Kia ora koutou, ngā mihi nui
My apologies for not being here; it’s that time of year when everyone seems to want everything done before Christmas.
It has been an honour and a privilege to Chair the Disability Advisory Panel this year. First of all, I’d like to thank my fellow panel members, co-chair Dan Buckingham, Interim Chair Mary Schnackenburg, and to Ursula Thynne, Colleen Brown, Rachel Peterson, Gemma Stewart, and Jade Farrar. Thank you for your insight, experience, and commitment to the panel in providing robust advice and support to Council staff and the work they do.
Secondly, much appreciation to Counsellors Stewart and Casey and others for your support and commitment to ensuring the voice of the democratic panels are heard at Council.
Thirdly, thank you Mayor Goff and Stephen Town for continuing to support the kaupapa of the demographic panels and resourcing the work we do.
I’d also like to acknowledge the work of all the demographic panels. I have appreciated beginning to collaborate with the Chairs in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the common and unique issues our communities face.
Last, but not least, thank you to the many Council and CCO staff who have consulted with us this year - we appreciate your commitment to making Auckland a more accessible place for everyone. In particular, I’d like to thank Austin Kim, Andre Lubbe, Maryke Fouche, Martine Abel, and previously Luka Grbavac, for your support in negotiating the slightly complex systems and processes that run the little town that Auckland Council is.
We hope that the advice that we have given this year has been useful, and constructive. We understand that our suggestions cannot always be heeded and we want you to always feel able to come back to us with ways that we can make our contribution more useful and relevant. We have also appreciated staff returning to the panel to keep us updated with progress on the important work that you do.
Next year we look forward to re-engaging with you all and continuing to build relationships of trust and collaboration in order to further the work of Council.
For me, as Chair, it has been a steep learning curve, of which I feel have not yet reached the apex and may never do so. However, I have found the experience interesting, challenging and I can honestly say I have never been invited to so many meetings in all my life.
On behalf of the panel I would like to wish you all a very safe and relaxing holiday and look forward to working with you again in the new year.
No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa.
Disability Advisory Panel