Find out what candidates really stand for

Part of being a candidate standing in the Local Elections 2016 is responding to survey questions and pledges sought by a range of organisations.  Groups like Generation Zero use it to give candidates a grade (I got an A!), for others the responses are just circulated to members.  Hopefully the surveys are helpful in building up a fuller picture of what a candidate stands for and why they want to be elected. I’m standing with City Vision, a coalition of Greens, Labour and community independents.  All 32 City Vision candidates are encouraged to  follow up on any survey requests. Interestingly the C&R and Auckland Future candidates appear to have ignored all surveys.

As the responses take time and are often not published I thought I’d collate mine into one (long!) post.

This first one from NCW – Auckland Branch gives a good idea of the requests sent out to candidates.

On behalf of the Auckland Branch of the National Council of Women I am writing to acknowledge your candidacy in the upcoming Local Government elections.  NCW stands for a gender equal Aotearoa/NZ and we want to see more women in leadership roles.  We know that standing for public office is always a challenge and we are glad to see that you have made this decision.
We are writing, not only to make this acknowledgement, but also to ask a few questions of you.

  1.       Name and position(s) you are standing for

Pippa Coom, standing for the Waitematā Local Board

  1.       Why have you decided to stand for this/these positions?

I’ve been deputy chair of the Waitematā Local Board since 2010.  It has been a  privilege to represent Auckland’s city centre and central suburbs.  As part of the City Vision-led board we have a strong track record of careful financial management, delivering on our promises and getting things done. I’m motivated to stand again as I feel there  is still more to do as we work towards a fair, sustainable, vibrant and connected city for everyone to enjoy. We also have some great projects underway that I would like to see through including the  upgrade of Ellen Melville Centre as city centre community hub.

  1.       What do you think would assist in creating gender equality in Aotearoa/NZ?

To create gender equality I think we need equal pay, an end to violence against women and government policies that work to address current inequalities such as extending paid maternity leave, access to housing and education.

  1.       What will you do, if elected, to assist in promoting gender equality?

As an elected representative I will support a living wage for all Council employees and contractors and a “’gender equality”  audit to ensure Auckland Council is a gender equality employer.

I would like to continue the work of the Waitematā Local Board that promotes gender equality through community grants (for example to the Womens Centre) and support for White Ribbon.

Personally I always challenge anything I come across at Council that perpetuates gender inequality for example in a speaker programme or Council promotions using gender sterotypes

  1.    What recommendations would you make to get young women involved in politics?

I think a good starting point is for young women to get active in their own communities first – to build up a network of support through church or sport groups; social, educational and cultural organisations; or advocacy groups.  

In Waitematā we have a very active Youth Collective. The co-convenors are currently two young women.  It is worthwhile getting involved to gain experience of  how Council works and opportunities to engage with the community.

I would also recommend young women putting themselves forward for election at every level. Candidates like Adriana Christie, Michelle Atkinson, Brodie Hoare and Chloe Swarbrick have set an excellent example for young women.

Bike Auckland  (no specific question just a request for a statement from candidates)

Short Version:

“I’m motivated to make Auckland a great cycling city of the world because there are so many benefits for everyone. Over the last six years, I’ve led the transport portfolio of the Waitematā Local Board supporting walking, cycling and public transport use, improved road safety, and a reduction in congestion and carbon emissions. Looking forward, my priorities include slower speeds in the city centre and residential streets, and implementing Vision Zero (working towards zero fatalities or serious injuries in Auckland). I’ll also work for changes to the give way rule to improve pedestrian safety; improved wayfinding; and opening up more greenways routes for walking and biking access (including the old Parnell tunnel).”

Longer Version:

I’m fond of the quote by the former Mayor of London Boris Johnston  “a civilised city is a cyclised city” .  I’m motivated to make Auckland a great cycling city of the world because there are so many benefits for everyone.  Healthier people, less air pollution, safer streets, more transport choice, less congestion, less money spent on transport costs and more invested in the local economy.  

It was my work as a cycling advocate for Cycle Action Auckland (now Bike Auckland) and as a coordinator of Frocks on Bikes- Auckland that got me interested in standing originally for the Waitemata Local Board when the super city was created in 2010. I wanted to be part of a new Council  that invested in active modes and public transport.

I’ve now been lead of the Transport portfolio for the last six years working on transport initiatives that support walking, cycling and public transport use, improved road safety and a reduction in congestion and carbon emissions.

