Letter to Manukau - 27 June 2008
Letter to Manukau
From the Office of the Mayor of Manukau
Friday 27 June 2008
In this update
* Len's progress
* Annual Plan
* World Refugee Day
* Theatrical Highlight
* New Gymnasium
* Manurewa meetings
* New Recycling Collection
I'm delighted to report that Len's condition is greatly improved after a serious setback last week. For a few days the outlook did not look bright. But Len is now in a stable condition in Auckland Hospital and we hope his ongoing recovery goes smoothly.
It is important Len be given space and time to rest and recuperate. On Thursday the council granted Len six months leave of absence. But the reality is that none of us know how long his recovery will take. That depends on his progress and medical advice.
I've been in regular contact with mayoress Shan since Len collapsed on 31 May. These have been very difficult times for Len's family, but I know Shan is very grateful for the all messages of support and best wishes during the last few weeks.
Last Thursday the council adopted its 2008/09 Annual Plan.
Highlights include funding for a redevelopment of the Norman Kirk Memorial Pool in Otara over three years as well as support for the John Walker Find Your Field of Dreams project aimed at helping our young people through sport.
We've also allocated funds for the Manukau rail link, an all-tide boat ramp at Mangere Bridge and the completion of the Lloyd Elsmore Park all-weather running track.
I'm pleased to see increased grants to the Howick and Districts Historical Society and Uxbridge Community Projects as well as further support for the Manukau City Symphony Orchestra. We are also putting money towards the Howick Little Theatre.
These projects are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the work our council does or supports.
There's transport and roading projects, rubbish and recycling collections, dog control, civil defence, libraries, swimming pools, arts centres, parks, Housing for the Elderly, Citizen's Advice Bureaux, Manukau Memorial Gardens and a whole lot more.
We continue to make a real difference in our community.
But all this work has to be paid for, so rates will rise by 4.9 percent from 1 July. This is a smaller increase than that originally signalled (5.9 percent) in the Long Term Council Community Plan.
We are conscious of the pressure many of our residents face especially in the current economic climate. Ratepayers on low incomes should check with us whether they are eligible for a rates rebate.
I'd like to thank all those who made submissions during the annual plan process. I encourage our residents to continue putting forward their views through our consultative processes.
WORLD REFUGEE DAY
On Saturday I attended a council-hosted function at Weymouth to mark World Refugee Day. This event is an opportunity to acknowledge refugees who have made Manukau their home, open communication channels, build relationships and let them know about services and support programmes.
I met several Manukau residents who have come to New Zealand as refugees. It was marvellous to see so many smiling faces. These people have come from places like the Sudan, Burma, Afghanistan and Iraq. Many have endured hardships the rest of us can barely imagine.
They consider New Zealand to be a paradise compared to where they have come from.
Manukau welcomes between 70 and 80 refugees a year. New Zealand accepts about 750 refugees each year under international treaty obligations.
In my few weeks as acting mayor I have been to several functions involving performing or visual arts. The arts are a real feature of our vibrant and diverse city.
On Sunday I enjoyed the powerful performance of He Reo Aroha by Tawata Productions at the Genesis Energy Theatre at the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre. This performance is part of a three nation tour by Honouring Theatre, which is made up of three indigenous theatrical companies from New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Their shows in Manukau are part of our celebrations of Matariki, the Maori New Year.
I welcomed our international visitors to Manukau and told them about our vibrant arts scene. Some of the visitors from Australia and Canada told me how impressed they were with the venue at the Events Centre. I hope they will spread the word overseas.
Last Friday I was at Papatoetoe Intermediate School to see Prime Minister Helen Clark open the school's new gymnasium. This $1.3 million facility has been funded by the Education Ministry and includes toilet blocks and hard court surfaces for basketball. It is an outstanding asset for the school and will contribute to the health and fitness of students.
A series of high level meetings has started in response to community safety concerns in Manurewa. Working with government departments and police, we are planning to develop action plans going forward. We will also work in concert with the government. The meetings will consider operational, political and community engagement factors in bringing these plans together. I'll keep you informed of progress.
NEW RECYCLING COLLECTION
I'm looking forward to Manukau's new recycling service starting on Monday. It is a significant step for recycling in New Zealand because with Auckland city, which is also introducing the new service, we have 20 per cent of the country's population.
With recycling volumes expected to increase by 15 to 25 per cent our cities will make a major contribution to efforts to reduce waste.
The recycling wheelie bins will be collected fortnightly and residents can now put a wider range of recycling in them, including paper and cardboard.
Having a lid on the recycling wheelie bins will stop the problems we've always had with plastic and paper blowing around the streets on recycling days.
After the recycling is collected it will be sorted at the southern hemisphere's most advanced recycling facility. This uses a range of high-tech machinery to separate and sort the material. It can even recognise the different types of glass and plastic so they can be separated.
This facility will be open for
the public to see in action later in the year. If you want
to find out more about recycling go to
Troup Acting Mayor of
Acting Mayor of Manukau