Published: 9 August 2005
Local body politicians have been searching for the meaning of life in recent times, helped by truckloads of legislation to ensure the exercise is an holistically complicated one.
One of the latest treats is the community outcome statement, one of which has been pieced together by the Auckland Regional Council and made it through another stage at that council’s regional strategy & planning committee today.
The regional community outcomes statement has been derived from submissions, turned into one-word themes, expanded into fuller statements, checked with the stakeholders originally consulted, then refined into a set of 17 draft outcomes.
The councillors were required to endorse the outline of outcomes and approve a shortlist for investigation, to be reported back to the committee by council staff in September or October.
It’s a good chance for people outside the council to promote their own interest, and for staff & councillors to do the same. The committee will make final decisions on the actions it wants in October, so budget estimates can be prepared for the long-term community council plan through to 2016, which will be finalised next July.
ARC chief executive Peter Winder said the council now had a legislated obligation to work with the community to come up with this statement of outcomes and then to monitor progress towards achieving them. Yet, despite all that, “we can choose to do absolutely nothingâ€¦.. You have complete discretion,” he said.
To give you an idea of what your regional councillors are blathering about, here’s the summarised outcomes list:
Quality built environment
Efficient energy use based on clean & reliable sources
An innovative & internationally competitive regional economy
The ARC, the community, local & central government work to achieve results (I do not jest, that’s what it says)
Aucklanders have a choice of reliable, affordable & safe ways to move people & goods
Recreational & leisure opportunities that offer a range of choices & experiences for all
Aucklanders are educated and have access to appropriate learning opportunities
Aucklanders have access to appropriate healthcare
A choice of affordable housing
Neighbourhoods with a sense of community
Aucklanders caring for & enjoying a healthy environment
Auckland’s special places respected & conserved
The diversity of native species & habitats is protected & restored
Safer neighbourhoods & public places
Auckland is a welcoming place for migrants
Valuing our identity & the changing face of Auckland.
The list was apparently compiled to ensure Cllr Sandra Coney would read it. She did, noticed to her great consternation that parks & open spaces were missing and asked that they be added. It turned out that the printed list was one dot short, and Cllr Coney’s parks & spaces were supposed to have been included all along.
It’s helpful for a regional council to know its purpose, but is eternal navel-gazing the way forward? Well, the proposed actions for the council to take include numerous options on the level of intensity. They also include some options which would see the regional council taking a greater role in people’s affairs, in some cases cutting across work done by territorial councils, and other options which would specify no role for the ARC.
Among actions proposed to implement the regional growth strategy:
Metropolitan development agency, the council’s current annual plan budget has been increased to fund work on urban design “and the investigation of a metropolitan development agency”. I wasn’t aware of this agency proposal â€“ needs further investigation
Heritage, natural environment, use economic instruments & conservation zoning to better protect regionally significant heritage resources, habitats & ecological areas
Population growth & immigration, more closely monitor population trends and integration of population & migration futures into reviews of the growth strategy
Housing, a specific focus on housing supply & housing affordability, perhaps in partnership with Housing NZ Corp
Built environment, more detailed planning of future urban form, including specific integration of land use, transport & infrastructure provision to improve the liveability of urban environments
Education, develop a closer relationship with the Ministry of Education to ensure that education needs are planned for in regional growth management decisions (Cllr Bill Burrill said such planning seemed to be absurdly absent)
Neighbourhoods, incorporate best practice urban design principles into the strategy to improve liveability & connectedness of residential neighbourhoods
Economic development, integrate the growth strategy with Areds (the regional economic development strategy, now a unit of the ARC) to ensure that future spatial planning takes account of Areds objectives.
The committee called in July for an issues & options paper on its potential role on energy issues. The council is also working on stormwater funding issues and now needs to examine what it will do on the waterfront after taking over Ports of Auckland Ltd, as well as the future ownership structure for both the port operations & waterfront land.
Most debated was whether the council needed a social issues forum. Some councillors felt there were plenty of agencies working in this area, but the vote to delete it from the list was defeated 5-4.