Chair’s report May 2019 – the climate crisis, Anzac day and Chickens

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This is my latest report covering various matters including declaring a climate change emergency for the Waitakere Ranges Local Board area, Anzac day, the moving on of Community Constable Heber Gasu track reopenings and chickens.

Climate change

Moved:

  1. That this report be received.
  2. That the Waitakere Ranges Local Board declares a climate emergency for the Waitakere Ranges Local Board area.
  3. That the WRLB urges Auckland Council to declare a climate emergency for the Auckland region.

Our world is facing an environmental crisis.  
The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report indicated that if temperatures increase by 1.5 degrees celsius or more we face unprecedented risks and weather events.  But current trends in emissions suggest that we are instead facing a temperature increase of over 3 degrees.
To avert this the IPCC’s conclusion is that the world must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to net zero by the middle of this century to have a reasonable chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.  That is for global emissions.  Western nations will need to reach this figure more quickly.

To use the words of Greta Thunberg:

” … the climate crisis is the most complex issue that we have ever faced and it’s going to take everything from our part to ”stop it”. But the solution is black and white; we need to stop the emissions of greenhouse gases.
Because either we limit the warming to 1,5 degrees C over pre industrial levels, or we don’t. Either we reach a tipping point where we start a chain reaction with events way beyond human control, or we don’t. Either we go on as a civilization, or we don’t. There are no gray areas when it comes to survival.

And when I say that I want you to panic I mean that we need to treat the crisis as a crisis. When your house is on fire you don’t sit down and talk about how nice you can rebuild it once you put out the fire. If your house is on fire you run outside and make sure that everyone is out while you call the fire department. That requires some level of panic.”

Currently Auckland Council’s goal under its climate action plan, is to achieve a 40% reduction of greenhouse gas generation by 2040.  The Government’s aim previously was for a 50% reduction by 2050.  Under the Zero Carbon bill that has recently been released oit is now proposed that New Zealand becomes carbon neutral by 2050.  And the sooner that carbon neutrality is reached the better.

Not only are we facing a climate crisis but we are facing a soil crisis.  It has been estimated by Maria-Helena Semedo of the Food and Agriculture Organization  that at current rates of degradation all of the world’s top soil could be gone within 60 years.  About a third of the world’s soil has already been degraded.

The causes of soil destruction include chemical-heavy, intensive and monoculture horticulture practices and farming techniques, deforestation which increases erosion, and global warming.

Unless new approaches are adopted, the global amount of arable and productive land per person in 2050 will be only a quarter of the level in 1960.

Our fisheries are crashing with predictions that by 2048 fishing stocks will be depleted.

This is the conclusion of a study by Boris Worm, of Dalhousie University.
And a recent UN report suggests that a million different species are facing extinction within the next 50 years.

These changes are not solely related to climate change.  The use of unsustainable farming and fishing techniques play their part.  But climate change is also having an effect.  Clearly the world is facing an environmental crisis.

There has been a world wide movement to declare climate change emergencies.  The United Kingdom Parliament has passed a resolution declaring that the country is in an environmental and climate change emergency.  The Welsh legislature has done the same.  Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon has declared a climate emergency and various cities including London have also made declarations.   Wellington Council is consulting on its draft pathway to zero carbon consultation (https://www.zerocarboncapital.nz/).  And Nelson City Council’s mayor has also indicated a desire to make a similar declaration.

The resolution passed by the UK Parliament included a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

In the forward to the latest local board plan I said this:

We want to do our part to encourage sustainability in the way we live and in our interaction with and care for our environment. What this means in practice is that we will seek to make sure all of our programmes are viewed through a sustainability lens, and that we will advocate within the Auckland Council family for the effects of climate change and environmental degradation.”


Making of the declaration is a commitment to take the issue even more seriously than it has up to now and morally binds the Council to do something.  It is confirming to the public that Council both locally and regionally have to address this issue more urgently than we have in the past.

Auckland Council was recently asked to declare a climate emergency.  The promise was made to consider the request.  I believe that Council needs to do more than this and put climate change at the centre of its thinking and decision making.  The making of a declaration that we are in a climate crisis is the first step that needs to be taken.

Glen Esk Road

Auckland Council has recently consulted on options to address flooding on Glen Esk Road, Piha.  The local board has taken a keen interest in what is happening and we were concerned at some of the proposals.  These included damming of the valley and constructing a tunnell to take excess water to Garden Road.  

