Councillor monthly report November 2021

My Councillor report covers the period from 9 October to 5 November 2021.  It has been prepared for the November business meetings of the Waitematā, Waiheke and Aotea Great Barrier Local Boards.

The purpose of my report is to detail my main activities and to share information with the public and local boards in my ward regarding governing body decisions, my attendance at events, regional consultations, media updates and key issues.


  • Deputy Chair, Environment and Climate Change Committee
  • Co-Chair, Hauraki Gulf Forum
  • Member, Auckland City Centre Advisory Board (ACCAB)
  • Board Member, LGNZ National Council and Auckland Zone co-chair
  • Member, Auckland Domain Committee
  • Member, Appointments and Performance Review Committee
  • Member, Joint Governance Working Party
  • Member, Climate Political Reference Group
  • Member, Waste Political Advisory Group


  • At the time of writing this report, Auckland remains at Alert Level 3 Step 1. This is the first phase of a three-part plan by the Government to ease COVID-19 restrictions across the region. In line with restrictions, all meetings and workshops are taking place online.
  • Remaining water restrictions were lifted on 21 October as water storage reached 93%.
  • Business support was extended by council and a request made to government to amend relevant legislation to support the serving of alcohol at outside dining venues.
  • Governing Body agreed on 28 October to increase local board decision-making over local community services and address inequities in local community services funding.
  • Contactless click and collect library service for Aucklanders started on 2 November.
  • Tāmaki Makaurau was named the best city to travel to for 2022 by Lonely Planet with heading into the Hauraki islands to spot takahē on Tiritiri Matangi or taste wine on Waiheke and seeing the cutting edge of the city’s culture at Auckland Art Gallery named in Lonely Planet’s top 5 things to do in Auckland.
  • The Planning Committee on 4 November endorsed the objectives and principle that will underpin a revised Parking Strategy (I have written about why I spoke strongly in support in a post Good for Auckland Parking)

Governing Body meetings – Key decisions  

The minutes for all meetings are available on the Auckland Council website. The following is intended as a summary only of key decisions.

On 14 October the Environment and Climate Change Committee

  • Received a presentation from the Equal Justice Project
  • Adopted the Community Facilities’ Sustainable Asset Policy
  • Noted the end of year report for natural environment and water quality targeted rates 2020/2021. Ponsonby News Targeted rates doing their work
  • Delegated authority to the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee and an Independent Māori Statutory Board member to approve council’s submission on the National Emission Reduction Plan consultation document.

On 21 October the Extraordinary meeting of the Governing Body

  • Agreed to the removal of remaining water use restrictions.

On 21 October the Finance and Performance Committee

  • Received a presentation from Eden Park Trust Board
  • Received a “Council support for business affected by Covid-19” report and agreed to:
    • extend the Postponement of rates for ratepayers impacted by COVID-19 scheme to cover the rates for the 2021/2022 financial year
    • request the government to amend relevant legislation to provide for temporary variations to on-licence conditions to support outside dining during COVID-19 restrictions (and allow councils to extend alcohol licences at no extra cost)
    • request the government to significantly enhance its business support package for Auckland.

Our Auckland:  Covid 19 support for Auckland businesses

 On 26 October the Council Controlled Organisations Oversight Committee

  • Received Ports of Auckland Limited’s Annual Report 2021 and full year results compared against performance targets from the Statement of Corporate Intent for the year ending 30 June 2021
  • Received Ports of Auckland Limited’s final Statement of Corporate Intent 2021-2024
  • Received the 2020/21 annual reports for City Rail Link Limited and Haumaru Housing
  • Received the 2020/21 annual reports for COMET Auckland, Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust and Contemporary Art Foundation
  • Received an update on the implementation programme for the Council-controlled Organisations Review.

On 28 October the Governing Body

  • Received a COVID-19 briefing and Auckland Emergency Management status update from Phil Wilson, Acting Controller Auckland Emergency Management
  • Received Ports of Auckland Limited progress update on implementation of CHASNZ health and safety review recommendations, and requested Ports of Auckland Limited provide updates on the implementation of the recommendations from the independent review of health and safety to the CCO Oversight Committee as a part of Ports of Auckland’s quarterly performance reporting
  • Received a summary review from Construction Health and Safety New Zealand on how Ports of Auckland Limited (POAL) is progressing with the implementation of the recommendations from the independent review of health and safety at the Port.
  • Supported the proposal to increase local board decision-making responsibilities to all local community services within the funding envelope allocated to each local board, including decisions on local service assets to be consulted on as part of the Annual Plan 2022-23
  • Supported in principle the proposal to establish an alternative service level equity and funding policy to address inequities in local community services funding.

