Harbour Corridor Approved
Hon Dr. Wayne Mapp MP for the North Shore
Harbour Corridor Approved
The announcement by Minister of Transport Steven Joyce of the corridor for the harbour crossing will be welcome news for commuters in North Shore and elsewhere.
His assurance that the corridor will be on the eastern side of the bridge, essentially from the old tollgate plaza to Wynyard Point, is confirmation that residents of North Shore have been looking for. His commitment to getting this project moving will also be welcome.
The news that the bridge has 20-40 years of life left certainly requires a full look at all the options. But it is worth noting that we do have time to do this and there is no need for an unseemly rush.
Since I have been a Member of Parliament I have been supporting a tunnel option from the old toll plaza to Wynyard Point to complement the existing bridge.
The Anzac bridge proposal to replace the existing bridge also raises an interesting option. In 2007 I met with Richard Simpson about his Anzac bridge proposal. It was clearly a dramatic design that also has the advantage of freeing up land in St Mary’s Bay and Northcote. Visit www.bridge2015.org.nz for a good look at the proposal.
The timeframe of 15-20 years gives plenty of time for considered thought on these issues. Now that the key issue around the corridor has been confirmed, we have the opportunity as a community to think carefully about the options available.
Auckland Governance: The Local Boards
Last wxek the Local Government Commission released its recommendations on the proposed boundaries for the new Auckland Council. This week Parliament will deal with the third Auckland Bill. This Bill will set out the transition mechanisms to enable transfer of council assets, powers and staff to the Auckland Council.
Three local boards will cover the wider North Shore area. They are Devonport-Takapuna, Glenfield-Birkenhead and Albany-East Coast Bays-Hibiscus Coast. Each of these areas will be further broken down into electoral districts for the election of local board members.
For the Devonport-Takapuna board, three members will be elected from the Forrest Hill-Milford-Takapuna area, and two will be elected from the Belmont-Devonport area. My initial reaction is that we may get more diverse representation if we had a seven-person board instead of the five proposed.
The Local Government Commission has proposed that the North Shore Ward will elect two councillors to the Auckland Council. This ward will effectively cover the electorates of Northcote and North Shore.
Mayor Andrew Williams considers that two single-member wards would be preferable. The Commission has shown a clear preference for two-person wards on the basis that the councillors will focus on their wider responsibilities to the whole city, rather than their particular constituency.
For more information or to make a submission please visit www.lgc.govt.nz. Submissions close on 11 December.
Trip To Canada
In late November I visited Canada at the invitation of Defence Minister Peter MacKay. Canada is now one of New Zealand’s most important defence partners. We undertake shared training, and both countries have deployments in Afghanistan.
During the visit I attended the Halifax International Security Forum, where the principal topics were Afghanistan and nuclear proliferation. The attendees included US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, the new German Defence Minister and Ministers from Brazil, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands, plus a large number of defence and security thinkers.
My visit also encompassed Research, Science and Technology. Canada faces many of the same problems as New Zealand around driving growth.
The insights gained will be of considerable value in my current reviews of both Defence and Research, Science and Technology.
Breakfast With John Banks
On Wednesday last week the North Shore National Party hosted a breakfast at the Spencer on Byron with John Banks, the Mayor of Auckland.
John Banks was the first candidate to declare he would stand for Mayor of the new Auckland Council. John is setting a clear agenda in getting more growth in our city and our region.
He challenged us to look to the example of Brisbane which amalgamated its city council in 1925. Brisbane was recently able to build an airport motorway link in six years, compared to the Auckland Western Ring Route which started consultation in 2006 and is only due to be completed in 2015. Quoting a Herald headline from 1964: “The future requires bold ideas”, John urged us to embrace that same spirit.
This was a great event with over 150 people in attendance. Congratulations and thanks to Matt Kemp for organising and running a very successful and enjoyable breakfast.