There has been a bit reported in recent weeks regarding possible changes to how Auckland Council operates in Pukekohe. The fact is, as Bill and I included in our responses to questions from the Post, Council is not closing its office in Pukekohe. There are proposed changes to how parts of council operate but these are in response to complaints and requests from people who deal with those areas often and want a better service.
Having spent some time challenging and listening, what is proposed is likely to actually provide better service and efficiency for those wanting to do business with Council. However we have received a guarantee that there will be a review and an effort to make sure our staff are provided with opportunities to be more flexible in how they work. Getting the balance right will be the challenge as we have wonderful staff with great local knowledge and passion for our area and I for one do not want to risk losing some of that knowledge. As governors though, our role is to assess impacts on the community leaving staff issues to the CEO and his team.
Again last week we were hammered with storm conditions. As it happened, I got caught up in different weather issues flying to Wellington on Tuesday afternoon. I duly arrived at the Wellington airport just after the fog and after an aborted attempt to land ended up back in Auckland, with a later flight getting me down there. My Wednesday evening flight home was cancelled and such was the back log the first opportunity to get back was Friday morning.
The commonality of the storm in our area and the fog in Wellington was the rapid desire for some to take up their position with fingers pounding the keyboards to blame somebody for something. Why is it that some people cannot be happy unless they can apportion blame for things that occur. My experience with Air NZ was outstanding and they were obviously under huge pressure through no fault of their own. They had procedures to deal with this issue and implemented them.
Sadly many people like me had our schedules disrupted but that is life. I am yet to meet the perfect person who has everything sorted. In Pukekohe I saw and heard comments blaming Council, Auckland Transport and basically any other soft target for the rain. Obviously if we had massive stormwater pipes and drains everywhere, we would maybe see less flooding, but it is nonsensical to engineer to the highest level. I don’t think there are too many out there who would support the massive increases in rates to build infrastructure that is utilizsed so infrequently.
The drains and stormwater flow paths are not confined to Council owned land, huge parts of the network are on private land and appear sadly to be ignored which then impacts on others. Clogged drains, blocked culverts and illegal ponds do not help and need land owners to maintain them. Winter is coming!