Mayor and CEO better be clear with the public what was going on
From the Herald:
Clandestine move to break up parks network foiled
A plan by council management to break up the regional park network has been stamped out after a showdown with councillors and a senior mayoral aide.
Politicians were tipped off about breaking up the network of 26 regional parks last week and confronted chief operating officer Dean Kimpton and senior park staff late on Thursday.
Parks committee chairwoman Christine Fletcher, councillor Mike Lee and mayoral chief of staff Barry Ebert convinced Mr Kimpton to keep the regional parks under one umbrella.
It is understood a plan was well advanced to bundle the regional parks into three geographical units alongside local parks to create operational and cost efficiencies.
The parks, recreation and sport committee knew nothing about the plan, nor did Mayor Len Brown.
The plan has come under fire from the Friends of Regional Parks, whose chairman Bill Burrill wrote to Mr Brown saying it would cause irreparable damage to the parks network.
“Local priorities for already squeezed budgets will end up with parks not getting the resources they need and these incredible regional assets will be degraded,” he said.
“Having a regional policy unit making decisions for the network as a whole ensures that all the parks get the resources they need, when they need them.”
The regional park network is much loved and treasured by the people of Auckland and visitors alike, said Sandra Coney, chairwoman of the Waitakere Ranges Local Board.
Kit Howden, a regional park volunteer, has written to Mr Brown and council chief executive Stephen Town urging them not to separate the public from their parks.
Mr Kimpton in a statement said the council values the regional park network and has no intention of breaking it up.
“Our focus remains on enhancing how we look after these assets in the context of increased visitation and Auckland’s continuing growth, and we will continue to work with the Friends of Regional Parks and volunteer networks.”
I have asked the Council for a please explain earlier this morning on how this entire saga mentioned above came even to the point that the Chief Operating Officer was confronted by Councillors and a staff member from the Mayor’s Office.
To put the mind of the public at ease a full independent and public investigation of this saga needs to occur immediately. If the COO was found to be doing what he was confronted over and setting in motion plans to break up the Regional Park network then I am inclined for a full public rebuking and censuring by the CEO at the next available Governing Body meeting to serve as a reminder to others.
We await a more formal reply from Council on the matter.