Councillor monthly report April 2022

My Councillor report covers the period from 8 March to 5 April.  It has been prepared for the April 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.


  • At Wynyard Quarter with the Cr Richard Hills doing a final shout out to give feedback on the Annual budget

    Deputy Chair, Environment and Climate Change Committee (photo right with the Chair Richard Hills doing a final shout out to give feedback on the Annual budget)

  • 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
  • Member, Future Development Strategy steering group (new this year)


  • Public consultation on the Annual Budget 2022/23 closed on 28 March.
    • As part of the consultation process council held several webinars on Waste and Climate where I was a panel member.
    • I attended the Pasifika Fono, an online forum for Pasifika community members to give feedback.
    • I also attended presentations by regional stakeholders.

Planning Committee

  • Helicopter activity – Resolutions from the Aotea/ Great Barrier, Waiheke and Waitematā and Local Boards.
  • The report due to go to the Planning Committee 30/03 has been deferred until May.
  • Cr Darby and I requested that a Helicopter Practice Note regarding the relevant provisions and considerations of the Auckland Unitary Plan and the Hauraki Gulf Islands be developed by the Resource Consents team.
  • Auckland Transport’s parking strategy was endorsed to go out for consultation (Good for Auckland parking: my speaking notes in support).
  • NPS-UD – The committee endorsed public consultation on the pre-notification engagement. The timeline is to be confirmed.

Environment and Climate Change Committee

  • The committee adopted a new Water Strategy for Auckland. The vision of the strategy is “te mauri o te wai o Tāmaki Makaurau, the life-sustaining capacity of Auckland’s water, is protected and enhanced”.
    • The strategy is designed to guide the council group in relation to its responsibilities and aspirations for water over the next 30 years.
  • The meeting was also an opportunity to acknowledge the death of young bike rider Levi James and to have, a heartfelt discussion that brought home the costs of delaying “genuine streets for people” ( Our Auckland: Auckland Council launches Ngā Tiriti Ngangahau – The Vibrant Streets Programme).
  • Half price public transport fares started on 1 April for three months. However, unfortunately the price cut excludes the Waiheke ferries because the route is not a contracted service within PTOM.  I am supporting the local board in the on-going fight to bring Waiheke in line with PT fares across Auckland.

On-line meetings continue including the Waiheke Community Forum, Local Board meetings and all workshops and committee meetings.

City Centre Safety

Safety in the city centre is an on-going concern.  I attended a Friday night “walkabout” with new Acting Area Commander and the Mayor with Cr Darby of some of the hot spots (more details below)


I attended as a member of LGNZ’s National Council, the Local Government/Central Government Forum Plenary Session on 1 April chaired by the PM.  The theme for this year’s forum was Working together in a time of major change.

The Auckland Arts Festival

The festival went ahead with a limited programme due to current covid restrictions. I was fortunate to see Live Cinema: The Little Shop of Horrors – Lockdown edition online at the invite of the festival.

City Centre Resilience

The resilience of the city centre has faced one of its toughest tests in recent years due to COVID-19, and efforts are being made by many organisations including Heart of the City, Britomart, Auckland Arts Festival, NZ Fashion Museum, Auckland Council and city centre businesses to bring back its mojo. (Our Auckland: City centre dresses up for fashion shoot)

Myers Park

Work will begin in April to update the Myers Park underpass  This project has been a decade in the making so I’m very excited to see it go ahead.

