Auckland Council’s plan to improve life for older Aucklanders drew a mixed response from Hibiscus and Bays Local Board members, who discussed it at a workshop on August 26.
The 75-page Age-friendly Tamaki Makaurau draft was compiled with input from residents and community groups such as Age Concern. It aims to ensure sufficient planning in areas such as infrastructure, transport, recreation and housing for the wellbeing of older people, noting that the pandemic highlighted disparities in access to support services and online communications.
Areas of greatest concern that the plan looks to tackle include affordable housing, safe, accessible roads, footpaths and public transport, ways to transition from full time employment, and affordable healthcare including dentistry.
Action that is already underway includes a Council audit of the age-friendliness of its facilities including parking, public transport options and access to buildings.
In the Hibiscus & Bays area, the local board wants to ensure parks, coastal facilities and amenities are adaptable and accessible for a range of activities, abilities and age groups, as well as providing a range of play and active recreation opportunities for all ages.
While the content of the draft was not disputed, it was its structure – which is laid out using the parts of a marae and is partly based on Te Whare Tapu Whā (a Māori wellbeing framework) – that caused division among local board members.
Chair Gary Brown asked the Council staff member who presented the report why it was based on Maori culture when Maori were a low percentage of the population. He described it as “one-sided and needing more diversity” and member Andy Dunn sided with him.
The staff member’s response was that the content is very multi-cultural, but the country has a bi-cultural base and Maori values reflect and benefit everyone, adding another level to the draft.
Members Victoria Short, Julia Parfitt and Janet Fitzgerald also supported this view, saying the report is very comprehensive and respects the Treaty. They said many diverse communities had clearly shared and supported the principles in the framework.
Have your say: You can judge for yourself, as the draft is open for public feedback. Once that process is complete, it will go before Council’s Parks Arts Community & Events committee for adoption.
Have your say online, from September 6, at www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/have-your-say/