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Letter To Manukau: Royal Commission, By-Laws...

The Royal Commission | Signs by-laws | Field of Dreams

The Royal Commission
The region is going through a time of potentially significant change. Earlier this year the government appointed a Royal Commission to review the political arrangements for the Auckland Region and the commission will make recommendations to the government in March next year, which may change the face of Manukau city.

I'm very concerned our community has not been involved or engaged as it could have been in this process thus far. Our council and I are promoting the concept of a larger southern city incorporating the Papakura and Franklin areas. The commission, however, may well come up with a recommendation to establish a super city with a number of either councils or community boards and this could very well mean the end of Manukau city as we know it. I know from talking to the people of Manukau that most of our communities have very little idea. Only around 140, of the 3500 submissions to the commission, were from Manukau residents.

The development of our city has been work in progress over the last 43 years. I love the fact that we have an entity that reflects the southern part of our region but at the same time it doesn't compromise my love and affection for being an "Aucklander". Manukau in particular has put a strong emphasis on community and business development. The history of this area is that we have always focussed on doing it our way – the Manukau way. I doubt that we would have kept our airport shares if we had been part of an Auckland super city, or had our free libraries and pools or maintained the lowest water costs and a strong affiliation to maintaining our own water business, in council and close to council. I doubt that we would have seen the brilliant growth in the commercial zones of East Tamaki, Manukau and the airport, if we had been part of a super city focussed on the Auckland CBD. This issue is something we all have to consider very seriously and a subject that I will be addressing in my public meetings, gatherings and while I'm power walking around the city in the coming months. The councillors and I want to strongly promote the preservation of our city known as Manukau.

I regard this city as a place worth fighting for.

Signs by-laws
That brings me to another important aspect of this council's work. Last week we passed a new by-law relating to signs in the city. I've had a simple mantra, since becoming the mayor, of clean, tidy and proud. This again harks back to the history and tradition of the towns, such as Papatoetoe and Otara, upon which our city was built. There is no doubt the community puts a premium on tidiness and pride of appearance. Our signs by-law is a reflection of our determination to ensure cleanliness and tidiness in our community. We want to keep sign boards off the berms and commercial shop displays off our sidewalks in our town centres. It is about keeping our streets and town centres clean and tidy without compromising our commercial vitality. I'm challenging business to be a part of the solution not part of the problem.

Find Your Field of Dreams
Finally, I returned to work in time to celebrate the final establishment of the John Walker Find your Field of Dreams project which was launched in May this year. John and his support team are close to finalising their trust and trustees. The trust will have a very close working relationship with Counties Manukau Sport and Manukau Leisure Services Ltd. The aims of this project are simple but challenging. We want every child and young person in this city to be active in sport and have an active lifestyle. In my travels around schools I've seen many kids carrying too much weight. I don't make any judgements as to why this happens, but I believe inherently John and his vision, our council and thousands of others are on the right track. This is the time to really stand behind our sports clubs and build them. I want to see crowds in our parks with active youngsters enjoying the participation in sport. It's about creating sports champions and giving them every opportunity to excel and represent Manukau city both nationally and internationally. Valerie Vili is a fine example of this, but Valerie is just the tip of the ice berg. The key target for the trust is to build a platform in our communities to deliver the next great sports stars and make us all proud.

Len Brown
Mayor of Manukau


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