These last few years and the ones coming up will see the Upper Harbour benefit from more major infrastructure projects than at any other time in our history - through the Northern Motorway improvements, a huge upgrade to the local bus network and ferry enhancements.
We will make sure at every step we get best outcomes for your money and make sure projects deliver to maximum effect for you, your community, your businesses.
✔ Representing your interests 100% on Council
✔ Vote consistently to keep rates down
✔ More accountability, and oversight, over CCOs to get best value for money, improved measurement, monitoring and performance management
✔ Stop wasteful spending and challenge deals not in the ratepayer’s best interests
✔ Reverse undemocratic 3 Water reforms and unprecedented Housing Intensification that overloads our infrastructure
✔ Prevent the Hauraki Gulf Forum being a ‘Co-governed’ Authority with reduced public accountability and control and retain Regional Parks as a network accountable to Council
✔ Better returns to offset rates from Ports of Auckland and other Council operations
✔ Genuine community consultation, engagement and transparency
✔ Improved consents processing, bylaw enforcement and service response
✔ Remove the unsafe Upper Harbour Drive concrete barriers. Sensible, practical, safe cycleways for cyclists and vehicles
✔ Busway to Silverdale and Orewa, future-proofing for light rail/trackless trams
✔ Completion of Glenvar Road and associated East Coast Bays Road, and The Avenue - Paremoremo
✔ Increase and future proof EV vehicle charging, free Park-and-Ride and Town Centre parking, incentivised car sharing
✔ Environmental offsetting to improve our bush, streams, beaches
✔ Improved quantity controls on sediment to protect our precious Hauraki Gulf
✔ Set netting bans on local beaches for safer swimming, marine protection and stopping anti-social behaviour
✔ Ongoing financial support for community-led pest control, restoration
✔ Incentivise water tanks, water conservation, solar power, car sharing
✔ Additional parkland for Long Bay Regional Park and at Bomb Point
✔ Continue age-friendly city and seniors strategies and support
✔ A strong stand on crime, neighbourhood prevention initiatives and bylaws
✔ Long-term secured funding for Youth Centres
✔ Marina strategies to improve access, recreation, boat launching, ferry services and support berth holders
✔ Sector led strategies for our Golf Courses, sports, boating, arts and businesses
✔ Ongoing community facilities, libraries, sportsfields and coastal upgrades and community garden support
✔ Work collaboratively with Local Boards, community and business groups
An acute housing crisis in Auckland has seen successive generations locked out of home ownership. While council doesn’t build houses it zones land and has a development agency - Panuku - that could trial lower cost building solutions on suitable council land rather than expensive inner city waterfront sites that do nothing to shift the home ownership dial. Council needs more involvement with government to provide necessary innovation and infrastructure for new housing products that do not compromise existing neighbourhoods - and more new areas with substantially lower cost housing options than the last decade.
Auckland Council has been steamrolled by government demands under the current mayor – through controversial Three Waters reforms and unprecedented Housing Intensification rules - without consultation, normal process - and inadequate regard for infrastructure constraints and existing neighbourhoods.
In Council we’re the strongest opponents of these wide-ranging government changes (and informing people across Albany through well-attended public meetings)
Irrespective of people’s individual party loyalties Auckland needs a strong, independent council putting Auckland first, not compromised by the party-political allegiances under the current Mayor. That grouping must change this election and be replaced by a more independent, accountable, united coalition willing to challenge government (of whatever colour) - as opposed to the meek opposition this last term of council.
At this stage only political pressure from the public will reverse these impositions. Next year - election year - presents an opportunity for a stronger, more independent Council to push Auckland’s interests.
We’ll push for the next council to publicly and formally challenge the fundamentally flawed policies of 3 Waters and Housing intensification
In this term of council, a secretive agenda developed to turn the Hauraki Gulf Forum into a ‘Co-governed’ Authority with expanded powers (and ‘formally’ include 21 of Auckland’s 28 coastal Regional Parks down the East Coast - including Shakespear, Long Bay and Wenderholm - into the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park). John and Wayne as elected appointees to the Hauraki Gulf Forum led the charge and steadfastly oppose these fundamentally undemocratic changes that compromise public control and accountability of Regional Parks and the Hauraki Gulf – the jewels in the crown of Auckland.
What we've achieved
This $700m NZTA project benefitting all our ward made good progress despite Covid-19 interruptions. Constellation to Albany busway extensions opened May (improving Coast travel), shared cycle/walkway alongside opens soon, SH 18 westbound onramp complete this year with SH1 and SH18 direct motorway connections also open - so extra motorway lanes and busway connections for all northern communities up and running or soon to come. A fantastic project for the north with the Albany ward a major beneficiary.