I’m fortunate to have been on a City Vision-led Waitemata Local Board that has been a huge champion for cycling investment   We backed the interim transport levy to fund cycleways, we are all committed to Skypath and have invested a big chunk of our Local Board Transport capex fund (approx $450,000 per year) into our Greenways routes. We are seeing big increases in the number of people on bikes as the network grows in Waitemata.  At every opportunity we push  Auckland Transport to leverage maintenance budgets to benefit all road users and are commited to best practice cycleway design to separate riders from cars (and pedestrians).

The board only has a limited budget that can be put toward cycling so I would like to see a re-priorisation of the transport budget by Council/Auckland Transport towards active transport, the establishment of a Regional Greenways fund, and a renewal of the Urban Cycling Investment Fund ( I was a member of the UCF panel)

If re-elected I also have a number of transport priorities that will benefit cycling for example slower speeds in the city centre and residential streets, implementation of Vision Zero (working towards zero fatalities or serious injuries in Auckland), changes to the give way rule to improve pedestrian safety, roll out of improved wayfinding (including signs on No exit  vehicle streets) , and opening up greenways routes (including the old Parnell tunnel ).

There is still lots to do and there are ongoing challenges dealing with Auckland Transport as a Local Board member but it feels like we have made huge progress over the last 6 years.  Who would’ve imagined we’d have a magenta cycleway winning international awards only a few years ago!  When I now see children cycling in previously inhospitable, dangerous places such as the Nelson Street cycleway I know we’re peddling in the right direction. We need to elect a progressive Mayor and Council that will continue the work underway, increase investment so we can all benefit from living in a great cycling city.

generation-zero-aGeneration Zero Questions  (online survey)

What are your key priorities for improving transport in and around your local area?

I’ve been lead of the Transport portfolio for the last six years working on transport initiatives that support walking, cycling and public transport use, improved road safety and a reduction in congestion and carbon emissions.

If re-elected my priorities are slower speeds in the city centre and residential streets, implementation of Vision Zero (working towards zero fatalities or serious injuries in Auckland), changes to the give way rule to improve pedestrian safety, roll out of improved wayfinding, opening up greenways routes (including the old Parnell tunnel ) acceleration of the cycleways programme (including increased investment), continuing the implementation of residential parking zones in all our central city suburbs, improvements to local bus facilities and further work to improve the walking experience in Waitematā.

What are your thoughts on the Compact City model as espoused by the Auckland Plan, and as implemented by the Unitary Plan? (Think broadly about how this applies to Auckland, as well as how this applies to your local board area)

I support the compact city model and the objectives of the Auckland Plan.  I would like to see Auckland grow through well planned intensification with affordable housing and housing choice. I  supported the passing of the Unitary Plan but it is going to be a challenge to ensure density is done well, with quality and sustainable development that protects our heritage as these provisions were watered down. I strongly believe that as Auckland inevitably grows we need to make sure intensification is a success for everyone by bringing the community with us ( so that community input is a QIMBY debate)

I also think the Unitary Plan has enabled too much sprawl without the appropriate infrastructure investment from government. The Unitary Plan is only one tool that supports a compact city model and more pressure needs to be put on  central government to build homes, invest in a rapid transport network, and make changes to the tax system so it doesn’t favour speculation and landbanking.

Do you support an increased focus on cycling investment by your local board? (This includes separated cycleways along streets, greenways projects through parks & low speed streets for safe neighbourhood.)

The City Vision-led Waitemata Local Board has been a huge champion for cycling investment   We backed the interim transport levy to fund cycleways and have invested a big chunk of our Local Board Transport capex fund (approx $450,000 per year) into our Greenways routes. We are seeing big increases in the number of people on bikes as the network grows in Waitemata.  The board only has a limited budget that can put toward cycling so I would like to see a re-priorisation of the transport budget by Council/Auckland Transport towards active transport, the establishment of a Regional Greenways fund, and a renewal of the Urban Cycling Investment Fund ( I was a member of the UCF panel)

As outlined in my transport priorities above I would like to continue the work to support cycling if re-elected.  

How committed are you to taking action on issues of climate change in your position as an elected official, and if so what policies would you focus on?