Both of these options are very expensive and highly destructive of the local environment and the prospects of them being approved are remote in the extreme.  We thought they should be taken out of the options being consulted on.  They were left in but the community response has been as predicted and I suspect that this will be the end of these particular proposals. 

Glen Eden Playhouse

The local board had a very constructive meeting with trustees of the Glen Eden Playhouse trust recently and both parties will work on improving and solidifying the relationship.  There has not been council presence at trustee meetings for a number of years and I anticipate that an invitation for us to attend will be extended.  There is also available funding which once certain Council requirements are met can be made available.  And the local board area does not have a civic quality facility and the Playhouse Trust could fulfill that requirement.

The Playhouse is an iconic building and the home of a great deal of important activity.  I am very pleased that the board can work with the trust to make sure that the Playhouse is well protected and well used.
I should acknowledge the work of local board member Ken Turner in helping with the improvement of the relationship between the trust and the board.

Glen Eden Safety project consultation results

The results have now been released.

One of the most frustrating aspects of the job is that the local board is on the receiving end of public complaints but sometimes we are the last to hear when decisions are made.  I only found out about the release of the consultation results concerning the Glen Eden safety project via Twitter when a couple of interested residents expressed concern at what had been decided.

And the results are disappointing.  I can understand the decision not to address safety at the level train crossing at this stage on the basis that the expense is considerable.  I am aware it is in medium term projects although clearly the sooner the better.

But the proposal to increase the amount of right turning traffic onto Glenview Road from West Coast Road seems counter productive.  Especially given the two tower apartment block is nearing completion and there is a need to improve safety so that kids living in the apartment houses can cross the road safely.

The scope of the project itself has been wound back.  There will now be three raised platforms.  And the reduction in speed has also been reduced with the minimum speed being retained at 50 kph.

The Board will meet with Auckland Transport in the near future to discuss my concerns and also to see what walking and cycling improvements the local board can lever off the project.

Anzac Day

The Anzac day ceremony this year was a much more subdued occasion.  Numbers attending were down, possibly because of people taking the opportunity of having an extended break but possibly because of lingering concerns about the events of march the 15th.  Security arrangements were much more pronounced and contributed to what was a more sombre event.  For instance at Piha instead of us marching from the RSA to Lion Rock we gathered more quietly at the rock.

I was privileged to give the speech at the Waikumete ceremony at 11 am.  I took the chance to reflect on the contribution that some of my family made to the war and to the fight for freedom and I noted that in many, many families there were similar tales of bravery and commitment.

I am sure that next year the event will be back to normal.  Congratulations to the RSAs for continuing to host these important events in difficult circumstances.

Glen Eden Apartments

These are well under way and I understand construction is due to be completed towards the end of the year.

Plans for the opening and the influx of a number of new residents are still being formulated.

As part of the welcome process the local board is investing a proposal by a group Organiser by Jade Tang-Taylor for the production of a welcome home campaign which will involve the provision of information, pamphlets, a website, maps and events to welcome these residents to Glen Eden.

A decision should be made on this soon.

Chickens

As I reported in my last Chair’s report the numbers of chickens in the TItirangi Village is getting to be a real problem.  There has always been a certain number of them  but numbers seem to have ballooned lately.  

They are becoming a major nuisance.  I have received a number of complaints about them.  Roosters crowing and keeping people awake at night is the most pressing examples of the problems being created.  

There is also a concern at the environmental damage that they are causing.

Unfortunately the problem falls within in the middle of different council department’s jurisdictions.

In the past Council has tried rehoming them using volunteers.  This has had short term benefits but the problem has persisted.

The local board is prepared to apply its own budget to addressing the problem.  Hopefully this will be advanced in the near future.

Farewell to Heber Gasu

Local community constable Heber Gasu is moving on.

Thankfully for West Auckland his policing skills will not be lost.  He has recently been seconded to Youth Aid and will be stationed out west.  His personable happy temperament will be ideal in dealing with troubled young people.

He remarked at his farewell how when he started the job he was tucked away in an office at the Fire Station away from the centre of action.  The local board was very conscious of this and this is why, following urging from Steve Tollestrup we opened the safety hub. 

