October 11, 2019
Namaste and Shubh Diwali!
I am looking forward to attending the 18th Annual Auckland Diwali Festival this weekend.
The celebrations, supported by Auckland Council, take place in Aotea Square and Queen Street on Saturday, October 12 and Sunday, October 13, 2019.
More than 50,000 people are expected to enjoy the festivities, which will feature dance, culture, music, food, craft expos and theatre performances, culminating with a large fireworks display on Sunday evening that is sure to excite festival-goers of all ages.
Large cultural event
Twenty years ago, Diwali was mainly celebrated at home by the Indian community.
Today it is one of the biggest cultural events in New Zealand and is enjoyed by tens of thousands of people of all ages, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds.
It is a real sign of Auckland’s continuing development as a multicultural city, and I hope you will have a chance to get out and enjoy the festivities.
If you have not yet voted in the Auckland local elections, you need to take your voting papers to a ballot box at any library or service centre before midday, Saturday October 12, 2019.
Casting Special Vote
If your voting papers have not arrived, you will need to cast a special vote. You can cast a special vote at select libraries and service centres, or at one of Auckland Council’s One Stop Voting Shops across the region, where you can enrol and vote at the same time.
Visit voteauckland.co.nz to find out how to cast a special vote, and to see a list of One Stop Voting locations and times.
Voting is your chance to have a say on the future of Auckland.
I am proud of the achievements that we have made for Auckland over the last term.
We’ve increased capital investment in transport by 50 per cent to over $28 billion and have secured nearly $19 billion of that from central government. This investment is necessary to help reduce traffic congestion, and deliver much-needed infrastructure, such as more busways—in the East from Panmure to Botany and through to Manukau and the Airport, and in the North to Albany and Orewa.
We’re issuing housing consents at record rates—14,345 over the past year—and housing starts are four times what they were at the start of the decade. We are starting to match the growth in population, but we still have a backlog to catch up.
On the environment, we’re investing more than a billion dollars to separate stormwater from wastewater and upgrade our key wastewater interceptor line to stop sewage flowing onto our beaches every time it rains. We hope to largely eliminate this problem within a decade, 20 years ahead of schedule.
My Million Trees planting programme exceeded its target this year, making our city more beautiful, creating carbon sinks to help reduce emissions, and reducing siltation into our harbours.
I am also working to ensure that Auckland Council achieves a billion dollars in savings over the decade by delivering a value for money programme and stopping waste and duplication.
I have led the way, slashing the Mayor’s Office budget by 39% by taking steps like reducing international travel and not having a chauffeur-driven car.
We are making good progress for Auckland, but there is still more to do as we build a world-class city.
Remember, voting in the Auckland local elections closes at 12 pm on Saturday, October 12, 2019.
Phil Goff is Mayor of Auckland.