The Waitematā Local Board was the first local board to set a goal to reduce carbon emissions locally (to support the Auckland Plan target) and to develop a Low Carbon Community Action Plan and set up a Low Carbon Community Network

I would like to continue this work if re-elected.  I think cities, at every level, have to lead the way tackling the critical issue of climate change and must work with the community on climate action especially in NZ where the government is so useless and vision-less.

Auckland City Centre Residents Advisory Group  (RAG)  

If elected as a Waitemata Local Board Member for the 2016-2019 term of office:

  1. Would you support pedestrian priority throughout the city centre? If so, what measures would you promote to improve pedestrian priority?

I support the City Centre masterplan 2012 objectives to make the city centre accessible, distinct and vibrant.

This needs to be driven by prioritising pedestrians throughout the city centre to create a safe, pleasant walking environment that will benefit visitors, business and residents.

The Board has supported a number of initiatives that promote  a walkable city centre for example shared spaces, street upgrades, route enhancements (removing slip lanes, new pedestrian crossings and increasing pedestrian phases at traffic lights) and opening up through links.

I think there is still more to do that will prioritise pedestrians for example lowering the speed limit, increasing shared spaces/pedestrian only zones, improving footpaths and wayfinding signage.

  1. Would you support a 30km speed limit in the city centre?

Yes (see above)

  1. Would you support converting Auckland Council vehicles to electric vehicles?

Auckland Council needs to be walking the talk with the management of an efficient, environmental fleet and travel management plans for all staff.  I support a move to convert to electric vehicles as economically as possible but also encouraging staff to use public transport and the new e-bike fleet for business trips.

  1. What measures will you promote to improve the present bus services’ maintenance, quality, efficiency, and non-polluting environmental impact on the city centre?

I support outstanding public transport including high quality buses and frequent services.  The new network to be rolled out next year will be an improvement but Auckland Transport needs to do more to improve efficiencies and the quality of buses.

  1. How will you advance making Hobson and Nelson Streets two-way roads and how soon do you envisage this happening?

The two-waying of Hobson and Nelson Streets has been a Waitemata Local Board objective since the first Local Board Plan in 2012. I would still like it to happen but I don’t think it is now realistic to progress until after the City Rail Link is open due to the pressure on these roads during the construction (and the closure of Albert Street).

In the meantime there is a lot more that can be done to make Hobson and Nelson Streets safe and attractive boulevards.  The big improvements planned as part of the NZ convention centre will make a difference, as will enforcing the speed limit and the completion of the Nelson St cycleway phase 2 (that will link Nelson St to the Quay Street cycleway creating a loop around the city centre and more people using Nelson Street)

  1. What mode (rail/road) would you support if a second harbour crossing proceeds?

I support rail to the Shore as the number one priority for an alternative harbour crossing.

  1. Do you support prioritising/promoting light rail in the city centre?

Yes I support the plans for light rail progressing in the city centre.

  1. Would you support real-time monitoring of air quality at several points of high pedestrian count in the CBD by installing measuring devices at appropriate levels, the data from which would be available to the public online at all times?

Yes this is a Local Board objective that needs to be progressed (see pages 32 and 33 of the Local Board Plan)

  1. How would you ensure a satisfactory cleaning and maintenance programme for all city centre public infrastructure (roads, footpaths, gutters, trees/parks furniture, lighting etc)?

Levels of service for cleaning need to be maintained and improved in the city centre through better contractor oversight by Auckland Transport.

  1. Would you support Auckland city centre (and Auckland Council-wide) enforcement and compulsory compliance with binding comprehensive waste management and litter controls of the highest standard and practice?

I think enforcement needs to be one tool that Council uses to manage waste and litter control.   I support education and information being used as the primary tools (for example when the roll out of the new user pays waste collection starts to discourage dumping). However if this approach doesn’t work then enforcement is needed.  For example I support the targeting of cigarette litter through an enforcement approach as education and social pressure is not working.

  1. Do you see a need to preserve, enhance and extend green space in the central city for an increasing number of central city residents, including families?

The Local Board has been working to preserve and enhance long-neglected green space in the city centre. For example the board has been instrumental in securing the budget for the Myers Park upgrade and is working to upgrade Albert Park with improved paths, CCTV and lighting. Land values in Auckland are such that it is impossible in the context of a Local Board budget to purchase more land so we focus on protecting and enhancing the green space for which we have responsibility.

I support plans underway to extend green space. For example, the Green Link that will create a linear park from Victoria Park to Albert Park and the green spaces in Wynyard Quarter.