Hauraki Gulf Forum

The Hauraki Gulf Forum submitted in favour of a complete closure of the Hauraki Gulf’s scallop fishery. We also want to see scallop dredging gone for good.  The Minister’s decision on 29 March to close the scallop fisheries is a big step forward but concerningly still leaves open two areas of the Gulf to commercial and recreational dredging. (Press release: Partial closure of Hauraki Gulf scallop fishery puts Hauturu/Little Barrier at risk)

Key decisions from the Committees of the Whole 

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

Environment and Climate Change Committee – 10/03/22

  • adopted the Auckland Water Strategy
  • approved the “Too Much Water – A statement of Auckland Council’s current role and direction” as an accurate representation of council’s current response to the water-related impacts of climate change
  • approved the Whangaparāoa Pilot Shoreline Adaptation Plan
  • endorsed the proposed Regional Streets for People projects for management and delivery by Auckland Transport, on behalf of Auckland Council. (Now named Ngā Tiriti Ngangahau – The Vibrant Streets Programme see Attachment 1)
  • approved the Auckland Council submission to the Department of Conservation on the proposed Hākaimangō-Matiatia marine reserve application, northwest Waiheke Island (subject to minor editorial changes)
  • approved the forward work programme as agreed to at the meeting, to October 2022 including a new item added at my request to develop berm planting guidelines.

Finance and Performance Committee – 17/03/22

  • received a presentation from Eden Park Trust Board
  • confirmed the 16 July 2020 approval to dispose of 4 Blomfield Spa, Takapuna as it is not required to be retained by council for open space or recreational purposes
  • received the Auckland Council Group and Auckland Council quarterly performance reports for the six months ended 31 December 2021, noting that the results for the six months ended 31 December 2021, confirm many of the pressures anticipated in our Recovery Budget.

Council Controlled Organisation Oversight Committee – 22/03/22

  • received the 2021/2022 second quarter reports of the substantive Council-controlled Organisations and Ports of Auckland Limited
  • approved an amendment to the Watercare Services Limited constitution to remove the restriction on directors serving more than three consecutive terms
  • received update on the implementation programme for the Council-controlled Organisations Review
  • agreed to receive a verbal update in relation to the Auckland Unlimited report: Reimagining Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland: harnessing the region’s potential
  • Considered the agenda item “Defining Auckland Council’s Ownership Objectives for the Ports of Auckland Limited” as confidential due to risks that publicising it may prejudice or disadvantage council’s commercial activities

Governing Body – 24/03/22

  • On behalf of council Fa’anana Efeso Collins and I received the Save our Sands petition

    Accepted a petition from Jessie Stanley relating to Sand Mining from the Pakiri and Mangawhai Embayment

  • unanimously supported the Notice of Motion of Councillor Josephine Bartley to support the proposed private members’ bill: Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Harm Minimisation) Amendment Bill
  • Governing Body meeting during the presentation by MP Chlöe Swarbrick in support of Cr Bartley’s Notice of Motion Notice of Motion of Councillor to support the proposed private members’ bill

    Agreed to timeline for consultation on Māori representation in local government, noting that feedback from the engagement with mana whenua and mataawaka, will be reported to the August 2022 meeting of the Governing Body.

 Planning Committee – 31/03/22

  • endorsed the Draft Auckland Parking Strategy 2022 for public consultation in April 2022
  • Made a series of decision in response to the government’s National Policy Station Urban Development (NPS-UD) including:
    1. endorsed the further investigation of changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan and the Auckland District Plan (Hauraki Gulf Islands Section) to address issues arising from the mandatory removal of parking minimum
    2. endorsed the further investigation of changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan to:
    3. i)           introduce planning provisions for residential private ways to achieve better quality outcomes
    4. ii)         amend the zone provisions to:
  • enable building heights of least six storeys in walkable catchments as required by the Policy 3(c) of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development
  • incorporate the Medium Density Residential Standards in the relevant residential zones, as required by the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2021
  • provide for quality-built environment outcomes in residential areas of Auckland as discussed in the agenda report.
  • approved the following policy direction for implementing Policy 3(a) in the NPS-UD relating to the city centre:
  • i)       Fewer, simpler, more targeted controls
  • ii)      Protecting sunlight and daylight to open spaces
  • iii)     Protecting amenity and retaining the “human scale” of streets
  • iv)     Enabling tall slender towers with space between them to allow sunlight, daylight and views to permeate the city centre
  • v)      Protecting local and regionally significant views
  • vi)     Protecting the outcomes achieved by the existing city centre precincts
  • vii)    Protecting the relationship between the city centre and the Waitemata Harbour
  • viii)   Protecting historic heritage in the city centre
  • ix)     Promoting climate change resilience.
  • approved in principle the removal of the general building height and floor area ratio standards in the city centre, and the application of alternative built form standards in line with the principles set out above.
  • endorsed “Thriving Town Centres – Guidance for urban regeneration in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland” (Attachment A of the agenda report) as a guidance document for Eke Panuku.
  • In confidential the Committee endorsed the Auckland Council’s preliminary response to the NPS UD for pre-notification engagement. The timeframe for this engagement is not yet confirmed.

