Positively Penlink

This is the team I have joined to be part of the campaign for a seat on the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board. As a quick overview here are the words you will read in my candidate profile coming with the voting paper.

Thanks for your time. I’ve been a Coastie since 2002 working across HR, Movies, Wine and Community Service. My commitments to the Coast have included being a past Chairperson of Estuary Arts Centre Trust and current Chair of both the Future Whangaparaoa Trust delivering the Community Hub and the Life Education Trust Rodney offering Harold Coast wide. I’m the only new candidate who has attended every Local Board business meeting since March to learn what’s currently important to you. I’ve joined the Positively Penlink team because I want to see truly committed members on our Local Board offering 100% to its work. We’re advocating positively and passionately for the delivery of: Penlink and wider transport solutions; ever improving recreational infrastructure; equitable local funding; respect for the environment; services that respect all ages whatever age you are. Sustainability is my personal byword. Please vote John Davies.

I’ll be posting a range of views on policy direction for the Local Board’s advocacy if the Positively Penlink team and I are elected. Let’s please Vote 4 ticks to the Positively Penlink Team.

Janet_Hoarding_2019_S11

Definitely standing in the 2019 Local Body Elections

I’ll be asking you to make me your “squeaky wheel” on both the local Health Board and Auckland Council’s Hibiscus and Bays Local Board. Why did I choose this old phrase? I was motivated by this quote:

“The squeaky wheel does get the oil.” – Cynthia Gillespie, AT’s Chief Strategy Officer, stuff.co.nz 12/3/18

If indeed this is how the technocracy/bureaucracy operates, a vote for me gets a vocal representative for the Coast to get the attention it wants and needs. Let’s make ourselves heard loud and clear for better transport solutions and a healthier community through better access to health care services.

In the coming months I’ll blog more on just what I will advocate for, but for now, I would just love to hear what you think the squeaky wheels are on the Coast.

I said I’d vote for the guys with a decent suicide prevention policy….turns out I can’t

In April I wrote to all the political parties with seats in the current Parliament. The letter written individually to each leader read like this:

 

I have just written a blog that shows we spend just 2% of the cost of the road safety enforcement programme on preventing suicide, yet we lose approaching double the road toll to the suicide “epidemic” at johndavies.nz.

What will you offer us this year in terms of an improvement on this investment, specifically how it will lift the around $6 million a year investment on suicide prevention?

Beyond the investment, how will it promote solutions to the issues and what might those solutions be?

 

In my blog I have promised my readers to report back on the responses to my questions. I look forward to sharing your responses.

So here are the responses so that you can see for yourself how I reach my conclusion which is at the end of this post:

ACT – no response

United Future – no response

The Maori Party

I got a very long pdf letter that I don’t have time to retype and can’t copy and paste from easily. So let me summarise. Rather than answering my questions, an early paragraph in the letter from Honore Te Ururoa Flavell reads “This response provides information about the contribution I have made and will continue to make towards preventing suicide in Aotearoa”. He makes reference to $2.4 million spent by Oranga Rangatahi and the Maori Potential Fund. This appears to be funding I did not identify from my research in to Vote Health and almost doubles the Government expenditure in this area. It’s positive but limited in its scope, being Maori only.

The National Party

Again, a pdf that I can’t readily copy and paste. So summarising, it started by talking about the suicide prevention strategy workforce efforts, this being the reporting body Mike King loudly walked away from for not being prepared to set a target. Then it covered off the overall commitment improvements being worked on for mental health in the broadest sense and the $224 million dollar increase. The letter barely mentions suicide prevention preferring to stay with the global mental health issue.

The Labour Party

I put a bit of effort in to getting this response but I did get it.

Hi John

Maria (sic) has prompted me to respond to your email at the bottom of this trail. My apologies for the delay. I am afraid a few responses fell through the cracks around the time I took this portfolio on. I am sure you will appreciate that the volume of correspondence around suicide and suicide prevention is not insignificant, and as an opposition spokesperson I get to answer personally, rather than having an entire team to draft my answers!

In the interim Labour has announced policy on mental health which falls at the preventative end of the spectrum (see Mental Health: http://www.labour.org.nz/announced_policies ) namely mental Heath co-ordinators in primary care, and school-based health services.

