of Arts Festival tickets likely to be over $300)

Additional Declaration: Partner, Paul Shortland was a member of the Mayor’s consensus building group (representing Cycle Action Auckland)

Walking and cycling on Auckland Harbour Bridge a step closer with approval of Skypath

SkypathYesterday’s Governing Body meeting was dominated by the censure of the Mayor. But also on the agenda was a very significant and exciting project that has strong public support. In a confidential session the council voted to move the project to the next phase allowing council officers to work towards a formal agreement with the Skypath trust and their backers.

The Skypath presentation is available here including details of the proposed construction and a range of  impressive design images . Ben from Cycle Action Auckland also spoke in support of the project and highlighted that it is a critical link for walking and cycling.  More details on how the path will connect at each end on Transport Blog. 

Photo credit: Cathy Casey
Photo credit: Cathy Casey

I had a last minute call up to speak on behalf of the Waitemata Local Board (standing in for our Chair Shale Chambers who waited 3 hours to speak) to confirm the backing of the Board.

I noted the Board’s long term support for the project which is included in our Local Board Plan and emphasised that we are now keen to move on to the details which will address the concerns raised by the resident associations. There is no doubt that it is a transformational project that has the Board’s full support to be taken forward to the next stage.

Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard to get to the project to this point in particular Bevan Woodward from the Skypath Trust.




Strong result for City Vision and centre-left

Media Release from City Vision

13 October 2013

Strong result for City Vision and centre-left

“The 2013 Auckland Council elections have seen a strong performance from City Vision and progressive teams across the Auckland isthmus”, says Gwen Shaw, Campaign Co-ordinator for City Vision.

“On the Auckland Isthmus City Vision achieved the following results:

  • In the Waitemata & Gulf Islands Ward incumbent City Vision-endorsed Councillor Mike Lee was returned with a strong majority.
  • In the Albert-Eden-Roskill Ward incumbent City Vision Councillor Cathy Casey was comfortably returned.
  • On the Waitemata Local Board, City Vision retained five out of seven positions.
  • On the Albert-Eden Local Board, City Vision retained five out of eight positions.
  • On the Puketapapa Local Board, Roskill Community Voice increased representation to win four out of six positions.

“When taken together with the Whau Local Board result (five Labour members elected on a Board of seven) and Maungakiekie-Tamaki (four Labour members elected on a Board of seven), this means that all Local Boards on the Auckland isthmus, with the exception of Orakei, are controlled by progressive groupings. This is a major achievement and a huge change from the old Auckland City days of C&R domination.

“Regretfully, some high quality City Vision candidates were not successful this election. We also note with sadness the loss of Richard Northey as Maungakiekie-Tamaki Ward Councillor. City Vision has worked extensively with Richard over the years and we know him to be a person of great integrity and knowledge who has served his community faithfully. His contribution on Council will be greatly missed.

“With strong progressive representation across the Auckland Isthmus we will be working hard to engage our local communities over the coming term. We campaigned on public ownership of Auckland’s assets, empowering local communities, treating people and our environment with respect, and building a congestion free network. We thank Aucklanders for their support this election and will work hard to advance the values and policies we were elected upon”, says Gwen Shaw.


Contact Gwen Shaw 027 4144074

A quick round up of Unitary Plan feedback

In the final days of feedback on the  draft Unitary Plan I  am impressed with the focus and attention to detail that has been put into a number of template submissions on the plan. These templates do the hard work of analysing many of the complex rules in the proposals and pull together the key issues.

Here are my favourites so far that I will be using for my own personal feedback:

Auckland Transport Blog

Grey Lynn Residents Association  – Quick feedback template

Generation Zero – Quick feedback

Environmental Defense Society  (all 71 pages!)


