Salvation Army report makes for glum reading
A report from the Salvation Army due to be released at Parliament later this morning made for some glum reading for the community of Papakura. The Salvation Army report, ‘the State of Our Communities’ illustrated:
Residents in three of New Zealand’s low-income communities have expressed pride in where they live.
But they also feel that Linwood in Christchurch, Porirua in Wellington and Papakura in Auckland have been forgotten by the government, local councils and others in their cities. Those views are contained in a Salvation Army report, the State of Our Communities, which involved 300 face-to-face interviews. The report says New Zealand is at an interesting time in its history, with a new government “full of promises, new ideas and zeal”. “Yet some of the social issues we face in Aotearoa are deeply entrenched, complex and severe,” it said.
Among issues of most concern to those interviewed were:
- more jobs, especially for young people;
- a stronger local economy and business sector;
- homelessness, high rents and a lack of decent housing;
- more activities and greater safety for children;
- gangs, drugs and begging.
“People held a pride and passion for their community,” the report said.
“But they were also realistic and brutally honest about the enormity of the social issues facing their community.”
However, they had real hopes, dreams and aspirations.
quote context: http://pllqt.it/9DpObz
Papakura has pride alright but Papakura is also fractured (at political level) and forgotten about all too often unless it is something about crime. Positive stories while they come about like the story on Papakura High School embarking on a new era under a new principal negative stories such as robberies, gangs and youth delinquency hit page one of our media outlets more than they ever should for a community.
As I noted earlier Papakura definitely has pride. The local events like parades and music in the parks are often well patronised. We have the Northern Stars netball team based here in Papakura and the community has produced sports stars and community leaders. Neighbourhood Support and Crime Watch are working well in the prevention of crime and community building while locals definitely make their voices heard when consultation documents come up from Auckland Council.
But for all the good the bad can not be swept under the carpet either.
Papakura is under rapid population growth with its surrounds north and south also under rapid growth. This puts pressure on housing and all forms of infrastructure including water, parks, roads and transit. Unfortunately while former Councillor Calum Penrose was instrumental in getting major projects like the Southern Motorway, and Cosgrave to Papakura stormwater upgrade upgrade over the line things have slipped behind again despite the continued growth.
Bus lanes for the Great South Road are a year behind due to Auckland Transport squabbles. A multi level structure for the Papakura Station Park and Ride were meant to have happened by now but yet nothing. New playgrounds in the new urban areas seem to be a miss and our Greenways Program is yet to be funded under a Long Term Plan.
Employment can be a prickly issue and something tells me accessibility to employment is more of an issue than employment itself. The industrial complexes in Wiri and Drury South are under rapid expansion while the smaller complex in Takanini is also under expansion as well. Manukau City Centre is also coming under expansion in the commercial sector as Transform Manukau continues to gather pace. BUT what I am suspecting is the lack of accessibility to these complexes is causing a major headache for potential workers (it is not the sole issue) and by accessibility I mean transport (or lack thereof).
Transport is a perennial issue for Papakura and is an area our Ward Councillor Daniel Newman falls over compared to his predecessor. As I mentioned earlier Papakura is under rapid growth in residential terms while employment centres north and south of Papakura are also under rapid expansion. Simply put the roads can not cope and no adding more lanes to places like Mill Road or even the Great South Road won’t help either – congestion begets congestion. Transit projects like the Third Main from Otahuhu to Papakura (untangling freight trains from passenger trains), the City Rail Line (allowing trains to hit frequencies of ever 5-10 minutes), the Southern Airport Line (Airport to Botany Bus and Light Rail) and even bus lanes down the Great South Road for the 33 bus are the projects needed to open up better accessibility thus connectivity between the residential and large employment areas. Proper cycle lanes and Greenways works also for localised commuting for those who might live and work in the local area – rather than taking a car for such a short trip and contributing to localised congestion. All of this beats the fuel tax as well.
With decent transit and active mode infrastructure comes savings. A car to run including fuel can hit $3,000 to $5,000 a year while a HOP card being used 5 days a week from Papakura to Britomart costs just under $1,500 a year. An e-bike costs even less to run for those local trips.
Decent transit allows also accessibility to institutions that offer further training in Manukau City Centre and else where.
Housing is another issue our Councillor has struggled with for a while. NIMBYing against the Unitary Plan, and the Future Urban Zones is not going to help those looking for a warm dry home. Thankfully Housing Minister Phil Twyford’s scheme offers hope especially as a large concentration of the Kiwi-Build will be in the South (see: Twyford: Because if we don’t, who will? State Housing Drive for Kiwis )
Finally I saw this from the Herald:
Sense of community: 72 per cent
Local economy: 15 per cent
Proximity: 13 per cent
Crime & Safety: 43 per cent
Local economy: 25 per cent
Youth and children: 32 per cent
The hopes and dreams
Local economy: 27 per cent
Children and youth: 21 per cent
Housing: 19 per cent
Events and environment: 18 per cent
Crime and Safety improved: 15 per cent
This is extremely encouraging to see for Papakura.
Papakura has an extremely strong sense of pride and also know it has some rough edges. Papakura also knows that get the Local Economy and housing sorted and the rest of the issues such as crime, children and youth start sorting themselves out. What stops this?
POLITICS pure and simple.
And having a fractured Local Board (sits on a 3:3 split) and a Councillor who seems to struggle on what a Councillor does (focuses on issues that are the domain of the Local Board rather than issues a regional Councillor is expected to face). Championing new housing, more transit, support via the Planning process for more employment, and giving the Papakura Metropolitan Centre a jolt to stir urban regeneration would be great from Councillor Newman. Trying to get Panuku Development Auckland down here to assist would even be better (Panuku only goes as far as Manukau).
We have growth happening all around us yet the heart of Papakura itself seems to be lagging. Government has not forgotten on the housing, jobs and further training approach but it seems Local Government certainly has. What good is a Manurewa-Papakura Integrated Area Plan if it is not funded in the Long Term Plan. More to the point why is Papakura not up on Decade Two of the Auckland Plan Refresh development areas program despite fantastic growth north and south of us.
This is what our Councillor should be championing rather hard and publicly to get the residents and businesses to support. Citizens alone can not carry the can with this one without political support.
Papakura ending up in the Salvation Army report did not surprise me when I heard it this morning. HOWEVER, I know as a resident of Papakura it has a great community heart and a firey spirit in it that wants to see itself prosper for all. The problem? Politics at Local Government level being the primary hindrance more than anything else given the new Labour Administration is about to sink serious coin down here in housing, education and transport.
Simply put our elected representatives need to pull finger!