Note: After 11 hours the committee was closed with agreement to defer the Auckland Cycling and Micro mobility Programme Business Case and the report responding to resolutions from the Aotea/Great Barrier, Waiheke and Waitematā Local Boards regarding concerns about helicopter activity to the next Planning Committee meeting

City Centre Safety

The visibility of crime and anti-social behaviour and the perception of safety are ongoing issues in the city centre brought about by several factors including lockdowns, the emptying out of people (workers, international students etc) with eyes on the street, and emergency accommodation bringing new people into the city centre with no place to go during the day.

The City Centre Community Safety Taskforce led by council’s community team has been given additional resourcing and is working on several actions across multiple agencies including Heart of the City, residents, MSD and the Police. At the last meeting on 25 March participants reported the city centre has turned the corner and things are improving.  We are likely to see further improvements as university students return from 4 May and restrictions are lifted.

Meeting the beat Police on Fort St during a Friday night “walkabout” with the Acting Area Commander, the Mayor and Cr Darby of city centre hot spots

Also, on 25 March I attended a Friday night “walkabout” with the Acting Area Commander, the Mayor and Cr Darby of city centre hot spots.  What we heard is that police resourcing has ramped up since the end of MIQ and the worst of the outbreak that had a big impact on staffing numbers covering shift work.  The Area Commander has introduced beat police who are out in the city centre on foot and in patrol cars.  Fort St is one problem area that has been a focus of operations.

In response to requests for the return of a city centre police station the Commander explained that the way people now interact with the police and contact the police makes a bricks and mortar police station unnecessary and not a good use of resources.  For example, people will use their own phone on the spot rather than run to a police station. Police can now gather evidence and respond in lots of different ways backed up by units in patrol cars and the eagle helicopter.

A police station might be a visible way of giving people comfort that the police are actively working on crime, but it doesn’t serve the same purpose as it once did in terms of how police can effectively respond and how the police can be contacted.

Following the walkabout, we have followed up on the need to improve the design of the Fort St area through a CPTED review.   This is being worked on by Council and Auckland Transport.  Te Komititanga, Wynyard Quarter and Vincent Street are areas I have also been focused on following concerns raised by residents.

On Vincent St I have secured the placement of physical barriers to deter illegal parking. The rocks have been funded from the city centre targeted rate.

Rocks provide a physical barrier to deter parking on Vincent St, City Centre, Auckland

Good for Auckland parking part 2

I’ve spoken in support of good for Auckland parking many times over the last decade.  Most recently when the Auckland Council Planning Committee signed off  a parking discussion document in November  (Good for Auckland parking part 1). I was at it again at the Committee meeting to endorse Auckland Transport’s Parking Strategy consultation document.

Speaking in support of endorsing the Parking strategy for public consultation (my notes with some additional links).

This should really be a very straight forward decision to endorse the Parking strategy going out for further consultation.   The strategic direction for the parking strategy  has been well thrashed through workshops and previously endorsed. If doing our job to establish the policies and principles for planning, supply and managing on street parking is “virtual signaling” [as claimed by Cr Newman in speaking against the strategy] then I am here for it.