It has provided a home for Heber and BID manager Jennifer Conlon not to mention the Pacifica wardens and the Glen Eden Community Patrol.  We believe that the police should be made a central part of our community and have been happy to assist.

The local board has recently reviewed the office.  It has been given a spruce up.  Rather than have closed in windows these have now been opened up to improve visibility both inside and outside.  Also Vision West have expressed an interest in using the office, although they could use even more space, and the board is happy to do what we can,

I am sure that the new community constable will be like every other community constable that I have met, dedicated to the job and wanting to contribute to their community.  But Heber will be missed.

Beats and Eats

The beats and eats series has now completed. 

The intent was to enliven the Glen Eden area,  With the help of Community Waitakere the area outside the library was converted into an area where people could eat their dinner and listen to chilled out music at the same time. 

I believe the series was very successful and hope that we will consider running the events again when the weather improves.

It’s the end of the world as we know it *

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The United Nations has published a report that paints a stark warning that humanity’s current treatment of the world’s environment is destroying it.

From Kate Gudsell at Radio New Zealand:

The most comprehensive report on the global state of biodiversity to date has found one million species are threatened with extinction.

The just-published United Nations assessment – known as the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) – says nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history.

The landmark report issues an ominous warning – the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, and this will have grave impacts on people around the world.

Humans have significantly altered three-quarters of the land-based environment and two-thirds of the marine environment.

More than a third of the world’s land surface and nearly three-quarters of freshwater resources are devoted to crop or livestock production.

Up to $US577 billion ($NZ872b) in annual global crops are at risk from pollinator loss.

Plastic pollution has increased ten-fold since 1980 and up to 400 million tonnes of heavy metals, solvents and toxic sludge are dumped annually into the world’s waters.

The report said people were eroding the very foundations of their economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life.

According to the global assessment, an average of about 25 percent of animals and plants are now threatened.

All this suggests around a million species now face extinction within decades, a rate of destruction tens to hundreds of times higher than the average over the past 10 million years.

The report can be accessed here.

So what can we do?  The solutions have been canvassed many times but obviously need to be repeated time and time again.  Things like:

  • Eat less red meat.
  • Drive and travel by plane less.
  • Catch more public transport.
  • Engage in pest management and trapping.
  • Plant more trees.
  • Reduce consumption.
  • Live more simply.

There are a great number of ideas in the Standard’s How to get there series.

What is clear is that we are now past the point of having to talk.  We are now in a position where we need to act.

And clearly politics must play its part.  We can no longer afford cautious triangulators or leaders that refuse to do what is right because they are afraid of upsetting entrenched groups. 

Time is running out. We collectively need to act now.

Climate change is this Government’s nuclear free issue

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Jacinda Ardern is right.  Climate change is this generation’s nuclear free moment.  And it is therefore this Government’s nuclear free issue.

After the mixed feelings caused by the response to the CGT proposal there is an imperative for the Government to make sure that its response is resolute.  Otherwise there will be the feeling that NZ First is wielding too much power.

Negotiations over the Zero Carbon Bill are under way and the result is close.  From Andrea Vance at Stuff:

The government is close to announcing a deal on its contentious climate change legislation, striking a deal over agricultural emissions.

Stuff understands Climate Change Minister James Shaw and NZ First have negotiated a “split gas” target, which would see methane treated differently from other long-lived gases, like carbon.

Farmers are worried about the legislation because agriculture accounts for about half our emissions, mostly methane from belching live stock.

It comes as Shaw took delivery on Tuesday of two reports – on agriculture and on transitioning to 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035 – from the Interim Climate Change Committee (ICCC).

But instead of immediately releasing them publicly, as expected, the reports will be held back until the Government decides how to respond. 

Shaw said: “We have delayed release of reports to give Government time to consider the reports so that when they are released for public consultation people will have a clear idea of the Government’s thinking around the recommendations.

“That’s likely to mean the release of the reports, together with the Government’s position, will happen in the next few weeks.”

I can live with different treatments of methane and CO2.  Methane is shorter living and we can plant enough trees, lots and lots of trees,  to address the effects and give us more time as we transition away.  And getting to 100% renewable electricity by 2035 could cost a considerable amount although the analysis I have read came from the New Zealand Initiative and should be treated with a grain of salt.

But the Government needs to be staunch about the overall goal.

