Viewpoint – Devoted volunteers

Not all of us may realise just how blessed our community is, as we have many passionate local people who dedicate hours of time and energy to ensuring we all enjoy a safe and beautiful place to live in. Organised within community groups, their devotion helps to positively shape how we experience living where we do.

For example, one of these groups are the resident and ratepayer groups. Across the Rodney ward there are over 50 of these, each with a democratically elected committee structure and voluntary memberships. They aspire to actively improve local well-being, as well as acting as diligent watch dogs over Auckland Council-related issues. Many of us are busy with our day-to-day lives but it is good to be reminded of the work others do which benefits us all.

Frequently, there are times when these groups need to interact with Auckland Council and Auckland Transport. They have found and established working relationships with council staff and steadily work towards achieving the outcomes that their local communities want. We are fortuitous to have such people in our neighbourhoods.

They also do an excellent job in holding myself and the elected Rodney Local Board members to account. I find this important and deeply respect this additional level of answer-ability. Helping these groups to get things done is essential. Remaining accountable to the community who elected you is important.

It is not always smooth sailing and there are times when these groups run into road blocks and cannot penetrate Auckland Council to find the right person or information they need. This is when myself and the Local Board can often help by using our elected position to find the right person and connect people together.

This is a large and rewarding part of being your elected representative. I am regularly contacted by constituents who have become so frustrated dealing with the council they need my help. My monthly clinics, where members of the public can sit down with me face-to-face with their issues, remain extremely popular. These are held in Warkworth, Kumeu and Wellsford and, of course, I can easily be contacted directly at any time.

Part of proactively supporting our resident and ratepayer groups was organising the opportunity for them to meet the Mayor of Auckland earlier this year. This established a direct relationship with the Mayor and these relationships have continued to be fostered, which the Mayor values deeply.
There are many other social, environmental and charitable groups within our community all quietly working hard to help provide us with the safe and enjoyable society we have. We are indeed fortunate to have such neighbours and it is something to appreciatively reflect upon.