I also really enjoyed reading Russell Brown’s A Plea for Sanity on the Unitary Plan

The feedback form is available here  . Due by 5pm on Friday 31 May

(Received an email from the 2040 group asking you to give feedback?  Read this first before using any of the content – unfortunately it is highly misleading)

A selection of photos from the Waitemata Local Board’s unitary plan adventures

Monthly Board report: December 2012

Rachel Brown, Len Brown and Pippa Coom at the Sustainable City Showcase2012 in Review
This is my last report for 2012. Looking back over the year I think it has been characterised by the significant progress we have made as a Board on our projects and initiatives following an inaugural year of planning and figuring out how the new Super City structure fits together. It has also become noticeable this year that the role of the Board is far better understood by the community. I think we have become the go to people on a huge range of local issues.

Inevitably there have been challenges and frustrations but personally I have found 2012 to be hugely enjoyable and rewarding. I have particularly welcomed all the opportunities to learn from international experts, to meet the people we represent and to fully take part in civic life.   I feel very privileged to represent such a dynamic, interesting and diverse area at the centre of Auckland.

I very much appreciate the skills and passion that officers bring to their role that has enabled local board projects to be advanced and implemented quickly.  We still have lots to do but I think we are fortunate to have a great board team with excellent leadership that will ensure 2013 is a good one.

Board activities for the period 1 November – 1 December 2012

A number of meetings were held with Auckland Transport during November. These are covered in the Auckland Transport monthly report and included:

  • the Board’s greenways aspirations and potential locations for AT to fund on-street routes
  • Update on a public bike hire scheme for Auckland
  • Draft Regional Public Transport Plan
  • Location of the bus stop outside Ponsonby Central

Good for business seminar
Good For BusinessIn February this year I asked Auckland Transport to consider bringing international expert Rodney Tolley to Auckland to be the key note speaker at a seminar aimed at our business associations and their members. I would like to thank Auckland Transport for making it happen and their work in organising the “Good for Business” seminar in partnership with the Board that was held on 28 November at the offices of AECOM.
Dr Tolley spoke about the economic benefits of investing in walkability to an audience of over 60 including representatives of business associations from across Auckland
My presentation that concluded the seminar is attached (Attachment A).

Community Funding
I represented the Board a the Central Joint Funding Committee meeting on 9 November that decided the allocation of grants from the Accommodation Support Fund, Cultural Heritage Fund and Community Group Assistance Fund (round one). These funds are legacy Council funds that following a recent decision by the Regional Development and Operations Committee are going to be rolled over for a further year (2013/14).
The minutes of this meeting are available online.

Local Government
LGNZ Zone 1 meeting
I attended the Local Government New Zealand Zone 1 meeting in Whangerei on 16 November (at no cost to the Board).
The presentations covered:
–       Alcohol Reform Bill – Charlotte Connell Senior Advisor Ministry of Justice – update on the Bill and what the changes to the supply and sale alcohol regime is likely to mean for TA’s
–       Mayor’s taskforce for jobs, Jan Francis
–       Strategic Plan introduced by Malcolm Alexander, CEO LGNZ
–       TRAFINZ update from Karen Hay
I found Malcolm’s presentation to be particularly interesting because of the energy, leadership and skills he is bringing to local government. The new strategic work plan has specific actions to bring about a brand shift to LG with LGNZ’s aim to be the Strong voice for great local government.
Malcolm intends presenting the LGNZ strategic plan to local board members next year.

Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill
I was extremely disappointed that the Government passed the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill on 28 November with the slimmest majority, with no mandate and no evidence what so ever that Councils are operating ineffectively and uneconomically because of the “four well-beings”
I agree with LGNZ’s President, Lawrence Yule assessment that in its drive to have councils move their focus away from the four well-beings, the Government has instead injected uncertainty into the law by increasing the scope for council decisions to be judicially reviewed.As Lawrence said on the day the Bill was passed “The lesson from this legislation is that processes that are not based on facts, principle and constructive dialogue between central and local government do not serve the public well.”

