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More Community Consultation from Auckland Council

This month there are two important pieces of consultation out for community feedback across the Auckland region: the Local Alcohol Policy and the Auckland Arts and Culture Strategic Action Plan.

 People are probably starting to wonder when consultation will come to an end with the Auckland Council, but unfortunately when we are bringing together the polices of seven territorial councils and the former regional council, there is a huge amount of policy work which needs to be consolidated.
 It has been unfortunate that Auckland Council has generated negative publicity for the bylaw reviews that have been conducted in recent months. However, there were some good submissions which were very practical and helpful, and this resulted in a far more sensible approach to both the wearing of lifejackets in small boats and the issues around some of the cultural sensitivities relating to our cemeteries and crematoria.
 In the case of safer wearing of lifejackets, the hearings panel has agreed that is the skipper’s discretion for the lifejackets to be worn. From this summer onwards, it will be compulsory to wear lifejackets on the Auckland harbours, unless otherwise directed by the skipper. This will mean that the onus is on the skipper in charge of a boat which is less than 6 metres in length. It is therefore their responsibility to ensure that the safety of the passengers is maintained through the wearing of the lifejacket.

 The new cemetery and crematoria rules will be simplified considerably from the initial draft bylaw that went out for consultation. The hearings committee received some excellent submissions from a wide range of community groups and organisations, including the Funeral Directors Organisation and various ethnic groups. It is now apparent that Auckland Council needs to be more flexible and considerate when dealing with our highly diverse and multi-cultural population. Issues such as unlimited family and friends being able to help backfill the graves, and family and friends being able to attend the charging of the cremator will now be covered and permitted under the modified bylaw. As far as the scattering of ashes is concerned, the only areas which will be prohibited will be sports fields, the Auckland Domain, and some Auckland Council gardens, such as a portion of Parnell Rose Gardens.

Draft Auckland Local Alcohol Policy
At long last the Auckland Council has completed and signed off the draft policy for public consultation. This commenced on the 16 June and will close on the 16 July 2014. The draft policy has been completed after much dialogue and discussion between the key stakeholders, the local boards, and Ward Councillors.
The new Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 also requires the Council to consult with the Police, the Medical Officer of Health and the licensing inspectors before producing a draft LAP. The Council has undertaken this consultation and met regularly with representatives from the hospitality and retail industry and health agencies. A number of public meetings, notified on the Council’s website, and meetings with community groups were also held (late 2013) on possible issues and options for the draft LAP.
 A concise overview of the draft LAP and submission forms will be available from Libraries, Auckland Council Service Centres and Local Board offices. You will also be able to view it online and download a submission form at

Draft Arts and Culture Strategic Action Plan
Aucklanders understand that arts and culture are fundamental to a healthy society. I believe that if there is one area that the North Shore people have an abundance of, it is the natural skills of our artists, writers, singers, sculptors, painters and other talented individuals. I therefore hope that North Shore residents will submit to the latest action plan released for public consultation by the Arts, Culture and Events Committee.
 This plan is about Auckland developing even more into a vibrant creative city that values and invests in the arts. I hope that Aucklanders will be proud of their creative city and become even greater ambassadors for the arts as they reflect the skill and diversity of Auckland’s inhabitants.
Consultation on the action plan closes on the 24 July 2014. The plan can be accessed on the Auckland Council website and summary drafts are available at Auckland Council libraries and arts facilities.

George Wood is a North Shore ward councillor on the Auckland Council. The former three-term mayor of North Shore City lives in Forrest Hill with wife Myra.

by George Wood