On 2 November the Appointments and Performance Review Committee

  • Noted an update on the initial phase of the Strategic Workforce Planning project
  • Delegated to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor responsibility for overseeing council’s input into the appointment process for two vacancies on the City Rail Link Limited Board
  • Considered the following as confidential items:
    • approval of a short-list of candidates for one vacancy on the board of Watercare Services Limited
    • appointment of board interns to participate in the programme for 2022-2023
    • Chief Executive Remuneration Review
  • (Our Auckand:  Appointment of Mark Darrow to the AT Board)

On 4 November the Planning Committee

  • Delegated to the Mayor, Chair and Deputy Chair of the Planning Committee and a Member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board the authority to approve the council’s submission on the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply) Amendment Bill and agreed the council’s submission will raise a number of issues including the appropriateness of the proposed decision-making role of the Minister for the Environment and the significant implications of enabling three-storey medium density development across most parts of urban Auckland (and some rural settlements) as well as the quality of development that would be enabled
  • Endorsed the objectives and principles, as recommended as a package by the Auckland Transport Board, to form the strategic direction underpinning the development of the 2022 Parking Strategy (I have written about why I spoke in support in a post Good for Auckland Parking )
  • Endorsed the Eke Panuku Board decision to cease the operation of the tram in Wynyard Quarter in late 2022.

Other meetings and key activities 9 October to 5 November 2021 

  • On 11 October I attended an online Mihi Whakatau welcoming Herewini Te Koha, council’s new Tumuaki Huanga Māori/Director of Māori Outcomes
  • Also on 11 October I attended a planning meeting for a pop-up drive through vaccination site at Skycity
  • On 12 October I attended a briefing from Waste Solutions regarding the Claris Landfill closure
  • On 12 October I attended the Finance and Performance Committee Have Your Say Event to hear submissions regarding Development Contributions
  • On 12 October I attended the launch of the Auckland Climate Festival
  • On 15 October I gave an interview with 95 bFM where I discussed the upcoming Super Saturday vaccination event and the success of targeted rates
  • Also on 15 October I attended a workshop for the Cycling Programme Business Case Political Reference Group facilitated by AT
  • On 16 October visited the Graham Street Vaccination Centre for Super Saturday and received my second dose
  • On 18 October I attended a LGNZ hui for all councils on Three Waters
  • On 19 October I attended the Waitematā Local Board business meeting and presented my monthly councillor’s report
  • Auckland Conversations online: Greening Our City

    Also on 19 October I delivered the vote of thanks for the Auckland Conversations event: Greening Our City

  • On 20 October I attended the Transport Emissions Reference Group to observe in my capacity as alternate
  • On 21 October 20 I received a briefing from Vector on options to reinforce the electricity needed at Auckland Hospital
  • On Sunday 24 October and the following two Sundays I attended MP Chlöe Swarbrick’s community hui covering discussions on the City Centre, Waiheke, and Ponsonby & Bays with an informative panel of speakers
  • On 26 October I chaired the Weed Management Political Advisory Group meeting
  • On 27 October I attended the LGNZ National Council Meeting re the Government’s Three waters policy announcement
  • On 27 October I attended the Waiheke Local Board business meeting and presented my monthly councillor’s report
  • On 29 October I gave an interview with 95 bFM where I discussed recommendations for the Auckland Light Rail team and the need for rapid transport options in Auckland. I also discussed Auckland Libraries’ and Council’s response to a petition asking for a click and collect service
  • Also on 29 October I received a briefing on progress on the Eastern Isthmus Programme from Watercare and Healthy Waters representatives
  • On 4 November I attended a judging session for the Mayoral Conservation Awards
  • Heart of the City commissioned work Nature Wins! By Deborah Crowe for Art Week on the Freyberg Place steps. Photo credit: @chamfy via twitter

    Also on 4 November I attended a Light Rail discussion with the Minister for Transport Michael Wood

  • On 5 November I attended the Central City Alcohol and Community Safety meeting
  • Also on 5 November I attended the LGNZ Metro Sector meeting session with Minister David Parker to discuss RMA reform proposals
  • Auckland Artweek launched on 5 November
  • Throughout lockdown I have attended the regular covid briefings held for elected representatives.