This is also more we can do to enhance existing green spaces for example introducing more play areas and improving connections. For example we are working to improve the connections to the Domain that will benefit city centre residents.

  1. If Queen Elizabeth Square is not sold, would you support keeping it as public open space and funding the CRL tunnel out of general funds?

QE Square has already been sold. I support the funds being used to develop new civic spaces in the waterfront area, like the Admiralty Steps. I don’t think it would be a good use of Council funds to direct any sale proceeds to the CRL tunnel. The government needs to fund any CRL shortfall.

  1. In your view, has Auckland Council adequately recognised and provided for the protection of historic heritage in the city centre from inappropriate subdivision, use or development?  If not, what do you think should be done to achieve this?

The City Centre planning rules are unchanged in the final Unitary Plan so existing historic heritage protection is generally maintained but not enhanced – although the K Road Conservation Area is a notable exception – which means there are buildings that still need additional protection. The means available now that the UP has been passed is by private plan change and we will be committed to researching and advancing these plan changes being lodged.

I am also concerned that design and sustainability rules have been relaxed in the Unitary Plan so it will be harder to push back against inappropriate development.

  1. What is your view of the Ports of Auckland or Auckland Council reclaiming the harbour, or extending wharves further into the harbour?

I don’t support Ports of Auckland extending its footprint any further and would like Ports to hand over Captain Cook wharf (the one with cars?) for public space.

  1. What do you understand “Auckland is a peace city” to mean and what actions would you take to support Auckland as a peace city?

In August 2011 the Board voted to support Auckland being confirmed as a “City for Peace”.

I strongly support Auckland remaining a City for Peace and if re-elected will respond positively to, and support, local initiatives – events, commemorations and recognition of peace-making activities, tree planting etc as recommended in the City for Peace toolkit (developed by Council and the Peace Foundation).

  1. What would your stance as a peace city councillor/local board member be if nuclear-capable ships visit Auckland in November for the NZ Navy’s 75th anniversary commemorations?

I don’t support nuclear – capable ships visiting Auckland in contravention of the NZ Nuclear Free Zone Act.  I would not attend any events associated with the visit of a nuclear capable ship.

  1. What is your immediate plan for providing emergency housing for the homeless/itinerant people currently residing in streets and alleyways in the CBD and what are your plans for Auckland Council to provide social housing?

I am working with Deborah Yates as community portfolio holders to investigate options for a night shelter as part of a housing first strategy and support the homeless action plan initiatives (such as providing temporary lockers and showers).

Action on homelessness is one of my priorities if I am re-elected

  1. Would you ensure that Council staff and contractors who work for the Council are paid the living wage ($19.80 per hour)?

I support the living wage for Council staff and contractors

  1. Would you support the 24-7 enforcement of all bylaws and NZ legislation regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol in the central city? (Location, number and opening hours for off- and on-licence liquor outlets; and, increasing the number of “alcohol free” zones in the city centre)


  1. What are your views on the Local Alcohol Policy?

The Local Board reviewed the LAP earlier this year. We sought to balance the need to reduce alcohol-related harm and disorder with the role of the city centre as a centre of entertainment. We undertook the special consultative procedure required by law, carefully considered the many public submissions and, I believe, we reached a sensible balance between the competing considerations. We generally took an approach of least change to the rules regarding alcohol consumption in reserves.

  1. Would you support the creation of a Waitematā Local Area “City Centre” electoral subdivision?

I think this warrants investigation.

There are pros/cons to having board members elected from Waitemata as a whole.

I have also responded to the Grafton Residents Association  survey, signed the Living Wage pledge, the Jobs that Count pledge,  signed up to ethical tendering for bus drivers and responded to the Show your Love candidate questions on the Auckland Council Local Elections 2016 website

If I’m made aware any surveys I have missed I will respond as soon as possible.

Election Art

Free Art John KeyMy creative mum, Barbara Grace, found inspiration for her latest art project in the pages of John Roughan’s biography of John Key – Portrait of a Prime Minister. She de-constructed the book and on each page drew different slogans  of her own design such as:

“John Key is an overweening populist”

“Q. What is the opposite of a polymath? A. John Key”
“JK is exemplary of neoliberal triumphalism”
“If you don’t want to think too much JK is the man for you
“Q. What are JK’s values? A. He doesn’t know, he hasn’t run a poll on that yet”
“JK is impoverishing future generations.”
“Your children may not forgive you if you vote for JK”
Over a couple of lunchtimes my mum then took her tray of FREE ART around the cafes of Jervois Road, Ponsonby Road and K’rd offering the pages to patrons . Her friend Lynn recorded the art project in action.

