Monthly Councillor report September 2021

General update 

My Councillor report covers the period from 8 August 2021 until 9 September 2021.  It has been prepared for the September 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.

Upgraded track through the Te Wai Orea Western Springs bush provided a welcome lockdown walking route. Credit: Russell Brown



  • 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


  • Following the announcement by the Government that New Zealand will be at Alert Level 4 from 11:59pm on Tuesday 17 August, the majority of Auckland Council facilities closed temporarily to the public from 18 August. Essential services such as rubbish collections, waste water, drinking water and core public transport for essential workers continued to operate. At the time of writing this report, Auckland remains at Alert Level 4. Many council related events have been postponed however all governance meetings quickly transitioned to an online format.
  • Council’s emergency freight subsidy for Covid 19 Alert Level 4 was secured for Barrier Air to ensure operations continued
  • As of 1 September, all overdue fines were removed from accounts. The council is joining the global trend of removing library overdue fines with almost 600 libraries worldwide now fine free, including every public library in Ireland. This was a decision made following the Recovery Budget consultation.
  • On 3 September the Mayor and Minister Woods announced a new Targeted Hardship Fund will be set up to help Auckland small businesses that are impacted by disruption from construction of the City Rail Link. Auckland Council will contribute up to half of the $12m fund.

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 12 August the Environment and Climate Change Committee 

  • Received a climate update presentation from Watercare
  • Established a Transport Emissions Reference Group responsible for providing direction to staff in the development of the Transport Emissions Reduction Plan, making changes to the proposed approach as required, and approving the recommended pathway for endorsement by the Environment and Climate Change Committee.  I am an alternate on the Group.
  • Approved Auckland Council’s commitment to becoming a signatory to the C40 Divest/Invest Declaration

On 19 August the Finance and Performance Committee

  • Approved a 125-year lease and the future development of Te Wharau o Horotiu Bledisloe House
  • Approved land exchanges of Bellgrove Reserves, Avondale and reserve land at Murray Halberg Park, Ōwairaka
  • Woodhill Sands Equestrian Centre support and Three Kings land exchange was considered in confidential

On 24 August the Council Controlled Organisations Oversight Committee

  • Received the update on the implementation programme for the Council-controlled Organisations Review.
  • Approved the updated Auckland Council group brand guidelines and required CCOs to comply with the updated Auckland Council group brand guidelines
  • Approved the shareholder comments on the draft Statement of Corporate Intent 2021–2024 for Ports of Auckland Limited as set out in this report
  • Approved the 2021-2024 statements of intent for Auckland Transport, Auckland Unlimited, Eke Panuku and Watercare

 On 26 August the Governing Body

On 2 September the Planning Committee

  • In response to the National Policy Statement on Urban Development requiring the removal of carparking minimums from the Auckland Unitary Plan by the end of February 2022 endorsed the development of a plan change to the Auckland Unitary Plan (Operative in part) and a plan change to address consequential technical amendments to provide clarity and consistency within the plans and ensure that the effects of car parking (where developers choose to provide it) can still be addressed and endorsed the investigation of the following matters through amendments to the Auckland Unitary Plan (Operative in part) and/or the Auckland Council District Plan (Hauraki Gulf Islands Section), or other means in order to mitigate possible poor development outcomes as a result of the removal of carparking minimums:
  1. provision of accessible parking
  2. ii) the design of private pedestrian and bicycle / micro-mobility access where no vehicle access is proposed

iii)     provision of on-site bicycle / micro-mobility access and parking including where no vehicle access is proposed

  1. iv) where parking is proposed, the provision of electricity connections that enable installation of compliant smart electric vehicle chargers
  2. v) provision of on-site pick-up and drop-off/loading facilities and access for emergency services where no vehicle access is proposed.
  • Discussed sites of significance to Mana Whenua – Tranche 2 Plan Change Investigation, and feedback Auckland Light Rail in confidential

On 9 September the Parks, Arts, Community and Events committee

  • Approved a reserve Revocation at (part) 331 Great North Road, Henderson
  • Received an update on implementation of Auahi Kore Hapori Whānui as part of the Implementation Plan of the Council’s Smokefree Policyand approved priorities for 2021/2022
  • Received an I Am Auckland Implementation and Evaluation Annual Update 2021and approved a three-year review be undertaken in 2021/2022
  • Approved the development of a re-imagined Toi Whītiki (Auckland’s Art and Culture Strategic Plan) as a collective impact framework that unites the creative sector  towards a shared vision and common purpose of delivering public value for Aucklanders
  • Approved a proposed variation of agreement to facilitate transfer of land at 50 Tihi Street, Stonefields
  • Approved the Regional Event Fund grants allocation 2021/2022
  • Approved the Regional Arts and Culture grants allocation 2021/2022 round one
  • Agreed to implement seasonal restrictions to control motorised vehicles driving on Muriwai Beach and a range of management measures


Attachment 1: Correspondence with the Chairs of NZTA Waka Kotahi and Auckland Transport regarding the delivery of a safe cycling network following the killing of a ride on Stanley Street in May

Attendance at events 8 August – 9 September 2021 

  • On 8 August I attended a meeting with Minister Grant Robertson and all Auckland Councillors where the Minister gave updates on the economy, climate change and water reform.
  • At Watercare’s Māngere Wastewater Treatment Plant with Cr Josephine Bartley

    On 10 August I attended a site visit at Watercare’s Māngere Wastewater Treatment Plant (photo right with Cr Josephine Bartley). The governing body spends half a day each year visiting each CCO to better understand its business and culture and to informally build relationships.