On top of this, we have backed widespread calls for a review of mental health service provision, better independent oversight of the system through reinstatement of the mental health commissioner, increased education and more adequate funding. Variants of these requests were prominent in ‘the people’s mental health review’, but have also been made by other groups prominent in the prevention area.

Independent research group Infometrics has examined Treasury data at Labour’s request and estimates that overall, the health system has been shortfunded $2.3 billion since 2009. (Sortfunding (sic) being the extra amount required to have been put into the system on top of what actually has been by the government if existing service levels were to be maintained). No surprises I guess that healthcare has become less accessible when the system hasn’t been fully funded for cost pressures and demographic growth.

Labour has pledged to meet cost pressures in the health sector going forward, and to backfill the missing $2.3 billion over time. Mental health has often been the poor cousin in the health sector, and despite a 60% increase in the number of people accessing mental health services in the past decade, has seen only an increase in funding equivalent to less than half of that. That situation will change under a Labour Government.

Mental health is a top priority for me and for Labour.

Thank you for your correspondence, and again, apologies for the delay in coming back to you.

David (Clark)

I’ll leave it to you to decide if Mr Clark answered my email.

The Greens

Congrats to them, they were the fastest to respond.

Hi John

Thanks for your email about New Zealand’s suicide rate. The Green Party agrees that our mental health system is broken and have been campaigning for a full inquiry into our mental health services.

Mental health services are struggling all around the country because of Government cuts to the health system, and our vulnerable young people are paying the price with their lives. The National Government has underfunded DHBs and community services, scrapped the Mental Health Commission and chosen to focus resources on targets that don’t include mental health. The most vulnerable in our society are the ones bearing the brunt of these decisions. There urgently needs to be a nationwide mental health inquiry, similar to the Mason Reports in the nineties, to ensure that New Zealanders are able to access the mental health support that they need. We have a draft terms of reference that the Government could pick up immediately to start an inquiry.

An issue that I am particularly passionate about is ensuring waiting times for mental health services for young people are reduced. Early intervention and prevention means our young people can be supported through a tough time in their life, and recover to not need further services. It’s like a big pyramid, at the top there are specialist services for acute patients and down the bottom there are broad preventive services that keep you well. They are cheaper and more accessible, so the more of those you use, the fewer interventions you will need at the top of the pyramid. We need to invest more funding to ensure there is help available when people reach out for it.

A full mental health inquiry would undoubtedly uncover many more issues that need improvement. The Green Party is committed to addressing mental health issues systemically, and this will help lower our far too high suicide rate.

We are committed to:

  1. Ensuring mental healthcare training and practice is grounded in holistic, humanistic perspectives that recognise each individual as whole.
  2. Encouraging mental health providers to work within multi-disciplinary teams that hold the well-being of the client at the heart of their practice. Wherever possible, clients have a primary provider who remains with them through their recovery process.
  3. Funding innovative initiatives that indicate high recovery rates with low/minimal drug use.
  4. Ensuring physical health needs of people with mental health needs are also well met.
  5. Ensuring both inpatient and community (including residential) services are well-resourced and provided at levels to ensure all clients can use services well-matched to their individual needs.

Yours sincerely on behalf of,

Julie Anne Genter

New Zealand First

Dear John

Thank you for your email.  I will pass your message on to Mr Peters.

Yours sincerely

Audrey van Dalen l Senior Executive Assistant to:

Rt Hon Winston Peters

 

CONCLUSION

No one has a clear suicide prevention policy, so my decision to vote will be based on something else sadly. The only positive I can take from this is that both major parties say they know mental health needs more funding. But National’s proposed increase is still lower than the amount being spent on the road toll and is across all mental health services, not just suicide. Labour says they will increase Vote Health by re-investing their claimed $2.3 billion shortfall from the period of this current National led government. But they are promising a hell of a lot so I have some doubts as to the reliability of that promise. So I am not warm to either of them. Of the minor parties, the Greens have clarly put the most thought in to the wider issue but again, despite the huge publicity around this issue, they like all the other parties in Parliament do not have the issue directly covered.

