Fire disrupts, but it is now business as usual in Central Auckland

Fire disrupts, but it is now business as usual in Central Auckland
Phil Goff

Auckland, November 3, 2019

Editor’s Note: This Column was received four days ago but was delayed at the Copydesk. Apologies.

Happy Diwali to all Aucklanders! I hope you enjoyed the beautiful weather on Sunday, October 27, 2019 and had a chance to spend some time with friends and family.

Unfortunately, Diwali came at the end of a disruptive week in Central Auckland, with the large fire at the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) on Hobson Street.

While the fire is likely to delay the Convention Centre’s completion, it is too soon to be able to confirm the impact on the current conference and events programme scheduled for the Centre.

Council staff are working with the NZICC and the business events industry on the potential impact on conferences already scheduled for the Convention Centre.

The new Convention Centre after the fire (RNZ Picture by Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Back in business

The good news is that the fire was successfully extinguished without any loss of life and Central Auckland is once again open for business. Thank you to the firefighters and other emergency services who worked so hard to put out the fire and keep people safe.

Thank you also to Aucklanders for your patience while road closures and diversions were in place during the firefighting operation.

Independent Review of CCOs

Work on my proposed review of the Council-Controlled Organisations is now in progress, and I plan to have a full and independent review underway before Christmas.

The CCOs have accomplished a lot of good work, for which they deserve credit.

However, there is concern that the model the central government imposed on Auckland in 2010 paid too little attention to issues of responsiveness and accountability of the agencies, which were deliberately set up at arm’s length from Council.

The CCOs are public bodies funded from public revenue and they must be fully accountable.

Ten years after the new Council structures were created is a good time to examine what has worked well and what hasn’t.

The review will be comprehensive and wide-ranging, and will identify changes to enhance oversight and enable the council to exercise a proper level of control over the organisations.

The terms of reference will be developed with Councillors over the coming weeks and I will keep Aucklanders updated on the outcome.

Improving accountability

I am confident that the review will result in a more effective council group that is fully capable of responding to the challenges our city faces.

Finally, I hope you will have a chance to enjoy some of the major events taking place in Auckland this weekend.

Taste of Auckland celebrates the best of our city’s world-class restaurant, food and drink scene from October 31 to November 3, 2019 at The Cloud on the Waterfront.

On Saturday, November 2, 2019, the world’s best Rugby League players will compete in a triple header at Eden Park, with matches between Samoa and Fiji, the Kiwis and Great Britain, and Australia versus Tonga. And at the ASB Showgrounds, the annual Big Boys Toys event will feature exhibitions of classic cars, powerful motorcycles, construction tools, technology and more.

Vibrant City

Auckland Council is proud to support these major events, which bring vibrancy and economic growth to our region. They’re a taste of things to come as we gear up to 2021, when we will host APEC, the America’s Cup, the Women’s Rugby and Cricket world cups, Te Matatini and more, cementing Auckland’s status as the innovative, globally competitive city that New Zealand needs us to be.

Phil Goff is Mayor of Auckland. He writes a regular Column for Indian Newslink readers which is also posted on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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