Celebrating Change: International Women’s Day speech 2018

Zonta Club supported by Auckland Council International Women’s Day March 8 2018 at Ellen Melville Centre

Theme: Celebrating Change


Pippa Coom Chair, Waitemata Local Board

Michelle Kidd QSM Te Rangimarie Charitable Trust

Latayvia Tualasea Tautai National Council of Women – 100 years

Rez Gardi Young New Zealander of the Year for 2017

Zonta International Yellow Rose Recognition Award:

Roses will be presented in recognition of the dedication and initiative shown by women in their fields of expertise.

Dr Marilyn Waring CNZM Pioneer of Women, Zonta International Honorary Member

Leonie Morris Centre Manager, Auckland Womens Centre

Karen Donnelly Head Teacher, Eden Campus Teen Parenting Unit

Black Ferns Members of the 2017 World Cup Black Ferns Chelsea Alley, Rebecca Wood, Sosoli Talawadua, Selica Winiata

Greetings to everyone gathered here today.   Thank you for the invite to speak on International Women’s day. This is a great honour especially here in Ellen Melville Centre. A place dedicated to wahine toa that I was privileged to reopen with the Mayor in September last year after an extensive refurbishment.   The rooms are named after civic leaders put forward by the National Council of Women including Dr Marilyn Waring who it is great to see will receive a recognition award at this event.

The lounge downstairs is named after the Rt Hon Helen Clark.  I was fortunate to hear the International Women’s Day event livestream direct from parliament at a breakfast hosted by the Central Library this morning.  The former prime minister was of course one of the inspiring keynote speakers.   We also heard form Janet Hope the NZ District Governor for Zonta.  I appreciated hearing about the kaupapa of Zonta.  I thought Miss Clark spoke to Zonta’s aim of empowering women through service and advocacy:  As she said Never think that your little bit doesn’t make a difference… it does.

I feel very energized and excited by the theme of the event today as there is so much change happening to celebrate.  Change is not just in the air, it feels tangible and real that change is making a difference.

After election night last year I have to admit that I didn’t pick the massive change that was about to happen to our political landscape- even the optimist in me thought the status quo had prevailed.   It is absolutely wonderful that we now have a 37 year female prime minister who just happens to be pregnant and continuing her career. I acknowledge too the Minster of Women’s Affairs Julie Anne Genter (also pregnant) and the change they and the 38% of parliamentarians who are now women are leading.   To steal from Miss Clark again – it only happens by leaning in, opening the door and laying out the carpet for ourselves – we can’t wait for the red carpet.

At local government level I also celebrate the change we are seeing since the super city came together in 2010 that has increased diversity and gender balance of elected representatives.  50% of local board chairs are now women. We celebrated the election last week of Josephine Bartley who acknowledged the Pasifika councilors who came before here included Eleitino (Paddy) Walker, who has a room named after her and was Auckland City Council’s first Pasifika councilor.  We are seeing more young women willing to put themselves forward like my colleague on the Waitematā Local Board Adriana Christie who is 27.

Janet Hope said this morning that young women are the agents of change.  I gave a big hear hear to that.  On a daily basis I am impressed and inspired by the young women I am privileged to meet in my role who have the commitment, courage and vision to make a difference.  A couple of weeks ago at the NZer of the year awards I met Rez Gardi one of the speakers today.  I was sitting on a table of students from Auckland Uni juggling double degrees, social enterprises and fundraising.

It is these same young women who are starting out in careers with expectations of work place behavior and equal opportunities.  My background is as a lawyer so I am “applauding” the long overdue shake up that is happening in the legal profession as a result of those willing to speak out and not accept the status quo – just probably a bit too early to celebrate change.

What I am definitely celebrating is the change in the career opportunities that women are choosing. I feel fortunate for the feminist education I received at Auckland Girls Grammer under the formidable  Miss Poutney but even in the 80’s there was no awareness that engineering might be a career option.

