Saturday, May 25, 2024

Call for diversity on Auckland advisory panels

Members from the diverse communities of Tāmaki Makaurau are being encouraged to apply for positions on Auckland Council’s six demographic advisory panels.

Council says the panels are an important part of the organisation’s governance structure, advising elected members and staff about how the council’s plans and strategies might impact their communities.

Up to 12 positions are now available on each panel – the Disability Advisory Panel, Ethnic Communities Advisory Panel, Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel, Rainbow Communities Advisory Panel, Seniors Advisory Panel and Youth Advisory Panel.

Chief Liaison Councillor for the Advisory Panels, Julie Fairey says the panels play an important part in helping the council create a more inclusive city where everyone feels they belong.

“The diversity of Tāmaki Makaurau is one of our unique strengths and as a council we need to ensure as many people as possible can influence local decisions,” she said.

“Being a panel member gives you the opportunity to share your experiences and expertise about your community, to help the council to do a better job for everyone.

“In the past, panels have given valued input on climate action, the COVID-19 response, housing, and how we can more effectively consult with those who often feel shut out of the council’s processes.”

While the roles are advisory rather than representative, members have the chance to speak directly to key decision-makers such as the Mayor and Councillors, and give feedback to council-controlled organisations like Auckland Transport, that can lead to real changes in communities, she said.

Auckland Council’s Principal Advisor Panels, Victoria Wicks-Brown strongly encouraged people from all backgrounds to apply for this opportunity.

“Tāmaki Makaurau is home to diverse communities, and they all have their own unique perspectives on living and working in our region,” she said.

“By bringing together Aucklanders from different backgrounds, we want to make sure diverse ideas and perspectives are reflected in the council’s decision-making.”

Speaking about his experience as co-chair of the Rainbow Communities Panel, John Kingi says the panels are a unique opportunity where members can provide direct advice to the leaders of Auckland across a range of important issues.

“Having spent six years as a panel member, I have seen first-hand the impact that comes from sharing our lived experiences, skills, and energy to make Tāmaki Makaurau the best it can be,” he said.

Amy Irvine, a previous member of the Youth Advisory Panel, says serving on the panel positively impacted her personally and her career ambitions.

“Not only did working on immensely important topics as part of the Youth Advisory Panel, such as climate justice, give me exposure to places and people often difficult for young people to access, but it also transformed my career ambitions and helped me grow my confidence as a social justice advocate. 

“Joining the Youth Advisory Panel gives you the tools and skills to make a real impact in the future of Tāmaki Makaurau and my fellow panel members were some of the most hardworking and inspiring individuals I have met,” she said.

The term for each of the advisory panels is three years. Panel members will receive a fee or honorarium for approximately 10 meetings a year with up to 15 hours of panel member time required each month.

Aucklanders of different ages, cultures and ethnicities are invited to apply. Applicants must be a New Zealand citizen, or a New Zealand permanent resident aged 18 or over and must reside within the Auckland region (generally Wellsford to Pukekohe).

More information, including specific criteria for each panel, and an online application form can be found on the Auckland Council website. Applications close Monday 13 February 2023.

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