It’s a wrap after 12 years on Auckland Council

Now that the official results are confirmed it is time to call a wrap on the election campaign and my council career. It certainly wasn’t the result I was hoping for as I really thought Auckland was ready for a visionary progressive Pasifika Mayor Collins who is an empathetic and constructive leader.
I wish the Wayne Brown Mayoralty the best and hope that he will quickly figure out what really needs to be fixed but early indications are not promising. I find it particularly worrying that he is calling for the heads of the Council Controlled Organisations before he has even met the directors or been briefed on what they actually do. Former Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, as CCO Oversight Committee Chair, spent a huge amount of time working on the CCO relationship and implementing the CCO review. That work is now being trashed by Mr “Fix it”. I would suggest Wayne listen to IMBS Chair Taipiri and show some respect.

However, there are a lot of successes to acknowledge and celebrate. I am super proud and happy that City Vision’s Julie Fairey has been elected and will be joined by Labour’s Lotu Fuli and Kerrin Leoni (there is now one more Labour councillor than previously). They are going to be a formidable team of newbies. The re-election of Councillors Richard Hills, Shane Henderson, Josephine Bartley, Chris Darby and Angela Dalton is especially sweet as they were up against some hideous personal attacks. They have strongly represented their communities and campaigned with integrity so really deserve their wins.

Congratulations and many thanks to my City Vision whānau. I was fortunate to campaign with an impressive and diverse group of candidates with fantastic support from a team of volunteers. It was a mixed overall result for City Vision but I am really happy for all those elected, especially Richard Northey, Alex Bonham and Anahera Rawiri elected on to the Waitematā Local Board. I know they will continue to do great work.

Congratulations as well to the Aotea Great Barrier and Waiheke Local Boards. It is good news the boards are very likely to remain under strong leadership of Izzy Fordham and Cath Handley with a committed group of local board members (the chairs are decided at the inaugural board meeting). I reported every month to the three local boards in my ward and worked closely with them on issues of concern such as the proliferation of helipads and ferry fares . I share my commiserations with outgoing Linda Cooper and Paul Young, both excellent councillors who will be greatly missed for their hard work and regional focus.

I am of course really gutted about my own failure to win re-election to Auckland Council. It has been a huge privilege to serve as Councillor for Waitematā and Gulf ward following 9 years on the Waitemata Local Board. I’m grateful to have been on a Phil Goff led Council. He’s shown incredible leadership through a really difficult time and always kept his good humour.
Over the last term there had been lots of progress and achievements that I am really proud about. From work on local issues like safety outside schools and the covid recovery to being part of a leadership team that saw the adoption of Te Tāruki ā Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Pan, the Climate Action Targeted Rate with almost $1 billion of climate action investment over the next 10 years and the bold Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway. (I wrote up my reflections on the 2019-2022 term covering many achievements here) In particular, I’m proud of the progress we made on the Hauraki Gulf Forum following the adoption of co-governance leadership in February 2020. There is no going back from the path the Forum is now on.
I went out with a progressive, positive campaign to continue this work but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. I don’t have a Plan B at this stage but I remain committed to progressing restoration of the Hauraki Gulf, climate justice, and expansion of safe transport choices for Aucklanders. I will never be far from causes towards a fairer, more just and equitable society. I will keep fighting against misinformation and disinformation and holding the spreaders to account (here’s one example from the election campaign on Council’s “out of control budget” ). I will be pushing for electoral reform as the privatised local government elections with antiquated postal voting is clearly not fit for purpose, disenfranchising a large percentage of the population.

I’m really grateful for all the support I’ve received and the many working relationships I’ve built up that I hope to maintain. I need further time to reflect on what I should have done differently and why I didn’t secure support from those who share City Vision’s progressive values. What I certainly hadn’t anticipated was the need to fight an election on two fronts: against an opponent willing to stretch the truth (to put it kindly)* and an often nasty and misogynistic personal attack against me led by the Taxpayers Union. Their extensive database built up from many “anti” campaigns combined with the disinformation campaign against co-governance engineered by Democracy Action against the Hauraki Gulf Forum were all intended to influence the result in favour of C&R endorsed Mike Lee without directly campaigning for him. It was also the first election with very little media coverage at a ward level to counter all the fact-free and alarmist messaging (RNZ Mediawatch: The media and low local election turnout). It is difficult to know whether that had an impact on turnout and the result.

Having said that I absolutely recognise that I must take responsibility for not winning enough votes and support when it counted. There is clearly a lot of anger built up over covid that motivated voters who don’t want further change but also disappointment in what hasn’t been achieved over 12 years of a progressive council that I have been part of. Ironically it is failure to deliver on cycleways that worked against me! I think Hayden Donnell quoted in the Guardian is bang on the money in summing up what has happened.

