Richard Northey: Waitemata Local Board Chair

We are carrying out a consultation with our local community about our proposed Waitemata Local Board Plan.

Throughout it there is an emphasis on recovery and resilience from the impacts of COVID-19 and a commitment to act on combating the climate emergency. Now all those living or working in Waitemata are being asked to have their say on this plan which sets our proposed strategic direction for the next three years.

Consultation on this plan will continue until 13 August. We board members are making ourselves available in our libraries, markets, schools, and events to hear your views. If you are interested, please join our webinar about it on August 6 at 6pm. Our draft plan is available at and at Council facilities.

Auckland Council’s proposed ‘emergency budget’, its response to the financial impacts of COVID-19, has been decided on by the Governing Body at the end of July. Because COVID-19’s impacts have reduced Council income by $525million, even with a 3.5% rate rise there unfortunately will be substantial cuts to the infrastructure projects, maintenance and community services provided by the Council. At our Waitemata Local Board meeting on 7 July we resolved to support the 3.5% rate rise, which was supported by a two to one majority by public submitters from our local board area.

We resolved to urge Council’s governing body not to make most of the proposed cuts to services and projects. We specifically opposed any lengthy postponement or cancellation to the restoration of the Leys Institute buildings which are highly valued by the community and the board, nor of the Ponsonby Park project at 254 Ponsonby Road, and any cuts in valued Council services like the opening hours of libraries and pools.

Our board strongly opposed most proposed cuts to community, environmental, climate change and transport safety services and in favour of a temporary increase in Council borrowing to fund them. Fortunately, the Ponsonby and Grey Lynn Community Centres are entering the second year of three-year funding agreements and their grants will not be affected. We are gratified that the governing body finally decided not to cut the hours of our libraries.

We are very much aware that some people will find it difficult to pay their rates this year. However, Council has developed and agreed to provision for postponement and rebates to help, and people in this situation should not hesitate to contact Council to apply for this relief. The Ministry of Social Development has finally taken over from Council in providing food parcels and advice for those who have unexpectedly lost their income.

We all need to remind ourselves that the return of the COVID-19 pandemic remains a risk. Because of the drought, we all need to reduce our water use. Auckland Transport is trying to help people stay safe with most of Freeman’s Bay and the city centre now having
a 30km/h speed limit because of its high accident rate, and by banning car entry to Collingwood Street from Ponsonby Road.

The Waitemata Local Board has formally acknowledged retiring MP Nikki Kaye’s fine service to Auckland Central and New Zealand.

I can be contacted at 021 534 546 or