The New Year will be a busy one for Council – an upcoming budget full of challenges, the pressure of government imposed housing intensification and Three Water Reforms are just three of the big items.
The local body elections seem like a while ago and thanks again for your support. Appreciation too for the many Coasties who contribute to our community – supporting the organisations, shops and neighbourhoods that help keep us safe, caring and supported. I was one of a number of locals at a pre-Christmas party for our street that reflect this neighbourliness. And the concerns expressed across any number of local and regional issues are because people care. The decisions we all make go a long way to finding solutions and solving problems.
The New Year brings some good news to celebrate. The percentage of new vehicle sales for fully electric is now close to 20 percent. With more than 80 percent of NZ’s electricity from renewables this represents a good fit. The Clean Car Discount and dropping prices for some models like Tesla, together with significantly less running cost than gas cars are driving this change. On the Coast we need more local fast charging facilities – and quickly to cope with the rapid increase in local EV cars. E-bikes are also taking off – and with them the need for more and better convenient and safe parking bays for bikes. Around the Coast, these are hard to find.
Thankfully we have not had many of the ram-raid and youth driven burglaries some parts of Auckland have experienced. But a pro-active approach that facilitates bollards and barriers where needed, bolsters neighbourly support and support for youth programmes and police presence is vital. We can all support these initiatives.
July sees the start of the Women’s Football World Cup that will be the biggest international audience NZ has ever had – with significant opportunities for Auckland, and the Coast – offering across tourist experiences, retail and accommodation. Council, Local Boards and business groups have a part to play in making the most of this. I know many local businesses are still struggling to find staff to cope now. We need more and faster working visas urgently.
In this term of Council we will see regular meetings with government to make them aware of outstanding Auckland issues and push for assistance. This goes to housing intensification, Three Waters, financial assistance – especially over an upcoming City Rail Link cost escalation – and addressing business and employment concerns. Under the previous mayoralty these meetings did not happen. Also we are seeing much more oversight of the Council Controlled Organisations.
In what will be a challenging year I look forward to working with local people and groups on the Coast and elsewhere to find solutions, make for a more cost-effective and accountable Council and act in the best interests of Aucklanders.