A lively panel at Auckland Council’s Community Development and Safety Committee recently debated the topic ‘Auckland- is it the best place for Pasifika to live?’
The committee co-hosted April’s meeting with the Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel who wanted to include the debate as a forum to discuss issues of importance to their communities like housing, civic participation and belonging.
Councillor Cathy Casey, chair of the Community Development and Safety Committee, says that the debate was an opportunity to hear diverse points of views that resonate with Pasifika communities.
“Pasifika people play a very important role in the economic, social and cultural fabric of Tāmaki Makaurau. At the same time, many people in our Pasifika community experience significant social and economic challenges,” said Dr Casey.
An almost too-close-to-call vote gave the affirmative team a slight edge and they were declared the debate’s winner. Their focus was on Auckland as a good home for Pasifika aspirations and a city that provides opportunities today and for the future.
Economist Shamubeel Eaqub set the tone of the debate by acknowledging the complexity of the question at hand.
“There is no black and white answer in a debate like this. While Auckland is seen as a place of opportunity, there is certainly room for improvement, especially when it comes to housing challenges that significantly impact Pasifika communities.”
Mr Eaqub also highlighted Auckland’s economy, its lifestyle and the positive community connections that help make the city the chosen home for so many Pacific people.
The negating team did well to remind audiences and the committee of the contribution and sacrifices of Pasifika families over the years in building a life in Auckland.
The negating team strongly urged the council to work harder and to do things differently, innovatively and creatively. They also posed the question of whether future opportunities for Pasifika people will be elsewhere.
How is Auckland Council supporting Auckland’s Pasifika communities?
- We are committed to ensuring that people from Pasifika communities are on CCO Boards and represented at a local governance level
- We now have targets in place to reflect diversity at senior leadership levels
- Active support for the Moana Pasifika staff network at Auckland Council
- Aspirations for the Pasifika communities are embedded in planning such as the Whau Pacific people’s plan and the Auckland Plan
- Significant funding provided for events like Polyfest and the Pacific Music Awards and funding through initiatives like the Pasifika Regional Programming Budget.
The committee will continue co-hosting its monthly meetings with council’s advisory panels throughout 2019. See the council’s website for committee meeting dates.
View the full video of the debate from April’s Community Development and Safety meeting here.