A particularly highlight engineering because one of my key roles on the board for the last 8 year has been to lead our transport portfolio. I work with many engineers and I’m constantly impressed with the number of women coming into the profession

They are leading the way in the change that is happening to Auckland right now – a change that is at times painful but I think worth celebrating. Auckland historically has been designed by male engineers, architects and planners in a way that excludes the needs of women and the most vulnerable. A city with transport choice and safe streets is a city that will work far more effectively for everyone .

I can’t resist throwing in something about the humble bicycle – recognized as having done more for the emancipation of women than anything.  I celebrate the change in Auckland of seeing more and more women enjoying their freedom and feeling safe to cycle.

I am grateful that the theme today has been celebration and an opportunity to focus on the positive.  There are so many grim statistics of the ongoing struggle to achieve equality and equity for women.   I’ve highlighted a few areas of change that are exciting me at the moment. I am sure our next speakers will bring to life many more.

Opening of Ellen Melville Centre and Freyberg Place

Opening of the restored Ellen Melville Centre with Mayor Phil Goff, Kaumatua Bob Hawke, amd members of the Melville family

On 15 September 2017 we celebrated the opening of the newly renovated Ellen Melville Centre and upgraded Freyberg Place.  I gave a speech on behalf of the Waitematā Local Board. It’s long! This is the Board’s biggest project started in the first days of the Super City so there was a lot to cover and many people to acknowledge.   There are many elements to the project including restoration of the tukutuku panels, a new artwork by Lisa Reihana and the naming of the 5 rooms in the centre. I didn’t want to miss anything out.

I spoke after the Mayor Phil Goff and Andrew Melville (great nephew of Ellen Melville)

In recognition of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori I started with a mihi and tried to incorporate reo into my speech.

Tēnā koutou e ngā rau Rangatira mā e huihui mai nei

E nga matua a Matt raua ko Bob, nāu nei tā tātou karakia, mihi mai rā ki a koutou

E te Whare e tū nei,

E ngā pātū tukutuku,

E te wāhi taonga nei nā Ngāti Whātua,

E ngā Mana Whenua me ngā Matāwaka,

E ngā tohunga toi a Lisa rāua ko Graham,

E te Koromatua,

E ngā hau e whā

Ka mihi whānui ki a koutou katoa, Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa

Greetings to everyone gathered here today.  I acknowledge this place where we stand and the Ellen Melville centre in the heart of te rohe a Poari o Waitematā.

Thank you matua and Ngāti Whātua Orakei for leading the welcome and honouring us with your presence. I acknowledge mana whenua, the Melville whanau and all the dignitaries.

Thanks to this amazing gathering of people for joining with us and my fellow board members Deputy Chair Shale Chambers, Adriana Avendano Christie, Richard Northey, and Rob Thomas together with former Board members Greg Moyle and Deborah Yates

This is a very proud day. We are about to cut the ribbon on the Board’s biggest project that we’ve been working on since day one of the Super City.

There are many people to thank and many significant elements of the project that I would like to acknowledge.  Following on from the Mayor’s words about Freyberg Place (acknowledging the design by John Reynolds) I’d like to add an acknowledgement for the innovative children’s consultation undertaken by Karen Witten and Penelope Carroll from Massey University. Thanks to feedback from Aira, Angeline, David, Dustin, Elizabeth, Fergus, Jaden, Jennifer, Jessica, Julian and Scarlett –changes were made to the design to add play features like stepping stones and a climbing tree (located right behind us).

I am of course also delighted to see in the design heaps of bike parking where previously there was none.  And all the drinking fountains so there is no need to buy plastic water when visiting the city centre.