  • Zoe and Jett presenting their Waiheke pump track proposal taking inspiration from the Grey Lynn pump track their proposal

    On 11 August I attended the Community Forum at the Waiheke Local Board office

  • On 12 August I attended an Eke Panuku celebration at the Percy Vos Boat Shed to honour the restoration of this important piece of maritime history in Wynyard Quarter.
  • On 13 August I attended the Metro Sector LGNZ forum in Wellington
    LGNZ National Council board meeting 27 Aug 2021

    via Zoom. Items on the agenda included:

    • Update from the Minister of Immigration
    • Resource Management Reform
    • Three waters
  • Also on 13 August I attended the Central City Alcohol and Community Safety taskforce
  • On 14 August I was a panelist with local board member Kerrin Leoni,
    Vos shipyard Wynyard Quarter

    Julie Stout and Shane Vuletich at the Future of Auckland’s Waterfront Panel at the Pioneer Women’s Hall in the Ellen Melville Centre organized by MP Chlöe (photo below).

  • On 16 August I chaired council’s Climate Political Reference Group meeting
  • Future of the Waterfront panel discussion with panel members Kerrin Leonie, Julie Stout and Shane Vuletich, and MC Chloe Swarbrick

    On 17 August the Joint Governance Working Group meeting was underway when the announcement came through about a case of COVID in the community bring the meeting to an abrupt end.

  • From 18 August all workshops, meetings and committee meetings went online
  • On 23 August I co-chaired the Hauraki Gulf Forum. The Forum received an update on Revitalising the Gulf – Government’s Response Strategy to Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari
  • On 24 August I attended the Aotea / Great Barrier Local Board business meeting and delivered my Councillor’s report for August.
  • On 25 August I attended the Waiheke Local Board business meeting and delivered my Councillor’s report for August.
  • On 27 August I attended the LGNZ National Council meeting.
  • On 30 August I attended the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board workshop.
  • On 3 September I attended a meeting with Auckland Transport to discuss solutions for ongoing enforcement issues at St Patrick’s Square.
  • On 3 September I attended LGNZ’s Three Waters discussion for elected representatives
  • Also on 3 September, I attended a forum for elected members in Central Auckland hosted by AT with presentations by elected representatives on Parking and the Parking Strategy.
  • On 6 September I chaired the Waste Advisory Political Group meeting
  • On 7 September I attended the Cycling Programme Business Case (PBC) political reference group meeting
  • On 8 September I attended the Waiheke Local Board Community Forum.
  • Throughout lockdown I have attended the regular  Covid briefings held for elected representatives


Ponsonby News September 2021: Innovating streets are lockdown ready 

Our Auckland: Karangahape Road records retail high before bracing for lockdown 

Our Auckland: Boost for Community Climate Action funding 


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

Be kind, stay home, save lives: Auckland Council responds to the COVID-19 crisis

There is no rule book for responding to the COVID-19 crisis. It is an unprecedented situation that is evolving every day. First and foremost, Council is taking the advice of the Ministry of Health, which is leading New Zealand’s COVID-19 response.

At the time of writing we have moved quickly from Alert Level 2 into Alert Level 4 and a State of Emergency has been declared. Lockdown has been put in place and we are getting to grips with the unknown new “normal.” Everyone has to do their part to save lives.

Essential Council services continue including storm water infrastructure repair and maintenance and water treatment, animal welfare management, biosecurity and hazard monitoring. As of 24 March 2020, Auckland’s kerbside rubbish and recycling are considered essential services and will continue as usual. The inorganic collection has been postponed. Wet wipes and other hygiene products, should be bagged and placed in rubbish bins never down the toilet. Over 300 Council facilities have closed including recreation centres, pools, community centres.

Auckland Libraries e-lending services like audiobooks, video streaming services and learning databases like continue to be available for free and will be extended. Library fines for overdue books have been suspended and gym memberships are on hold. Our parks and reserves are always open for recreation, but be mindful to keep physical distances. Please keep children off equipment as playgrounds are closed. More COVID-19 information can be found on the front page of the Auckland Council website.

Road maintenance undertaken by Auckland Transport is considered an essential service so will continue during the lockdown. However, this is being limited to only that maintenance required to keep the network safe and operational during this period.

It’s important our communities come together to support each other. I really appreciate one of my neighbours taking the initiative to ensure we all have each other’s contact information so she was able to set up a street WhatsApp chat group. As the homeless and other vulnerable groups will be particularly impacted, homeless agencies are working very closely with Council on ensure accommodation is provided with showers, food, and other amenities available in ways that manage the risk.

Auckland Council has unanimously approved emergency measures to ensure effective governance of the city while it is in lockdown. A temporary ‘supercommittee’ has been established made up of the whole Governing Body to assume the functions and power of all committees except for the Audit and Risk Committee. Meetings will occur weekly by audio-visual link. We also agreed to establish a COVID-19 contingency fund of $22.5 million for any urgent expenditure required to respond to the pandemic or its impacts.

The number one priority at the moment is public health. In the next month or so we’ll have a better idea of the impact on Council finances, what additional support can be provided and ability to deliver projects that are in the pipeline as we move to finalise the Annual Budget 20/21 by 1 July.

I’m working from home and can be contacted at or on 021 926 618.

COVID-19 official website

Auckland Council COVID-19 information