Hauraki Gulf Forum

The Hauraki Gulf Forum contribution to the Auckland Climate Festival (14 – 31 October ) was our Kōrero podcasts: Stories from the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, Tīkapa Moana, Te Moananui-ā-Toi hosted by Qiane Matata-Sipu with these wonderful inspiring people (photo right).

The Tāmaki Makaurau Mana Whenua Forum and Auckland Council are partnering to give the Category B heritage shelter down on Quay St a new purpose through promoting te taiao (the natural environment) and providing environmental education focused on the navigation stories of mana whenua and their connections to Te Moananui o Toi, Tikapa Moana. (Our Auckland: Heritage Shelter repurposed to promote te taiao)

During the renovations of the shelter, the Hauraki Gulf Forum’s artwork, designed by Dave Gunson, was selected to wrap the building to attract Aucklanders’ attention to the project to come.

The wrap will be repurposed and used as promotional banners for rangatahi events. This work has been led by co-chair Nicola MacDonald in her capacity as the chair of Pou Te Taiao, the Environment sub-committee of the Tāmaki Makarau Mana Whenua Forum.

Our Auckland: Protecting the Hauraki Gulf

Innovating streets are lockdown ready

It was with a sudden jolt that we found ourselves back in lockdown Level 4 council systems were quickly re-activated to ensure essential services continued to operate and council facilities closed down safely. As with the first lockdown, council staff have been redeployed, such as the catering team now providing meals to the City Mission and environmental health officers who are supporting contact tracing efforts.

We are now all very familiar with the health guidelines: stay home except to access essential services, stay within your bubble, wash your hands frequently, wear a face mask, use your QR code if you go out, exercise locally, maintain physical distancing and if you are ill, self-isolate and get tested.

The central place for information is the government’s website A free Covid-19 helpline service is available for Auckland businesses on 0800 500 362.

Exploring locally for exercise and fresh air provides a welcome break from online meetings and bubble routines. Throughout lockdown, people will be experiencing their streets and neighbourhoods differently due to lower levels of traffic and safer neighbourhoods. It also gives a sense of the enormous change needed to our “normal” lives in order to cut transport emissions by 64 per cent from where we were in 2016 by 2030. Auckland, as New Zealand’s largest and fastest-growing city, must make a greater contribution to transport emissions reduction than other parts of the country to achieve New Zealand’s commitment to reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

Just prior to the lockdown Auckland Council established a Transport Emissions Reference Group to develop options to help achieve the bold emissions-reduction targets outlined in Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan. The scale of the challenge means a wide range of options and methods will need to be tested. Only radical change will reduce private vehicle demand and increase the uptake of active transport.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Innovating Streets for People programme provides a fund to test out innovations enabling Aucklanders to continue after lockdown to enjoy their neighbourhoods and use streets not

Students from Grey Lynn School thank the innovating streets project team

just as roads, but as public spaces. Councils only have to contribute 10 per cent of any project costs. The ability to pilot new street layouts through the programme enables communities to get a sense of what their streets could be like before a commitment is made to major investment; testing, monitoring, and engagement occurs throughout the trial.

Grey Lynn School is one of a number of schools across Tāmaki Makaurau taking part in Auckland Transport’s Safe School Speeds programme funded through ‘Innovating Streets for People’. The project involves schools working with Auckland Transport to introduce new speed calming measures such as kerb extensions, speed humps, and new painted surfaces to keep children safe. It is not surprising that Grey Lynn School was keen to sign up for the trial. Only recently there was a serious injury crash on Surrey Crescent, and the school reports a lot of near misses and concerns about vehicle speeds on the approach to the school crossings. Travelling at 30km/h or lower outside schools increases driver reaction and stopping time, reducing the chances of serious crash injuries.

The trial will now benefit everyone out walking and cycling during lockdown. Locking-in and expanding the best of all the innovation streets projects will be one of the many emissions reductions pathways to a decarbonised transport future.

This first appeared in Ponsonby News September 2021

Councillor report August 2020

General update

This is my Councillor report covering the period from 8 July 10 August.  It has been prepared for the August business meetings of the Aotea Great Barrier, Waiheke and Waitematā Board Local Boards.