To see how stark things are when advisers to the UK Conservative Government are recommending carbon neutrality by 2050 then you know that things are dire.

How about carbon neutrality by 2025 as demanded by Extinction Rebellion?  That is an utterly ambitious target but the science seems to be suggesting more and more strongly that this is what will be required of Western nations to avert catastrophic change.

We are in an emergency and maybe as a starting point our leaders should publicly spell this out.  This New Scientist article contains these comments from ER spokesperson Rupert Reed:

Telling the truth would help reach the 2025 goal, he says. Extinction Rebellion is demanding that the government “must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency.” Perry responded this week that “what counts is actions”.

Read says one facet of this demand is about language and conveying the scale of change required to tackle climate change. “It means declare a climate emergency. Tell the public this is an existential threat. This is not just about the environment, but about everything. That we will have to change an awful lot,” he says

Already elected bodies are responding.  The Welsh Government has declared a climate emergency.  As has Scotland.  And London.  And UK Labour intends to this week force a vote in parliament to declare a national environmental and climate change emergency.

Auckland Council was recently asked to do the same.  They promised to think about it.  The city’s climate action plan, which aims to achieve a 40% reduction of greenhouse gas generation by 2040 is not brave enough.

Getting back to the Government the choices are stark.  A tepid half hearted response shaped by New Zealand First reluctance to upset farmers will not be enough.  This is this Government’s defining issue.

Let’s do this.

In support of Awhi Awhi

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Awhi Awhi, also known as the Paturoa Kauri, has featured in my thinking for a number of years now. And in the thinking of a number of people who I have a great deal of respect for. Including two neighbours and two people who decided to set up residence in Awhi Awhi’s branches to make sure she was OK.

After all why is a potentially 400 year old Kauri facing the chop? And what can we do to protect her and other trees like her?

I can recall vividly an early morning visit to the site 4 years ago when the sun was rising and a Kaumatua delivered a karakia while birds were singing and the beauty of the local environment peaked. For me that day the case for protection was clear.

Now we are entering a new stage. I hope that Awhi Awhi is safe. I thought I should set out what I am proposing, with the support of Sandra Coney and Saffron Toms, this week to the local board to make sure that a 400 year old Kauri that survived ring barking in an area full of kauri dieback can continue to live.

Notice of Motion (Paturoa Kauri)

In accordance with Standing Orders, please place the following Notice of Motion on the agenda for the Waitākere Ranges Local Board meeting being held on 18 April 2019.

Recommendation/s

That the Waitākere Ranges Local Board:

a)      urges Auckland Council to:

i)     reinstate the Significant Ecological Area on 40 Paturoa Road so that Awhi Awhi is protected.

ii)    reinstate the Significant Ecological Area on the road reserve outside of 40 and 42 Paturoa Road so that the significant Kauri on the road reserve have further protection.

Background

The fate of a 400 year old Kauri at 40 Paturoa Road (who has been named “Awhi Awhi”) has been a significant local issue for the past four years.  Such was the intensity of feeling for the tree two people took up residence in the tree to prevent it from being cut down.

The issue has arisen again recently following an Environmental Court decision where the uplifting of a restraining order preventing its felling has been approved.  An injunction against the felling of the tree is to expire shortly.

The Court showed a great deal of sympathy for the tree’s plight and the plight of Kauri generally.

In its judgment it said this:

“The Environment Court has taken a particular interest in the maintenance of Kauri trees as a consequence of the invasive pathogen (phytophthora agathidicida) commonly referred to as Kauri Dieback. Where such trees are protected and where there is the potential for them to be protected from Kauri dieback or other adverse effects, this court has been anxious to ensure that this charismatic megafauna (some might say iconic as the oldest living tree in New Zealand) is protected into the future.”

The Court held essentially that as Awhi Awhi is not within a significant ecological area it is not protected.  The removal of blanket tree protection which occurred in 2009 through changes made to the Resource Management Act mandated this result.

The properties at 40 and 42 Paturoa Road were partially cleared in accordance with a resource consent issued allowing for building on the property.  The original consent was issued on a non-notified basis and without reference to the neighbours.

Following High Court action the consent has been surrendered by the consent holders.  There have been concerns raised as to proposed works to stabilise the edge of the property adjacent to the road and also about the building of a driveway over the roots of two roadside Kauri.  Defects in relation to the mapping of Kauri root zones were also alleged.

