Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Catherine Farmer: Avondale-Roskill By-Election Candidate

City Vision has selected well known local Catherine Farmer to be our candidate for the Avondale-Roskill Council By-Election.

Catherine is a long-standing member of the Avondale Community Board and has a strong record of being active in the local community.

Recent savage cuts to community services by the C&R Council show how desperately Avondale-Roskill needs someone who will stand up and fight for our area. The three existing Avondale-Roskill C&R Councillors have been complicit in cutting spending on important local initiatives such as the Avondale pool. Catherine will get stuck in and speak up for Avondale-Roskill.

Vote Catherine Farmer to give Avondale-Roskill a voice on Council.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

By-Election in Avondale-Roskill

As earlier reported, the death of Councillor Linda Leighton means that a by-election will be held in the Avondale-Roskill Ward.

The Election day will be Wednesday 9 April, with ballot papers mailed to residents three weeks earlier on Wednesday 19 March.

Despite reports from the all-knowing Aaron Bhatnagar, City Vision Talk can confirm that the City Vision candidate for the by-election has not yet been selected (but will be within the week)!

Our candidate, when chosen, will be campaigning hard on securing a fair deal for Avondale-Roskill residents. As evidenced by the recent decision by C&R to can the Avondale pool, it is important to have a strong local Councillor who is willing to stand up and fight for Avondale-Roskill.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Battle for the Avondale Pool Heats up

One of the new C&R Council's first cuts to community infrastructure is the recent announcement that funding for the planned new public pool in Avondale has been axed.

City Vision Talk first reported the possibility of this occuring under a C&R Council back in September 2007.

The good news is that the resistance to this 1990s style programme of cutbacks is beginning. While people clearly want to see their rates well spent, the people of Auckland understand that good community investments such as public pools pay off in the long run in terms of greater community cohesion, and as an outlet for the energies of young people who might otherwise resort to less savoury activities.

The Avondale Community Board has made it's opposition clear, passing a motion calling for the pool project to be re-instated. City Vision Board Member Catherine Farmer is leading the charge, noting that:

"Part of Council's promise to the community which will undergo rapid growth and change as a result of more intensive housing, is to provide a swimming pool and other facilities to cater for the thousands of additional residents in Avondale"

Predictably, C&R members of the Avondale Board, Cr David Hay, and Board Member Lily Ho abstained from this motion (they could at least have been honest and straight out voted against it!).

City Vision will continue working with the community on this issue, and we will keep you up to date.

Back on-line

The City Vision blog is back on-line after a summer slumber!

2008 promises to be a big year on the local body front in Auckland city with a by-election, possible reform of Auckland's local government arrangements, a C&R Council poised to cut services to the bone, and all with the spectre of a general election hovering in the background.

City Vision Talk will be keeping you up to date with all of these issues from a progressive perspective, and we welcome your comments.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

And so the cuts begin

The new Council has hardly paused for breath before launching into a round of savage cuts to important investments made by the previous City Vision led Council.

As reported by City Vision Talk back on September 24, C&R has a policy of spending cuts that target important community investments.

John Bank's idea
of affordable housing

First on the blocks is the Affordable Housing scheme. This relatively modest Council programme involved partnering with the New Zealand Housing organisation to build 100 affordable homes over the next four years.

Affordable housing is clearly a real issue for Auckland families, and this was a modest first step towards finding some solutions to the problem.

C&R and John Banks are however hell bent on continuing with the zealous drive they started between 2001-2004 to remove Council from having any role in making our city a decent, liveable, and just place to inhabit. For these old idealogical warhorses it is back to the 1990s - cuts to public services and bugger the poor and middle income famlies who suffer.

Watch this space for further announcements from C&R and Banks about cuts to community facilites and projects, and probably a proposal to increase the Uniform Annual Charge (cutting the rates for the richest Aucklanders and raising them for everyone else). City Vision will be campaigning hard against all of these regressive measures.

See here and here for City Vision Press releases about the affordable housing issue.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Linda Leighton

Aaron Bhatnagar has reported that C&R Councillor Linda Leighton died today after a long illness.

While Linda was clearly on the other side of the political spectrum from those of us at City Vision Talk, she is acknowledged as a dedicated servant of her community, and a very genuine person. I recall attending Roskill community board meetings in late 2006 at which Linda forcefully opposed the proposal to toll SH20 through the Ward - probably not a popular position in her party, but something that she clearly felt a duty to speak up on. That is admirable.

Condolences to Linda's family and her C&R colleagues.

Santa and Freedom of Association

Six of the twenty councilors on Auckland City Council are calling for Auckland Santa Parade organisers to allow the Falun Gong to participate in Sunday's Santa Parade.

The Chairman of Auckland Santa Parade, Michael Barnett (who is also Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and a C&R ARC Councillor) is refusing to allow the Falun Gong "Divine Land Marching Band" to take part in the parade.

Three City Vision councillors, two Labour councillors and one independent councilor have now come in behind Falun Gong and called for Mr Barnett to change his decision:

Cr Casey (City Vision)
Cr Fryer (City Vision)
Cr Easte (City Vision)
Cr Northey (Labour)
Cr Boyle (Labour)
Cr Roche (Independent)

The decision by Mr Barnett is heavy handed. The stated reason is that Falun Gong have not provided a guarantee that they will not hand out leaflets. This doesn't really stack up - Queen St is a public area, and on any given day of the week any person or group has a right to peacefully distribute material to other people. Why should doing this on the day of the Santa Parade eliminate a group from being able to provide entertainment for the parade?

City Vision Talk thinks that Mr Barnett and the Committee have gone a little over the top here. In Wellington the issue was worked through, Falun Gong participated in the Santa parade, and the event didn't turn into a rabid political rally. Here's hoping common sense will prevail in Auckland.