Mr Mayor, I stand before you today filled with pride at being given the opportunity by the people of Rodney to represent them, in this our third term of Auckland Council.
I am honoured to be addressing the governing body for the first time, with an eye on serving all of Auckland.
I congratulate you on your appointment to the mayoralty.
Aucklanders are looking to be led into a new era with a sense of common purpose and collective responsibility from the mayor, councillors, CCOs and local boards.
Not forgetting you Mr Town and the council family group.
This is an exciting time and an opportunity for a fresh start.
I also wish to congratulate my fellow councillors and the local board members across Auckland upon their election to office.
Mr Mayor. I believe our mandate to be clear. Council must live within its financial means.
This means we must stop the wastage and overspending.
If rate adjustments are to be kept low, making significant cost savings and gains in productivity are two of the vital levers towards achieving this goal.
Regionally, Auckland faces many challenges requiring our stewardship – ranging from over-regulated building controls, to infrastructure funding, to knowing what a successful transport network will look like, and much more.
Mr Mayor, Rodney was at the epicentre of the 17 per cent Mistrust and Confidence rating of Auckland Council. Of all the wards right across Auckland, Rodney residents had the least favourable view of council.
This is salvageable – and not expensive to achieve. I am about to explain how.
My constituents are confused why council has rezoned the townships of Kumeū and Warkworth as Auckland’s northern growth centres, which already have SHAs popping out of the ground, without structure plans being in place ahead of building consents being issued.
In the absence of structure plans, private plan changes can knock out sites where schools, water infrastructure, roading, broadband and power should be going. As well as social service providers.
Government’s responsibility to fix the Hill Street intersection at Warkworth, and Statehighway 16’s congestion at Kumeū, are able to be factored into structure plans, allowing increased justification and leverage for these particular projects to be funded by central government. Let’s not pass up those opportunities.
Rail to Kumeū and the opening up of commercial and industrial land nearby so people don’t have to commute will also be within scope.
Mr Mayor. I am very conscious that you understand this well. You already know structure plans are key concerns. My intention now is simply to bring the solution on how to improve the council satisfaction levels to the attention of all the governing body members.
This is done by Including in next year’s 2017/18 Annual Plan the requirement for these structure plans to be completed.
The dollar investment is ridiculously cheaper than any public relations campaign.
The other area beyond these towns is the rural sector’s complete frustration. This is territory where the NAG breakaway group is strongest.
The council service they have been asking for, year after year, is for the roads to be made safe.
Add to this the news, which I sincerely hope you have already been made aware of, that dust particles generated from unsealed roads were classified by the World Health Organisation as carcinogenic earlier this year. I trust last term’s councillors were also briefed that these findings have been formally presented our DHBs and their board of directors.
Mr Mayor. We actually have no choice but to crack on and seal the most hazardous dust-producing roads under our health and safety obligations.
The NZTA has been quick to act, notifying all transport asset managers nationally, Local Government New Zealand and the Office of the Auditor General about how to prioritise the danger levels of these roads and the solution.
In short, this will come at a regional seal extension investment of $10 million a year for the next 10 years. Again, not an outrageous capital investment to solve a newly recognised health issue, while also dramatically increasing all Aucklanders’ confidence in council to make the right decision.
In closing and on a more positive note.
It is important for all of us to remember that we do not win elections on our own. We win because of the support of our families, who make many sacrifices to see us elected. I want thank all my family and friends for their tolerance and support. My beautiful sister Christina is here today – thank you.
I would also like to thank the wonderful people in Rodney who helped me on my campaign. There are too many of you to thank individually, because as with any successful campaign it relies on a huge team. I hope all of you will continue to feel free to give me your advice during the next three years, as there is no substitute to having good people on the ground telling me what is actually going on in our ward and city.
Thank you especially to the voters of Rodney who turned out in significant numbers.
Mr Mayor, I am in the service of my city, in the service of my fellow citizens and in the service of my country. There could be no greater honour.
Thank you. This is my maiden speech.