A new Emergency Management Bill will elevate Māori but an Independent Māori Statutory Board member says Tāmaki Makaurau needs a unique approach.
As a part of the bill, government will establish Māori Emergency Management Advisory Group to work alongside the National Emergency Management Agency.
At the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Committee on September 1, Principal Recovery advisor Wayne Brown said the group would have “rule making authority”.
“There would be reimbursement for iwi and Māori in work they undertake during an emergency, similar to other organisations,” Brown said.
“We are thinking very much now about the submissions process to the bill. We see there will need to be significant engagement with iwi and Māori.”
Tāmaki Makaurau is home to the largest population of Māori in New Zealand with council formally recognising 19 iwi authorities in the region; something Independent Māori Statutory Board member Glenn Wilcox says needs consideration when it comes to policy.
“I think it is important we drive our plan, rather than a plan driven nationally… Our kaupapa will be different,” Wilcox said.
“It is important we do not get sucked into a kaupapa that does not suit Auckland’s needs…We need our plans to suit that particular uniqueness.”
This is the second time in recent weeks that national policy has failed to tackle issues of diversity for mana whenua and mātāwaka.
At a Governing Body meeting in August, council staff presented on the Local Government Electoral Legislation Bill and said it was seeking to incentivise Māori wards in councils but failed to acknowledge how a single ward may represent different views amongst Māori.
Councillor Sharon Stewart hopes recent flooding in Nelson will warn against heavy intensification in flood-prone areas of Auckland.
At the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Committee on August 30, Auckland Emergency general manager Paul Amaral said council staff were deployed in Nelson to help with the effects of recent flooding.
Council’s Zoe Marr was deployed as a log manager in Nelson and said she was happy to be able to assist Auckland’s neighbours.
We are “happy to be coming back to the office and bringing back those lessons learnt,” Marr said.
Committee chair Sharon Stewart said Auckland Council needed to be preventative regarding flooding, particularly with incoming intensification.
“We need to be a very responsible council… It will happen one day in our community what has happened down in Nelson,” Stewart said.
Stewart said intensification in Auckland would cause a lot of problems and worried flooding in certain areas would mean some families would be permanently pushed out of their homes.
With the flooding in Nelson, it was really important to know which properties are prone to flooding, she said.
“Hopefully this Civil Defence Committee can send some strong recommendations to consenting staff so we do not get it wrong.”
National Emergency Management Agency representative Katherine Biggs later spoke during the meeting and said council being able to provide surge staff to Nelson was crucial for people on the ground.
“I can only reiterate that it was hugely appreciated and showed how different parts of the country can support each other,” Biggs said.
The state of emergency has been lifted in Nelson and council staff have since returned to Auckland.
Answers on the state of community emergency response groups come up short at Auckland Council meeting.
At the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Committee on August 30, Cr John Watson asked about the state of community groups.
Watson, who has served in Rodney for nine years said the area previously had groups that were active in the emergency management space but was unsure about the state of the groups anymore.
“Legacy councils had been quite active in civil defence. I am curious to know to what extent those groups still exist in Auckland,” Watson said.
“Are those kinds of people still around… We had this unusual situation with the pandemic the last three years where there has been this disconnect.”
Watson wanted to know how Auckland’s Emergency Management team engaged with the groups.
Auckland Emergency general manager Paul Amaral said he was aware of the groups, particularly in Rodney but with the large size and population of Auckland, engagement across the city needed to be prioritised.
“There are still a lot of groups that exist. There are a few through time and Covid that have fallen away. There are some that are trying to reset,” Amaral said.
Amaral said his team's role was to support community organisations in the work they were doing but not take the lead.
Areas that needed to be prioritised in particular were ones that had “one way in and one way out,” he said.
Cr Wayne Walker asked for a summary of what exists now in communities and looked back to his 10 years as a Rodney councillor.
“There was a civil defence network. Once a year at least there was an award ceremony and that included people in the volunteer fire service,” Walker said.
“We had facilities for communicating in the event of an emergency… I would like to have in writing what exists now.”
Amaral told Walker that he did not have that information available and would need to come back to him.
Councillor expresses concerns about remuneration and support for a Māori ward under government's proposed bill.