It’s election year and I’ll vote for the party that really cares about our suicide rate, that’s my vote getter this year.

So the “esteemed” Mike Hosking this week told everyone who would listen that tax breaks are the vote winner this year.

Bluntly, bugger off Mike. You worked hard to get as lucky as you did but like John Key, you too have forgotten how it is on the real streets of New Zealand.

To understand why I feel this way, read this article and watch Mike King’s brilliant doco.

It won’t hurt if like me you know one suicide victim, know the family of another, have had a family member threaten it and be a friend to someone who battles suicidal thoughts.

Then you may understand.

If you’re all about the economy, then understand this, the average value of a lifetime in New Zealand is just short of $4 million. That means that with suicides between 500 and 600 a year, we are losing literally billions of dollars of economic value every year.

For the road toll, that runs half to two thirds this number, we have an enforcement programme worth $300 million a year according to the Transport Agency’s website. According to info at the health.govt.nz website “The Government has committed $25 million over 4 years to implement the 30 actions in the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2013–2016.” So in other words we spend 2% of what we spend on enforcing road safety on preventing suicide. Do I need to draw the lines between the dots for you? I hope not. It’s obvious that the government has not prioritised this very serious issue with funding.

I measure this tragedy in terms of grief and the loss of a loved one. Not money. But money is at the heart of the solution for the problem.

I don’t want a tax break Mr English. I want to live in a country that cares about protecting the most vulnerable amongst us. I’ll vote for the party with the best action plan to improve this bloody awful situation. I have written to the Leaders of each of the political parties with MP’s in Parliament today to ask their views on the topic. As I gather this info, I’ll share it with you.

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Penlink & Transport

OK, so I have the advantage of writing this when we’ve just had an announcement that seemingly pushes Penlink out to an earliest start date of 2028 and is the only major investment of any type for transport between 2018 and 2038. It’s ridiculous and also defies the truth. Read the Chamber of Commerce’s Michael Barnett’s press release:

21 September 2016

Media Release

Penlink – Auckland mayoral and council candidates challenged to support “fast track” action to complete the project within 10 years.

Laying down the challenge, Head of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, Michael Barnett, said that of all the projects listed in the just-released Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP), Penlink was alone in meeting conditions for action set by the Government and Auckland Council.

Mayoral candidates should note:

• It is ready to go. It has consent and business case showing a benefit cost ratio (BCR) of 2.9, giving it a rating higher than a number of NZTAs ‘Roads of National Significance’ projects.
• The estimated cost is a modest $290 million, compared to the billions of dollars of other larger projects, Travel time savings of up to 15 minutes.
• Funding options include combining a toll of around $2-3 a trip for users and a targeted transport rate for non-users in nearby suburbs that will benefit from less congestion in getting access to State Highway 1 – Millwater, Wainui and Silverdale West.
• Private sector investors have approached the Chamber stating interest in undertaking Penlink as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) where they finance, build and operate the road while AT pay for it to be open. A conversation is also underway with NZTA to undertake the works linking Penlink to SH1 south of Silverdale.

While the ATAP presentation identified Penlink as a priority it was ranked for construction in the decade starting 2028. “That’s completely unacceptable,” said Mr Barnett.

“Daily congestion currently stretches around 5 kilometres most working days. Population growth is among the fastest in Auckland, and recently the Housing Accord has flagged a Wainui development of up to 18,000 new residents in the next few years.

“Over the next 10 years one thing is certain – without Penlink completed congestion will get worse, much worse.”

“I note that Transport Minister Simon Bridges has said that some projects could be brought forward. Penlink must be one of them and with no more delay, no more excuses, said Mr Barnett.

The truth on Penlink – as best I understand it.

