Ensuring that Auckland’s infrastructure keeps pace with the growth in our population so that we can tackle traffic congestion, housing shortages and unaffordability and environmental pressures is on top of my list of priorities for the coming term of the Auckland Council.
Following that, reducing carbon emissions to meet our obligations around climate change and making sure our Council-Controlled Organisations (CCOs) are responsive and accountable to Aucklanders make up our other top priorities.
These priorities are reflected in our new Council Committee structure, which I announced last week.
Climate change is one of the most critical issues facing our city, and we need to act urgently to address the risks it poses to our environment and to future generations if we are to leave a positive legacy for our children and grandchildren.
The new Environment and Climate Change Committee will lead the Council’s response to the climate emergency, and help to ensure that climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the protection of our natural environment is at the forefront of council decision-making.
Our new Community Committee will focus on arts, culture and heritage, economic development, sport and recreation, and administering community grants. It will help ensure that the needs of our diverse communities are at the heart of everything we do, and that Auckland continues to grow as a vibrant, multicultural and multi-ethnic City.
The subcommittee for CCO Oversight will give Councillors a clearer view of the organisations and help ensure they are more responsive to elected members and accountable to ratepayers. The establishment of this subcommittee, which includes appointing Liaison Councillors between the CCO boards and Auckland Council’s governing body, will ensure that they are working in the best interests of Auckland.
The new Value for Money subcommittee will build on the progress we have already made over the past three years to find efficiencies and eliminate waste and duplication—we need to use every dollar of ratepayer money effectively.
New Portfolios for Councillors
In addition to the new committees, I have established new portfolios for Councillors in the areas of Māori Outcomes, Homelessness, Parks/Open Space, Three Harbours, Ethnic Communities and Heritage. Reporting to myself and to their respective Committees, the portfolio holders will work closely with council staff and will communicate and engage with the public on their areas of responsibility.
Now that the committee structure is in place, I am looking forward to working with Councillors and with Aucklanders to build on the foundations we have laid to make Auckland a world-class city we can all be proud of.
Auckland coming alive
With the arrival of spring, I hope you are taking the opportunity to enjoy the warmer weather and longer evenings. Auckland really comes alive at this time of year, and there are a host of fantastic events happening across the region.
Highlights this weekend include the Parnell Festival of Roses, the Monster Energy S-X Open, and Sculpture in the Auckland Botanic Gardens. I hope you get a chance to enjoy these events that make Auckland such a vibrant and exciting place to live.
Phil Goff is Mayor of Auckland. He writes a regular column for Indian Newslink.