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

Final days to vote – head to the library

Drop it off to voteMedia release from City Vision

9 October 2013

City Vision is reminding people that Wednesday 9 October is the final day for posting votes in the Auckland Council elections. After the post has been cleared on Wednesday, people will need to head to their local library to cast their votes.

“Wednesday 9 October is the final day that votes can be put in the mail, with certainty that they will be received on time. After that, people need to head to their local library to vote. It is an innovation for libraries to be able to receive votes in the days leading up to election day and City Vision welcomes it. Any step that makes voting easier is to be applauded”, says Pippa Coom, City Vision candidate for Waitemata Local Board.

People voting at the library still need to complete the voting paper that has been mailed to their home address. Complete the voting paper, seal it in the return envelope, and then deposit it in the ballot box at your library. People can vote at their local library up until 12noon on Saturday 12 October. Auckland Council Service Centres, including the Civic Building on Grey St (ballot box) and at 45 Graham St (counter), will also be open on Thursday and Friday to collect completed voting papers.

“As of Tuesday 8 October just 22% of Aucklanders have had their say by voting. City Vision urges all other Aucklanders to participate in our democratic process by mailing their vote this Wednesday, or by taking their vote to the library on Thursday or Friday, or on Saturday morning”, says Pippa Coom.

I Bike, I Vote

I bike, I voteMake your vote count for cycling

Cycle Action Auckland has worked with Generation Zero to survey local body election candidates on how they rank top cycling goals:

  • The Harbour Bridge Skypath walking and cycling project
  • Completing the Auckland Cycle Network, connecting high quality cycling routes across Auckland
  • More money for safe off road cycling routes to schools and town centres (greenways)

I completed the local board candidate survey and scored an A!

All the score cards available here.

(Ok I appreciate it would be a bit sad if a cycling advocate was not able to score an A!)





City Vision campaign launched

City Vision Waitemata Local Board teamIt was great to be at the  City Vision campaign launch on Sunday 4 August with such an enthusiastic and positive buzz of candidates and supporters.

Chair Robert Gallagher welcomed Mayor Len Brown and a strong presence of MPs – local Mt Roskill MP Phil Goff, Mt Albert’s David Shearer, Jacinda Ardern and Denise Roche from Auckland Central and Carol Beaumont from Maungakiekie.

Mayor Len Brown spoke about the achievements of the first Auckland Council in the areas of affordable housing, securing the CBD Rail Link and rates restraint. He  committed to continuing an inclusive approach to get things done and to ensure the old C&R ways of oppositional politics did not return.

Christopher Dempsey and Pippa CoomThe whole City Vision team standing for the Waitemata Local Board were there with City Vision endorsed Cr Mike Lee who is standing for the Waitemata & Gulf Ward.

City Vision has also launched a new website at and campaigning is underway.

City Vision on twitter

City Vision on FB


Time for change at the AECT

In 2009 I naively stood as an independent in the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust election. I thought the election would be about electing the best possible candidates to be Trustees.  I presumed there would be media coverage of the election issues, discussion of candidate policies and a fair chance of success if my skills and experience stacked up against what the other candidates had to offer.

Unfortunately (or fortunately- because if I had known I would never have bothered) I  had absolutely no idea that there was no chance that I would be elected because everything was stacked against me. I wrote about my experience here.

The incumbent C&R trustees had a very simple strategy:

  • pay the dividend of $320 just before election day
  • send out a letter to a database of 50,000 and put up hoardings claiming credit for the dividend payment

Then sit back and rely on no media coverage of the election and low voter turnout (less than 17% in 2009) to return them once again to a role that pays between $63,000 and $90,000 in fees. So of course they have taken exactly the same strategy for the 2012 election.

However things aren’t quite working out as planned – the dodgy practices of the AECT election are finally being exposed. Matt McCarten summed it up today here in the Herald on Sunday.

I’m supporting the YOUR POWER TEAM candidates. They have a range of well thought through policies that includes paying the dividend. They will bring long overdue fresh thinking to the role of trustees.

