Pippa Coom: My first column as the new councillor for Waitemata and Gulf Ward

After a nail biting finish, I’m really delighted to have been elected the new Councillor for Waitemata and Gulf Ward.

I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank outgoing councillor Mike Lee for his years of service. His regional leadership laid the foundation for the renaissance of public transport and ensured the expansion of the regional parks network. I’m sure he will continue to be a passionate advocate for conservation and heritage.

Immediately after election day, I was straight in the door to discuss with the Mayor the areas I would like to focus on as councillor. Central to this is the work to finalise Auckland’s Climate Action Framework and ensure we are on a pathway to no more than 1.5°c warming over the next 10 years. Integrated, long-term decision making is needed by council on inter-related issues of climate, water, coastal risks, public transport and the central city transformation that is already underway.

The election highlighted strong dissatisfaction with the council-controlled organisations that were thrust on Auckland by Rodney Hide as a way of keeping politicians at arm’s length. I support the Mayor’s plan for an independent review of the CCOs to get underway before the end of the year. At the same time, there is a need to build more trust in council by challenging the misinformation that gets a lot of airtime.

I stood as a community independent with City Vision, a progressive coalition, and campaigned alongside the City Vision Waitemata Local Board candidates. As a team, we are up front about what we stand for and our shared values and principles. I’m really proud about City Vision retaining six seats on the local board. It is a credit to the determined and brave leadership of Shale Chambers over the first two terms and all the City Vision board members who have served with dedication, passion and a commitment to delivering for the community. Without doubt, the local board is in good hands with the election of Alex Bonham, Adriana Avendaño Christie, Graeme Gunthorp, Richard Northey, Julie Sandilands, Kerrin Leoni and C&R’s Sarah Trotman. There is a lot of great work already underway for the new board to continue with as well as bringing fresh ideas and focus.

I will be working closely with all three local boards in the ward. I plan to report monthly, attend local board business meetings and will continue to be out and about in the community as much as possible.

Many thanks to all those who have provided support and encouragement and everyone who took the time to vote in the local elections – not an easy thing to do with the decline in postal services! I am 100% committed to serving on council, fulfilling the aspirations of all Aucklanders and representing the Waitemat-a and Gulf Ward. (PIPPA COOM)

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