Len Brown's Letter To Manukau
Len Brown's Letter To Manukau
Len Brown Writes:
Manukau Festival of Arts
This year is a special occasion for the city in that we are celebrating the inaugural Manukau Festival of Arts.
A total of 31 events across the city will be available for public attendance between the end of October and end of November.
Dance, performance, visual arts, craft and sculpture will be celebrated at venues all around the city. It is going to be a fabulous festival and I want everyone to take the opportunity to attend at least one of these events.
We often talk about our cultural, ethnic and religious diversity. We talk about how creative people in our city are, and what a go ahead place it is.
It is through local art that we hold a mirror up to ourselves, and this festival will, in a sense, be our opportunity to look at life in Manukau – past, present and future.
I want this festival to be a raging success. I want it to be a springboard for future successful events but more importantly I want this festival to provide an opportunity for local talent to showcase their creativity and innovation and allow them to grow in confidence.
Over the last weekend the councillors and I spent two days in retreat, discussing key elements for the Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP). This is the key strategic plan for the council and is set within a 10 year time frame.
It highlights our intended actions as a council and a city, and how we expect to pay for them.
In March next year we will release the draft plan for community input and feedback. I want people to start thinking right now as to how they see our involvement in civic growth and the conservation of our environment over the next 10 years, in preparation for giving their feedback during the consultation period.
Over the years people have often said to me "You don't really listen to what we say anyway". I speak for all the councillors when I say we are genuinely listening.
That doesn't necessarily mean that we will accept everything that is fed back to us but we will give due and serious consideration to people's input. How the city will look in 30/40 years time will very much depend on the final decisions we make during this process.
Within days of becoming mayor last year I attended a meeting of the metropolitan mayors of Local Government New Zealand.
This is a forum that consists of 15 mayors, representing 80 per cent of the country's population. Within five minutes of sitting down with my colleagues, I had been elected chairman of this body, and consequently became a member of the national council of LGNZ.
It is fair to say that my primary focus as mayor has been at a grassroots level, but I have come to really enjoy the sharing that occurs in these forums, - the strategic discussions and also the close contact with government at both a political and bureaucratic level.
I have been leading this forum on issues of social and safety concern, in particular policing, graffiti eradication, liquor licence outlets and housing affordability.
The feedback from department heads is that the leadership we are showing through the forum is providing a new way for interaction between local government and central government.
This feedback is great but ultimately our success will rest on how effective we are in these key areas.
Shan and I were walking down Eastern Beach on Sunday and as we passed a restaurant a young lady said "Isn't that the guy who fell over, - you know, Len Brown the mayor".
Shan and I had a good chuckle at what has become a consistent theme over the last couple of months.
I am out and about walking every day so if you see me, come up and say 'hi'.
It is the warm feelings, the personal contact and support from the community that helps me regain my strength.
See you out there!
Mayor of Manukau City.