The purpose of my report is to detail my main activities and to share information with the local boards in my ward regarding governing body decisions, my attendance at events and meetings, regional consultations, media updates and key issues.


  • Deputy Chair, Environment and Climate Change Committee
  • Co-Chair, Hauraki Gulf Forum
  • Member, Auckland City Centre Advisory Board (ACCAB)
  • Board Member, LGNZ National Council
  • Member, Auckland Domain Committee


  • Auckland Council adopted the Emergency Budget on 30 July.
  • On 21 July the Environment and Climate Change Committee unanimously voted to adopt Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Action Plan
  • As of 4 August, water levels in Auckland’s nine water collection dams remain at 59.5% per cent. Water restrictions continue.

Governing Body meetings – Key decisions

The minutes for all meetings are available on the Auckland Council website. The following is intended as a summary only.

On 16 July the Finance and Performance Committee agreed by 20 votes to 3 to recommend to the Governing Body that the Emergency Budget be based on a package of a general rate increase of 3.5%.

The committee also agreed to recommend that Governing Body adopted the Rates Remission and Postponement Policy.

The committee approved implementation of the Asset Recycling Budget and recommended that Governing Body approve disposal of the properties named in the budget.

On 21 July the Environment and Climate Change Committee voted unanimously to adopt Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan. The final plan will be launched digitally on council’s website later this year.

The committee also received a progress report on implementing Auckland’s Urban Ngahere Strategy ( Our Auckland: Auckland’s tree canopy cover grows by 60 hectares).

The committee approved a programme of work to develop a 100 year management policy to respond to the hazards caused by ‘too much water’ – specifically flooding, coastal inundation and coastal erosion.

On 30 July the Governing Body adopted the Emergency Budget 2020/2021, including 21 Local Board Agreements, and set rates for the 2020/2021 financial year.

The committee also agreed the Tupuna Maunga Authority Operational Plan 2020/21; adopted the amended Elected Members’ Expenses Policy; and confirmed appointments to the Demographic Advisory Panels.

The committee agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Crown, Kaipara Uri entities and the Northland Regional Council to progress the proposed Kaipara Moana Remediation Programme, and establish a joint committee to provide stewardship and governance for the programme.

Other key meetings and events

In the period 8 July -10 August I attended:

  • Co-Chairs met to Hauraki Gulf Forum business with Minister Eugenie Sage on 9 July
  • On behalf of the Hauraki Gulf Forum I spoke at Hauraki Gulf Watershed // The Awakening on 11 July at Maungauika. An event bringing together tikanga, science, technology and art to bring attention to the need to restore the mauri of Tīkapa Moana
  • Councillor Richard Hills and I received an update on the Regional Pest Management Plan on 13 July
  • I met with Auckland Arts Festival Chief Executive David Inns and Artistic Director Shona McCullagh on 14 July
  • Cr Cathy Casey, Council colleagues and Auckland City Missioner, Chris Farrelly

    Launch on 15 July at the Auckland Central Library of ‘Opening Little Boxes’ a book written during lockdown by Cr Cathy Casey, partner Kees Lodder, daughter Alex Casey and Manu Bertao. All author royalties go to help the homeless through Auckland City Mission and Lifewise.

  • Auckland transport announcement by Ministers Phil Twyford and Julie Anne Genter at the Te Atatu Boatclub on 18 July (photo right)
  • On 20 July I attended an introduction by the joint central and local government Three Waters Steering Committee to the recently announced National Three Water Reform Programme.
  • Waiheke Local Board meeting on 22 July (via Skype)
  • The Karangahape Road Business Association hosted Mayor Goff and I for a walkabout on 23 July. We observed progress on the K’rd City Rail Link station; met with Business Association Chair Muy Chhour and General manager Michael Richardson for an update on issues they are facing; and visited local businesses including Monster Valley (photo right).
  • Manaaki Tāngata event hosted by Lifewise, Auckland City Mission and the Police at the Ellen Melville Centre on Saturday 25 July
  • Aotea Great Barrier Local Board meeting on 28 July (via Skype)
  • Auckland City Centre Advisory Board Meeting 29 July
  • Mayor Goff and I met with Auckland Police District Commanders on July 29 where we discussed post-COVID-19 issues around the city (photo right: Superintendent Jill Rogers from Counties Manukau, Superintendent Karyn Malthus from Auckland District and Inspector Michael Rickards standing in for Superintendent Naila Hassan from Waitematā)
  • Waitematā Local Board Plan consultation – Hearing style event on 29 July
  • 3 August – 7 August was arecess week for the governing body (no official meetings). I was fortunate to enjoy part of the break on a “busman’s holiday” on Waiheke. I spent a morning in at the Waiheke Local Board office for councillor catch ups.