“I don’t think that this is a complete rejection of progressive politics,” says Donnell, noting that Wellington’s rejection of the Labour-backed candidate took a swing left. “I think that the progressive vote … is disillusioned with how incremental the changes have been, and how their lives are not really meaningfully better than they were three, six or nine or 12 years ago. So you have these two things: you have an energised conservative movement, and you have disillusioned progressive counter-movement. And so you’ve got real gains for the conservative reactionaries across the country.”

I have written to Mike Lee to congratulate him and will continue to stay close to all the communities across Waitematā and Gulf. I know that the kaupapa is strong and there is no going back to the Auckland he, and the other anti- “woke” councillors, want to represent. I’m sad, but probably shouldn’t be surprised, that after campaigning for Mike over three elections he wasn’t able to gracefully pass the baton but ended up aligning himself with C&R and the National party to win re-election. It will be interesting to see how he works with Mayor Brown on issues like Ports of Auckland and adapts to the expectations of a far more respectful way of working with staff than he has previously experienced.

Despite the final result this time around I remain positive and, regardless of the opportunities that come along for me next, I think this election will end up being seen as a turning point that actually strengthens the Hauraki Gulf Forum (especially the debate for co-governance) and the Super City for the best of Auckland rather than rips it apart. The 9 progressive Councillors on the governing body are now the biggest and most capable grouping who I am sure will put up a strong fight to continue the excellent work under way in the interests of all Aucklanders.

I wish the new Mayor and council well and will stay close to the action as much as I can.

Photo taken from the shores of Lake Wanaka where I am clearing my head post election

*Some examples from Mike Lee’s election manifesto


The final breakdown of elections results confirmed I won in Waitematā (city centre and central suburbs) but unfortunately it was a very different picture on Waiheke.  I wrote the following for the Waiheke Gulf News (published on 1 December 2022) to set the record straight on a number of the election issues.   It is also an opportunity to give thanks for the privilege of serving the Gulf Islands for the 2019-2022 term

Pippa Coom:  Your Councillor for Waitematā and Gulf Ward

Pippa CoomPippa Coom:  Your Councillor for Waitematā and Gulf Ward

After almost nine years on the Waitematā Local Board, currently serving as Chair, I am delighted to be City Vision’s candidate for councillor for the Waitematā and Gulf ward.

It has been a privilege to serve the communities of Waitematā and to lead a local board that has built a reputation for being brave, adventurous and effective. Among its achievements have been the transformation of the Ellen Melville Centre into a vibrant community hub , the development of the Weona-Westmere coastal walk and other new pathways, and improved playgrounds. Your board has also been instrumental in getting major projects off the ground, including the Franklin Road upgrade, a planned new civic space on Ponsonby Road, new sports grounds at Seddon Fields, new changing rooms in Grey Lynn park and the upgrade of Teed St in Newmarket.  We also helped secure a $5 million Council contribution to the City Mission’s HomeGround housing and social services project.

My focus on the local board has been transport. I’ve led the local board in being the first to adopt “Vision Zero” and one of the first to put in place a Greenways Plan. Our investment in placemaking and safe, welcoming streets is paying off for businesses and for the health of the community.

What can you expect from me as a councillor?  I will build on extensive experience in governance, a network of community relationships, and an understanding of the issues that matter to Aucklanders. My leadership style is inclusive and respectful, I seek consensus rather than division, and I value teamwork and open communication. I will be a councillor who is available and accessible, and I will be there in person for community events, big and small.    

I’m also transparent, maintaining a full public  declaration of interests and monthly reports on my activities.

Representing the people of Waitemata and the Gulf is a seven days a week commitment, and I am 100% up for it.

My background

My path into local government started early on with community activism, volunteering and community-building. I was born and raised in England where my politics were shaped from a young age by the threat of nuclear war, the toxicity of apartheid and the rise of Thatcherism.

My family immigrated to New Zealand just after I turned 14. I immediately felt at home living in Ponsonby and attending Auckland Girls’ Grammar School, where my interests in service and activism were encouraged. At Otago University, where I completed a law degree (hons) in 1991, I volunteered at the community law centre, taught English as a second language, and was secretary of the Otago Law Students Association.  

My community activism continued during a 15 year legal career.

During this time my dad was killed in a car crash. He was 49. Incidentally, my partner Paul and I have lived since 2006 in the Grey Lynn house dad bought over 30 years ago. Many years later, and now with a role on the Waitematā Local Board advocating for road safety, I’ve come to think of dad’s death not just as a family tragedy but also as an example of why the “safe systems” approach to creating a forgiving roading network is so necessary.

An e-bike is my main form of transport but I do own a working 1934 Austin 7 inherited from my dad and am a member of the Vintage Austin Register of NZ.