As we’ve heard the hall was originally proposed by Ellen Melville prior to WWII as a centenary project – marking the 100 years of the signing of Tiriti o Waitangi –  but work didn’t get underway until the late 1950’s. Inside you’ll be able to see a number of interpretation panels with the history of the hall (thanks to Heritage NZ and Beth Connor for this work) . Yesterday on a pre-view tour I read that the total cost of the hall completed in 1962 and opened as the Pioneer Womens and Ellen Melville Memorial Hall was 56,200 pounds. Raised with a 30,000 pound donation from the Queen Street Business Association (forerunners no doubt to Heart of the City represented today by Viv Beck) 19,000 pounds from the Council and 8,000 pounds raised by 64 women’s organisations.   I acknowledge our funders today.  The City centre targeted rate payers – businesses and residents who have funded the square upgrade and Auckland’s ratepayers for funding the hall upgrade.

We can thank the Auckland City Chief Architect Tibor Donner for the splendid modernist design.    Many of you here will be old enough to remember the hall with a crèche, meetings rooms and excellent public toilets – vital to women visiting the city centre.

However, despite a well-intentioned and creative redevelopment in 1996 the hall was unloved by the end of the old Auckland City Council’s stewardship.  It was hard to access and not open to the public. There wasn’t even a sign in the window advising how to book the hall.  The downstairs two rooms on High Street and the main room on Freyberg Place were leased out.

From day one the newly formed Waitematā Local Board, led by Shale Chambers set about transforming the hall into a welcoming community hub for city centre residents and the wider community.

At the time the population was at about 20,000. Today almost 50,000 residents call the city centre home (ten years ahead of projections) so a community centre is essential.  It is great to see so many of the residents here today, representatives of the Auckland City Centre Residents Group and the RSA Metropolis – our nearest neighbours. This is an Auckland project that has actually anticipated growth rather than reacted to it!

I’d like to acknowledge the Council staff from the Arts Community and Events Department, Local Board services team and consultants who supported the board’s plans from the earliest days.

Strachan Group Architects wrote a creative design solution report in 2012 that captured the opportunities to upgrade the hall to a first class inner city community facility. It included a heritage assessment written by Salmon Reed Architects. In May 2013 the budget was approved by the governing body.  I acknowledge the Councillors here (Cathy Casey – looking at you!) today who were part of that decision making and we must of course thank former Mayor Len Brown for backing our project – one of the few significant local Board projects to make it through the budget cuts that year.

Once the funding was secure we embarked on the restoration that has revealed a rich history.   Thanks to Andrew for sharing with us the story of his Great Aunt, [ the first female Auckland City Councillor].   It wasn’t until I heard Sandra Coney speak at the heritage festival last year that I came to appreciate the impressive qualities of Miss Melville and her progressive legacy to Auckland.

The Hall has been renamed in her honour as the Ellen Melville Centre.   We’ve also had the privilege of naming all the rooms in the centre in recognition of significant women recommended by the NCW Auckland Branch.

The urban lounge downstairs is officially the Helen Clark Room.  We also have the Eleitino (Paddy) Walker Room,  Elizabeth Yates Room, Betty Wark Room and Marilyn Waring Room.  We endorsed the ‘hall space’ in the Ellen Melville Centre as Pioneer Women’s Hall. Thank you to Christine Caughey and Carol Beaumont who led that work.  Apologies that the opening has coincided with the NCW conference in Christchurch but I acknowledge the NCW representatives and PACIFICA group women here today.   We look forward to celebrating together at the community day later in the year.

Within the Pioneer Women’s Hall are Tukutuku panels presented to the New Zealand Pioneers’ and Descendants’ Club by Mr and Mrs Eruera Stirling for the opening of the Pioneer Women’s Hall in 1962.  The Ōrākei marae weavers have restored the patu Tukutuku for the opening Centre.    Thank you to the Stirling whanau, Ngati Whatua and Peter Tilley the Council’s collection services manager (Arts Community and Events Team)   .

The renovation has not only breathed life back into the original features of the hall – including the James Bowie sculpture commissioned for the opening in 1962 that was being used as a door stop – but provided an opportunity to give life to new works.  Thanks to a commission by the Public Art team we have a new artwork Justice by Lisa Reihana located on the O’Connell Street wall. Lisa’s first bronze sculpture.