I want to see change at the AECT. I don’t think it is healthy for democracy for the incumbents to go unchallenged any longer.

Day after the super city election-a huge global working bee

It is hard to imagine getting up for a huge working bee the day after the election on 9 October. Hopefully I will have a big hangover from celebrating the election of Mayor Len Brown, Councillor Mike Lee and the whole City Vision team.  But global action has to happen on climate change with communities not waiting for elected representatives to take the lead in looking for solutions.

That’s why I’m part of the team organising the 350 Big Bike Fix Up for 10/10/10.   We would love to fix up all the thousands of broken bikes in Auckland and get them on the road so that we can look forward to a future that is healthy, sustainable and fun.

It is going to be a huge day!

350 Big Bike Fix-up
Let’s get Auckland’s bikes out of storage, fixed up and on the road ready for a summer of cycling.

Between 10am and 4pm on Sunday 10th October get your bike going at Shed 1, 101 Halsey Street on Auckland’s stunning Viaduct Harbour.

Pro-mechanics, Tumeke Cycle Space (Auckland’s community run bike workshop) and a team of volunteers will be there to fix-up every kind of bike. Once your bike is fixed up, give it a polish at the clean-up station, deck it out (for the kids) and join a leisurely bike ride to Queen’s Wharf.

Unwanted bikes will be fixed up and donated to Refugee Services Auckland. Bring parts to swap too.

In fact doesn’t matter what state your wheels are in – just come down to the Shed to enjoy all day entertainment and a full programme of workshops in bike skills and cycling training.

Vege sausage sizzle and refreshments available at the venue in support of the Grey Lynn School cycle trail project.

Have you got bike fix-up skills to offer? (from basic to pro) please contact Alex at  The Tumeke Cycle Space team are coordinating the fix-up stations at the shed.

Big Bike Fix-Up Workshop programme

Biking from A to B in the city is easy and quick, not to mention fun. But you might have questions, like: what kind of bike should I ride? where should I ride on the road? what if I get a puncture? do I need a basket, pannier bag or backpack? The 350 Big Bike Fix Up day includes a series of workshops to give you some basic information and skills to make your biking comfortable, safe and trouble-free.

And if you can’t make a workshop, volunteers will be there throughout the day to answer your questions, and offer practical advice and help.

Riding tips and skills workshops (*times subject to change on the day)
10am   Getting comfortable on your bike
11am   Puncture! How to change a tyre (and avoid more flats)
12pm   Keep on riding: basic bike maintenance
1pm     Lil’ riders: cycling skills for kids and their parents
2pm     Which bike is the right one for me?
3pm     City slickers: skills and tips for urban riding

Take a city bike for a test ride!
Get a feel for riding a city bike with Nextbikes

Get your bike feeling right
Does your bike give you sore knees or wrists? Or irritate more tender parts?
One-on-one consultations throughout the day with bike-fit expert to make sure you’re comfortable on your bike (from 11am)

Would you like to help with a workshop or share your advice and skills? Please contact Susan Potter if you’d like to help for part or all of the day.

Big Bike Fix-up Bike Rides
Leisurely bike rides for fixed up (and decked out) bicycles departing 11am, 1pm and 3pm from Shed 1 to Queen’s Wharf return via the Viaduct cyclepath

Bike Fix -ups are also happening in Christchurch and Wellington details are here

Make a day of 10/10/10 by bike
Also at Shed 1 Get Growing Auckland – showing Aucklanders how easy and enjoyable urban gardening can be
Devonport – HANDS On sustainable living skills fair
Mt Eden  – Community Garden Working Bee

Across New Zealand and around the globe, on 10/10/10 communities will be taking climate action. From bike fix-ups to community gardens, home insulation to tree planting ….By getting to work we’ll show our leaders the world is ready for climate solutions.  Find out more about the Global Working Bee here

Just please don’t call me a cyclist

My preferred mode of transport is on 2 wheels. My Victoria Classic sits by the front door ready for any trip I need to make – especially around Auckland’s “Zone 1”.  I’m fortunate that I don’t have the expense of a car and love the convenience cycling.

But please don’t call me a cyclist. I would no more put “cyclist” on my CV than a person who commutes by car would put “motorist”.  I ride my bike every day just for transport and I’m involved with Cycle Action Auckland to improve cycling conditions in Auckland but I rarely go on purely recreational rides.

