We proactive or reactive as a City?
With Mayor-elect Phil Goff having picked his Deputy Mayor (Bill Cashmore) and having set up the Committee structure (similar to Len Brown) the question is asked: “what Committees are the crucial ones?”
First the Committee structure and the membership:
You will notice Deputy Mayor Cashmore does not chair any Committees unlike former Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse who chaired the critical Auckland Development Committee, and the Council Control Organisation Review Committee (the only committee that could compel a CCO to do something). Also I notice the CCO Review Committee is not carried over into the Goff-era so going to be interesting on how Auckland Transport and Panuku Development Auckland will be “compelled” given there is more to both CCO’s than just “planning” (where both of them sit in the Committee structure).
In any case which Committee would be deemed the most critical? Is it Planning or is it Community and Environment?
If you are to believe Bernard Orsman then Councillor Penny Hulse and Councillor Alf Filipaina took a demotion after handling the Unitary Plan with their appointments to the new Community and Environment Committee (the successor to George Wood’s Regional Strategy and Policy Committee) meaning Planning is the most powerful Committee. Transport Blog also believe the Planning Committee is the most powerful Committee as well with Auckland Transport, Watercare and Panuku brought under that Committee.
I believe that Hulse’s Community and Environment Committee has become the most powerful Committee IF we are to engage in proactive rather than reactive Planning. Proactive meaning we plan AHEAD once a basic goal has been set (2.5 million people by 2040 and a large population in the Waikato). Reactive is trying to react and catch up to say we are 100,000 homes short and while we are building them where does the infrastructure go rather than lay down the infrastructure THEN build the houses.
The good news is the Auckland and Unitary Plans are proactive documents in outlining the issue of population then handling economic, community, basic premise of infrastructure placement, and where the growth can go (through the zones). The Unitary Plan is complete but the Auckland Plan is due for review next year so which Committee should handle that review. If we are reacting to our growth then sure the Planning Committee, but if we are being proactive it would be handled in the Community and Development Committee especially with the Southern Initiative placed under that Committee’s jurisdiction.
Because without the Community (the people) and most of all the Environment which supports us all your Planning and Finance Committees go nowhere very fast if at all.
Panuku Development Auckland (given community, environment, economic development and the Southern Initiative (for Manukau and Papatoetoe) all influence the CCO heavily) should be taken out of Planning (a reactive Committee) and placed into the proactive Community and Environment Committee for the reasons I mentioned above. PEOPLE and ENVIRONMENT would come first and without them things like Transform Manukau fall over.
If you look at my Transform Manukau series (especially TransformManukau – Our Identity. Part 13 of the Manukau City Centre – The Transform Series and #TransformManukau – Missing the Human Element. Part 8 of the Manukau City Centre – The Transform Series) you can see I have placed the human/community element at the top of the “planning” processes.
From Part 8:
But as we also know with Manukau it sits in a value trough compared to the surrounding residential areas acting like a monolith. The monlith is big structures but lacking the local and people element. To make things a bit more complex in Transform we also have the case where: Human Geography Element Still Lacking in Council and Auckland in which I concluded there: “In short? We are great with the Physical Geography stuff (the tangible stuff we can use our five senses on) but like Transform Manukau (and as that series is fleshing out) Council and its CCO’s lack the capabilities in clearly articulating the Human Geography side – the people side. Without the Human Geography side and Human Geographers assisting Council articulating that Human Geography side (and story) then all we get is Auckland being one big monolith!”
Now Panuku realises that yes they are great with the Physical Geography side but it will certainly be interesting dealing with the Human Geography side. That said the person who I had met up with at Panuku for the story on Manukau articulated the Human Geography side extremely well. What it can come down to now is people and bloggers like myself to help articulate that human side of the Manukau story and generate feedback to help better Manukau (and the South).
So how do we improve the quality of life for the people of the South through Transform Manukau? We do this in a two prong fashion:
- Having the communities in the front seat driving the implementation of Transform Manukau (rather than being led by the Council)
- Bringing the Local to Manukau
1) Having the communities in the front seat driving the implementation of Transform Manukau (rather than being led by the Council)
This is Goal 8 of Panuku and one of my main advocacy points to Council and Panuku (for the last five years) in having the community in the front seat driving the implementation of Transform Manukau. Note I have said implementation rather than “planning.” This is because Manukau has been planned to death and the community is getting consultation fatigue from it (simply put they switch off). What the community wants, what I would like to see and what Panuku wants to do is to get cracking – to implement these plans and get the ball finally rolling on Transform Manukau.
With communities (and that includes the business community) in the front seat of the Transform Manukau program the program itself would be adaptive to the needs of the Southern Auckland area (including Manukau) through a collaborative and empowerment regime rather than back seat passengers that has been a regular occurrence with another particular Council Controlled Organisation.
With the community in the front seat driving Transform Manukau part two becomes easier to realise.
2) Bringing the Local to Manukau
One thing Panuku made very clear in their sit down is that Manukau is great with the regional stuff like the mall, large format retail, Rainbows End, the police HQ and the courts. But what is missing in Manukau is the local stuff that would make people want to stay, linger, socialise or even live in Manukau rather than this 9-5 transactional economy Manukau currently has.
As I quoted above we are great at the physical stuff (and often that is where the regional stuff is often placed) but we are lagging in the human stuff (where the local would sit) that humanises a centre especially a Metropolitan Centre.
So what is the local stuff needed to humanise the Metropolitan Centre that is Manukau City Centre (and its surrounds)? Well a critical mass of a permanent population base (whether it be apartments in Manukau City Centre itself or terraced housing in the residential estates south of Manukau City Centre) would be a good start as that critical mass attracts commercial development (viability) and further investment from the public sector (Council and Government). The commercial development especially if things like bars, cafes, and small format retail would give people a reason to stay, linger, socialise, and attract more people to live and work in Manukau.
A risk though in driving for that critical mass of a permanent residential population in Manukau is that the new residential population decide to go elsewhere to socialise and even work resulting in Manukau still losing out as a 9-5 transactional economy.
The question is though what goes first to attract people to Manukau in order to build that critical mass and bring that Local (the people) to Manukau? Do we go with the physical stuff first like big apartment blocks or even more offices followed by open spaces or do we go open spaces first THEN the apartment blocks and offices? If I put my Cities Skylines hat on we go open spaces first then the apartments and offices.
Panuku have been very good and through developing their Implementation Strategy (out December) with the human element placed at the top.
Through the Manukau exercise and given Manukau’s prominence in terms of economic clout and social identity as ‘Meeting Place of the South’ you can see why that:
- Panuku should be moved to the Community and Environment Committee
- The Community and Environment Committee is technically THE most powerful committee
Where does that leave the Planning Committee? It basically becomes the Implementation and Audit Committee making sure the actions laid out in the Community and Environment Committee are done properly and efficiently.