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Letter to Manukau - Issue 50

Friday 5 December 2008 - Issue 50

Rejuvenating our main streets

Having been back on the job for more than two months, I am relishing my renewed connection with the community and with the pace of life in our council.

Several projects close to my heart are being re-energised, including the rejuvenation of some of the main streets in our city. I am looking forward to working with our council team and the retail centres to give some of the main streets a spruce up.

My initiative will see barge boards re-painted and shop frontages improved to present a clean, sharp, fresh look to shoppers in each town.

Much of the community's pride is based around the appearance of our homes, streets and town centres. This is why I have focused a lot of my attention on a campaign to make Manukau clean, tidy and proud with a concerted effort to remove and discourage graffiti.

A recent survey highlighted that four out of five residents visit their local town centre at least once a week, most go twice.

We are committed to supporting the city's many hardworking Business Improvement Districts [BIDs] such as Hunters Corner and Manurewa. Sadly, these are among the old townships which have lost some established retail brands over recent years. Locals not only lose choice but their pride can be dented.

The council will therefore be pushing for a stronger focus on plans to revitalise town centres, Old Papatoetoe and the city centre. This should also help encourage commercial investment back in town centres, increasing shopping choice and making them thriving social and economic hubs in our communities.

Team work set to continue with task force
As widely reported, this week's Mayoral Drug Summit brought together more than 100 people with a shared focus: to deal to the drugs trade in Manukau. As Mayor, I would like this to have been the first and last such summit that I would need to call, but it is just the first.

We're facing up to one of the truths in our community: the effect of drugs on some of our young people is disastrous. Its toxic links to gangs and many crimes means it is time for us to make a stand.

We don't do this alone: we need the support of the entire community to get in behind the Police and other agencies to stop the manufacture and supply of drugs, especially methamphetamine [P/ice].

We're asking Police to make this a priority with a team dedicated to closing down all the P labs and tinnie houses in the city. They've made great busts through Operation Julia this past week and I congratulate them.

We're setting up a mayoral task force to bring together the key players to drive through what needs to happen - and mobilise our people behind this critical cause.

What about a Family Day?
The United States recently celebrated Thanksgiving Day, a symbolic acknowledgment of the importance of family when relatives come together from across the nation.
I think the Americans are on to a good thing and have often considered that such a day is missing from the New Zealand calendar.

Sure we have regional anniversaries, Waitangi Day, ANZAC Day and other statutory holidays, but one day a year to give thanks for the most basic and important of all human relationships - the family unit - is a fine idea.

See you out there!

Len Brown
Mayor of Manukau


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