However over the last weekend there were a couple of special reasons to be out on my bike just for the sake of cycling. On Saturday I joined the  BIG Auckland Ride,  a lesiurely pedal around central Auckland in warm spring weather organised to profile the benefits of cycling in the inner city. Here is an account of the ride by Antoine (and more photos) on the wonderful cycling blog Cycling in Auckland.

One of the reasons I am motivated to stand for the Waitemata Local Board is a desire for better cycling infrastructure in Auckland. I’m on the City Vision team committed to prioritising  public transport and the provision of better bus and train services together with integrated ticketing and timetabling, cycleways and safer walking routes. Read more about City Vision’s policy here.

On Sunday it was necessary to dodge the rain showers to experience the only opportunity to cycle across the new Newmarket Viaduct before the switch next weekend.  As fellow Waitemata Local Board candidate, Chritopher Dempsey commented ” what a fantastic cycleway! Wide,  broad, smooth concrete – I asked if NZTA was planning to continue this  cycleway through to Orewa and south to Hamilton. Wry smile. There’s hope yet!”

Cycle Action’s chair Mark Bracey puts the ride in the context of Auckland’s burgeoning cycling culture on his Cycling in Auckland blog here.

Strong Local Boards crucial for an effective Auckland Council

Strong local boards are going to be crucial to the effective governance of the Auckland Super City. If the boards across the Auckland Region don’t work well with each other, the CCOs and the Auckland Council we are going to end up in a complete mess of parochial decision making.

The structure is intended to give the local boards and Auckland Council complimentary and non-hierarchical decision making functions. However much of the decision making will be delegated or allocated from the Council as the governing body. Through the select committee process, my community group Grey Lynn 2030, like many others, argued that the local boards should have powers and responsibilities prescribed in legislation so they could act as a counter balance to the powers of Auckland Council.

The lack of prescription could in fact end up being a good thing if the first mayor sets the framework for local boards that provides for real local decision making functions. Len Brown’s policy document on local democracy &  local boards gives a clear commitment on the extensive role he would like for the local boards.

Local boards should be involved in planning and policy related to their communities. They should develop long term community plans and annual plans, as well as contributing to regional policy-making and giving effect to regional plans. They should then develop local policy within the regional framework in areas like, for example, dog control, gambling and gaming machines, licensing of cafes, bars and liquor outlets, brothels, and the development of town centres.

Local boards should be responsible for local decisions on local roads, footpaths, pedestrian zones and bus stops, speed limits for local roads, public transport, crime prevention (where CCTV cameras should be sited, for example), community engagement, beautification schemes, building consents, local economic development, animal control, environmental protection, local parks, recreation and sports facilities, libraries and pools, community houses and advisory services, town centre promotion, galleries and museums, beaches, camping grounds, liquor licensing, and more. I also want local boards to be involved in resource management hearings for their areas. Read the full document here.

It is a big list of responsibilities, which are potentially far wider that we could have hoped for from the Super City legislation. We just have to make sure Len Brown is elected so that strong Local boards become a reality.

Creating our Local and Regional Future

Candidate seminars for the Auckland Council elections

The seminars are designed for potential candidates for Auckland Council roles to provide information about:

  • The new local government structure in Auckland
  • Roles and responsibilities of elected representatives
  • legislative processes relating to elected representatives
  • Decision-making – meetings, agendas etc
  • Remuneration
  • Expectations – time commitment, personal and family impact, impact on work
  • Conflict of interest
  • The electoral process and timetable.

The seminar I attended last night (after Jan Gehl’s brilliant presentation at the Aotea Centre) was really informative and highlighted just how much there is to get to grips with under teh new Auckland Council governance arrangements.

More information here on the new Auckland Council website.

Community Independent to stand for City Vision for Waitemata Local Board

I feel very fortunate and privileged to have been selected yesterday to be one of the 7 City Vision Candidates standing for the Waitemata Local Board.

Here is my full speech prepared for the Selection Meeting at the Grey Lynn Community Centre on Saturday 19 June 2010.

I’m Pippa Coom
I’m seeking selection as a community independent with the City Vision team for the Waitemata Local Board.

If I have to give myself a job title it is variously –  a change agent, Community Organiser, a cycling advocate, and a free agent, but what I do is work towards  creating a sustainable community.

Integral to what I can bring to the City Vision Campaign and the role of Local Board Member are the people and places that support me and without whom I am not able to achieve anything.

