Mark Thomas - New Mayor for Auckland

New Council Structure Fails Housing And Transport

Mayor-elect Phil Goff’s just announced new council committee structure won’t effectively deal with Auckland’s housing and transport crisis and key councillors have missed out on roles.

Both of these critical portfolios have been reduced to “bullet points” inside the unwieldy Planning Committee which now contains fourteen other areas.

This committee now includes the significant Unitary Plan, Panuku Development Auckland, Watercare and Infrastructure portfolios which were part of 3 specialised committees in the former council.

A more effective council structure would have seen housing and transport at the heart of the new council.

In a further significant departure, new Deputy Chair Bill Cashmore is missing from a leadership role in any of the key 9 committees.

This is a missed opportunity given the key role Cr Cashmore has played on the Auckland Transport Alignment Project. The Deputy Mayor must be wondering just what job he will be doing.

The mayor is also planning to not appoint the up to two councillors to the board of Auckland Transport.

If he fails to do this, it will be much harder for him to gain control of this most challenging part of council.

A total of five councillors miss out on any leadership role in the Goff council, including two of Auckland’s most experienced councillors Sir John Walker and Dick Quax and younger new talents Daniel Newman and Richard Hills. These four along with Cashmore were all excluded from Chair or Deputy Chairs of the now nine key council committees.

Goff has also not delivered on the campaign promise he made to review council’s demographic panels. He has rolled the six panels over despite the concerns he will have heard on the campaign trail about the way some of them are working.

Goff has reduced the seventeen former council committees down to nine and this is progress. A number of make-work committees such as Economic Development and Tenders and Procurement have been sensibly reorganised into other committees, but the big opportunity to focus council’s structure on the critical priorities of housing and transport has been completely lost.

As mayor I would have established a Unitary Plan Implementation Committee with specific responsibility for fast-tracking new housing and a Transport, Infrastructure and Funding Committee to deal with the $4 billion shortfall the Auckland Transport Alignment Plan has identified.

 


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