  • the land required for Penlink is all under Council control
  • the road’s designation is finalised
  • the Developers who were objecting to Penlink on the Southern side of the Weiti have negotiated what they wanted and they’re good to go
  • private investors are lined up
  • as a private road, ratepayer costs for Penlink will be absolutely minimal. Certainly the vast bulk of its cost will be user pays so there is little impact on rates elsewhere, unlike the Central Rail Loop which is costing each ratepaying dwelling in Auckland around $6,000 each – so in other words, for most people, 2 to 3 years of their rates
  • there will be a park and ride at the Southern end of the Penlink encouraging commuter transfer to buses in to town and beyond
  • there will be a walkway and a cycleway and I hear a bus priority access option of some sort although I don’t know the detail of that

I support Penlink as it provides easier emergency access to the Peninsula, it increases the flow speed of traffic, it increases people transport mode options, it facilitates better bus access around the area and with private backing, it should cost ratepayers almost nothing. We need smart thinking PPP/BOOT processes in more infrastructure investments in Auckland. Penlink can lead the way.

Silverdale

The business people I’ve spoken with in Silverdale have been seeking an answer to the access issues from the Silverdale Village and around to the business hub. We need

  • traffic lights at the intersection of Silverdale Street and the Hibiscus Coast Highway
  • the completion of Curley Ave through to the East Coast Road intersection with Hibiscus Coast Highway
  • footpaths that allow people to circuit a route from Silverdale Village to the Whangaparaoa Rd intersection, down to Titan and then linking to the steep path down in to Flexman Place
  • a footpath access from the new Silverdale Bus Station through to Silverdale Village (finishing Curley Ave provides what is arguably the best solution to that issue)
  • disabled access points at all the pedestrian crossings in the environs
  • a shuttle bus that safely moves people through the new shopping precinct, the Village, and the business district with its direct sales businesses.

We’re letting Silverdale down as it stands and this area needs priority correction. Once these projects are done, in conjunction with the results from Penlink we can truly unlock Silverdale. This then begins the much needed growth of job opportunities in our area. That then delivers a knock on effect to commuting volumes from the area to elsewhere in Auckland. Win/win/win!

One thing we don’t need though is the much vaunted dynamic laning of a tiny stretch of Whangaparaoa Road. This will be a multi-million dollar waste of money. If elected I’ll be lobbying to get those funds spent on Silverdale’s real issues. Issues that can genuinely be impacted with the millions it will cost, not just doing something for appearances.

Feeder Bus Services

When I have to hear stories from voters who are stuck in a bus at a red light beside the Silverdale Bus stops and watching their connection leave for Auckland and then have to wait 20 minutes for the next bus I am saddened. If we want people to use public transport, it has to actually work! We need a small network of feeder buses that are delivering people to the Bus station at regular intervals to feed larger express city buses (and others) that express deliver to the City, also at regular intervals. This network encourages bus patronage and gets cars off the road. It reduces the pressure on the parking facility and ultimately meets our needs better. I support a network of smaller, more frequent buses getting you away from close to home to the Bus Terminal to get one of many frequent buses taking you near where you need to be.

North Shore Trains

This is a pipe dream within what I consider a feasible look forward period. We need the bus network finished and operating as an absolute priority. Let’s stop being distracted by trains. Let’s get a busway, ideally to at least Orewa (remembering the North Shore now ends at Te Hana), and then lets feed the Park and Ride Bus Stations at Penlink South, Silverdale and Orewa. Let’s really deal with the issues of today and a reasonable way in to tomorrow with flexible, easy to use, easy to get close to you, buses, ideally electric!

 

Let’s control weeds without chemicals

Back in July, before anyone else had even declared their candidacy for these elections, I announced six key areas for me to advocate in if I was elected for the Local Board. I’d already attended every Board public meeting up till then and I’d read much about people’s passion for chemical free weed management across Auckland. We here on the Coast seemed just as adamant and concerned as everywhere else. Why Auckland Council has continued down such an unpopular path when clear natural alternatives exist is quite beyond me. Here’s what I wrote in my July 7 article:

A recent scientific study by chemical manufacturers has declared that Roundup may not be a carcinogen. Hardly a conclusive study! It is my belief and seemingly the view of most of our local residents that we don’t want Roundup or any other chemical based weed control in our area. I am 100% behind moves to ensure that any Glyphosate based chemicals be banned from Auckland Council weed control programmes. I’m more than happy that manual and water based weed control may cost more, but will ensure that we have invested in healthy ways to deal with the issue. Do we really want the possibility of looking back in 30 years and finding that a little more money would have prevented multiple negative health incidents?

