The spike in burglaries and break-ins from Hauraki down to Devonport is a concerning issue I’ve been discussing with constituents and police. I’ve now been assured that the North Shore has been allocated 13 new officers over the next year which will help the response time and dealing with crime in our community. Police Minister Paula Bennett has welcomed the first of the new recruits to the Wellington Police College who will be sworn in by November. We’re recruiting 880 new officers across the country by 2021.
The long awaited Lake Road review is moving forward, with over 1,100 public submissions now being analysed by Auckland Transport as part of drawing up a detailed business case, due to be published in September. This is the time to engage in a lively and robust debate on the best options for Devonport’s only arterial route, and I will be meeting with Auckland Transport and the Mayor to advocate for the best investment and outcome to improve the dire Lake Road congestion.
Auckland’s population is growing fast and to make sure we keep pace the Government has released a new fund for Auckland Council to dip into for building infrastructure, particularly houses. My Devonport constituents tell me that they’re concerned about their children having to leave Auckland because housing stock is limited. To free up space in our sprawling super city, 8300 old and impractical houses will be replaced with 34,000 new homes over the next decade. A third of those will be finished within the next 3 years. Around 20 per cent will be reserved for first-home buyers and will be priced under the HomeStart cap of $650,000.
Devonport attracted well deserved nationwide media recognition recently for our effective, community backed approach to ridding the peninsula of unwanted pests and weeds. It’s encouraging to see the growing momentum behind the goal of a Predator Free NZ by 2050 and the school holidays didn’t dampen attendance for my public meeting at Campbells Bay School. I updated those who joined me about the new DOC Predator Free Auckland Ranger and a new fund to help existing groups and set up a local trap library were well received. The board of the new crown owned entity Predator Free 2050 is making rapid progress and has now appointed its new CEO Ed Chignall, who will soon be announcing funding for large scale landscape and support for community projects.
Its impressive what’s been achieved already by hard working groups of volunteers and we all found it interesting at my Campbells Bay meeting to hear the different strategies from several speakers including Richard Hursthouse, Chair of the Centennial Park Bush Society and Forest and Bird North Shore, and Danielle Grant, Chair of the Kaipatiki Local Board, who’ve all made great progress on weed and rodent control. I think it’s useful to have opportunities to network and connect with other groups who’ve grappled with similar challenges. DOC’s new Predator Free Ranger for Auckland, Katharine Lane is hosting a public meeting on August 12th which will be another chance to find out how DOC can help with weed and pest control so I hope to see a good turnout of all local groups and individuals who are interested in joining forces in the mammoth battle to save our threatened native species and their habitats from rats, stoats and possums.