Building a Better Newmarket Seminar
I attended this one day seminar for members of the Newmarket Business Association and was invited to sit on the panel that concluded the day.
At the seminar Westfield New Zealand Director, Justin Lynch outlined plans for a proposed new retail development on the Dominion Motors/Levene Extreme/Farmers site which borders Mortimer Pass and Broadway. In addition to a proposed flagship 9,500 sqm Department store, 95 new specialty stores are planned, along with a six-screen cinema, gymnasium and 1,400 car additional parking spaces. Westfield is waiting for the right market conditions to commence the multi-million dollar complex.

NZTA Senior Urban Design Advisor, Jacque Bell presented on the draft master plan for the area under the Newmarket viaduct which provides for a mix of commercial and office space, active retail frontages, car parking buildings and multi-functional open space. Consultation is currently underway on the plans.

Other speakers included Dr Libby Weaver (building a better you), and Hon Stephen Joyce (the big picture)

Community empowerment and the strengthening of democracy
During November local board members had the opportunity to attend presentations by two international speakers on the related areas of participatory budgeting and building community capacity.

Giovanni Allegretti, an architect, planner and senior researcher at the Centre for Social Studies at Coimbra University (Portugal) spoke about the benefits of entrusting citizens to decide how to allocate Council budgets in his presentation on participatory budgeting.

The following week Jim Diers, who is internationally recognised for his work with communities, gave his presentation on the Power of Community and how to get people to cherish their government and strengthen citizen participation. He also gave examples of neighbourhood planning process and the value of community driven planning.

Support social enterprise A4 eInvite_Page_1Social Enterprise conference 26 November

The Social Enterprise conference was organised by the CDAC team with the support by the Waitematā Local Board, University of Auckland Business School, Mira Szászy Research Centre, and The Kitchen with the aim of supporting the sector, celebrating best practices and exploring initiatives to support social enterprises.

The conference included Pecha Kucha style presentations from a number of social enterprises based in the Waitemata Local Board area.

Key speakers included:

  • Di Jennings, Community Economic Development Trust
  • Nicky Benson, New Zealand Centre for Social Innovation
  • Andrew Hamilton, ICEHOUSE
  • Assoc. Prof. Manuka Henare University of Auckland Business School

The CDAC team are to be congratulated on successfully organising the conference.

My welcome on behalf of the Board is attached (Attachment B)

Local Board workshops and meetings

Attended during November:

