Mapp Report - A World Class City
18 September 2009
Mapp Report - A World Class
The Local Government (Auckland Council) Bill was passed in Parliament yesterday. Fully implemented, it will help deliver on National’s commitment to making Auckland a world-class city. We will get better value for our rates, and community control of what matters in our neighbourhoods.
The Bill provides for a Mayor, a Council with 20 Councillors, and between 20 and 30 Local Boards. The Local Boards will ensure effective local governance and strong local representation. They will put forward their communities’ views on regional decisions to the Auckland Council. They have the structure and powers to shape their own communities in the best interests of each community’s residents.
The time for argument and bickering over those issues is over. It is critical we all pull together to make it work. The election for the Council and the Local Boards is only a year away. The Auckland Transition Agency is working hard to make sure the framework of the new city is in place. Our challenge as citizens and civic leaders is to make it work for the good of us all.
Last week Treasury officials reported signs of improvement in the economy and that unemployment is unlikely to reach the previously expected heights. Their view is based on the international recovery, positive migration figures and an improving housing market.
Unemployment is now forecast to reach only 7.5 per cent, compared to the Budget prediction of 8 per cent. This would mean there would be 34,500 fewer people jobless, compared with previous forecasts.
It is important now that the New Zealand economy grows in a sustainable manner. This means we need to have an export-led recovery, rather than a recovery built on further debt and borrowing on property.
TRAINING AT WAIOURU
Last Friday I visited the next rotation of Defence Force personnel to the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan during their pre-deployment training at Waiouru camp.
I saw how our people are being prepared, physically and mentally, to handle a wide range of challenging situations in the field - and to “expect the unexpected’. As a Defence Force we now have great depth of experience in the tasks of the PRT and this is being put to good use.
Our people in Afghanistan are doing an outstanding job in a dangerous environment. The high-quality training they receive in preparation for the exacting demands of the deployment is paying off. This rotation leaves early next month, and I will be farewelling them at Ohakea.
VISIT TO CHINA
Next week I will be travelling to China for a formal ministerial visit. This visit will cover both defence and New Zealand’s research, science and technology relationship with China.
Even with the global recession Chinese growth has continued. Expansion of the Chinese internal market is likely to play a major part in the global recovery. The free trade agreement that New Zealand has with China puts us in a leading position to leverage off the Chinese growth.
The Chinese market is exactly the type of market that New Zealand needs to be competing for. By developing our relationships with emerging markets such as China and India we can achieve the export-led recovery that we need to develop a sustainable economy.