I’m going to use Lisa’s words to give justice to Justice . Justice is bronze sculpture floating above an exuberant abstract wall drawing, Justice commemorates Ellen Melville – politician, women’s advocate and pioneer. The scales of justice make reference to her illustrious legal career of 37 years. The bronze forms the centrepiece of the façade; it’s a strong, singular form with gentle curves. The whimsical abstract wall composition has a ‘50s feel, taking its cue from the Parnell Baths mural by James Turkington. The Parnell Baths were also designed by council city architect Tibor Donner.

Thank you Lisa for honouring the centre with your stunning work and thanks Mark Osborne for the support of the public art team.

While the centre restoration has preserved and enhanced the modernist heritage features like the door handles on the reinstated entranceway the centre has a modern refurbishment including a new commercial grade kitchen, improved amenities, new audio visual system and café-style seating. In line with our commitment to accessibility all areas of the centre are now fully accessible with the installation of a new lift.  Thanks to Be.accessible and Vivien Naylor for your guidance.

Of course it is not just the physical facilities but the kaupapa of the building that the Board wants to get right from day one.  We have a vision that the Ellen Melville Centre is a thriving community hub that serves the local City Centre residential and wider community by providing a place for gathering and building connections, information exchange and community participation in a range of activities. It is a place where all members of the community feel comfortable and welcome. .  The Board has resolved to support a fully staffed council governed and managed zero waste facility with transition to community managed after three years.

Thanks to our partners –   Splice, the Inner City Network, Waitematā Youth Collective, Auckland City Centre Residents Group and Heart of the City who worked with us on the kaupapa.

This is story of wahine Toa .  The pioneer women both Māori and Pakeha who made a considerable contribution to the foundation of Auckland.  The women who fought for equality and the right to vote.  Courageous Ellen Melville who’s portrait is on display for the first time. The significant NZ women acknowledged with rooms in the Centre.  Throughout  the project and into the future the Waitemata Local Board doesn’t want to lose sight of the central role of women and the significance of the centre as a place for women.   It was only fitting that the project was driven by a team of female project leads.

Our huge thanks to them and all the project team from key consultants  Isthmus Group, Stevens Lawson Architects, MPM Projects and JFC Limited contractors working with Corbel Construction and the artists were John Reynolds, Lisa Reihana and Graham Tipene.  With a support team from Beca, Matthews & Matthews Architects Ltd, Holmes consulting group, Ecubed and Plan. Heritage.

I’m going to read all the names out so please come forward.   Homai te pakipaki for:

Lisa Spasic,  Karina Mascarenhas , Gary McShane, Mark Bramely, Les Lewer, Sarah Bishop, Travis Wooller, Yvette Overdyck, Elspeth Gray,  Nicholas Stevens, Nathan Farrant, Tony Munro, Cherie Armer , Vanya Toso , Aaron Hansen, John Reynolds, Lisa Reihana, Graham Tipene, Rodrigo Salas, David Saechao, Mark Kessner, Antony Matthews,  John Brown

Before I make my concluding remarks  I have a very special acknowledgement.  Lisa Spasic, who has worked her guts as the Council’s Senior Project Leader.  She has hardly slept this week getting everything perfect. (Adriana presented Lisa with flowers on behalf of the Board)

I appreciate I have been speaking for some time .  I hope you agree the whole herstory needed to be told and the many people thanked who have been part of the journey.  We know it has not always been easy through the design process, securing the funding, the consultation and construction. Thanks to Shale and those who set the course and all those who have seen the project through. We now have a shining jewel in the city centre that we wish to be inclusive and welcoming for everyone.

Now all that is called for is for us to cut the ribbon and Lisa to hand over “her baby” to Leesa Tilley, centre manager so we can open the doors on a new chapter for the Ellen Melville Centre in the heart of Tamaki Makaurau.

