Month: December 2013

Long Day in Town Hall

Looking Forward to Sleep in Tomorrow

 

Today the last part of this particular chapter of the Len Brown Saga was played out with a Censure motion being moved unanimously. Although Part F of the Censure resolutions suite was voted on 15-5 with Councillors: Brewer, Krum, Cooper, Stewart and Quax voting against Resolution F (I will have the resolutions up as soon as the Minutes are published).

The No Confidence Motion was effectively killed off after advice from the Democracy Advisers stated that the motion was in breach of Standing Orders owing to a “double-negative” what ever that was.

 

From 10am until just after 1pm the Governing Body ground through in dealing with the saga before finally coming to the vote. More of this saga is still to be played out but for now the “official” action has been done at Governing Body level.

I will run full commentary on the proceedings at the Governing Body today including:

  • Skypath proceeds to next stage meaning the path could be operating by end of 2016
  • Living Wage got knocked back on an 11/10 vote
  • Draft Annual Plan to proceed to submission phase early next year

 

Otherwise that is it from me folks

Praise and Respect to our Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse who chaired the Governing Body as the Censure Motion went through the motions. Despite what some fringe nutters in a particular few areas on Social Media might or would like to think, it would have been unwise for the Deputy Mayor as Chair to take a stance outside of neutral. It would have been like a Judge taking a side in a Court Case thus compromising proceedings.

Also respect to Chris Fletcher for holding a level and mature head through the debate. Oh and telling Councillor Brewer to get a pink tutu and some ballerina slippers today made everyone choke on their drinks in surprise.

More on that and the rest tomorrow as for now I am going to get some sleep

 

Final Governing Body Meeting of 2013

Skypath

Annual Plans

The Mayor

 

Today is the final Governing Body meeting of Auckland Council for 2014. I have the agenda and Annual Plan draft in the respective embeds below.

While I expect Skaypath to move on to the next stage today (13-8 should be the vote pattern) it is the Mayoral issues that are taking the limelight today (and most likely a good portion of the meeting).

I will be running live commentary and Tweeting today from Town Hall of the Governing Body proceedings. All About Auckland by Kane Glass will be running a live video feed as well for the open session.

In my final piece on the Len Brown saga before the Governing Body this morning I have seen this from the NZ Herald:

Deputy mayor Hulse refuses to speak up for boss

By Bernard Orsman 5:30 AM Thursday Dec 19, 2013

Deputy says councillors focused today on doing what’s best for Auckland as mayor fights for political survival
Ms Hulse would not say if she backed Mr Brown to stay on as mayor, only that councillors were focused on doing what was best for Auckland. Photo / NZ Herald

Auckland Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse is refusing to back her boss as councillors gather today to publicly censure Mayor Len Brown, whose extramarital affair has left him fighting for political survival.

Ms Hulse yesterday would not say if she backed Mr Brown to stay on as mayor, only that councillors were focused on doing what was best for Auckland.

She said councillors had clearly expressed to him the disappointment and concern about the reputational damage to Auckland arising from his behaviour and were left wondering how to address matters.

It was the second time in three days that Ms Hulse – Mr Brown’s deputy for three years – has not stood by him as he battles the fallout of a two-year affair with Bevan Chuang.

You can read the full article here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11174750

 

After I returning from the Governing Body today I will run a nice piece of long commentary into the saga and my own thoughts about it. It should show some interesting insights most likely to some mechanics of Auckland’s Governance.

Vote wise this is how I expect the votes to go down today:

  • Skypath: 13-8 in favour
  • Censure Motion: if not unanimous the vote will be 15-5 in favour
  • Quax‘s No Confidence Motion: two ways that can end up going (both failing mind you): either 5-15 or if a couple more jump on board then 8-12
  • Any attempts for an oversight committee will most likely pass 11-9

Will see how those predictions pan out today

 

 

 

Accelerated Transport Package Under Way

Sod Turned on first accelerated transport projects

 

The Prime Minister along with other dignitaries today turned the first sod up on the North Shore for the accelerated transport projects announced in June this year.

From Voxy:

Accelerated package of Auckland Transport projects

Wednesday, 18 December, 2013 – 08:46

A sod turning today by Prime Minister John Key to celebrate a construction start on a project linking the Upper Harbour Highway to the Northern Motorway signals what promises be an action-packed few years to get on top of Auckland’s crucial transport infrastructure needs.

In an event billed as the start of an accelerated package of Auckland transport improvements, the Prime Minister is scheduled to launch the first of a group of projects he confirmed in his “Backing Auckland” speech in June

The project launched today involves building a motorway-to-motorway link between the Upper Harbour Highway and the Northern Motorway at Constellation Drive, upgrading the Greville Road interchange and improving the Northern Busway.