  • Parks Renewals Programme – Workshop on 1 November
  • Community leases meeting 1 November
  • Meetings to finalise the Board’s Unitary Plan report on 1 November, 5 and 12  November
  • One to one engagement meetings on the Unitary Plan with key community groups. I attended the following:
    o   Westmere Heritage Projection Group on 1 November
    o   GLBA and Grey Lynn 2030 on 5 November
    o   Western Bays Community Group on 5 November
    o   Newmarket Business Association on 7 November
    o   Parnell Community Committee on 7 November
    o   NZ Historic Places Trust on 8 November
    o   Parnell Heritage on 12 November
  • Local Board workshop on 6 November (Thriving communities discussion document , Pioneers Women’s Hall redevelopment and Pt. Erin Pools)
  • Communications update on 6 November
  • Meeting on 7 November with Team Leader, Community Facilities to discuss Parnell Trust’s request for financial assistance
  • Meeting with Auckland Transport and Council officers to discuss the Board’s Greenways priorities on 7 November
  • Workshop with Auckland Transport on the Draft Regional Public Transport Plan to assist with preparing the Board’s submission on the plan
  • Meeting with Auckland Transport to discuss the options for the location and design of the bus stop outside Ponsonby Central on Ponsonby Road
  • Meeting with Julie Fairey, Community spokesperson,  Puketapapa Local Board
  • Central Joint Funding Committee meeting on 9 November
  • Waitemata Local Board business meeting at Graham Street on Tuesday 13 November in Parnell
  • Meeting with Auckland Transport to discuss portfolio processes
  • Introduction to the new reporters for the Central Leader and the Auckland City Harbour News on 15 November
  •  Meeting on 15 November to discuss the City Centre Noise Management Action Plan 2012-2015 and how Waitemata Local Board can respond in support of the latest Noise Report to the Unitary Plan submission process and what actions can be initiated going forward through the Noise Action Plan
  •  Waitemata Christmas event organisation in Western Park meeting on 15 November
  • Resource Recovery Centre workshop with transition town groups looking to support the development of a centre – hosting by Puketapapa Local Board on 15 November with Warren Snow
  • LGNZ Zone One meeting in Whangerei on 16 November
  • Meeting with the Central Relationship Managers to discuss options for dealing with applications for Facilities Partnership funding on 19 November
  • Financial information and support for Local Boards meeting prior to the Chair’s forum on 19 November (part attended for the Chair )
  • GLBA meeting on 20 November
  •  Local Board workshop on 20 November
  • Meeting with Auckland Transport to receive an update on the Public Bike Hire scheme  on 22 November
  • Meeting and site visit at Auckland Cathedral of the Holy Trinity on 22 November with Christopher Dempsey
  • Participatory Budgeting presentation by international guest, Giovanni Allegretti. on 23 November
  • Waipapa Stream project update on 23 November
  • Grey Lynn Park Advisory Group meeting on 26 November
  •  Breakfast presentation by Jim Diers for elected representative on 27 November
  • Local Board workshop on 27 November to discuss the Board’s draft annual agreement
  •  Ports of Auckland Briefing to Local Boards on 27 November
  • Good for Business seminar on 28 November
  • Transport portfolio monthly meeting with Auckland Transport (informal catch up)

Events and functions
I attended the following events and functions during November:

  • Cycle Action’s Associates breakfast on 1 November
  • Square Art – opening of the art exhibition in Station Square as part of the Newmarket Festival
  • Art in the Dark event on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 November
  • Highwic House Cycle Style (part of the Festival of Flowers) on 18 November
  • Taste Auckland at Victoria Park on 18 November (at the invitation of Taste Auckland)
  • Opening of Ponsonby Central on 20 November
  • Building a better Newmarket conference hosted by the Newmarket Business Association
  • Grey Lynn Business Association AGM (I have been re-elected to the Board )
  •  Sustainable Business Network’s  Sustainable City Showcase 22-24 November including:
    o   SBN Sustainable Business Awards
    o   Conscious consumer breakfast
    o   Ethical Fashion Show
    o   Walk around with Cr Mike Lee
    o   Carrot mob launched by Mayor Len
  • Social Enterprise Conference organised by CDAC on 26 November
  • Regional Facilities Auckland Limited’s end of year drinks for  Local  Board  Chairs and Deputy Chairs at the Auckland Art Gallery on 28 November
  •  Cycle Action Auckland Christmas gathering in support of Bikes for refugees
  • Invite from Royal NZ Ballet – RNZB season of Giselle on 30 November
  • Ponsonby Market Day on 1 December
  • Launch of the Franklin Road Christmas lights at the Rob Roy plaza on 1 December

LGNZ Queenstown conference report back

LGNZ Conference, Queenstown 15-17 July 2012


I attended the LGNZ annual conference on behalf of the Waitemata Local Board with funding from the Board’s professional development budget.

The conference was billed as “Taking inspiration from those mountains that characterise a spectacular landscape, this conference will celebrate all that’s remarkable in the local government sector”

This report back has been prepared to provide the Board with the points I found relevant from the main speakers and the key themes that emerged from the conference. I have also included observations on the LGNZ programme and what I think could be improved for next year’s conference.

Hon David Carter, Minister for Local Government

In opening the conference Carter spoke about the Better Local Government reforms in the context of current economic challenges and the fiscal constraints imposed by central government. He attempted to down play the impact of the proposed reforms by claiming that he is looking  to the wisdom and advice in the room to get the reforms right. He also claimed it is not an “us and them” but a partnership.

