Pippa Coom: Your Councillor for Waitematā and Gulf Ward
After almost nine years on the Waitematā Local Board, currently serving as Chair, I am delighted to be City Vision’s candidate for councillor for the Waitematā and Gulf ward.
It has been a privilege to serve the communities of Waitematā and to lead a local board that has built a reputation for being brave, adventurous and effective. Among its achievements have been the transformation of the Ellen Melville Centre into a vibrant community hub , the development of the Weona-Westmere coastal walk and other new pathways, and improved playgrounds. Your board has also been instrumental in getting major projects off the ground, including the Franklin Road upgrade, a planned new civic space on Ponsonby Road, new sports grounds at Seddon Fields, new changing rooms in Grey Lynn park, upgrade of Teed St in Newmarket and helped secure a $5 million Council contribution to the City Mission’s HomeGround housing and social services project.
My focus on the local board has been transport. I’ve led the local board in being the first to adopt “Vision Zero” and one of the first to put in place a Greenways Plan. Our investment in placemaking and safe, welcoming streets is paying off for businesses and for the health of the community.
What can you expect from me as a councillor? I will build on extensive experience in governance, a network of community relationships, and an understanding of the issues that matter to Aucklanders. My leadership style is inclusive and respectful, I seek consensus rather than division, and I value teamwork and open communication. I will be a councillor who is available and accessible, and I will be there in person for community events, big and small.
Representing the people of Waitematā and the Gulf is a seven days a week commitment, and I am 100% up for it.
My path into local government started early on with community activism, volunteering and community-building. I was born and raised in England where my politics were shaped from a young age by the threat of nuclear war, the toxicity of apartheid and the rise of Thatcherism.
My family immigrated to New Zealand just after I turned 14. I immediately felt at home living in Ponsonby and attending Auckland Girls’ Grammar School, where my interests in service and activism were encouraged. At Otago University, where I completed a law degree (hons) in 1991, I volunteered at the community law centre, taught English as a second language, and was secretary of the Otago Law Students Association.
My community activism continued during a 15 year legal career.
During this time my dad was killed in a car crash. He was 49. Incidentally, my partner Paul and I have lived since 2006 in the Grey Lynn house dad bought over 30 years ago. Many years later, and now with a role on the Waitematā Local Board advocating for road safety, I’ve come to think of dad’s death not just as a family tragedy but also as an example of why the “safe systems” approach to creating a forgiving roading network is so necessary.
An e-bike is my main form of transport but I do own a working 1934 Austin 7 inherited from my dad and am a member of the Vintage Austin Register of NZ.
In 2009, I became a full-time volunteer in the community involved with cycling advocacy, community development and sustainability. I’ve been a trustee of the Kelmarna Organic City Farm, Grey Lynn 2030 and Connected Media, the coordinator of Frocks on Bikes, membership secretary of Cycle Action Auckland (now Bike Auckland) and organiser of climate action events.
I was named Sustainability Champion at the 2011 Sustainable Business Network awards for my cycling advocacy and involvement with the Grey Lynn Farmers Market, which I served for five years as chair of the management committee.
In 2010 I was elected to the Waitematā Local Board in the first Super City election. In 2013 and 2016 I was the highest polling candidate.
What I stand for
I’m a progressive aligned with City Vision, a coalition of Labour, the Greens and community independents like myself, but my primary allegiance is to the community. I value City Vision’s shared commitment to social justice, outstanding public transport, environmental protection, ownership of public assets, and a real say for local communities.
Here’s what I stand for:
- Transport choices: Healthy, safe, connected and accessible streets that encourage kids to walk, scoot and bike to school; an efficient, reliable public transport system with affordable, integrated fares covering all parts of Auckland including the Gulf Islands.
- Climate Action: A just transition to a low-emissions and climate-ready city; every decision of Auckland Council must contribute to fighting the climate and ecological crisis.
- Environmental sustainability: Cleaning up our waterways and harbours; protecting the qualities that make the Gulf Islands and Hauraki Gulf special; effective and sustainable recycling and composting services.
- Strong local boards and local decision making. I will meet regularly with the three local board chairs, attend local board meetings and effectively advocate for local issues.
- A city with a heart: Continuing with the revitalisation of downtown with a Quay Street boulevard, new public spaces and people-friendly streets. Slower speeds and the Access for Everyone project will be good for business and make the city centre more liveable for the growing residential population
- Housing: Ending homelessness through support for initiatives such as Housing First. Quality, affordable housing developments and effective use of brownfield sites.
- Good governance: Holding the Council Controlled Organisations such as Auckland Transport to account and ensuring value for money, council efficiencies and getting the basics right. As local board chair I have met community priorities within budget through careful financial management
There is much more to do building safe, vibrant, inclusive, accessible and resilient communities. I am passionate and completely committed to serving on the governing body, fulfilling the aspirations of all Aucklanders and representing Waitematā and Gulf ward.
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