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Richard Hills – Maiden speech

Richard Hills – Maiden speech.

Tena koutou katoa,
Ki te whare e tu nei, tena koe
Ki te papa a takoto ra, tena koe
Ki a koutou te iwi o Ngāti Whātua, te mana whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi
Ki nga mate haere haere haere atu ra
Ki a koutou nga kanohi ora - Tena koutou katoa
Ko Ngāpuhi te iwi
No reira ko Richard Hills tōku ingoa

Congratulations Mayor Phil Goff and Councillors, it is a privilege to be sitting around this table with you. We have a busy and exciting term ahead.

Firstly, I want to thank my partner, parents, sisters, all my family and friends, for all the support and for being so involved in what I do whether you like it or not. Politics can be tough and can be even tougher on those close to us, who have little choice in the matter.
I had an amazing six years on the Kaipātiki Local Board and I acknowledge Ann Hartley for asking me to stand for election in 2010, I wouldn’t be here without you giving me a chance and the support to stand as a young person.

I also want to thank my previous Chairs Kay McIntyre and Lindsay Waugh for all your work. All three of you are amazing women who have done so much for our community and I am glad to call you friends. We worked so hard to get great things done such as our Youth centre, new walking and cycling connections, children’s panels, parks and town centre upgrades, investment in sports, arts, community facilities and supporting many community-led initiatives which will continue for many years to come. Thanks to Jill, the Kaipātiki Community Facilities trust and all the community organisations who worked alongside us on these projects.

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Three months ago I had no plans to stand for Council, so I must also thank George Wood not only for his contribution as a Councillor but for announcing that he was standing down, which led to many calls and messages encouraging me to stand, one important call was from Chris Darby who suggested we should work together, so I put my last minute nomination in, we worked day and night throughout the campaign and we did it Chris, we did it by being positive and talking about the issues that people cared about.

Thanks to the North Shore for putting your trust in me, I will work hard for you and for Auckland, the greatest city on earth.

I’m committed to working for better more efficient public transport, Shore Rail, more safe cycling and walking connections including Skypath, addressing climate change, the housing crisis and homelessness, protecting our parks, beaches, reserves and native bush, putting more effort into youth engagement and initiatives and making sure council is seen in a more positive light with increased community input to become a more people focused organisation.

By becoming more people focused, our community might feel more positive about us. We need to talk about people more.

Public transport isn’t about buses or trains, it is about people, how they get to work or around our city in a faster, less stressful, more efficient way.

Cycle ways aren’t about cyclists they’re about people who want to ride bikes safely and make room on the roads for other people.

Young people are just people that happen to be younger than us. I have worked closely with young people across our city for years. They have hopes and dreams, they have a lot more experience than we give them credit for, they love living here too, so let’s respect their ideas and thoughts and plan a city with them for their future not just short term fixes for today.

Growth is people, people moving here, being born here and living longer. It’s not a new concept either. My mum is a daughter of immigrants who travelled here by ship in the 50’s for a better life, they settled on the beautiful North Shore and contributed to society and the economy in many ways, my dad’s parents were farmers in Whangaroa, dad decided at 20 he didn’t want to be a farmer so he came to Auckland to find work and a new life. Mum and Dad met at work on this very street. They got married on Takapuna Beach, created a family in Glenfield and worked hard to give us a good life. Without planning for growth, without immigration and internal migration I wouldn’t be here today, most of us wouldn’t be.

So let’s embrace and include people from different backgrounds, different cultures, with different sexualities and gender identities, let’s create a city which has well designed, safe walkable town centres and neighbourhoods, let’s work with iwi and local Maori in partnership, let’s allow more housing options where people live and where good infrastructure is and work with Government to build new infrastructure and address housing affordability.

Well connected, diverse, welcoming communities means less crime, happier people, better mental health, fewer suicides, connection means less isolation for our older residents, more access to community facilities, more walking, more cycling, stronger, healthier communities in general. The social and economic benefits are huge.

Much of this work has already started but we need to be bolder, we must work right across Auckland and work with people to get this done. Let’s treat the staff well, and treat each other well, yes robust debate is good and we won’t always agree, and I’m not saying we have to be best mates but we are just people who got elected by other people to do a job.

Let’s focus on the issues and the people, so we can show Aucklanders, that we are committed to the job, we care about their future and the future of generations to come, we need to work with our communities to get things done and maybe more of them will be inspired to get involved or even vote for us or other candidates in the future.

Ma whero, ma pango ka oti ai te mahi, he waka eke noa.

Tena koutou tena koutou huri noa I te whare, tena koutou katoa.

Thank you.

ends

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