In 2009, I became a full-time volunteer in the community involved with cycling advocacy, community development and sustainability. I’ve been a trustee of the Kelmarna Organic City Farm, Grey Lynn 2030 and Connected Media, the coordinator of Frocks on Bikes, membership secretary of Cycle Action Auckland (now Bike Auckland) and organiser of climate action events.  

I was named Sustainability Champion at the 2011 Sustainable Business Network awards for my cycling advocacy and involvement with the Grey Lynn Farmers Market, which I served for five years as chair of the management committee.

In 2010 I was elected to the Waitematā Local Board in the first Super City election.  In 2013 and 2016 I was the highest polling candidate.

What I stand for

I’m a progressive aligned with City Vision, a coalition of Labour, the Greens and community independents like myself, but my primary allegiance is to the community.  I value City Vision’s shared commitment to social justice, outstanding public transport, environmental restoration, ownership of public assets, and a real say for local communities.

Here’s what I stand for:

  • Transport choices: Healthy, safe, connected and accessible streets that encourage kids to walk, scoot and bike to school; an efficient, reliable public transport system with affordable, integrated fares covering all parts of Auckland including the Gulf Islands.
  • Climate Action:  A just transition to a low-emissions and climate-ready city; every decision of Auckland Council must contribute to fighting the climate and ecological crisis.
  • Environmental sustainability:  Cleaning up our waterways and harbours; protecting the qualities that make the Gulf Islands and Hauraki Gulf special; effective and sustainable recycling and composting services.
  • Strong local boards and local decision making.  I will meet regularly with the three local board chairs, attend local board meetings and effectively advocate for local issues.
  • A city with a heart:  Continuing with the revitalisation of downtown with a Quay Street boulevard, new public spaces and people-friendly streets. Slower speeds and the Access for Everyone project will be good for business and make the city centre more liveable for the growing residential population
  • Housing: Ending homelessness through support for initiatives such as Housing First.  Quality, affordable housing developments and effective use of brownfield sites.   
  • Good governance:Holding the Council Controlled Organisations such as Auckland Transport to account and ensuring value for money, council efficiencies and getting the basics right. As local board chair I have met community priorities within budget through careful financial management

There is much more to do building  safe, vibrant, inclusive, accessible and resilient communities. I am passionate and completely committed to serving on the governing body, fulfilling the aspirations of all Aucklanders and representing Waitematā and Gulf ward.

Ponsonby news update October 2018

On 19 September we celebrated 125 years since New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.  Although it wasn’t until 1919 that women were eligible to stand for Parliament and another 40 years before Elizabeth McCombs became Aotearoa’s first elected female member of parliament.

Ellen Melville, the first woman elected on to Auckland City Council in 1913, stood unsuccessfully for parliament in 1919 for the electorate of Grey Lynn. She went on to stand a further six times always polling highly but blocked from achieving her potential by the sexism of the time.   The Ellen Melville Centre in Freyberg Place was erected in memory of her 33-year membership of the Auckland City Council.  To coincide with the one year anniversary of the re-opening of the upgraded Ellen Melville Centre the local board and the Auckland Branch of the National Council of Women recently hosted a morning tea in honour of The Rt Hon Helen Clark who has a room named after her at the Centre. The former Prime Minister continues to be a strong advocate for women’s rights.

I’m grateful for all the women who fought vigorously for the right to vote and for the right to stand for public office. I ultimately owe my career to them. I was first elected on to the Local Board in 2010 on the City Vision ticket but in 2009 I experienced my first taste of political campaigning when I stood unsuccessfully as an independent in the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust election. Now renamed Entrust, the 5 Trustees are elected every three years by the 320,000 Auckland electricity account holders. Entrust owns a 75% share in Vector providing an annual dividend to consumers.  The Entrust election usually goes under the radar resulting in a very low voter turnout. However, what has been described as the “least well-known political soap opera in Auckland” has been blown open.  The C&R trustees, who have held all spots on the Trust for 9 years, are infighting and have dumped long standing Vector chair, Michael Stiassny. There are indications C&R are planning on selling down the Vector shares.  There are serious issues at stake that hopefully will encourage far more electricity account holders to exercise their right to vote even if it does require a trip to a post box!

Pest Free Auckland 2050

Jesse Mulligan at the launch of Predator Free Grey Lynn held at GLFM in August 2017

As part of Conservation week, Auckland Council recently hosted Pestival 2018 an annual event to showcase community-led conservation and an opportunity to discuss best practice to create predator free environments that encourage the return of native birds.

