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 


Councillor monthly report May 2021

General update

My Councillor report covers the period from 12 April 2021 until 7 May 2021.  It has been prepared for the May business meetings of the Aotea Great Barrier, Waiheke and Waitematā Board Local Boards.

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


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


  • Council Finance staff reported to the Finance and Performance Committee that we have saved over $119 million so far this financial year as part of the $120million savings target stipulated in the Emergency Budget 2020/2021.
  • Chair Cath Handley and I met with the representatives of the Kennedy Point Marina development on 29 April. We all agreed that we are aiming for a “best practice” approach to managing and monitoring the Kororā habitat.  We requested that the review of their Little Blue Penguin management and monitoring plans is independently audited.  We strongly urged the developer to hold off re-commencing any works until after the review has been completed and the updated resource consent documents are approved by council.
  • Council announced plans to improve Queen Street and make it more pedestrian-friendly including installing wide boardwalks, seating, planter boxes to replace the temporary plastic sticks put in place during lockdown. A pocket park will also be created on the corner of Queen Street and Fort Street. The High Court decision on 6 May not to grant the injunction sought by Save the Queen Street Society means Auckland Council and Auckland Transport are able to proceed with planned improvements from 10 May.
  • I responded to a The Spinoff opinion column harshly criticising Auckland Council’s decision to fell a stand of trees at Western Springs for the native bush restoration project that I have supported since I was on the Waitematā Local Board.

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 15 April the Environment and Community Committee received a quarterly update from Auckland Unlimited. As part of the development of a Water Strategy the committee adopted ambitious targets designed to reduce Aucklanders’ use of drinking water by 20 per cent over the next 30 years to create a city more resilient to impacts of drought and climate change.

On 22 April the Finance and Performance Committee received an update on progress on savings targets set out in the Emergency Budget and approved the annual plans and council funding contributions for ARAFA, MOTAT and the Auckland War Memorial Museum. The committee also agreed that staff use existing rating policies to fully remit the fourth quarter instalment of the Accommodation Provider Targeted Rate set for 2020/2021

On 29 April the Governing Body received the final report of the independent review of health & safety at Ports of Auckland, requested a copy of the implementation plan, and that Ports of Auckland present their progress at the July and October Governing Body Meetings. The Governing Body also endorsed Mayor Goff and Deputy Mayor Cashmore as sponsors of the Light Rail Project and approved recommendations on proposed changes to Te Ture ā-Rohe Whakararata Waipiro 2014 / the Alcohol Control Bylaw 2014.

On 4 May the Appointments and Performance Committee appointed directors for Auckland Unlimited and Panuku Development Auckland and approved a shortlist of Board Members for Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Board.

On 6 May the Planning Committee   received public input from Christine Rose and Bevan Woodward on behalf of Movement regarding “The People’s Path”, a proposal for a walking and cycling facility across the Waitematā Harbour, and in response resolved to support Movement discussing with Waka Kotahi a trial of a walking and cycling lane on the Auckland Harbour Bridge and requested Waka Kotahi to seek a practical solution to a cost effective walking and cycling crossing across the Auckland harbour.

In agreeing to delegate development of the submission to the Transport and Infrastructure Committee inquiry into congestion pricing in Auckland, the Planning Committed agreed to  support in principle congestion pricing in Auckland, conditional upon the following issues being addressed:

i)       mitigation of equity impacts ii)      having public transport services and projects in place across Auckland on an equitable basis to allow road users to switch to alternative modes where appropriate iii)     that revenue collected, in addition to that needed to operate the scheme and to address clauses a) i) and a) ii) above, be used to offset and, as revenue and costs allow, replace the Regional Fuel Tax

Other key meetings and events

  •  On 12 April I met AT staff to discuss the city centre bus plan. The Governing Body held a workshop to discuss the findings of the CHASNZ Independent Review of health & safety at Ports of Auckland. I also attended the City Centre Residents Monthly meeting at the Ellen Meville Centre
  • On 13 April I met with David Abbott, Chair St Marys Bay Residents Association and with Tania Billingsly to discuss her family’s Te Atatu development.
  • On 14 April I attended Auckland Transport’s online RLTP public consultation event.
  • On 15 April Minister Wood met the Mayor and Councillors via Zoom to provide an update on Light Rail. I joined Councillor Desley Simpson in a meeting with the Auckland Bowling Club.
  • I was in the driving seat briefly at a ceremony to mark a major CRL milestone with the start of underground construction on the Aotea Station

    On 16 April I joined Mayor Goff to mark a CRL milestone in the build of the Aotea Station  and joined his visit to Ngai Tai Ki Tamaki’s Umupuia Marae, Cr Dalton gave me a tour of Manurewa on the way there. I attended the Taskforce on Alcohol and Community meeting.