For me, I don’t need “facts” on this. I know how deadly Agent Orange was to the American  Alliance’s soldiers after Vietnam. I know they were told it was safe. I know the best studies in the world can not beat the evidence of time. I see no reason other than a little bit of money why we continue to use the chemical solution. Let’s keep standing up for this. Let’s spend that little extra and let’s stay safe in ourselves and in our places we call homes, streets, and the rivers and oceans those streets spill their storm water in to. Let’s make Auckland Glyphosate free.

It’s not an issue that requires more words. It’s quite straight forward. If you agree, join in the movement at Spray Free Streets.

Business and Job Growth for the Coast

Hard work makes success…most of the time! So this blog page on what I can do for business and job growth in our area ends with a commitment to hard work with the areas that can qualify for the BID structure Council offers through its Boards.

I start with the basic feeling that if you grow business, you automatically grow jobs. Growing jobs is important to offer more people the chance to work close to home resulting in less commuting on congested roads, reduced emissions and spending locally that feeds even more business growth.

We recently read this good news:

Argosy develops for Mighty Ape at Silverdale

Argosy Property Ltd has bought 22,575m² of land at the Highgate Business Park in Silverdale for $8.1 million and a $14.2 million development at the site for online store Mighty Ape Ltd.

Argosy chief executive Peter Mence said yesterday Mighty Ape, an Argosy tenant at 1 Rothwell Avenue, Albany, was on an expiring lease and was relocating due to the expansion of its business.

The development will consist of 9000m² of warehouse & 1500m² of office, as well as 116 parking spaces. Practical completion is scheduled for September 2017 and the development is expected to have a return on cost of 7.35%.

Mr Mence said Mighty Ape had agreed to sign a new 10-year net lease starting from the date of practical completion, with 2-yearly rent reviews to market.

This is a growth business saying the Coast is the place to be. They wont be the only ones. Silverdale is our business hub. It comprises industry (in the East), older retail and services in the main avenue on the Western side which accesses the massive new retail centre that is growing in leaps and bounds. Some will lament that growth is partially at the expense of Pacific Plaza. On the other hand, we have growth in local jobs so it’s good, if somewhat evolutionary. Pacific Plaza will be reborn. Watch that space!

Anyway, business growth is key to job growth. How do we grow business? First we make it a centre of success. If you move to our area, we want you to be able to see we have a great talent base and that other businesses show success. We make land space available (done). We support the new and existing businesses to make the place appealing for their customers and employee teams.

This is where Council through the Local Board comes in. Local Boards partner with Local Business associations to deliver on goals stated on the Council’s BID’s page like

  • promotions, events and marketing campaigns
  • business support and enterprise
  • local economic development activities
  • skill and expertise development
  • crime prevention initiatives
  • networking and shared services
  • local improvement projects
  • advocacy to local and central government.

Currently we have four BIDs in our Board area. They’re Orewa in the subdivision I’m standing in, with Mairangi Bay, Brown’s Bay and Torbay in the Bays area.

They’re generally an employee of one part time or full time Executive Officer. Anyone operating a business within a defined area for each one is entitled to join. Each of them can stand for the managing committee and they pay a targeted rate that funds them.

Working towards those goals make their areas more attractive to business, customers, employees and everyone who uses their areas. It’s win/win/win.

So right now what we ideally want in the Hibiscus Subdivision of the Board are strong Business Associations in both Silverdale and Whangaparaoa that can generate BIDs in their areas. In this current year the Board has commissioned a survey of Whangaparaoa business to create an awareness of how these businesses feel right now. It will uncover the climate for a business association and a database that can be used to generate that Association if there is assessed to be a demand. In Silverdale, the Board is working with the existing association to help it get to the stage where it can meet the requirements of a BID and get one active within the area.

So what can I do? Why should you vote for me to help make these things happen? The Board currently operates 18 portfolios. The BIDs probably come under the Economic Development Portfolio, so as a priority I need to try and be part of that team. Regardless of the result of that effort, I need to get alongside the folks at Silverdale Business Association and find out how I can help them grow. Then I need to be part of reacting to and building on the information from the Whangaparaoa Business Survey when its results are available.