No reira

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa

Additional thanks

Ateesh Patel & civic events team for organising the opening, Frith Walker, MC for the civic opening, Barbara Holloway & Activation team from the  Auckland Design Office

Related reading

Ancient lava flow inspires Freyberg Place design

Women take the lead on city centre development

A jewel for the city centre Auckland Council media release and video of the refurbishment 

Auckland civic space opens after mayor upgrade, NZ Herald

Photos of the event



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.

Proposal to rename lower Khartoum Place

Notice of Motion to rename lower Khartoum Place

In accordance with Standing Orders, please place the following Notice of Motion on the agenda for the Waitematā Local Board meeting being held on 8th December 2015:


That the Waitematā Local Board requests the Resource Consenting and Compliance team, in consultation with relevant council departments, report options for re-naming lower Khartoum Place with a suitable name associated with women’s suffrage, and in recognition of the Women’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial 1893-1993 ‘Women Achieve the Vote’ to a local board business meeting for its consideration in time for the renaming to occur by Suffrage Day 2016.


The Women’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial 1893-1993 ‘Women Achieve the Vote’ (the memorial) is located in Khartoum Place, and honours the Auckland women who worked towards the goal of women’s suffrage. The memorial is made of over 2000 brightly coloured tiles and was designed by artists Claudia Pond Eyley and Jan Morrison. It was erected in 1993 with financial assistance from the Suffrage Centennial Year Trust and the then Auckland City Council. The suffragists depicted in the memorial are  Amey Daldy, Anne Ward, Lizzie Frost, Matilda Allsopp, Elisabeth Yates, Annie Jane Schnackenberg, Fanny Brown, and Ida Wells.

Following a campaign to retain the memorial, in 2011 Auckland Council voted to protect the memorial in Khartoum Place in perpetuity. In the draft Unitary Plan the memorial is identified as “a historic heritage place”. It is a category B heritage item which has significant heritage values in terms of Social (B) and context (H).

Khartoum Place runs between Kitchener Street and Lorne Street with a stairway connection between the two street levels. Khartoum Place is named after the 1885 siege of Khartoum. Kitchener St is named after Earl Kitchener (24 June 1850 – 5 June 1916) who fought in the Sudan after the battle of Khartoum and became known as “Lord Kitchener of Khartoum.”

In September 2014 Khartoum place was re-opened following a $1.7million upgrade.  Key features of the design are a new staircase that opens up a direct line of sight between Lorne Street and the Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tāmaki and the retention of the suffrage memorial.

In my address at the reopening I commented that Looking around now at how beautiful Khartoum place looks with the memorial at its heart I think all that is needed now is for this space to be named not after an imperial battle that New Zealand actually refused to take part in but in the future I look forward to it being named Suffrage Place or Kate Sheppard Place”.

The proposal to rename lower Khartoum Place has the support of the National Council of Women NZ Auckland Branch and Councillor Cathy Casey.  The NCWNZ Auckland branch resolved unanimously at its November 2015 meeting to support the renaming of lower Khartoum Place to Suffrage Place with the upper level to remain as Khartoum Place.

Renaming lower Khartoum Place will not only provide a fitting tribute to the location of the suffrage memorial but will also end the confusion between the two distinct levels of Khartoum Place (that are known informally as Lower and Upper). From a google maps search there does not appear to be any roads etc in New Zealand named specially after women’s suffrage.

The retention of the upper level as Khartoum Place maintains the historical connection to Kitchener Street. There does not appear to be a historical connection between the naming of Lorne St and lower Khartoum Place.

Local Boards have been allocated decision making responsibility for the naming of local roads pursuant to section 319(1)(j) of the Local Government Act 1974.

Khartoum Place is categorised as a local road. The renaming will need to be carried out in accordance with the Road Naming Guidelines (April 2015) including appropriate consultation.

Khartoum place with Art Gallery