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posted Sep 20, 2016, 10:58 PM by Mels Barton

Press Release - For immediate release Monday 19 September 2016


Auckland’s Friends of Regional Parks group has chosen to highlight the issues affecting the hugely popular and iconic Regional Parks in the run up to this year’s local government elections.

Auckland's parks are an essential infrastructure component to achieve the Council's aim of ensuring that the best conditions possible are created for the health, well-being, personal development and happiness of the residents. This has been confirmed by numerous comprehensive international studies that have clearly identified the physical, mental and emotional health benefits that people derive from parks. With Auckland’s rapid growth and intensification Auckland’s Regional Parks are particularly valuable as health promoting sanctuaries from the pressures and intensity of modern life.

Mayoral and Council candidates in Auckland have completed an online survey on Regional Parks by the Friends of Regional Parks group and been allocated a scorecard rating from A-F based on their answers. Any candidate who did not complete the survey was given a default F rating.

Mayoral candidates gave a mixed response and the Friends of Regional Parks group is encouraged that those who chose to respond clearly do value Regional Parks, but disappointed that some of the leading Mayoral candidates did not choose to participate in the survey. Only Mark Thomas, Chloe Swarbrick, Mario Alupis and Alezix Heneti scored an A with John Palino, Binh Thanh Nguyen, Stan Martin and Tyrone Raumati scoring B. David Hay and Aileen Austin scored C with all other Mayoral candidates, including Phil Goff, Vic Crone and Penny Bright failing to complete the survey and scoring a default F.

Council candidates obviously felt the issue was important and 40 of them completed the survey. Of these a total of 26 scored A including Cathy Casey, Chris Darby, Ross Clow, Penny Webster, John Watson, Christine Fletcher, Mike Lee, Richard Hills, Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor, John Bensch, Greg Presland, Grant Gillon, Damien Light, Bill Ralston, Tate Robertson, Fay Freeman, Olivia Montgomery, Wayne Davis, Patrick Cummuskey, Ken Turner, Steven Garner, Anne-Elise Smithson, Richard Leckinger, Peter Chan, Benjamin Lee, Alezix Heneti and Peter Haynes.

A further 9 scored B including Penny Hulse, Linda Cooper, Dick Quax, Boris Sokratov, Mike Padfield, Anne Degia-Pala, Rochelle Gormly, John Riddell, and Holly Southernwood.

Scoring C were Bill Cashmore and David Hay. All other Councillor candidates failed to complete the survey and scored a default F.

The survey asked questions about the candidate’s support for retaining a regional network for parks, expanding and adding to the current Regional Parks network, providing adequate funding and retaining the Ranger service, providing adequate funding for conservation and protection, establishing a dedicated ring-fenced fund for parks acquisitions, supporting the educational role of Regional Parks, providing resources for management of kauri dieback disease, continued support for farming on Regional Parks and retaining decision making for Regional Parks with the governing body. The full list of questions is given below.

Friends of Regional Parks spokesperson Bill Burrill said “the survey clearly shows which candidates take the issue of support for our Regional Parks seriously in Auckland and which do not. We urge voters to support those candidates who have scored well in this survey. Regional Parks are an essential part of the region’s infrastructure, which Council has an important role to enhance and protect, and we want to enable voters to make an informed choice.”

Friends of Regional Parks Questions for Auckland Council Candidates 2016

1. Do you support maintaining the current network of Regional Parks as a cohesive and effective whole to be managed regionally as a network? Yes / No

2.  Do you support expanding and adding to the Regional Parks network in line with the increasing population of Auckland (several parks are reaching full capacity on occasions)? Yes / No

3. Do you support providing adequate funding to adequately meet operational costs and to retain high quality specialist Regional Parks staff and rangers? Yes / No

4. Do you support the provision of resources for the conservation and protection of the special environments, flora and fauna within the parks and of the Auckland area? Yes / No

5. Do you support the establishment of a dedicated ring fenced fund for the acquisition of future Regional Parks in line with projected population growth? Yes / No

6. Do you support ensuring the continuation of the educational resource that the Regional Parks currently provide for present and future generations? Yes / No

7. Do you support ensuring that adequate attention and resources are available for the protection of Auckland’s iconic Kauri forests and for the operational management to prevent further spread of Kauri Dieback disease? Yes / No

8. Do you support enhancing the understanding and connection between urban dwellers and farming through continued support for farming on Regional Parks? Yes / No

9. Do you support retaining decision making for Regional Parks with the Governing Body? Yes / No