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Auckland City Deputy Mayor Dr Bruce Hucker will today point the council in a strongly left direction with a raft of social programmes spanning low-cost rental housing, educational help for immigrants and working closely with gay, lesbian and transgender communities.
The City Vision leader will bury the eastern highway and advocate a number of public transport projects, including re-opening the Avondale-Southdown rail line, high-quality buses and new and improved cycleways.
He will also propose design changes for the Auckland Harbour Bridge-to-city motorway project to take Victoria Park and residents into account.
When John Banks came to office three years ago, he hired former National Finance Minister Sir William Birch to come up with a $35 million cost-cutting report that targeted, in particular, pensioner housing and community facilities.
Three years later, Dr Hucker is about to reverse many of those policies with a City Vision-Labour team and support from Mayor Dick Hubbard.
Dr Hucker will outline a new structure of 14 main committees and the tasks they will be expected to complete to promote economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being. The previous council had 11 main committees.
One idea, to scrap the law and order committee, has been abandoned.
Instead, the committee has been renamed public safety and community order and given extra powers to manage liquor, prostitution and gambling issues.
There will be eight high-powered policy committees, including a new partnership committee to build relations with Pacific, Asian and other ethnic groups and gay, lesbian and transgender communities and to ensure all new immigrants get educational help to settle in the city.
A community development committee will convene a refugee and new migrant forum and a housing forum.
It will move to get back into low-cost rental housing for low-income families and the elderly, and to establish a charter for older people.
The committee structure, chairmen and -women and their deputies, will be confirmed on Thursday.
Other measures Dr Hucker will signal today are an end to speedway at Western Springs, a new pedestrian bridge between Parnell and the Auckland Museum and a review of new rules for high-density housing.
Plans to axe user charges for rubbish and a uniform annual general charge, which will see rates drop for low- and middle-value property owners and increase for high-value property owners, are expected to be unveiled at a budget setting meeting on November 18.
City Vision and Labour councillors are expected to raise rates overall above the rate of inflation to pay for social programmes.
* Rate increases above the rate of inflation to pay for social programmes.
* 14 main council committees, up from 11 under previous mayor John Banks.
* Western Springs speedway ends, new Parnell pedestrian bridge to Auckland Museum and a review of high-density housing rules.
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