The local government electoral legislation bill will encourage councils to have Māori wards, particularly for those that have not had Māori representation for two previous elections.
The bill would also remove the fixed 20 councillors of a governing body.
At the Governing Body meeting on August 25, Cr Linda Cooper said remuneration for the total number of representatives would remain the same despite increasing the number of councillors and Māori wards.
Cooper said when council got Māori wards they would “get paid less; less than what the councillors got paid the last term.”
“It is like being the mayor for Māori across Tāmaki Makaurau. It is a massive job. It is going to require a lot of support if they are going to be effective and then they will get paid less than we are now.”
Principal advisor Warwick McNaughton acknowledged there were issues with remuneration under the proposed bill.
McNaughton said there was also an issue for iwi and mātāwaka around how a small number of wards would be able to represent them.
Cr Shane Henderson said he was glad that the legislation was moving in this direction but also had issues with remuneration.
“There is a philosophical issue here that when wages get lower that makes it harder for working-class people to stand for election. Eventually down the line, you have a body of independently wealthy councillors that bring that worldview to the table. That is a loss for the city,” Henderson said.
Council will make a submission on the bill with the mayor, deputy mayor and nominees to present to the select committee.
Submissions on the bill are currently open and will close on September 14.
Interspecies relationships in the Hauraki Gulf are changing and things are ‘not how they are meant to be’ an expert says.
At the Hauraki Gulf Forum on August 22, University of Auckland biological sciences professor Rochelle Constantine presented about her latest work on marine megafauna in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.
The Hauraki Gulf is “an important area. I know that, mana whenua know that, I do not think a lot of people in the region know that,” Constantine said.
Constantine’s work looks at the relationships between species when feeding with some focus on Bryde whales.
A video played during the presentation where dolphins were rounding up fish before a whale came to steal their meal, showing how species can interact during feeding.
“The region is getting warmer and there are consequences for that,” Constantine said.
“Plankton do not like warm waters so they move, then the fish move, the dolphins move, the whales move.”
Bryde whales were leaning further toward a zooplankton-based diet and Constantine said “we don’t see the big schools of fish these whales need to live on… There are changes. This is not how it is meant to be.”
The shift towards plankton also meant Bryde whales had gained a greater feeding association with seabirds she said.
While warming temperatures were noted to be a big contributing factor to changing dynamics in the Gulf, Constantine also said the soundscape of the gulf impacted marine life.
“Humans are very noisey… when all the boats are on the water it masks the biological sound.”
Marine animals in the Gulf were unable to communicate if a predator is near, indicate when they are ready to mate or during a hunt because of the noise she said.
“Noise pollution is a loss of mauri… the social fabric of these species are changing.”
In the final meeting of the Hauraki Gulf Forum for the year the co-chairs looked back at the progress and hurdles of the forum.
At the meeting on August 22, the co-chairs report looked at the change the forum underwent and the advocacy that went along with it for the year.
Across the year the forum adopted a co-governance framework, took on a new advocacy positon, saw 95 percent of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park closed to scallop harvest, had large planting efforts and restoration for kūtai, green lipped mussels off Kawau Island.
Coom said over the term relations between the forum and Ports of Auckland had greatly improved.
The new chief executive was “chalk and cheese” compared to the previous one according to Coom which she said was promising in efforts to improves the health of the gulf.
Members had recieved abusive emails over the transition to co-governance with some members of the public comparing it to apartheid but the forum made it out the other end and were “stronger because of it,” Coom said.
Forum member Denis Tegg put forward a vote of thanks to the co-chairs and said MacDonald and Coom had chaired the forum with integrity.
“I have seen the dirt under your fingernails and the salt spray on your face,” Tegg said.
Co-chair Nicola MacDonald said they had gone out into icy cold waters to photograph 60 scallop beds and send the message to the Minister for Conservation that “when damage occurs to scallop beds, they don’t come back.”
“I feel we have done our best to demonstrate action… Things can only improve as we continue to enhance our position,” MacDonald said.
The forum “faced transformative challenge,” she said and was proud of the governance framework for the forum.
MacDonald recited a line from the governance statement that said “a canoe that is interlaced will not become separated at the bow. In unity there is strength.”