Other matters

Emergency Budget 2020/2021 

On July 16, the Finance and Performance Committee agreed, by 20 votes to 3, to recommend to the Governing Body that the Emergency Budget be based on a package of a general rate increase of 3.5%. On July 30, the Emergency Budget was formally adopted by the Governing Body and rates were set for the 2020/2021 period.

The Governing Body also voted to adopt the Rates Remission and Postponement Policy to assist those financially impacted by COVID-19 with rates payments. ( Ponsonby News Column – Emergency Budget 2020/2021 Decision)

I read the feedback on the budget proposal carefully. A majority of submitters in my ward supported the package based on a 3.5% rates increase. Importantly the majority of organisations across Auckland supported the Mayor’s proposal – organisations representing union members, businesses, employers, faith, environment and arts groups. A lot of the feedback asked council to invest in jobs and communities to assist the recovery and rebuild rather than taking an austerity approach.

Once we had worked through all the financial information carefully – including the need to find an additional $224m to respond to the drought – every councillor supported the budget except one.

Auckland’s rates and annual increase continue to be comparably lower that other cities (eg Tauranga 4.7%, Hamilton 4.7%, Wellington 5.1% and Christchurch 3.5% 2020/21 increases).  It is important to note that Council is supporting financially distressed ratepayers with targeted assistance via the rates postponement scheme.

There is still a lot of pain in the budget and cuts to jobs, projects and services but retaining the commitment to extend the living wage to contracted cleaners is one of the positives the Mayor and councillors were able to celebrate with the Living Wage team straight after the budget was adopted on 30 July (photo right).

Auckland’s Climate Plan

Photographed with Committee Chair Richard Hills and I are mana whenua representatives, Katrina Cole from Generation Zero and some of the key council staff who have been integral in putting this piece of work together.

On 21 July the Environment & Climate Change Committee unanimously passed Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan. A plan to halve our emissions by 2030, to get to net zero by 2050, keep to 1.5 degrees of warming and to adapt our city to cope with the affects of climate change which we are seeing more intensely each year. The final plan will be launched digitally later this year.

Hauraki Gulf Forum

Hauraki Gulf Forum Co-Chair Nicola Macdonald and I met with Minister Eugenie Sage on 9 July to discuss Hauraki Gulf Forum Business (photo right). On July 24 we met with Minister Nanaia Mahuta via Zoom on 24 July to discuss the Forum’s shift to a co-governance leadership model; our goals for the Haukaki Gulf Marine Park; and our commitment to delivering for Māori.

On 19 July I was hosted by Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki at the inaugural launch of the Hukunui Pā restoration project on Te Motu Tapu a Taikehu (Motutapu Island). The project was launched with a special Matariki planting day as part of the One Billion Trees programme. The aim for the day was to plant 2500 trees of the 123,000 that will be planted over the next 3 year in a partnership between the Iwi and the Ministry for Primary Industries and with Te Papa Atawhai (Department of Conservation).

On 31 July, Hauraki Gulf Forum Co-Chair Nicola Macdonald, Executive Officer Alex Rogers and I spent the day visiting with Forum members in the Waikato – a great opportunity for regional collaboration as we work to heal the Gulf. We met with Mayor Sandra Goudie and Regional Councillor Denis Tegg in Thames; Councillor Donna Arnold in Te Aroha; Councillor Phillip Buckthought in Paeroa and Councillor Rob McGuire in Hamilton.

Acknowledgement to Hon Nikki Kaye

Many thanks to Nikki for all her hard work as MP for Auckland Central.  She can be really proud of everything she has achieved during her time in parliament.   We’ve enjoyed a positive working relationship and I have valued her advice and support in my role.  Nikki is tireless in following up on issues for constituents and fronting at meetings and events.   I wish Nikki all the best for her next adventure.

Other attachments:

Our Auckland:  Building a resilient city

Our Auckland: New public spaces in Auckland’s city centre coming to life this summer