  • On 17 April I attended the opening of the new playground in Western Springs Lakeside Park Te Wai Ōrea with the Waitemata Local Board and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.
  • On 18 April spent the afternoon on Waiheke to visit Kennedy Point and Wharetana Bay where residents wished to discuss long standing issues regarding the public reserve.
  • Visit with the Mayor to Ngai Tai Ki Tamaki’s Umupuia Marae

    On 19 April I received an update on the resource consent conditions for the proposed Kennedy Point Marina and visited a business building and selling sustainable eco-friendly tiny homes. I attended a regular catchup with Waiheke Local board members via Skype

  • On 20 April Cr Hills and I met with attendees from British Consulate General and the Regional COP26 Climate Change Advisor Dr Victoria Hatton.
  • On 21 April I attended the Waiheke Local Board meeting in person.
  • On 22 Minister James Shaw met with the Mayor and Councillors to discuss the government’s action and response to the Climate Change Commission. I also received a briefing on the Cycling Programme Business Case Review.
  • On 23 April I attended the City Link e-bus launch; was taken on a walking tour of Wynyard Quarter by Panuku staff; attended a site visit on Beach Road to discuss noise issues and met with City Centre Residents Group representatives.
  • On April 25 I attended Anzac Services at the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Grey Lynn RSC.
  • On 27 April I attended the first Political Reference Group meeting for the Auckland Cycling Programme Business Case review and attended a Women in Urbanism monthly catch up event.
  • On 28 April I met with Mark Knoff-Thomas of the Newmarket Business Association.
  • On 29 April Chair Handley and I met with the Kennedy Point Marina Director and Project Manager. I also attended the Viaduct Harbour residents’ meeting regarding Project WAVE and the opening night of ‘Single Asian Female’ at the ASB Waterfront Theatre at the invite of ATC
  • On 30 April Local Board I attended local board members Graeme Gunthorp, Julie Sandilands regular catch up with AT to discuss issues in the area and attended the Urban Nerds networking event.
  • On 3 May I met with Christine Rose and Andy Smith to discuss their walking/cycling lane proposal across the Harbour Bridge ahead of their presentation to the Planning Committee.
  • On 4 May I met with Auckland Blues representatives Andrew Finn and Brian Hore. I also attended a meeting for the Hauraki Gulf Forum to discuss the possibility of a Blue Bond and met with the Grey Lynn Business Association to discuss the impact of AT’s work in West Lynn.
  • On 5 May I met with Carolyn Cox to discuss the Hauraki Gulf focus of the Waiheke Local Climate Action Plan
  • MP Chlöe Swarbrick and the owner of Monster Valley, Karl and the opening even for Chlöe’s new office on Karanagahape Road

    On 6 May I attended Bike Auckland’s Bike Breakfast at Terrace café and I attended the opening of MP Chlöe Swarbrick’s new office on Karangahape Road

  • On 7 May I attended City Rail Link’s “ready to bore” event to mark the launch of the tunnel boring machine by the Mayor and Minister of Transport Michael Wood and joined the Minister again in the evening for his Auckland Light Rail discussion meeting with stakeholders at the Fickling Centre
  • I also attend a range of workshops and committee briefings throughout the month

Our urban forest

One of the final decisions I made as a Chair of the Waitematā Local Board was to approve Auckland’s first localised Urban Ngahere Action Plan.  The plan is a road map for replenishing the urban forest and delivering on Auckland Council’s Urban Ngahere (Forest) Strategy to achieve the goal of 30% tree cover by 2050.   There are now 16 local boards who have either finalised or are in the process of taking Waitematā’s lead on their own plan.  There are numerous benefits associated with having, developing and maintaining a flourishing urban forest.

If the Recovery Budget is supported with a one off 5% rates rise there will be an additional $14m to invest in growing our urban and rural forests.   We will be able to plant an additional 11,000 street trees. We will be able to partner with the community to establish a nursery and produce 200,000 native seedlings a year to support community and marae planting.  There will be funds for planting an additional 200 ha of native forest.   Surveying is currently underway to determine locations for street trees targeting local board areas with the lowest canopy cover.   This is part of a package of proposals to address climate change in addition to the planting and ecological restoration already underway.

We are currently deep into the second year of the Mayor’s million tree initiative.  The goal of planting between 250,000 and 350,000 trees was well overshot last year by focusing on 4 major sites for new trees.  The Waitematā Local Board area has had an overall increase in canopy cover from 368ha of urban forest in 2013, increasing to 371ha in 2016/2018.   This provides a promising indication that clearance of trees is not occurring as has widely been predicted even with the removal of tree protection rules over a decade ago.

All trees will reach a stage where they become unwell or unsafe, so if we can plan for the  future we can achieve much better outcomes.  The Recovery Budget supports a 10 year programme that takes a long-term view of tree management and planting. Trees aren’t like other infrastructure, if they are planted properly they will give dividends well into the future.   I fully support the Tupuna Maunga Authority taking this long-term view to plan for the restoration of indigenous native ecosystems. The removal of inappropriate exotic weeds and trees is part of that process.

Wynyard Quarter is one of the best examples of planting to a masterplan.  There are now over 800 maturing trees many of which have been successfully moved from Quay Street. However, planting is becoming more challenging because of changing weather patterns.  Last year there was barely a winter.  This year the traditional planting season is likely to move to July until September.  In all maintenance contracts there are now standard clauses to ensure streets trees are well looked after for two years before being handed over as council assets.

When tree removal is required, for example, for much needed housing, improvements to community amenities or for safety,  council has to ensure proper processes are followed, mitigation is provided for and appropriate tools are used to protect significant trees.  At Western Springs I want to see council push ahead to remove the unsafe and failing pine trees so significant planting can get underway during the planting season and the track opened up again for the community (read more about the Western Springs Native Bush restoration project here on the Auckland Council website).  The long-term benefits will be enjoyed by generations to come.

First published in Ponsonby News April 2021