Albany is a big winner in Council’s recent bus improvement package released this year - extra trips from Schnapper Rock to Constellation Station, Constellation to Henderson via Greenhithe, Hobsonville and Westgate depart at least every 15 minutes 7 days a week, Whenuapai to Westgate every 30 minutes (with extra trips to Hobsonville Wharf) and West Harbour to Hobsonville to include Clark Road and Scott Point. All these routes connect with the WX1 route Westgate to Britomart leaving every 15 minutes when the new North Western Busway is up and running.
Over the last three years there’s been extensive upgrades and improvements to a variety of facilities and sportsfields in the ward. They follow the opening of the Albany Pool and Leisure Centre Complex last term, the new international hockey complex at Rosedale (start of this term), the Albany BMX track and Greenhithe Equestrian Centre constructed courtesy NZTA and Council. The new $26 m Westgate multi-purpose library and community centre serves Hobsonville, West Harbour and Whenuapai, an amazing asset for the wider community.
The $14 m Medallion Drive link opened earlier this year (2022) with a new bridge and road that aids residential and commuter traffic around busy Oteha Valley Road – a main arterial in Albany from the motorway (where traffic must be kept flowing smoothly).
Long awaited upgrades to Gills Road and Kyle Road were finally constructed this term, Glenvar Road intersection is proceeding to detailed design and the long awaited, sorely needed upgrade to the Avenue/Dairy Flat intersection (Paremoremo) included in a ‘reprogramming’ budget - after strong advocacy from community, local board and councillors (since affected by covid-19 related uncertainties but still on the cards given the large NZTA subsidy this project attracts).
Initial work will cost $16 million and take 14 months, delivering two football fields, a baseball diamond, carpark, paths, toilets and changing facilities, and new roads at Scott Point. All up this is a $30 sports development committed to at Scott Point that will serve the wider area.
Huge growth is happening in the north-west with the population rising fast. Some projects are NZTA, some council. In council we’ve strongly supported the SH16-18 project. These proposed improvements include: new direct connection between SH16 and SH18, shared walking/cycling paths between Squadron Drive and Fred Taylor Drive, south facing ramps at SH16 Northside Drive, upgraded interchanges at both SH16 and SH18 ends of Brigham Creek Road and west facing ramps at SH18 Squadron Drive. These transport network improvements provide better travel choices and allow local roads to service local communities.
Improving this service has been a main priority of ours over successive terms of council. The Hobsonville ferry started 2013 with 5 sailings a day, increased to 10 by 2019 then to 35 sailings a day this term (including frequent weekend services).
Ferry fares have now been integrated – so a bus or train trip either side of your ferry trip is no extra cost (for most people, a free bus trip to and from the Hobsonville ferry terminal if convenient)
During 2021 funding was also approved for new ferries - vital to lift vessel reliability and consolidate hard-fought improvements won over successive council terms for this important Hobsonville service.
Auckland Transport wants to introduce charging at park and rides. We don’t! Our ward has two of the region’s biggest facilities at Albany and Hibiscus Coast Station. They have been an outstanding success in getting people to use buses. As a result park-and-rides should remain free. AT needs to encourage PT use not discourage it. Similarly with maintaining smooth traffic flow around the local roading network which helps reduce travel times and carbon emissions.
We’ve led the ‘keep it free’ fight in Council and will continue to hold that line ...strongly.
(The new 150 park addition opened last term at Albany is future proofed for a new car park building – with increased demand that should be activated).
There’s overwhelming public opposition to these barriers installed by AT without public consultation. Since partially installed, there’s been numerous accidents involving cyclists and motorists. They are not the right design for the road - simply unsafe for motorists, cyclists and residents alike. As a result AT must remove them and decide on a suitable solution after proper consultation and engagement with the local community.
While it’s great to see big infrastructure projects on the way, it’s as important to ensure people get the assistance they need as well. Upper Harbour is blessed with some of the best community groups and churches across Auckland. When many other parts of Auckland are struggling, we are fortunate to have a range of incredibly active and progressive groups helping our youth, environment, elderly, sports organisations and those in need. We are very grateful for the selfless and community-minded people who give so generously of their own time and expertise for the benefit of our local community.
We’ve fought hard for open space and reserves for the public. Increased intensification should mean more reserves and open spaces for people of all ages to enjoy. That’s important for people’s physical and mental health. One good example last year at Long Bay Regional Park was when over 3000 square metres of coveted land adjoining Long Bay Regional Park was purchased, completing the 18-hectare Heritage Protection Area.
There’s a strong case for an urban Regional Park at Bomb Point. We support unreservedly acquisition of the full 10.79 hectares for public reserve. Public assurances have been given repeatedly to this effect; which is the clear expectation of community and us. Progress is slow in agreeing terms on this assurance – we have made sure in the interim, however, that a formal resolution is on Council’s books providing for such an undertaking.