There are three significant Kauri potentially affected by the work.  Not only is Awhi Awhi affected but two other Kauri on the road reserve are also seriously threatened.  It was claimed in the High Court case relating to the consent that the original proposal for stabilisation of the bank was hopelessly inadequate and that what would be required is a significant retaining wall that would require the roadside Kauri to be felled or at least have their roots systems severely impaired.

Concerns have also been raised about the circumstances of the lifting of the Significant Ecological Area from the property.  The Draft Unitary Plan retained the existing SEA over the property.  It was contended by the landowner that it should be removed from the cleared area which included Awhi Awhi.  The agreement would have kept the SEA in place to cover the more significant Kauri in the road reserve.  

The memo submitted to the Unitary plan hearings panel said this:

“Summary of relief sought by submitter:

  • reduce extent of SEA_T_5539 from … 40-42 Paturoa Road, Titirangi where vegetation removal has been undertaken as a result of approved resource consent conditions associated with the titles.

The consent also said that “[t]he remainder of the SEA overlay on all properties where vegetation remains is accurate.”

The [following] plan was attached to the submission as is the resulting change to the SEA overlay.

[Actual shape]

Note that the horseshoe shape has gone.  The Kauri to the right on the roadside is protected as it is partially covered.  But the Kauri in the centre is not.  I understand this is because the Council staff thought the SEA should be contiguous to neighbouring areas but I note that the Kauri’s root system would extend to neighbouring Kauri.

Given that the resource consent has been surrendered it can be asked why the change to the SEA should remain.

Council is under an obligation to consider applications in a timely manner.  There was an application for Awhi Awhi to be listed as a notable tree lodged two years ago.

There is a legitimate expectation that these sorts of applications should be considered in a timely manner.  To delay consideration of protection of a significant tree because of bureaucratic considerations is not appropriate.

Also Awhi Awhi is within 10 metres of the edge of the road reserve.  A fresh application will not necessarily result in permission to construct a dwelling where Awhi Awhi is.

As said by the Environment Court:

Given that the consent has now been surrendered, it is clear that any application to build on this site would require the applicant to comply with the standards within the plan or seek resource consent. [Counsel for the landowners] Ms Stienstra tells us that there is a 10 m setback from the front boundary of this property for any building and a 6m setback from side boundaries. It is clear from the diagram we have attached as B that the subject Kauri tree is within 10 m of the front boundary and may even be within 6m of the side boundary (although we are not clear on this). In practical terms therefore, it may not be necessary for the owner to remove the tree to construct a home. We appreciate that this simply means that the owner may not have to remove the tree to build a house but would still be entitled to do so as a permitted activity.”

There is no harm to anyone by reinstating the SEA either over Awhi Awhi or over the road reserve.  If this does not occur, the fate of three significant Kauri is under threat.

The future of Auckland Transport

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Auckland Transport has existed for as long as the Auckland super city. And the time may have arrived for its future to be reconsidered.

To understand why a trip down memory lane is required.

AT’s predecessor, the Auckland Regional Transport Authority, came into being in 2004. Then Local Government Minister Chris Carter said that one of the reasons for ARTA’s formation was “confused decision making, which has resulted from an inefficient and cumbersome governance structure with too many bodies involved in it”. And so the decision was made to centralise control of parts of Auckland’s transport system.

ARTA’s role was to integrate transport planning in the Auckland Region, and its goal was an efficient and sustainable network providing modal choice. It was to operate and improve the passenger rail network and to design and operate bus and ferry services.

One area it did not have jurisdiction over was local roads. They were to continue to be the preserve of local authorities.

The perception at the time, at least in Wellington, was that Auckland’s diverse Councils could not coordinate development in a way which benefitted the region as a whole. But I don’t accept that this was the case. In 2000 all the local authorities and the Auckland Regional Council managed to agree on the Auckland Regional Passenger Transport Action Plan, a document that foreshadowed the double tracking and electrification of the rail system as well as the roll out of light rail.

Everything was agreed. It was only the election of John Banks as Auckland Mayor in 2001 and the calculated removal of part of the network from consideration that destroyed the business case for light rail. And now 17 years later we again have plans for light rail. If only the original plans had been kept to.

