Open Letter: To Mayor Brown & Jim Stabback (CEO, Auckland Council)

5 February 2023  OPEN LETTER

Dear Mayor Brown and Mr Stabback (CEO Auckland Council),              Copy to: Mr Mark Lambert (CEO of Auckland Transport)

I wish to signal my observations, resultant from the current storm event, that the road maintenance programs has been inadequate, particularly for the unsealed roading network, for the Rodney ward.

Culverts which should have coped with the volume of water being delivered to them have clearly not been adequately maintained to remain free flowing.

Many swales (drainage network along the unsealed roading network) are built up with historical silt deposits, resulting in reduced water carrying capacity.

Numerous designated overland water pathways have not worked as intended linking into the roadside drain networks.

Even though this storm event is unprecedented, it is highlighting the above failure points.

Furthermore, these failure points existed before this Emergency event. The Emergency event is simply promoting the failure points.

I am aware of the Mayor’s public statements and his concerns about the lack of maintenance of Auckland’s stormwater systems. I share these concerns as they also pertain the urban and semi-urban townships within Rodney. However, the Council drainage systems across rural Auckland, including Rodney, can be overlooked as being part of the storm water network.

As the Rodney ward councillor I wish to bring your attention to both Auckland’s unsealed roading network and the drainage network associated with it and the need for increased proactive maintenance of both systems. The Mayor has observed this as part of his recent tour of Rodney with myself. The invitation to tour Rodney to see the damage is equally extended to the CEO.

I am seeking your advice on;

  1. Will you be instructing the CEO to recommend to you what Council and/or Auckland Transport policies and regulations he will be reviewing in order to meet the requirements of the Land Drainage Act, for the Rodney ward and/or greater rural Auckland?
  2. In light of the recent emergency flooding event – what will be the recommendations into the Annual Plan 2023/24 for;

                       a. Increasing the unsealed road maintenance budgets for the Rodney ward via Auckland Transport’s Annual Plan budget setting processes? (The “roads”).

                                     (i) For grading operations

                                     (ii) For clearing culverts

                                     (iii) For gravel (loose metal)

                                     (iv) For more grading crews/ teams

                      b. Increasing the Auckland Council Community Facilities (UMS) unsealed road maintenance budgets?   (The “drains”).

                                   (i) For the roadside drainage network, to keep water flowing to culverts and removing silt and weed build up

                                  (ii) For pest plant control

                                  (iii) For control of trees along the roading corridors

                   c. My request to now include a new line-item for the Auckland Council Healthy Waters (Three Waters) budget – for an annual mechanical and pest weed spraying program of Rodney’s river systems in order to protect Auckland Transport’s bridge assets, and also prevent flooding of private land by giant “weed mats” breaking away from the riverbanks and choking river water flow by becoming snagged on bridge piles – which dam the river?

                                (i) Including but not limited to, the Kaipara River and the Kumeu River.

I am happy to discuss any of the above with you.


Cr Greg Sayers, Rodney Ward Councillor