With the Hauraki Gulf Forum being an appointed body, the coming local election may see a new mix of members.
As the meeting closed MacDonald said farwell to members Sandra Goudie, Donna Arnold and Rob McGuire who would not be returning to the forum.
She said she appreciated having “some salt in the pudding” on the forum.
“We have not always seen eye to eye but that is what informed democracy looks like.”
The next meeting of the forum will be in March 2023 where new and returning members will be inducted and members will elect a co-chair to work alongside the tangata whenua co-chair.
The Hauraki Gulf forum takes its first steps in knowing the deeper value of the Gulf.
At the Hauraki Gulf Forum on August 22, members voted to allocate $50,000 towards an tender process for an economist to assess value of the Gulf on a broader scale.
Executive officer Alex Rogers wrote in his report that the forum had been working with “piecemeal or extractive-only valuations” for too long.
The work would establish a ‘minimum floor valuation’ and look beyond just the economic but social, well being and cultural value of the Hauraki Gulf.
At the meeting Rogers said the valuation would look at a rough flow of value over a year and expected it to be a large figure.
“We are looking for quite an unusual economist,” to take on the work Rogers said.
Co-chair Pippa Coom said the valuation would put the Hauraki Gulf Forum in a better position to advocate.
“The forums modest investment will lead to greater things,” Coom said.
The work is expected to start in October with the final report delivered by April 2023.
A lack of engagement and restrictions on customary fishing rights created tensions in biosecurity discussions for pest seaweed at the Hauraki Gulf forum.
At the forum meeting on August 22, Biosecurity New Zealand's director of readiness and response John Walsh presented on Caulerpa, a highly invasive pest species of seaweed.
Walsh said it had been about two years since Caulerpa was first established in New Zealand waters and had spread across 90 hectares in Blind Bay at Aotea Island.
“We think it probably arrived from Australia. It could have caught on the chain of an anchor, the anchor dropped and the seaweed jumped off,” Walsh said.
Walsh said Caulerpa was spread through human mediation which meant one of the best controls was to prevent things like fishing in the area.
A controlled area notice (CAN) was placed on three harbours at Aotea island after the spread, preventing fishing, seafood gathering or dropping anchor.
“We are quite concerned about it because of the speed at which it’s growing… we are unlikely to be able to eradicate it so we have been focused on how to prevent the spread.”
Caulerpa has not been found in the Hauraki Gulf from recent surveys but Walsh said without adequate controls it would spread.
One method of pest control that had shown to be effective was applying salt directly to Caulerpa. Walsh said, “who would have thought you would use salt to kill something in the sea but apparently it does.”
Walsh said the downside was the “monstrous” volume of salt needed.
Aotea local board member Valmaine Toki said restrictions on fishing at Aotea island had distressed the community.
“If you could reconsider, the community would really appreciate it,” Toki said.
Toki said the community was frustrated with the engagement from the Ministry for Primary Industries for being lacklustre and generic.
“When do local communities get to provide their solutions… The best way would be to get local people and mana whenua to do the monitoring.”
Toki said by the time authorities arrived after community complaints of boats breaking restrictions the boat was already gone.
Tangata whenua Terrence Hohneck said the news was devastating and that he did not believe people offending came from the island.
“I do not believe our people should be denied their customary rights,” Hohneck said.
John Walsh responded to concerns by saying engagement had occurred through an ambassador programme for the island where four mana whenua entities had been consulted.
“This could be a $1 million problem now or a $200 million problem in two years,” Walsh said.
The CAN at Aotea island expired in June however Biosecurity New Zealand has extended it till the end of September.
By Laura Kvigstad, Auckland Council reporter
Funded by New Zealand on Air
The transport emissions reduction pathway, dubbed a city shaping document, was adopted with cheers and applause heard from around the town hall.
The pathway is Auckland Council's attempt to reach a 64 percent emissions reduction by 2030.
The transport emissions reduction pathway (TERP) looks to give Aucklanders more sustainable transport options, reverse urban sprawl, make the streets safer and make it easier for people who still need to drive.
At the external Environment and Climate Change Commitee on August 18, general manager for long term planning Jacques Victor said the TERP was councils only option in order to reach the 64 percent target.