Then it’s about working hard to go from vision to plan to executing the plan. Looking at the speed such things seem to move at, maybe that takes two terms. I’ll simply work hard at making it happen. I’ll get to every meeting covering these two BID’s issues and get alongside the folks at Orewa to learn about how to make operating BIDs successful.

Hibiscus and Bay’s Board Performance Report

I’m the only candidate you’ll be able to find for the Hibiscus SubDivision in the coming election that’s attended every Board Business Meeting this year. I’ve done it to learn what I may be doing if elected and to understand just what will be expected of me. I’m thus prepared, and my standing is my commitment to work hard for you.

They deal with quite massive agendas every meeting but the last one was specially interesting as it included a Performance Report done by Council on the Board’s performance. It reports what I’d already concluded, this Board does a great job within the confines it must operate in under law.

I know this won’d appeal to everyone, but if you’d like to read that report, here’s a link to the full agenda. The agenda itself gives you an interesting overview on the Board’s work, but the Performance Report is highly insightful. If you want to read a printout just print pages 9-60 of the document that downloads. I imagine printed copies will be available to read eventually at all local Service Centres and Libraries.

http://infocouncil.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/Open/2016/08/HB_20160817_AGN_6335_AT.PDF

Enjoy 🙂

My 150 Words for the Election Booklet

So to stand for the Local Board you have to complete a nomination form and you have the chance to write 150 words to be included in the booklet being sent to voters. These are probably the most important 150 words one can put together during the election campaign as it’s the one communication you know every voter will see. So I distilled my detailed platform in to one semi-colon punctuated sentence and wrote the short bio of my life experiences. I thought I’d share those 150 words now, it’s a quick and simple insight into my thinking for being part of our Local Government.

I’m a lifelong Aucklander.  My wife and I became Coasties in 2002 and love living here.  I’ve had three careers to date: HR Development, Movies and Wine.  I was an Executive Director & part owner of a company with over 60 team members and offices across NZ, Australia and Asia.  I’ve owned and managed Cinemas and produced my own feature film.  I’m on the Estuary Arts Centre Trust in Orewa as a Trustee and its Secretary.  I understand and can contribute towards effective governance.  I’m the only candidate other than existing Board members who has attended every public Board Business meeting this year to learn what it’s all about.  I’m standing to enhance the Local in Local Government.  My goals include:  Penlink and road access improvements;  better health amenities on the Coast;  enhanced bus services;   family focused amenities;   chemical free weed management;    business/employment growth initiatives.  Read more at johndavies.nz.

Go to a previous page in this blog for more detail on my thinking. You’ll find it at https://johnshibiscuscoast.wordpress.com/2016/07/07/my-priorities-for-the-local-board/.

My Priorities for the Local Board

I’ve attended every Local Board meeting this year as part of learning what this is all about. I wanted to work out if I could add value. I believe and hope I can. In addition to being a responsible part of the Council I’ll also use the role to lobby on things outside the Board’s control.

First and foremost, I want to act as far as possible to return LOCAL to the idea of Auckland Council as a Local Government authority. So much of Council seems remote and inaccessible. As I have watched a myriad of Council Staff present to the Board, there is a quite apparent desire to impose central control on locals. I don’t like that. It may be somewhat confrontational to begin with but I hope we can bring more Local in to this “thing”. I really like that some Board members are keen to try to make the wider Council accountable to the Board and I’ll back that 100%. So my over-riding guide will be, are we doing right by our Locals.

To some more specific things, if I am elected it will be by the voters of the Hibiscus sub-division of the Board. Our Board is called Hibiscus and Bays. It comprises eight members, four from the Bays subdivision and four from the Hibiscus subdivision. You can vote for me if your residence is, roughly speaking, between Waiwera in the North, State Highway 1 in the West, just north of Okura in the South and the Ocean in the East. Orewa, Millwater, Silverdale and the Whangaparaoa Peninsula are obviously the large population groups within that area. My home in Stillwater is just 10 minutes from Silverdale.