ARTA then morphed into Auckland Transport with the creation of the super city. But unlike ARTA AT was given nearly complete powers over all of Auckland’s transport systems. This was actually contrary to what the Royal Commission on Auckland’s Governance had recommended. Under ARTA councils retained control over local roads. But the Government decided on the recommendation of then Minister Steven Joyce that the whole transport system should be handed over to AT. Interestingly business interests preferred Joyce’s decision and the ARC and various local authorities preferred that an elected body had decision making power. But Joyce went with business interests’ preference.

Why is it time to rethink AT’s role? Because in my view it is not brave enough to make the really significant changes that our future requires, and it is not sufficiently receptive to fulfil local desires and aspirations.

It has fronted some good stuff. The City Rail Link is now under way although I think that history will show that Len Brown and the old ARC deserve the most praise. There will still be a time before its opening when the rail system’s capacity has maxed out and security guards will have to be stationed at Britomart to manage the crowds but it will be opened. And then Auckland’s passenger rail system’s usage will soar as people realise how easy and efficient it has become.

Although the scale is still not huge compared to international models. The underground part will be 3.4 kilometres long. In Shanghai over 25 years the Chinese authorities have constructed over 600 kilometres of underground rail.

It has also championed the reintroduction of light rail although it would have helped if the communication of this to Auckland Council had been better.

And I am pleased to see the inner city is becoming increasingly pedestrianised. Civilised cities overseas do this as a matter of course. It is good that AT now realises that this sort of change can work here too.

But AT has dropped the ball on other projects and has taken some really backward steps. For instance the latest draft Auckland Regional Transport Plan had to be extensively rewritten at the Government’s and Council’s insistence because even though there were nice words about the importance of walking and cycling in the draft the proposed spend in these areas was going backward at a rate of knots when it should have been accelerating.

And statistics concerning safety and congestion have both dramatically worsened over the past eight years. Although the country’s safety record has worsened Auckland’s has deteriorated to a much greater extent.

Recent decisions to disestablish the Walking and Cycling Unit as well as the Urban Design unit are very retrograde. In my view in a perfect world a concentration on urban form, one which reduces reliance on the use of the private vehicle, would be the start middle and end of all design processes. Addressing congestion by building more roads is something that has been done for decades, and shown to have failed for decades.

And increasing passenger fares for Hop card holders by up to 6% for students and young people out west wanting to travel to the inner cities is so retrograde. Now is the time that we should be supporting and promoting passenger transport usage, not choking it off. Maybe AT was not to blame. But if it was Council wrestling with this problem you can be assured there would have been much less finger pointing.

So maybe it is time for Auckland Transport to be brought back into Council or at least significant parts of its business. And for the planning of transport to be completely integrated into the planning of the city form.

It is the little things, like wanting to fell iconic pohutukawa to widen a road, or not being responsive to local desires and wishes that really annoy and rankle. The Point Chevalier Pohutukawa needed an AT Board reprieve to save them. Out west the local board has had to be continuously vigilant to make sure that local trees are not lost to “network efficiency”.

Also in the Waitakere Ranges the issue of weeds in the road corridor are a major concern. The basic problem is there is just not the budget applied to do anything about them. Regional Parks and private landowners are doing what they can to keep the weed menace at bay. But it is heart breaking to see that good work undone by the rampant spread of weeds along roadways.

The local boards have an unenviable task. We are at the receiving end of public frustration with transport issues. We dutifully accept them and forward them to AT only to see them disappear for months on end before seeing a reply. And we raise concerns about budgets needed for local environmental issues but get told that the budget is needed for tarmac.

So perhaps it is a time for AT to be brought back into Council. The original reason for its predecessor’s creation, that Auckland was too divided politically, no longer applies to the Super City.

Of course regional matters such as the rail network and the motorway network as well as the management of arterial routes will continue to need a high level regional approach.

But so many transport decisions have local place making implications. Surely it is time for these decisions to be brought under direct democratic control. And surely in creating a better city we need to start with what is best for our urban form, not what AT thinks is best to improve the flow of cars.

The super city is approaching its ninth year of operation. Now is a good time to review its structure and talk about how things are going. And make changes to improve things. I think the future of Auckland Transport as well as the other Council Controlled Organisations should be the first topic discussed during any such review. And that it is time for it to be brought firmly back under democratic control with its mandate being the creation of a sustainable and fully democratically run city.