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Posts Tagged ‘West Auckland’

Yes Sir-ee Bob

Posted by on December 31st, 2012

Mayor Bob of the West picked up a gong today. It is great to see Bob Harvey honoured. He has made a huge contribution to West Auckland, elected six times in a row as Mayor of Waitakere City.

Bob is a man of many parts. As a young ad man he brought modern advertising to Labour’s election campaigns in the 1970s, and played a key role in the re-making of two Labour Prime Ministers: Norman Kirk and David Lange. He served as Labour Party President 1999-2000 and is a life member of the party. He has been a lifelong surf lifesaver and high profile advocate for the sport. He swam the Dardanelles and the Manukau Bar. He has been an active member of the international nuclear disarmament movement Mayors for Peace. He now chairs the board of Waterfront Auckland.

You never quite know with Bob what creative and/or outrageous idea he is going to come up with next. His transformation from ad man to mayor was seamless. His life has been a series of brainwaves and it is a tribute to him that quite a few of them have been turned into reality.

Waitakere, the eco-city, was one such idea. Bob and the councillors he drew around him, took a sprawling collection of neglected dormitory suburbs in Auckland’s West and over twenty years made this community proud. They invested aggressively in infrastructure and community facilities. They worked to bring jobs and urban renewal to the West. They worked with Labour in Government to protect the Waitakere Ranges from suburban sprawl. The Council worked alongside community organisations on pioneering environmental and social projects like Project Twin Streams.

But perhaps Bob’s greatest achievement was to craft a sense of identity out of the place and the people. He and the people around him made it something special to be a Westie. He did what great politicians do – he lifted people’s horizons, appealed to their better instincts, and communicated a vision of how their community could be better.

Listening to Bob speak at community events is a treat. He acknowledges the land and the place, he reaches back into history, there is a big idea or two, and he always appeals to our humanity.

On behalf of Labour, congratulations Bob on an honour well deserved.

Auckland Unleashed – still time to have your say

Posted by on May 26th, 2011

The new Auckland Council is taking public submissions on the first Auckland Plan – a 30-year blueprint for the new super city.  You have until May 31 to have your say.

A lot is riding on the Auckland Plan aka the spatial plan.  It is the mother of all plans, and aims to integrate land uses like transport and other infrastructure, as well as setting out the key strategies for the new Council. It is also the main way that Council and central government are supposed to line up their priorities.

If you want to have a say on the future of Auckland this is a great time to do it.

It is especially important if you care about Mayor Len Brown’s vision for a liveable city and a world class transport system. At a time when John Key and Steven Joyce are doing their best to sink the vital central city rail link, this is a good opportunity to weigh in behind Len’s election-winning vision for the city.

But maybe you have strong views on where development should take place and where not, what the Council should spend our rates on, and what the priorities should be?

The Council has produced a great discussion document called Auckland Unleashed.  You can email in comments, or take part in facebook discussions.

I have my own local issue I am submitting on. Since moving to Te Atatu and campaigning here I’ve realised how badly served this part of Auckland is by public transport. The transport planners seem to think the West’s problems were solved by electrifying and double-tracking the rail. However the rail line is too far away for people in Massey and Te Atatu who are plagued by a motorway that is  jammed up in rush hour and clogs the main feeder routes like Lincoln Rd and Te Atatu Rd.

Adding the odd lane to the NW motorway, or widening the arterial routes is not going to solve the problem. We need a public transport solution that allows people to leave their cars at home. Happily the North Shore Busway offers a very successful model. It currently takes two whole lanes of traffic off the harbour bridge in rush hour and patronage is still climbing. 

A dedicated NW Busway is the logical solution, especially given the huge population growth planned for the North West in coming years.

So if you are a Westie who is sick of the traffic, check out out our campaign You’d Be There By Now on facebook, and go here to make a submission to the Auckland Council.

Whatever your desire is for Auckland, go forth and submit!