As the Labour candidate for councillor for the Maungakiekie-Tamaki ward in the local elections coming later this year, I am a keen to let our community know more about who I am and what has motivated me to put myself forward for local office, and encourage everyone to vote as part of this election.
I have grown up in Mt Wellington and now live with my family in Onehunga, and although I have travelled extensively in my life so far, Auckland is my home and I care deeply about its future.
I have served the public for ten years in Auckland’s local government, working on improving buildings, civil defence programmes, engineering research, and policy development, and I volunteer in my free time as a St John ambulance officer. Auckland is presently at a crossroads and facing a lot of uncertainty as to where it is going to end up.
The state of the housing market has been having a profound effect for all of us, and if we do not make intelligent plans now for future housing and development, we are going to suffer the consequences in the years to come.
I am concerned that as more and more people find themselves without a stable home to call their own, we are going to see increased health and social problems amongst our population, and a continued increase in crime.
To prevent this and hopefully turn it around as soon as possible, I believe it is imperative that Auckland Council works with the government to increase the supply of housing and take other necessary measures to shift the focus on housing from commodity back to fundamental need.
As for the welfare of our communities, it is frustrating every time I or my colleagues in St John have to respond to another assault or murder, especially when we are seeing increasingly younger perpetrators of these crimes.
While much of the power to increase policing and manage our justice system lies with central government, the Council is still able to play its part by supporting police efforts, neighbourhood watch groups, and through the design of the city itself.
On an aspirational note, I would like to have the Council do more to support the development of our tech industry, especially where it links in with our universities.
There is a lot of potential to be accessed if we can foster this, with benefits to our local and national economy and more technical jobs for our younger generations.
I firmly believe that Auckland Council can build for the future and serve its citizens better than any other local authority in the world if we encourage collaboration, creative-thinking, forward planning, and the use of best scientific principles and the technology in front of us.
My vision is that Auckland can become not only a great place for our citizens to live in, but a model for others to look up to and emulate the world over.
Patrick Cummuskey is Labour candidate for Maungakiekie-Tamaki Ward