Thursday arrived with a thud. We were flying high from our petition being tabled in Parliament yesterday. Many of the stakeholders at last week’s meeting didn't realise that, at the same time as the Clerk of Parliament was reading our petition in the House of Representatives, Auckland Transport and the New Zealand Transport Agency released a joint press statement that did not reflect the outcome of that meeting. Thud.
Over the weekend, our team sat down and went through the petition booklets. Our provisional count of 10244 was shaved down to 9092 signatures, mostly due to duplicate signatures. We expected some duplicates after several booklets disappeared in December. It was reassuring that people wanted their signature in the final count.
9092 is a fantastic result. It still equates to the population between Warkworth and Leigh. Of these signatures, 7320 were manual and 1772 were online.
We handed over the petition to Rodney Member of Parliament, Mark Mitchell, at the Bridgehouse on Monday. Here is the Rodney Times coverage, including a video interview with Mark Mitchell: http://bit.ly/2p2N51b.
The petition will be considered by the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee. Any decisions, however, will need to be made at ministerial and council level.
The Fix Hill Street Now team know that the real work has just begun. The petition has demonstrated the strength of feeling of our community and we will now use that backing to gain traction.
We chose the words of our petition carefully. It leaves little wiggle room or any chance of being hijacked for some other cause.
We aren’t some ginger group or a puppet controlled by vested interests. We won’t tolerate back room deals. We won’t sell our community short.
Our promise to those who signed the petition is to keep the focus on fixing the intersection. Our group has the experience, expertise, resources, and the motivation to see this project through. Our role is to ensure that officials do what they say they will. we have every angle covered. We do whatever it takes to be in the loop and drive it to the finish line.
Last Thursday, Mark Mitchell and One Warkworth organised a meeting with members of the Warkworth Area Liaison Group, Rodney Local Board, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, and the New Zealand Transport Agency. The following handout was part of the presentation: http://bit.ly/2p3pMo7.
It is important that stakeholders are fully informed and fully involved. Putting less-informed and less-involved people in a room with officials and experts could create imbalanced negotiations and unintended consequences.
At the end of that meeting, it was agreed that a joint press statement would be released. Everyone seemed happy that everyone else was now reading from the same page.
On Monday, Mark Mitchell told the Rodney Times: “We have secured some funding to actually get a dedicated project manager to now get some serious work on the redesign of Hill Street.” (http://bit.ly/2p2N51b)
On Wednesday night at the Warkworth Area Liaison Group monthly meeting, which was attended by two Auckland Transport officials, a local board member said that the joint press release was still being finalised.
In other words, the two Auckland Transport officials at the WALG meeting knew about the joint press release but didn’t inform the elected members at the meeting. How do we know? We’ve read their emails.
NZTA/AT teamed up to change the draft release from “being focussed on the new funding” for fixing Hill Street to being about addressing Hill Street in 2021 after the motorway, Matakana Link Road, and Western Collector is built. NZTA/AT then released the final version without telling the politicians at last week’s meeting.
In other words, the position of NZTA and Auckland Transport hasn’t changed and politicians found this out when rung by the media.
A lot of people are really annoyed at Auckland Transport and NZTA right now. No seasoned politician tolerates being undermined by their officials.
Thank you for subscribing and thank you to donors and volunteers who have got our campaign into full swing. Please contact us if you would like to donate, volunteer, or have any suggestions.
To make a donation, our bank account details are:
Account Name: “FixHillStreetNow Action Group” Bank Account Number: 12-3095-0042062-00.