What is in the strategy is based on solid evidence and  lived experiened but it has of course made for a few good clickbait headlines because parking is such an emotive topic and, as we have heard, the key aspects of the strategy have been misrepresented.  I must acknowledge here that AT’s Andrew McGill who has done an excellent job fronting the media to explain the facts.

I’d like to make a few points chair about the parking strategy and why it is a GOOD thing.

If we get parking management right we unleash a whole lot of positive outcomes for  land use planning,  urban design and the operation of our transport system.  Importantly a best practice parking strategy with road space prioritization is an essential part of our pathway to meet our emission reduction targets.

Parking is a just a means to an ends. This is expressed in the look and feel of the document and shows how far the strategy has progressed [from earlier versions with pictures of parked cars] .

An evidence based parking strategy is:

  • Good for drivers -arterial routes are less congested when not blocked by a few parked cars
  • Good for mobility of all Aucklanders as we prioritise the most efficient means of moving around the city
  • Good for business – promotes turn over and more customers . It improves freight reliability and deliveries.
  • Good for communities – that will benefit from improved PT and active transport options and improved parking on residential streets . It improves equity as wealthier household benefit the most from free parking and are subsidised by poorer households that drive less and own fewer cars
  • It is good for the 30% of Aucklanders who don’t or can’t drive including  people with disabilities

What has to be acknowledged is the very real need to ensure  a just transition for those who rely on parking and don’t have options at the moment or  who have been caught in a trap of relying on “free” parking.  Such as those homeowners who brought a discounted home with no car storage on the promise or expectation of free on-street parking.  Renters too who get caught out relying on “free” on-street parking that isn’t guaranteed.  Or workers who aren’t connected to PT who have to factor in the cost of parking .  It also needs to be just transition for the  business owners who currently rely on short term parking.

There will be drivers who will be forced to adjust as the strategy is rolled out.  This strategy recognizes that by ensuring consultation happens and that adverse impacts will be taken into account and addressed through comprehensive parking management plans.

We also know that it is on us to get the planning right so that homes are accessible and well designed. This work sits outside the strategy but is coming to us under a separate item on the agenda.  [item 11 changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan to deliver better quality intensification]

It is difficult to take something away that has been perceived as “free”.  In having that conversation with Aucklanders we have to communicate that there is a high cost to “free” parking.   The costs are just hidden and drivers are receiving a huge subsidy. That needs to be quantified and it is good to hear some of the analysis around the cost of the 900 hectares of public land used for parking – we need to get more of the facts out there.  This also goes to communicating the bigger picture as mentioned by Cr Bartley and the comments regarding bringing the community along.

I find the arguments to maintain Park and Ride  free especially curious when all the evidence doesn’t support that position. It is inequitable to make access to PT dependent on the ability to arrive by 7.30am.

This discussion  highlights that the strategy is not actually  radical as the ability to charge for Park and Ride has been available to AT since 2015 – it just needs to be implemented.  [it has already been implemented on Waiheke and at Devonport]

My enthusiasm for the parking strategy  however is tempered by the fact it proposes a very slow roll out over 10 years and as I have mentioned is what is already in the current parking strategy including how we manage parking as the lowest priority on arterials – this is the default . Voting against this consultation doesn’t make the existing strategy go away .

We are undertaking a long drawn out process and rounds of consultation  . All we are being asked to do today is get the parking strategy out for consultation.

The Committee voted 13: 10 to endorse the strategy for public consultation.

More reading and information about the parking strategy:

Auckland Councillor Richard Hills on proposals to remove parking RNZ interview

Auckland Council approves parking strategy after close vote  Todd Niall in Stuff 1 April 2022

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

Good for Auckland parking

Since I was first elected in 2010 I have taken a keen interest in the topic of parking.  I advocated for the removal of parking minimums in the Auckland Unitary Plan and initiated a Getting Parking Right for Auckland seminar targeted at business associations in 2013.    I’m convinced by the substantial body of evidence that reveals the rich rewards available to cities that get parking management* right.   Parking is one of the biggest levers available to local government and has system-wide implications.  It is also a topic which provokes emotive headlines that politicians find hard to ignore, heated public meetings, and many complaints from constituents.