“This required every single lever to be pulled to the absolute maximum, there is not another pathway,” Victor said. “You cannot help but come to the conclusion we have very little time left.”
Victor said reducing emissions was a global obligation and that New Zealand made an “absolutely disappointing contribution to emissions”.
“The pathways is one thing, getting Aucklanders to take up those alternative pathways is another.”
Cr Wayne Walker asked about costing for the TERP and was concerned that if it is “not costed, it may not be possible.”
Chief economist Gary Blick said that a long term plan like the TERP would not be costed and that “individual projects will be costed”.
Mayor Phil Goff said councillors would be judged by their kids and their grandkids for the the way they voted.
“Anyone who does not believe in a climate emergency is a dinosaur and will go the way of the dinosaurs,” Goff said.
“It would have been better if we did this yesterday but the next best thing, we do it today.”
Cr Linda Cooper said council had to get people on board for the change.
“Everybody likes it until it affects them. I would love if Auckland Transport would work with local councillors to figure out how best to communicate to individual communities,” Cooper said.
The word radical was thrown around throughout the day with some saying it was a necessary to have radical change while others said the changes were not that radical at all.
Chair Richard Hills said the changes only appeared radical because of the time frame council was attempting to do them in.
“Climate change knows no bounds. It does not need a visa… thousands of global citizens have had their lives extinguished from climate change,” Hills said.
Cr Daniel Newman, Greg Sayers, Sharon Stewart voted against the adoption of the pathway.
Early next year, council staff and Auckland Transport will report back to the committee on a monitoring framework and implementation programme for the pathway.
By Laura Kvigstad, Auckland Council reporter
Funded by New Zealand on Air
Pleas for future generations, jabs at privilege and councillors' personal accountability were all heard during emission reduction discussions at Auckland Council.
At an external Environement and Climate Change committee on August 18 councillors voted to adopt the Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway (TERP).
The pathway outlines how Auckland will reduce its transport emissions by 64 percent by 2030.
One councillor, Daniel Newman, took aim at his colleagues and challenged the privilege of members at the committee.
Cr and mayoral candidate Fa'anānā Efeso Collins said earlier in meeting he was traveling to Warkworth for a mayoral debate, prompting Newman to ask how he was getting there.
"The TERP is not about complimenting the lifestyles of Aucklanders. In my view, it is about squeezing Aucklanders in order to change their lives. The people who are doing that squeezing are comparatively privileged people,” Newman said.
“We are people who are highly paid elected members, directors, senior managers here for a 10 am meeting for a debate about a blueprint on how one engineers the lives and movements of people who start much earlier than that.”
Newman, who is seeking re-election, said he had been putting up signs around his ward using a car because it was convenient and short trips work for him.
Newman’s comments were directed at proposed action within the pathway to reduce the number short trips taken by Aucklanders.
“I do not wish to preach a standard for others that I do not practice in my own life,” Newman said.
Newman challenged members of the committee seeking re-election who had been putting up signs around their ward: “I want to ask you this, how many of you traveled around your wards on the back of a bicycle? How many of you carried your poles and your pegs and your tools on the back of a bike?”
Cr Pippa Coom, who was spotted bringing her bike into the townhall from a torrential downpour earlier in the day, put up her hand at Newman’s comments, indicating she had done just that.
Cr Josephine Bartley said she had driven to committee that day.
“I am very mindful that I am sitting here on a vote about transport emissions reduction when I drove here and I am going to drive home in my four wheel drive,” Bartley said.
“I do not want to come across as a hypocrite. I think there are lots of other people out there who are like me, that want to do something… they do not want to be hypocrites, they want to do their part for the environment … but they need viable options.”
“I have got options. I could have caught the train but it was delayed and I needed to get here.”
Bartley said Aucklanders need “efficient, reliable, affordable” public transport options, “if we want people to change their behaviour we need to give them options to do that.”
Chair Richard Hills said he was nervous ahead of the vote but woke up to his nine month old son kicking him in the face.
Hills said that he thought about what his son would think in 20 years time if the committee did not pass the TERP.
"It will improve our air quality, improve our water quality, give people options and just create a better environment. It is not about creating dystopia, it’s trying to avoid it,” Hills said.
“It is late, but it is better late than never.”