I would like to acknowledge the Steering Committee of Grey Lynn 2030 and the supporters here today – my sustainability colleagues who share the same vision and are working hard to make it happen.

I acknowledge my friends – my urban whanau whose children motivate me to make my generation accountable so that we don’t compromise their future needs at a time of huge environment, social and economic challenges.

I acknowledge my family – my partner Paul who has given up hoping to live with a domestic goddess, and my mum Barbara who I can thank for my social conscious and social responsibility developed from political action starting in the 70’s and a healthy interest in reading the Guardian newspaper from a young age.

I acknowledge this place the Grey Lynn Community Centre – the heart of so much that goes on in our community and my unofficial office at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market each Sunday.

As far as an immigrant can say they have a turangawaewae in NZ that place for me is the central suburbs of Auckland. The first place I landed in when we came  to NZ from the UK in 1982 was Castle Street across the road. My mum recognised the value of living in older heritage suburbs and before we had even set foot in NZ had decided that our home would be in this area.  I also looked at the map of Auckland and from Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire decided instinctively that Auckland Girls’ Grammar was the school for me .

For 25 years the family home was in Ponsonby (an area now known as the Avenues of Herne Bay) and now all of my NZ family lives in Grey Lynn (yes that is my entire family in NZ of 2).  I must acknowledge my belated dad Mel for having the foresight to buy a house in Grey Lynn 25 years ago where we live now.

I moved away from Auckland for many years – for uni at Otago, travel, career jobs as a lawyer in Wellington, an OE in London – and would often say that I could never live in this city again. A heartless, crass, cowboy town, destroyed by the corporate vandalism of the 80’s. I was convinced that I’d rather freeze through Wellington summers than live in a place without decent public transport, a closed off waterfront, uninspiring urban design, a paucity of leadership with no civic pride.

But what eventually bought me back 4 years ago was the search for a sense of community, the place I could call my own turf and feel passionate enough about to want to make a difference (not to mention the love of good Auckland man and an opportunity to live close to my mum). With perfect synchronicity, when I was looking to get  back into voluntary work after a hedonistic time overseas, I discovered our local transition town group Grey Lynn 2030.

A group with a positive vision of creating a sustainable, vibrant, self resilient community. At its most simple it is about creating the place we want to live.  We don’t just talk about ideas but take action to make them a reality– waste minimisation, community gardens, water way restoration. I am grateful for the freedom Grey Lynn 2030 has given me to pursue a range of projects – traffic calming initiatives, organising a street party, connecting to the local community through a monthly newsletter, bringing the community together at monthly meetings and encouraging sustainable business practices.

I am fortunate that my job is what I am passionate about- thanks to Vector for making me redundant last year and with the support of my partner – I have been able to work full time for Grey Lynn 2030, on climate change awareness campaigns and for Cycle Action Auckland and Frocks on Bikes  – other fabulous groups that have supported me to get on and make things happen –  and more recently on the City Vision campaign committee.

It really is true that if your job is what you are passionate about you never work another day again. As part of the transition town movement we are encouraged to step up into positions of leadership.  To serve on the Local Board, will to some extent be a continuation of what I am doing now as my job. I say this with respect to the elected officials here who know the reality of local government but I feel am ideally placed to represent my local community. It will be my full -time and only  job using many of my current community focused skills not to mention what I consider normal now  – regular meetings, taking every opportunity to network and playing an active role in the community.

I am also hugely excited about the election, the new era of local democracy and the opportunities provided by the new Auckland Council. I feel positive for what will be achieved and full of hope for an Auckland with a progressive Council and new leadership.  I am committed to campaigning for a City Vision Local Board,  Mike Lee getting elected for the Waitemata- Gulf Ward and Len Brown as Mayor.

It is essential that we have strong local boards and people on those boards who are able to take on a huge range of new responsibilities. I am more than ready for that challenge.  I am not looking for this opportunity to spring board to any other position – my focus and aspirations sit with the central suburbs of Auckland that make up the Waitemata Ward and I acknowledge all the communities that make up the ward and aren’t represented here today.

I come to City Vision as a community independent supported by Grey Lynn 2030 – the philosophy and policy of City Vision fits neatly with our vision for our local community.  I would consider it a huge privilege to stand as a candidate with City Vision and if elected to serve my local community on the Waitemata Local Board. I thank you all for your support.