At the Planning Committee on 4 November we considered the objectives and principles, as recommended as a package by the Auckland Transport Board, that will form the strategic direction underpinning the development of the 2022 Parking Strategy.

Here is a fleshed out version of the points I made at the meeting in support of the recommendation. Greater Auckland has also reported on the meeting here.

The opportunity

O’Connell St, City Centre, Auckland showing before and after once parking removed to create space for people

I started by thanking the Auckland Transport Board for doing the  ground work ahead of the council committee meeting.  We were only being asked to endorse the AT Board’s recommended strategic direction so that a parking discussion document can be prepared.  We were not signing off on the removal of parking or a final version of the strategy.  We are only at the starting point of consultation to inform a refresh of the existing 2015 Parking Strategy.

If we get the strategy right, parking management can be a key lever to reduce our carbon emissions, increase mode shift and encourage active transport, improve safety, reduce transport inequity and reduce congestion across the network.  We will have the right size tools to respond to growth and increasing intensification.  It will be good for business and good for Auckland.

“War on cars”

Elliott Street shared space blocked to people and deliveries by parked cars

Our shared spaces, footpaths and public squares are increasingly filling up with parked cars.  Illegal parking is going unchecked on our grass verges and on busy arterials.    Driving is heavily subsidised and drivers have become used to the idea that parking in the public realm is largely “free”.   There are NO signs  that Auckland Transport is anywhere close to waging a “war on cars”.  The cars in Auckland are doing just fine and driving is fully supported as a major part of the transport system.

Examples of illegal parking

In fact, rather than an attack on cars, an effective parking strategy, as proposed by the AT Board, is pro-driving. It will reduce congestion and improve connectivity and access to the places drivers want to go.  It is pro-communities, pro-equity, pro-children , pro-city building and good urban design.  It is also positive for the 30% of Aucklanders who don’t drive at all and those needing space for access (whatever the mode and personal ability).

It’s a “radical plan”

The parking strategy report that came to the Planning Committee grabbed headlines as a “radical plan to remove parking on many of the city’s roads to make way for more bus lanes and cycleways” (NZ Herald, 2 November 2021 )

The current Parking Strategy 2015 was arguably “radical” for Auckland or at least  progressive for its time. The strategy provides for parking to be de-prioritised and for road space to be allocated in favour of active transport, PT,  and the movement of people and freight.  What is being proposed now is not new or “radical” but a refresh of the existing strategy to give AT a clear mandate to implement the very parking management tools AT already has available.

If anything it is “radical” to NOT effectively manage parking to achieve Auckland’s strategic objectives. It is “radical” to give away a valuable resource for free.

It is also not “radical” to take a decade to implement the strategy, as proposed by AT, when many of the parking management tools have already been in place for over 6 years.

Bringing the community along

One of the reasons given by AT for the need to refresh the 2015 Parking Strategy is to provide a “new community mandate”, to “reset expectations” and “set out the need for change”.  The report notes that “Our community’s receptiveness to change is diverse. The approach to public engagement will aim to take our communities with us through the changes arising from the parking strategy”.

There are many examples of how the community has already been brought along  as a result of the current strategy and in response to a growing city.

Drivers are enjoying the benefits where parking has been removed on key arterials to speed up their trips.   It is not necessary to undertake expensive road widening if space is re-allocated from parked cars such as proposed for Great North Road. AT’s Future Connect enables Aucklanders to understand the long-term network plans and where parking is likely to be removed in the future.

Many residents were outraged when the first residential parking scheme was trialed in St Marys Bay almost a decade ago to cope with the influx of all day commuter parking.  That scheme proved extremely successful and has served as the template for a city-wide roll out.

