Source: Auckland Council
Mayor Phil Goff began his valedictory speech at the last meeting of Auckland Council’s Governing Body by thanking wife Mary and acknowledging the partners, children and families of all those around the council’s decision-making table.
“I pay tribute to our partners and kids, for all they put up with because of our decision to do this work. When we work around this table, and take the role of public office, it is our families that take the weight of this.”
The mayor also paid tribute to council staff, Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, councillors and local board members.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I first came here. What I encountered from council staff was unfailing commitment, dedication and competency. Too often staff don’t get recognised; like us, they suffer abuse that’s not deserved. They must always be held to account and be responsible, but equally treated with respect.
“To chief executive Jim Stabback and all of the council staff I offer my profound thanks and gratitude.
“Bill Cashmore was the best deputy mayor I could have hoped for. I feel I’ve moved Bill to the left a little, but this is not about left or right, it is about what works for the city; belief in the city; and doing the right thing backed by evidence, advice and our own judgement.
“I acknowledge the work of all elected representatives around this table, and in our local boards. It is great to have worked constructively over these last six years and to have had overwhelming – not unquestioning – support for all we have done,” he said.
I’m proud of what we’ve done together
Mayor Phil Goff highlighted the some of the things he’s most proud of from his two terms leading the Governing Body.
- Stable and evidence-driven governance – we tackled the problems in front of us, rarely unanimously and striving for consensus, but always carrying a clear and strong majority around the decision-making table.
- Value for money – we saved hundreds of millions through the value for money programme, achieving the best value for every ratepayer dollar.
- Kept debt low – despite a global pandemic gouging the council’s budget, the council’s debt profile remains low and we have maintained our AA credit rating with a stable outlook. This demonstrates we have managed our finances prudently and responsibly.
- Infrastructure growth – this now has assets worth around $70bn. Our 10-year budget investment in transport has gone from $20bn to over $32bn; severe drought in 2020 brought home the need to be resilient for the future so we have invested quarter of a billion dollars in water infrastructure and delivered a further 100 million litres of fresh water each day.
- Environmental outcomes – in my first term, I promised to plant 1 million trees; the latest numbers are in and, together with our communities and partners, 2.7m trees and shrubs are in the ground. Predator control in the Hunua Ranges has seen the single breeding pair of kokako in the 1990s grow to a thriving population of 229 pairs today. 100km of kauri-safe tracks protect the Waitakere Ranges. The Awakeri wetland in Takanini has gone from a drain to a restored kauri swampland and Te Auaunga Oakley Creek is now an area of natural streams, walkways, cycleways and fruit trees.
- An inclusive Auckland – I want to thank everyone around the table that helped bring the council the living wage. The opening of Homeground to support homeless and rough sleepers – not just the building but what happens inside. And lastly, the devastating events of March 15 2019: they are our brothers and sisters, we stand alongside them; we stand against racial prejudice and bigotry. We strive to create a city where everyone is respected for their culture and ethnicity. A city we can all be proud of.
“I leave with a real mixture of feelings. The sense of anticipated liberation is exciting, but there is also a sense of sadness leaving a job I have enjoyed doing, the people I have enjoyed working with and a sense of having made a difference.
“The feeling of satisfaction of being able to achieve something for future generations and our community is profound.
“We owe an incredible amount to those that have gone before us and have made sacrifices on our behalf. We have an obligation to do what we can, stand on their shoulders and make this world a better place.
“It has been a privilege. Thank you to everyone who has been part of my journey. I’ll be watching from the sidelines!
“I’m proud of what we’ve done together. It’s over and out from me.”
Chief executive Jim Stabback responds
“On behalf of the staff of Auckland Council I thank you Mayor Phil, Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore and Cr Casey, for your commitment, passion and the energy you have brought – this has no doubt left a lasting impact on Auckland.
“You have shown respect and support for our kaimahi, through what has been an incredibly challenging period of time. Despite these challenges, enormous progress has been made,” said Jim.
The Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Cr Casey were presented with young native trees from the Te Whangai nursery, a social enterprise focused on employment for youth, people at risk and the long-term unemployed, and addressing environmental issues through restoration and wetland planting.
Te Whangai played a vital role in the restoration of Te Auaunga Oakley Creek, a project that the Mayor launched in his first official engagement as the new Mayor in 2016.
Watch valedictory speeches online
The Mayor also acknowledged the work Cr Efeso Collins, who is not standing as a ward councillor in the up-coming council elections, has done as a two-term member of the Governing Body and previous local board chair.
The item was closed with waiata ‘Te Aroha’:
Me te rangimarie
Tatou tatou e
“Because I’ve got the best voice in this chamber, I will start it! This is a waiata about love, hope and peace for us all,” said Cr Alf Filipaina.
The valedictory speeches can be watched in full here.