Committees Formalised – Now What do they mean?
Yesterday was the first meeting of the Governing Body for the Second Term of Auckland Council. The particular meeting is a housekeeping affair with appointments to Committees formalised, volunteers taken for forums and of course the maiden speeches from the six new Councillors.
I missed the maiden speeches as I was else were working on strategy for the next three years. Bob Dey gives a good account on the speeches that made sense in his “New councillors draw innovative future for Franklin, better role for Whau” post. I have picked up new Waitakere Councillor Linda Cooper made somewhat of a hash-job of her Maiden Speech taking a swipe at by the looks of it either the mayor or $42,000 spent on Computer and Documents Bag for the Councillors and Local Boards. Knowing how much paper they carry around I think the high quality bags are a bit better and more professional looking then a shopping bag to move often sensitive documents around. Me personally I use my satchel or the carry-on case when moving documents around to and from Town Hall. So it seems Councillor Cooper might have marred her three years already based on first impressions. Not really good…
As for the Committees, I posted yesterday (bit early mind you) who are on the major and sub-committees and what those committees are. As for the forums and such we will need to wait for that to come out in the Governing Body Minutes in the next few days. Now I was there for that part (allocation of the Forums) of the Governing Body and it seems the Councillors were quite capable in volunteering for the respecting forums. However the Hauraki Forums (there are two dealing with different matters) might warrant me keeping a closer eye after initial signs of dysfunction there. We do not need that spilling over to the over forums and Committees.
The Major Committees and Sub Committees can be seen below:
The Next Three Years
Despite the hand-wringing from Bernard Orsman and Cameron Slater (WhaleOil) I cast an eye over the Committees and had a chat with a few of the Councillors yesterday over what the next three years might hold. Owing to the fact that Rates and City finances did come up in the election – and the fact no one in particular likes the debt level moving to 275% (total debt) I would consider it prudent for the Mayor to preside personally over the major Committee that will be running the Long Term and Annual Plans. Former Strategy and Finance (the predecessor Committee) Chair Penny Webster is the Deputy to this particular committee as well as the Chair to the new Finance and Organisational Committee (explained in the embed above) so despite what Orsman was thinking I do not think Councillor Webster was a loser but winner.
Councillor George Wood has taken on powerful Regional Strategy and Policy Committee which has a raft of sub committees under it. Personally I believe this will be right up George’s alley as he is the particular eye and knack for the nuts and bolts stuff that this Committee will be looking into. It also shows pragmatism rather than being a royal pain in the backside is noted and rewarded (for the sake of the City) as such even though the Mayor and Councillor Wood are technical political opposites.
However, it is the Urban and Regional Development that has caught my eye the most and will warranting the most attention from me. Given that as a Geographer and amateur Urban Designer with a keen eye over things like Unitary and Area Plans this particular and as powerful committee would be one I would be taking a personal interest in.
For starters there is no concentration of power but rather delegation to those who are best fit for the role at hand. There is also a case of stability in more sensitive areas such as planning as we move into the Area Plan planning and the Special Housing Areas over this current term. I would see Deputy Mayor Hulse and Councillor Darby as a safe pair of hands guiding us through this particular Committee rather than lurching around all over the show (last thing we need).
As for the rest of the Committees it will be a case of how things pan out over the next six months that will determine how the rest of the 2013-2016 term goes.
Couple of “meaty” posts coming through from Talking Auckland. I am waiting on both presentation slides and video from the Brent Toderian urban design presentation, as well some results out of a quarterly survey on all things Auckland.
Once I have those I will get posts up once I have the particular needed before hand. I can say though the Urban Design presentation last night with Brent Toderian was an inspirational one, one we can relate to in Auckland and one that gave a surprise on what Brent was actually talking about. Because he wasn’t giving too much specific attention to our CBD. Find out where Brent was focusing in the upcoming Talking Auckland post.