It has been well signaled since 2015 that residents of new apartments will not be eligible for residential parking permits.   In the city centre and central suburbs there is no longer an expectation that vehicle storage will automatically be available on public roads for free.

Business Associations were once very skeptical about the benefits of paid parking have been won over by the results. It is good for business to use demand responsive pricing to encourage turn over and to allow customers to purchase the parking they need. There’s is a heap of evidence from NZ and across the world to share with businesses about the economic opportunities of re-allocating road space to PT, active modes and extended footpaths.  (for example the success of the Karangahape Road street upgrade).

Commuters who once used the residential streets of Ponsonby, Grey Lynn and Freemans Bay to “park and hide”  have discovered the expansion of PT services such as the new bus service to Ponsonby Rd from Kingsland station and the competitive price of PT once parking is no longer “free”. Commuters on Waiheke are used to paying for parking at Matiatia implemented to manage the demand. The same approach at all of Auckland’s crowded park and rides located next to frequent PT and served by feeder services will benefit all commuters  (*once commuting returns to pre-covid levels of course).

Its all coming too fast 

In the debate committee members raised concerns that with the NPS- UD allowing increasing intensification (with no parking minimums) this is not the time to push ahead with the parking strategy.  That we are “making life hard” and “creating a situation”

The NPS-UD is the reason more than ever to push ahead with implementing the parking strategy. Intensification is coming whether we like it or not and we have to proactively plan now how we use the public realm to the benefit of all Aucklanders.  There needs to be a really clear signal to the market that car storage has to be factored into any decision making when purchasing or renting a home.  On-road parking can no longer be advertised as guaranteed “free parking”.  As the report states “Roads are critical assets and valuable public space. They serve a range of purposes, principally movement and places, and they need to cater for all modes, rather than just prioritising cars. The way in which road space is allocated is critical as it should be used, and useable, for all Aucklanders, regardless of their travel choices.”

It is difficult for those caught in the transition.   It is a transition that has been happening for over 3 decades. It was a transition for residents who moved into the city centre during Auckland’s first apartment explosion in the 90’s  expecting to park for free on-street.  It has happened for commuters who accepted a job presuming all central residential streets would remain “free” .   It has been a transition for residents living on key arterial roads like St Lukes or Manukau Road who can no longer park on street.

During the debate I also mentioned that part of the transition will be encouraging residents to use their off-street garage space for parking rather than the storage of stuff (85 % of houses are estimated to have off-street parking available). Councillors for Manurewa-Papakura Newman and Dalton were right to point that many garages are actually homes.

We don’t solve Auckland’s housing, congestion and inequity issues by  pushing out the implementation of the strategy. We don’t help drivers or improve PT by clogging up arterials with parking.   We don’t serve our communities by hiding how much parking is subsidised or  by accepting a poor return on valuable assets (AT was unable to provide information on parking subsidies or the net parking revenue but from the report it appears to be very low rate of return compared to other cities)

We have to provide the right incentives, services, facilities,  information and support to Aucklanders as we transition to a low carbon transport system and an intensified city.  Importantly it will all happen with public consultation.

One of my constituients wrote to me  with “Any councillor who supports AT’s latest madness is equally mad”.  To the contrary, I think it is the AT Board members and Committee members who supported the strategic direction who are completely sane to make evidence based decisions and to embrace a parking strategy that is Good for Auckland.


“Parking management” is used to refer to the range of tools available to manage parking such as paid parking, park and ride services, residential parking schemes, enforcement, removal of parking on arterials etc

Further reading 

 The hidden climate costs of America’s free parking space  The Guardian, 5 November 2021

Parking kills businesses, not bikes or buses  Newsroom 5 November 2021

Climate change:  Auckland’s puzzling political parking own-goal Stuff 9 November

Karangahape Road records retail high before bracing for lockdown Our Auckland 7 September