David Carter came across as less ideologically driven that his predecessor Nick Smith and willing to engage with local government which made me hopeful that he will see sense through the select committee process.

Vanessa van Uden, Mayor of Queenstown

I had the opportunity to meet Vanessa at the social drinks on the evening before the conference opened (sponsored by Simpson Grierson). I was impressed by her down to earth attitude and straight talking.

Vanessa spoke as the host mayor at the official opening.

Lawrence Yule, President LGNZ

I was impressed that Lawrence spoke directly to David Carter and the prime minster in questioning the refocus of the purpose provision and signalled that a unanimous motion was passed (at the LGNZ AGM) which confirms the sectors view that there should be no change to the purpose clause of the Local Government Act.

He described the four well beings as useful statutory signposts to councils to focus on community wellbeing outcomes that have not been responsible for raising rates.

He emphasised that local government must be able to have partnership with central government and not just act as a functionary.

Prime Minister John Key

The prime minister’s speech to the conference was focused on justifying the Better Local Government reforms. He wants local government to be operating efficiently and in a way that builds on the government’s priorities for building a competitive and productive economy. He acknowledged that services matter to the community but it is a matter of getting the balance right.

The prime minster told the conference that there needs to be a refocus on local government’s role to allow it to perform more efficiently and play a role in reducing NZ’s debt.

Graham Henry

Building a remarkable team

This was an entertaining presentation particularly for the boys of local government that would have been better suited to an after dinner speech.

As Graham Henry said when attempting to make a correlation between the All Blacks’ success and politics “I’m finding it hard to make a correlation and I’m not sure why I am here.”

To be fair to Henry I did manage to pick out some take away points from his comments that can be applied to effective local boards such as empowering team members and enjoying yourself.

Fran O’Sullivan, NZ Herald Business editor

The Central Local Government Nexus – Local government’s role in the growth agenda

I think this presentation was one of the most thought provoking and relevant of the conference as O’Sullivan spoke directly to the Auckland reforms which were ignored by nearly everyone else. She was also hugely encouraging of local government and its role in knitting communities together and tackled why the role of local government should not be limited by government.

She highlighted that the destiny of NZ is in the hands of local government because we are big hitters generating 4% of GDP and controlling $100 billion of assets.

In her view the prime minister has not come up with a vision for partnership, only that the reforms are designed to keep rates down. She outlined the areas of government underperformance including leveraging the benefits of FTAs, housing & employment and public transport.

I agree with her view that the Auckland reforms were a relative success but there is irony that the Mayor is not getting over the line with his transport projects when the government is asking for money to fund their projects. She asked Auckland to consider the critical question of what do you want to be famous for?  Her suggestion is to focus on back end financing and hosting of HQ’s.

In looking at top growth trends O’Sullivan called on cities to leverage what they do best and the assets they have.  She ended by calling on local government to “Grab power. Make destiny!”

Martin Sneddon, CEO Travel Industry Association

The visitor economy

From a tourism perspective Sneddon outlined why the visitor economy is a powerful and profitable partnership with local government.

He recognised the importance of local government for tourism that can’t be replaced by central government that doesn’t know local communities. It was encouraging that he agreed (when asked by a delegate) to make a submission opposing the removal of the four well beings.

Hon John Brumby, former premier of Victoria

The world in transition – opportunities for the future

This presentation highlighted the importance of local leadership and action in responding to global challenges (which he defines as geopolitical, technological, epidemiological and environmental). Brumby gave examples of how local government working in partnership can be a major driver for change and economic growth. In his view the best solutions are local.

Brumby’s comments were very apposite at a time that Better Local government reforms are attempting to restrict the role of local government. In his view we should be focusing on arts & culture, tourism and lifestyle of our residents (which I note could all fall outside the new purpose provision).  For example the quality of life in a city is a major issue in decisions about where high earning new migrants and returning expats decide to live.