Penlink

Transport and gridlock in the area are probably our area’s largest single concern. I back and will support all efforts to build Penlink as soon as possible. I’m 100% supportive but not involved in the recently touted public/private partnership idea to get the road underway as early as next year. At the moment it’s not a priority for Auckland Council till after 2025. That’s despite their willingness to permit more and more residences down the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. I believe that Penlink will ease current congestion more than any other option that has been raised. Even more importantly it provides substantially faster emergency access to Stanmore Bay and East. I want those ambulances and other emergency vehicles to get to you faster and if need be, get you to hospital faster. Penlink is needed now. Let’s just do it with as much empathy and care for the most affected residents, those in the Scott Road and Stillwater areas. Let’s also be sure Stillwater gets some benefit from it with full on and off access in both directions.

Buses

Continuing with transport, across our entire Board area and indeed across the entire Auckland region, I am a massive believer in buses. For our area the most urgent needs are the extension of the Northern Busway all the way to Silverdale and a massive commitment to park and ride facilities. In addition to expansion at Silverdale we also need facilities down the Peninsula and in Orewa. This is all vital to facilitate more local use of buses. This takes more cars off the congested roads all round our area and gets us on to the Shore or through to the CBD faster and cheaper than our own cars. Speaking of our own cars we do need to come to understand the true cost of parking, particularly in the city. The land street parking takes up is enormous. It needs to be subject to pricing that reflects full cost recovery. This will make the choice between cars and public transport much clearer. That said its pricing should also reflect demand times.

Health

Let’s be proactive at Council level in assisting in any logical way with delivering a 24 hour A&E clinic in this area. We have many kids keen to break themselves at all times of the day and night, and many older folk who need help quickly when they need it. I have visited the local Ambulance station in Silverdale and spoken with one of their managers. I was surprised to learn that this station covers from Rosedale Road in Albany to just below Warkworth with just two ambulances. One of these you’ll see parked at Manly Fire Station quite a bit to expedite help at that end of the Peninsula if needed. They need a third ambulance badly. This will enable them to cope with this massive area and our population growth. Just think of how many more people we will have locally when the Wainui developments are completed. The station has the space, but it’s a multi million dollar investment to buy and crew it. Based on what I was told, it’s my guess that by the time the funds are raised we’re looking at a big part of $300,000 capital cost and then it’s close to the same amount again each year to crew it. I hope, as a Local Board member, I can support a team that will help raise this funding for St John’s, probably largely outside of the auspices of Council.

Family Focused Amenities

These are something this Board has always believed in and been committed to and I’ll be 100% behind new initiatives that will enhance this further within our communities. One of the things that the wonderful Whangaparaoa 2030 project has identified is that a Family Centre is badly needed in the heart of the Coast. They’re already working with the Board on gaining space on Council land near Pacific Plaza. I’m totally supportive of such a move and will work hard to enable this initiative to get going. The aging Whangaparaoa Hall is not readily accessible as it once was. A new purpose built family centre in the same general area will greatly enhance community services. Let’s do what is possible to make this happen. Let’s always back and maximise the success of our community through amenities that deliver for our people.

Chemical Free Weed Control

A recent scientific study by chemical manufacturers has declared that Roundup may not be a carcinogen. Hardly a conclusive study! It is my belief and seemingly the view of most of our local residents that we don’t want Roundup or any other chemical based weed control in our area. I am 100% behind moves to ensure that any Glyphosate based chemicals be banned from Auckland Council weed control programmes. I’m more than happy that manual and water based weed control may cost more, but will ensure that we have invested in healthy ways to deal with the issue. Do we really want the possibility of looking back in 30 years and finding that a little more money would have prevented multiple negative health incidents?

Growing Local Business and Jobs

The more we can do to promote businesses near home, the less traffic congestion we will have. I’ll work alongside anyone who wants to promote business and work initiatives in our areas. Working closer to home is good for congestion and good for the personal well being of our ratepayers. Let’s do what we can to bring business in to our areas. Let’s make Hibiscus and Bays the place businesses want to be to get great local workforces.

Contact me

I look forward to the opportunity to represent the community within Auckland Council’s structure. I’d appreciate your vote in the ballot when it’s counted on the 8th of October. If you have a community meeting you’d like me at between now and then, email me on john@johndavies.nz or call me on 0273978920.