Welcoming the accelerated programme, chairman of the Auckland Business Forum Michael Barnett said he anticipated other critical projects commencing soon, including reducing delays on the State Highway 20A route to Auckland Airport at the Kirkbride Intersection, and widen the Southern Motorway between Manukau and Papakura.

“We also need to see action as soon as possible on the next generation of major projects the Prime Minister confirmed in June, especially the East-West Link and Central Rail Link,” said Mr Barnett.

An early start to the east-west link between the south western motorway at Onehunga and southern motorway at Mt Wellington on the northern shore of Manukau Harbour is critical, he said. “After the central city this is Auckland’s second highest area of employment. Congestion is already bad enough. But with the economy improving and other freight and warehouse businesses setting up in the Southdown area, the project needs to be progressed with speed and urgency.

Source: http://www.voxy.co.nz/business/accelerated-package-auckland-transport-projects/5/177634

You can read the full speech over at Voxy

 

Some of the accelerated projects are controversial (East-West Link) while others are very much needed (CRL and widening the Southern Motorway between Papakura and Manukau).

Still I note Barnett’s comments about the East-West Link and the drive behind that. I would approach the East-West Link with caution owing to potential land-use changes over the next 30 years. As noted previously by Councillor Bill Cashmore there is a real chance heavy industry and large-scale logistic firms could be forced south by natural land-use change towards residential, commercial and some light industry. We already are seeing that at the west end of Onehunga with the Onehunga Special Housing Area flipping light industry over to Mixed Use (residential and commercial).

 

More on this as information dribbles out over the next six months.

 

Colin Maiden Park to come under Public Ownership

Colin Maiden Park transferred from Private to Public Ownership

 

Good news after a long campaign to have Colin Maiden Park in Tamaki converted over from private ownership (University of Auckland) to public ownership (Auckland Council).

From Auckland Council on the transfer:

Colin Maiden Park to stay in public ownership

 

Auckland Council has added Colin Maiden Park in St Johns to its parks network, ensuring this open space and sports field complex remains in public ownership and available to the people of Auckland forever.

The unconditional agreement with the University of Auckland means that the 20 hectare park will be taken over by council early next year, which allows the university to focus on plans for its new developments in the city centre and Newmarket. The park is being acquired for $60.7m.

Mayor Len Brown says this is one of the most significant urban park acquisitions in Auckland’s history and council’s decision to acquire the park will ensure that Aucklanders have access to this asset forever.

“We have acquired Colin Maiden Park for the people who use and enjoy it every day of the week, whether they are from Glen Innes, Glen Eden or Glenfield. We can all be proud that the last major piece of private open space on the isthmus has been retained for the people of Auckland,” he says.

 

The Chair of council’s Parks, Recreation and Sport Committee, Councillor Christine Fletcher, reflected on the significance of this decision to the community.

“Together with the netball centre and Ngahue Reserve, this decision creates an incredible 44 hectare sports and open space complex for Auckland. This rivals Western Springs or the Domain for scale and significance,” says Cr Fletcher.

Orakei Local Board Chair Desley Simpson expressed great pleasure and relief at the decision.

“We have honoured the opinions expressed by so many Orakei residents – the future of the park was the one of the most submitted-on issues in the draft Unitary Plan.

“Our community was particularly concerned that the park might become intensive housing. It is now guaranteed to remain as public open space and available to everybody,” says Ms Simpson.

 

The park will transfer to the council’s local and sports parks portfolio on 1 February 2014.

This acquisition was an unbudgeted item which has been factored into the draft Annual Plan 2014/15. Council has also agreed to explore the sale of three parcels of council-owned land around Colin Maiden Park, to assist with the cost of acquiring the park.

Sale of land will follow the relevant public consultation processes in the Reserves Act and the Local Government Act. If any land is sold, any existing uses and activities on that land will be provided for on Colin Maiden Park or in the same general area.

In the coming months, council will work with all current users of the park to discuss their existing arrangements and look at how we continue to work together. Long term management of the park will also be addressed through council and the local board’s planning processes.

—ends—

 

I believe congratulations are in order for Orakei Local Board Chairwoman Desley Simpson as the public figurehead that spearheaded the campaign to have Colin Maiden Park transferred to public ownership – securing its place as Open Space on the isthmus. Well done Delsey and co for a job well done 🙂

 

Now just to get the bureaucratic proceedings out-of-the-way and Auckland has a very large park secured for its future.