Auckland Council’s demographic advisory panels began a new three-year term this week, ensuring the views of Aucklanders spanning generations, cultures, ethnicities and abilities continue to be represented in council decisions.
Between 19 December and 9 February, 326 Aucklanders applied for membership on one of the following panels:
- Disability Advisory Panel
- Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel
- Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel
- Rainbow Communities Advisory Panel (Māori positions)
- Seniors Advisory Panel
A separate recruitment process designed by Auckland’s young people is underway now for the Youth Advisory Panel.
What do advisory panels do?
The advisory panels offer strategic advice to the council on regional policies, plans and strategies and matters of interest to their respective communities.
While the advisory panels do not have decision-making powers, their insights are vital to informing the work of council staff and recommendations presented to the mayor, elected members and council committees.
Mayor thanks panel members
At an induction forum yesterday Mayor Phil Goff thanked new and returning panel members for the responsibilities they have taken on and he acknowledged the importance of their role in bringing the views of Aucklanders to the council table.
“Democracy is about making sure the voices all of communities are heard,” said Mayor Goff.
“Auckland is proudly diverse. We are made up of different groups with different needs and different perspectives.
"Our advisory panels exist to help ensure that we leave nobody out, that everybody is equally respected and taken into account, and that they can influence and inform the decision-making process."
“The panels have a significant responsibility. Each represents a broad community within which are many other unique and diverse communities. Our collective challenge is to bridge that diversity and have different points of view brought to council’s attention,” said Mayor Goff.
Liason councillors appointed
The mayor appointed one liaison councillor to each advisory panel to help ensure that the council’s governing body is aware of the panel’s advice and to help align the panel’s strategic agenda with governing body priorities.
Each of the panels will meet over the next three months to plan their forward work programme to the end of the current term of council in 2019. The work programme will include at least one community forum per year to facilitate direct engagement between the council and their respective communities.