With the Wasp Hangar substantial effort has gone in this term to safeguard this heritage building as a community facility and to additionally provide a public square adjacent to - as shown in earlier planning documents.
Auckland Council owns the Westpark Marina land. In 2018 a secret ‘deal’ by Panuku Development/Council to sell Westpark marina land was leaked to the public - allowing over 250 apartments to be built there, blocking residents views and restricting public access to the marina land (guaranteed by law when the marina was built).
John and Wayne worked hard with community and boating groups to halt these plans (during which time a campaign to protect all Auckland’s marinas went region-wide). Panuku and their allies were defeated this time but strong leadership and a Marinas Strategy is required to safeguard our publicly owned marinas.
We are absolutely committed to retaining council ownership of the Westpark Marina and securing better facilities for ferry passengers.
Preservation of our stunning area and its bush-clad natural environment is a priority – it’s what defines us. We are very grateful for the selfless, community and environmentally minded people who give so generously of their own time and expertise for the benefit of their local communities – including the many environmental groups in and outside of the Upper Harbour Ecology Network.
Higher standards of environmental protection for our beaches and waterways are needed. Current standards just don’t cut it, nor the compliance regime – standards and their enforcement must be improved - and fast with stronger political will than under the current regime.
Preserving our beautiful waterways and environment is vital – it defines our lifestyle and attracts people to live here.
Albany ward has the highest concentration of retirement villages in Auckland. We want to ensure that wherever possible the council works with residents to provide access to community facilities and amenities in the area. - for transport, recreation, libraries, walks and reserves access. It’s our experience residents have much to offer the local community by way of the expertise and community interest that exists both within retirement centres and the community at large.
The older population is growing faster than other age-groups and predicted to increase to 19% by 2046 (11 % in 2013). Membership of the Age-Friendly Global Network - beneficial for everyone, regardless of age - requires commitment to continuous improvement process for creating age-friendly environments.
As the population continues to age we need to be more aware of the connections and facilities that support our older citizens.
Council needs to play its part encouraging businesses and employment in Albany. We want successful local businesses providing local employment. The same goes for our schools. Young people benefit from neighbourhood facilities that keep them active, healthy and making a positive contribution. School leavers need suitable employment opportunities in the wider Albany area and educational and training opportunities to help their working careers.
We work closely with the outstanding North Harbour Business Association and other business groups to encourage council to assist.
Council has an important role to play helping businesses, youth and employment and partnering with innovative institutions such as Massey University.
We work closely with many sports – rugby, cricket, soccer, tennis, hockey, netball, surf clubs, league, league - and we are incredibly appreciative of the leading role played by Harbour Sport – a well-run organisation reaching out into all our communities.
In council we’ve taken on Mayor and CCOs over the expensive and unpopular Stadium Strategy which threatened to leave ratepayers with a monumental bill - a victory for the codes, supporters and ratepayers.
In uncertain times, safeguarding North Harbour Stadium is a priority for us, increasing the sporting and entertainment content at this top class facility (the sporting hub for our region north of the bridge). We’re leading initiatives to push for more first class and international events.
Our priority are the grassroots sporting codes across the region and improving our stadium. Large amounts of money wasted on grandiose plans means less for local sporting codes and existing facilities.
Over the last 3 years John and Wayne have consistently opposed wasteful spending, including executive salaries and business class travel. They challenge ‘deals’ not in the best interests of ratepayers and advocate more cost effective and pragmatic solutions to council expenditure. There’s plenty who talk about it at election time but they’re amongst the few who actually do it when in council.
This last 3 years they vigorously opposed the mayor’s excessive rate increases, acutely aware of how tough many people were doing it with the effects of Covid.
As far as the north-west goes (Whenuapai and Herald Island in particular), with a new council and mayor we commit to reversing the urban rating charge - for it remains deeply flawed and cannot be justified on the basis of overwhelming evidence submitted by the local community in 2021. We fought it with fantastic community support back in 2021. Its reversal is top of our list.
One of the stand outs of the last few years has been the upgrade of various coastal structures around the Bays – stairs, jetties and walkways which can come in for a battering with the weather. These are important in maintaining the community’s access to our stunning coastline. Likewise with the ongoing renewal of children’s playgrounds – it’s great to see investment in facilities the community gets such good use out of.
In the last term John Watson was approached by residents wanting a direct bus service to the airport (Auckland Transport had no plans to do this).
John contacted Skybus direct, held meetings with their Australian- based executive who expedited market research and obtained a multi-million-dollar budget. By June 2018 the service was up and running - half-hourly along the Northern Busway - it didn’t cost the ratepayer a cent. Covid has since put paid to that service, but we’ll get it back and as always, look to go beyond the Auckland Council to get things happening in our community.