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Building Strong Communities

MEDIA RELEASE

16 November 2001

Building Strong Communities

A report indicating a new direction for Auckland City will go before councillors on Monday.

The report called “Building Strong Communities” prepared by deputy mayor David Hay will be presented to the council’s Finance and Corporate Business Committee., with all councillors attending.

Councillor Hay says the policies in the report are a first step only in establishing a new direction for Council, and more time will be spent on the development of policies that are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable, as part of the overall annual strategic planning process.

He says the policies will reduce the amount of bureaucracy and encourage an integrated approach to the planning and development of Auckland.

Cr Hays says the report signals ideas for the new direction in which ACRN councillors would like to take the city and covers many issues that were included in the ACRN manifesto.

“I fully appreciate new ideas and direction can only be implemented through the due processes of council.

“We are a large and growing city and need to make sure we are running as efficiently as possible and prepare for the possibility of future amalgamation into a one or three city option for the region,” Cr Hay says.

Specifically the report recommends Council endeavour to hold rates at 2001/2002 levels through increasing efficiency, progressing new and alternative revenue ideas including user charges, adopting a more responsible approach to capital spending, and reviewing the performance of assets including options for the possible sale of the city’s airport shares.

It sees as a number one priority the development of an integrated transport network, under a new governance structure, which will allow people and businesses in Auckland to move more easily around their communities.

The report recommends:

- That as most people will choose to use their cars and most jobs depend on road transport, projects to improve the safety and efficiency of the regional roading network will be progressed, including giving urgent priority to assisting Transit NZ to complete state highways and key arterial routes.

- Development of infrastructure for improving bus services, supporting regional control of the rail corridors the development of which would be scaled back, and the completion of Britomart terminal on time and within budget.

- Completion with urgency of the eastern transport corridor, street improvements planned for the easy movement of heavy commercial vehicles and the central transit bus loop.

- Expediating the completion of the state highway network by allowing alternative funding sources (including tolls and regional petrol tax) together with sufficient Transfund grants, and streamlined planning process requirements.

In the works area, the report indicates that Metrowater will be retained but is expected to increase its efficiency.

Alternative charging mechanisms will be looked at for waste management that more equitably distribute costs in line with the use of the services and the encouragement of sustainable practices, including consideration of a uniform annual charge for rubbish collection.

And, council will continue its large budgeted capital expenditure to clean up streams and harbours through improved joint stormwater and wastewater management.

The strategies are very much aimed at making Auckland a pleasant place to live. For example, the policy recommends development of the city in ways that protect resources and allow individuals and communities to provide for their social, economic and cultural wellbeing. The Central Business District will be revitalised, while economic development generally will be encouraged in line with the aspirations of Competitive Auckland.

Auckland City will take a cultural leadership role in New Zealand with venues, events and entertainment encouraged which will put Auckland on the map. Specifically the policies will, include investigation of the development of The Edge as a home for Auckland’s performing arts, determination by March of whether the Arena project will go ahead, and the establishment of a new international convention centre at the minimum cost to council if shown to be economically viable.

The report holds that housing is not a core service of council, and recommends that the current provision of housing be reviewed, especially in relation to the role of central government.

Its says that any actions as a result of the review will be implemented in ways that will not adversely effect current pensioner tenants.

The report also recommends a review of council’s role in community development and community centres including its capital investment programme.

On law and order, the report includes pursuing means of deterring unlicensed street racing, exploring ways of assisting the Police in promoting civil behaviour, and working with central government to increase the number of Police in the city.

The chair of the council’s Finance and Corporate Business Committee, Councillor Douglas Armstrong, says all councillors have been invited to Monday’s direction-setting meeting which will consider the report.

He says the report is very much the first step in the consultative strategic planning process and should not be seen as pre-empting debate on issues. However, he says, it gives a clear indication of the direction the new team in council is intending to head.

ENDS


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