Below are some highlights from the Annual Report 2017—18.

Māori Economic Development

The Board commissioned an updated report on the Auckland Māori Economy with the production of The Māori Economy of Tāmaki Makaurau, Improving Performance and Measurement, July 2017.  The most significant recommendations in the updated report related to the opportunities for high-value Māori tourism products in Tāmaki Makaurau to leverage the $23 billion in Māori assets in the region.

Issues of Significance to Māori and the Māori Plan

The Board updated the Schedule of Issues of Significance to Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau in 2017 and published it as one document with the Māori Plan.  The updated document assists the Board in planning and prioritising its advocacy on issues and outcomes for Māori and provides strong direction to Auckland Council on the design and execution of its plans, documents and processes.

Assessment of Expenditure by Auckland Council to Deliver Māori Outcomes

The Board commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to assess the effectiveness of Auckland Council systems for planning and expenditure on projects earmarked to improve Māori outcomes in the previous two financial years. The assessment pointed to some improvement in Council and CCOs acting in the interests of Māori, however, it found the effectiveness of that action had been variable, highlighting ongoing and significant missed opportunities, not only for Auckland Māori, but for the region as a whole.

Long-Term Plan Business Cases

The Long-Term Plan Business Cases were prepared at the end of 2017 and timed to align with the Council’s planning cycle.  The Business Cases showed Council where it should focus its strategy and identified an annual expenditure of $22 million ($220 million over 10 years) was required to effectively deliver on outcomes for Māori in the region.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi Audit

Every three years the Board conducts a Te Tiriti o Waitangi Audit to assess the Auckland Council group’s performance in acting in accordance with statutory references to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and statutory responsibilities to Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau.  The 2018 Audit, by PricewaterhouseCoopers, found that Council had made significant efforts to address a high number of outstanding recommended actions from the previous 2014/15 audit, particularly in the development of Māori Responsiveness Plans.  However, outstanding recommendations from the 2014/15 Audit remained to be actioned and the 2018 Audit listed 13 new recommendations.

Working with Council on its Plans and Processes

During 2017/2018 The Board committed a significant resource to work on the refreshed Auckland Plan, Long-Term Plan (LTP), Council Owned Organisations’ Statements of Intent, Auckland Unitary Plan and other secondary plans.  The Board was pleased that in the final LTP 2018-28 it was agreed that $3.5m per annum (averaged over 10 years) be reallocated collaboratively across the Council Group to address Māori outcomes.  The Board was also successful in ensuring there was a clear statement of the Treaty Relationship in the front-end of the Auckland Plan, a strong Māori outcome in the Plan, with related directions and indicators for Māori. Board members also had active roles in the Future Urban Land Supply Strategy and Structure Plans.  During 2017/2018 the Board provided a Māori planning lens through their Auckland Council Unitary Plan appeal positions. The Board also provided advice on the development of new Resource Management Act provisions for Mana Whakahone ā Rohe Agreements that provided formal arrangements for Mana Whenua to direct their interests and issues in resource management planning.

Quality Affordable Housing for Māori

Over 2017/18, the Board undertook considerable advocacy for quality affordable housing for Māori. The establishment of the Auckland Council Māori Cultural Initiatives created an opportunity for Māori in Auckland wanting to develop papakāinga and this fund was due to increase substantially in the Long-Term Plan.  The Board also recognised the wider impact of the housing crisis and expressed its support for measures targeting an increase in housing affordability.  
The Board reviewed the Mayor’s task force on housing and concluded that the recommendations leaned too heavily toward increasing housing supply, with little consideration given to increasing the supply of affordable housing.  The Auckland Māori Housing Summit planned by Te Matapihi and the Board for April 2018, was the key opportunity for Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau to help shape the future of housing development in Auckland.

Auckland Regional Fuel Tax and National Fuel Excise Levy

The Board undertook significant advocacy work following Auckland Council’s decision to introduce a regional fuel tax for Auckland on top of a government national fuel excise levy.  During the passage of Legislation enabling the regional fuel tax through Parliament, the Board was extensively involved in making representation to Council and government for measures to mitigate the effect of these fuel taxes on Auckland’s poorest families: Māori living in the region’s south and west.  The Board commissioned Sapere Research Group to report on the fuel tax impacts from a fairness perspective; and discuss possible mitigation options where such equity impacts were found.  The Board called for Council Controlled Organisations, like Auckland Transport, to prioritise plans for regional public transport projects, particularly those in South Auckland, which could be fast-tracked to increase cheaper transport options for poorer families reliant on inefficient older vehicles for their work and recreation.

Increasing the visibility of Te Reo Māori in Auckland

During the reporting period, a raft of new Auckland Council initiatives to increase visibility of te reo Māori were introduced, including new tools to help Aucklanders to speak, see and hear more te reo. The switch to bilingual signage for Auckland’s many Council facilities and parks is a great start and the Board strongly endorses Council’s undertaking to incorporate te reo as signs are replaced. The addition of spoken te reo in the lifts of Auckland Council’s Albert Street building is a good example of commitment to walking the talk in te reo Māori.