Annette King and Russel Norman were invited to speak briefly to the conference. They both emphasised that the proposed reforms of local government are not well thought through and not supported by any evidence to justify the change.

I think it was really essential to have a range of political views at the conference and that these presentations would have encouraged many delegates to consider the importance of making submission on the proposed reforms.

Phil O’Reilly

NZ business low down

This presentation was a good reminder of what business love and care about. O’Reilly gave the examples of quality infrastructure, transparency, green growth (he claimed that NZ’s brand is NOT clean and green but NZ is the actual brand).

However I found his comments on the scope of local government to be completely out of synch with the views from the conference and what we had learnt from other speakers.

He claimed that the scope of local government has gone too far, is competing with local businesses and that LG is duplicating targets that has resulted in a disconnect with government (such as waste to landfill). However he was unable to back up this claim with any examples.

His test of whether local government should be involved in the provision of services depended on whether it was a public good or private good. The test he applied is   “If you can charge for it, it’s at the private end of the continuum”.

I don’t think this test has been well thought through. For example if this were applied literally it would mean that local government should not provide swimming pools even with an entry charge.

The LGNZ programme

The conference was organised by Local Government New Zealand, the national voice of local government. The president Lawrence Yule did an excellent job representing local government throughout the conference and is to be congratulated for confronting the government’s reforms head on.

However I felt that the LGNZ programme failed to make the most of the Auckland reorganisation and ignored local boards completely.  Thanks to Penny Hulse and Penny Webster a hastily organised extra session was provided for delegates to hear more about the good and bad of Auckland Council but it was clear that there was huge interest from delegates in learning more about the Auckland experience that went unsatisfied.

Transport was another area that was not covered well by the programme which was a missed opportunity as transport has arguably been the biggest winner of the Auckland re-organisation.

I hope that next year LGNZ will present a more balanced programme, catering to all members and that directly addresses local boards within the conference.


The conference was held at a critical time in local government as the government mounts a serious challenge to local democracy by seeking to change the purpose provisions. I think the conference was a wakeup call to many delegates that the four well beings need to be strenuously defended.  Almost all the speakers recognised the essential role of local government in economic development and building community wellbeing.

The conference wasn’t quite “remarkable” because it failed to make the most of the Auckland reorganisation and the new role of local boards within the programme. However I think the programme offered a broad range of useful learnings from the speakers and workshops that had relevance to our role and provided opportunities for professional development.

Overall I think it was beneficial to attend the conference to ensure that the local boards are adequately represented within LGNZ, to gain a deeper understanding of local government and to network with the wider sector.

Conference expenses

LGNZ Conference and AGM Resolution number WTM/2012/138

MOVED by Member Chambers, seconded Member Thomas:

a) That the report be received.

b) That Deputy chair Pippa Coom attend the Local Government New Zealand Conference to be held in Queenstown from 15-17 July 2012.

c) That the conference registration, travel and accommodation expenses for Deputy chair Pippa Coom to attend the Local Government New Zealand conference be allocated from the Waitemata Local Board’s professional development budget to a maximum of $2,500 consisting of:

i) $1,385 registration fee (early bird fee)

ii) $440 accommodation (approx – depending on availability)

iii) $400 airfares (approx – depending on availability)

iv) $275 meals and transfers (approx).

Final Costs (TBC)

Registration $1385.00 (early bird rate including lunches, morning and afternoon teas, conference dinner and social function) 
Airfares $  456.00 
Accommodation $  420.00 (2 nights at the Millennium Hotel –   Conference venue) 
Meals $     72.00 (Sunday dinner and one breakfast) 
Transfers Nil (dropped off   and picked up from airport by family members. Carpooled in Queenstown)
 Total    $2333.00


My partner Paul Shortland accompanied me to Queenstown at his own cost