Broadcaster and Grey Lynn local Jesse Mulligan was MC for the event. He paid tribute to the many volunteers who are working on Pest Free Auckland 2050 initiatives. Jesse is also coordinator of  Predator Free Grey Lynn, a local group that aims to get rid of native bird killers like rats and stoats.  There are other local Predator Free New Zealand groups that can be found on Facebook or via Auckland Council’s website page Pest Free Auckland 2050.

Ponsonby News update October 2018

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.

Local Elections 2016

The Local Elections 2016 are underway. I’m seeking to serve for another term on the Waitematā Local Board (my election profile is available here).  I’m standing as a candidate with the progressive City Vision team – a coalition of Labour, Greens and community independents like me.

Here’s why it is time to vote for your progressive candidates in the Local Elections 2016 on now

Over the last 6 years of Auckland Council your progressive representatives, with clear principles and values have achieved results and delivered where it matters.   We need your vote to ensure that Auckland’s progress is not stopped in its tracks at the expense of community, arts & culture, parks, heritage and the environment. We need a progressive Council and Local Boards that can work with Phil Goff to ensure we keep out assets, our communities have a strong voice, we invest in Auckland and we can continue working to deliver real transport choice and solutions.

Last local body election, only 34% of Aucklanders mailed a vote but we all live with the consequences. Your vote makes a difference.
Your City Vision and Roskill Community Voice candidates:
Please vote no later than 5 October in the local government elections for progressive candidates across the Auckland region.  Voting ballots must be posted by 5 October to arrive in time for election day on 8 October.
For the first time you can also deliver your voting documents to the ballot box in your local library right up until midday on election day.
City Vision is a coalitions of Green, Labour and community independent candidates. More about Who we are
Compare the candidates on the Show your Love website
Didn’t receive your voting documents call 0800 922 8822
#Election2016 #Showyourlove #VoteAKL

Vote to end the AECT election rort

Photo Credit: Cathy Casey
Photo Credit: Cathy Casey

Six years ago I stood for public office for the first time. I put myself forward naively thinking it was an election of the most suitable candidates to be trustees of the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust (AECT) . I had no idea of the extremely long odds on any other candidate besides the incumbents having any chance of getting elected. The incumbents rely on low voter turnout, no media coverage and a dividend “bribe” to ensure they are returned as trustees. I wrote about my experience at the time .

The 2015 AECT election has just started with voting papers arriving in mailboxes from Friday 16 October.  Postal voting continues until 30 October (postal votes need to be in the mail by 26 October to be sure of arriving)

AECT district
AECT district

Predictably the incumbent C&R team are taking exactly the same approach to the 2006 and 2009 elections – relying on the same bribe* blatantly splashed on their hoardings, voter apathy and a media blackout – but then why wouldn’t they accept this election gift. By chipping approx $10,000 each in to an election fund used to direct mail 25,000 voters the C&R team are pretty much guaranteed to be re-elected. They then get to share an annual pot of trustee fees of $342,500 to share between them, as well as a couple of directorships on the board of the trust’s only asset, its 75 per cent stake in power company Vector Ltd.

However this election I really do hope the outcome will be different.  City Vision is backing a forward thinking, talented team  – Anne-Marie Coury,

City Vision team for AECT
City Vision team for AECT

Jeanette Elley, Simon Mitchell, Kirk Serpes and Judith Tizard. A team that stands for protecting community ownership and the dividend, and future proofing the electricity network for smart clean technology . They have the potential to bring much needed new thinking and diversity to AECT.

But the only way to get new people on to the trust and to put an end to C&R’s election rort is if we all encourage everyone we know who lives within the AECT district to check the mail box and to return the ballot papers on time.

* According to the AECT candidate handbook relevant election offences as contained in the Local Electoral Act 2001, and adopted for the
purposes of this election include 
S125   Bribery

(1) Every person commits the offence of bribery who, directly or indirectly, on that person’s own or by another person,-
(a) gives, lends, agrees to give or lend, offers, promises, or promises to obtain any money or valuable consideration
to or for any elector, or to or for any person on behalf of any elector, or to or for any other person, in order to induce any elector to vote or refrain from voting

How the Local Electoral Act applies to the AECT election as advised by the Electoral Officer

The AECT election is not conducted under the Local Electoral Act 2001 (as are council elections for example) but under their own Deed of Trust. Under the Deed of Trust the returning officer is responsible for conducting the election and to the extent that the Deed of Trust Rules do not prescribe a particular matter, the returning officer is entitled to determine the procedure accordingly. Section 125 of the Local Electoral Act is therefore not directly applicable, however behaviour amounting to an offence under that Act could also be of concern to me in conducting the AECT election.

Further reading:

City Vision AECT team website

Power cash handout an asset for all of us, Brian Rudman, NZ Herald 4 September

Complaint over Auckland Energy Consumer Trust election billboard, NZ Herald 22 October

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.

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