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ARC releases Annual Report

ARC releases Annual Report

19 January 2005

The Auckland Regional Council has released its annual report for the year ending 30 June 2004. It is available on the ARC website at www.arc.govt.nz/annualreport

Chairman Michael Lee says last year’s annual report reflects a busy and productive time for the ARC.

“The 2004 annual report focuses on our relationship with the community, the invaluable partnerships we share and how the region has become a better place for it.”

Highlights from the annual report include: MIC DEVELOPMENT

Improving Transport Ferry usage is up more than 5 per cent. A third more people are using Auckland’s passenger train service. A new rail operator, Connex, was appointed and rail has seen ongoing service and timetable improvements, and purchase and refurbishment of trains. Construction has started on double tracking the western line. Bus passengers have benefited with new services and increased frequency.

Rideline was named the Best Contact Centre in New Zealand (under 50 seats) at the 2004 TUANZ Awards. 91 per cent of Rideline customers are satisfied or very satisfied with the service, 19 per cent say their use of public transport has increased since using Rideline and 72 per cent have confidence in using public transport as a result of our service.

Regional Governance The majority of regional assets were returned to the ARC with the establishment of two wholly owned subsidiaries, Auckland Regional Holdings and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority. GREAT PARKS

Regional Parks There have been major upgrades of parks facilities after some years of under-investment. Construction of the Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre began in March 2004. Tawharanui Open Sanctuary was established in partnership with the community. The ARC contributed to the Nature Heritage Fund for the acquisition of Kaikoura Island.

Volunteer numbers increased to almost 8,000, up from 6,800 in 2003. Customer satisfaction increased by 6 per cent to 99 per cent. The construction of the East Stand at Ericsson Stadium began in October 2003 - it will incorporate 8,000 seats and high quality corporate lounge facilities.

Looking after the Environment The 0800 Smokey campaign has led to partnership with Government, the oil and transport industries and the community to obtain cleaner vehicles and cleaner diesel. A pilot exhaust emissions testing programme has recently been trialled on 50 buses. LE INITIATIVES

Sustainable Transport Initiatives Almost 2,000 children have taken part in the ARC’s Walking School Bus programme, saving approximately 750 car trips to primary schools. 52 schools are now involved in the programme, up from 33 in November 2002.

The ARC itself recorded a 26 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent per employee, a 29 per cent reduction in fuel consumption of ARC vehicles, and a 10 per cent decrease in the number of employees commuting by car.

Economic Development The Auckland Regional Economic Development Strategy has been developed in response to the need for a long term sustainable development approach to the region’s economy. The ARC will take a lead role in regional economic development from mid 2005. CCOMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT Community Involvement Innovation in consultation methods and several different approaches have encouraged community participation. An ARC survey attracted more than 4,500 responses and a new rating policy was adopted that resulted in 86 per cent of the region’s 459,000 ratepayers experiencing a decrease in their rates.

2004 saw unprecedented growth in Care groups which partner the Council in a variety of activities, including Dune Dare, Coast Care, Land Care, WaiCare and Beach Care. There are also Care groups involved with air, heritage and biosecurity.

Nearly 10 per cent (43,000) of all households in the Auckland region have joined the Big Clean Up, the ARC’s main environmental education campaign which, in the past year, focused on transport, stormwater, natural heritage and regional parks. The campaign has achieved a measurable change in behaviour, and has been used as a model elsewhere in New Zealand.


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