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End of term chair’s report: Environment and Community Committee 2016 – 2019

Published: 10 September 2019

Manaaki whenua, manaaki tangata, haere whakamua

Care for the land, care for people, go forward

Today, members of the council’s Environment and Community Committee met for the last meeting of the committee’s current term.

To acknowledge the committee chair Councillor Penny Hulse, councillors, staff and members of the public sang a waiata, and staff presented Councillor Hulse with a woven neckpiece by artist Shona Tawhiao in recognition of her leadership of the committee over the past three years.

Councillor Hulse, who presented a chair’s report summarising some of the work undertaken by the committee this term, expressed how much chairing the committee has meant to her.

“I’ve been extremely privileged to chair the Environment and Community Committee for the past three years. Leading this committee has given me the opportunity to work in two areas dear to my heart: people and the environment.”

Presenting her report to the committee, Councillor Hulse stressed the importance of strong communities and healthy environments and the need for ongoing work in both areas.

“The people of Tāmaki Makaurau need both strong communities and a healthy environment. We need a healthy environment to thrive, for recreation opportunities and for mental and physical health; and our environment can thrive when we look after it; when we minimise waste, recycle and reduce our carbon footprint.

"While I’ve been looking back on the great progress we’ve made together this term, I don’t for one second think we can rest easy. There is still so much to do.

“There are still plant and animal pests destroying our native eco-systems. Kauri dieback is a huge threat, one that we will need to fight for years to come. Too much waste is still going to landfill. Our waterways and beaches need cleaning up. Inequality and homelessness are massive challenges. Then there’s the biggest threat of all – the climate crisis.”

Mayor Phil Goff thanked Councillor Hulse for her leadership and exemplary chairing of the committee.

"The challenges, issues and opportunities considered and debated by the committee this term have been numerous and varied. As members with different thoughts and opinions, we have not always agreed, but we have had a fair and balanced chair who cares and deeply believes in Auckland and Aucklanders. Councillor Hulse chaired this committee with diplomacy, focus and a genuine belief that we must work together for environmental and social outcomes that benefit everyone.”

Councillor Hulse thanked Mayor Goff, fellow committee members, local boards, council staff and the wider community for their input over the past three years, saying she has hope for the future and faith in the people of Auckland.

“After 27 years in local government, I’m not standing for re-election. It has been an honour to serve the people of Auckland, particularly the people of the west. But even after I finish my term as councillor, I will continue to try to make our wonderful city an even better place, in whatever I do next and through my everyday actions.

“Every day I meet people in the community who are working to solve the problems we face, this gives me hope for our future. I also have huge faith in our youth who are pushing for action on climate change and the environment. Their leadership should drive us to work towards braver and more transformative change for the sake of not only future generations but for the good of our community now.”

Deputy-chair of the committee, Councillor Alf Filipaina, says that while Penny will be missed at the council table, she leaves a brilliant legacy of public good.

“The achievements of this committee during this term have been truly impressive. I am proud to have been a part of it. From improving community safety, funding sports fields and programmes to improve water quality and restoring our streams, there’s a lot we’ve covered. But I believe the committee could not have achieved all it has without its chair. Penny has led the committee with resolve, hard work and an unwavering kindness for everyone she meets. I wish her all the best.”

About the Environment and Community Committee

The Environment and Community Committee deals with strategy and policy-making that relates to the environmental, social, economic and cultural activities of Auckland as well as matters that are not the responsibility of another committee or the Governing Body.

Here is a small sample of the actions and work considered by the committee this term:

  • Declared a climate emergency. We’re following this up by developing and consulting on Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Action Framework, which sets out a plan to keep the temperature rise within 1.5 degrees Celsius and get Auckland to net zero emissions by 2050.
  • Implemented many new projects to restore our natural environment and improve water quality through work enabled by targeted rates, such as combating kauri dieback, funding community environmental initiatives, and advancing major new infrastructure to reduce contamination and wastewater overflows into the Waitematā Harbour.
  • Adopted a Regional Pest Management Plan to help control pests.
  • Opened a multi-purpose facility, Te Manawa, in Westgate the first of its kind in Tāmaki Makaurau – a community hub and library, providing a space and resources to explore, connect and grow.
  • Established the Safeswim programme, which manages public health and safety by delivering real-time beach and water quality information to help people decide where to swim.
  • Provided Regional Environment and Natural Heritage grants to fund work enhancing Auckland’s environment, especially projects focused on sustainable living.
  • Acquired 67 new parks and open spaces with a combined land area of 251.4 hectares over the last three financial years, giving Aucklanders more space for recreation and enjoyment.
  • Increased the council’s Regional Historic Heritage Fund, to help look after Auckland’s heritage.
  • Adopted the Auckland Waste Management and Minimisation Plan 2018
  • Considered numerous submissions.
  • Received more than 90 public input items and around 32 local board input items.

Read the chair’s full end of term report here [PDF].

Read more: Community Environment

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