Complaint to the Hamilton City Council on Banning Formal Oral Submissions #Ham10YP

Here is my email sent to the appropriate HCC addresses. I have also made an Official Information Act request for the feedback which supposedly led to this decision. Personally I doubt this feedback exists, except in some ephemeral anecdotal form in a certain Mayor’s head. Here’s this mornings complaint:

Good morning,

I am writing to make a formal complaint about the current Submission processes surrounding the 10 Year Plan and Hamilton City Councils ongoing submissions procedures.
Hamilton City Council must offer the option to submitters of presenting an oral submission to full council within the council chambers as it has always done.

The only chance for oral presentations during the submission period for the Hamilton 10 Year Plan has been through ‘Community Engagement Meetings’, a very informal space where public talk over you and you talk to a few councillors and a few staff. This is unacceptable. It is not an appropriate forum to give a full submission to reach all councillors, appropriate staff whilst being heard by the public gallery and any attendant press.

Council has stated that due to changes in local government legislation, the Council is able to use different ways to hear people’s views on proposals. You’ve stated you are able, not that you are required. Many other councils in NZ are continuing to have formal oral submissions heard and have also added community meetings to their process, thereby strengthening democratic engagement and offering more avenues of participation. Not less.

The contention from Council that you have had feedback in the past that the hearings process is very formal and people would like opportunities to share their views with councillors in a less formal setting” is wonderful and I’m glad some people can now happily attend a community engagement meeting. Conversely many people find the formal oral submissions in the chamber extremely important, and wish for this to continue.

Thankyou for hearing this complaint and I look forward to your reply,

Yours Sincerely,

Max Coyle

Will keep you updated by updating this post, on both the OIA and the complaint.


Max Coyle’s Submission to Hamilton City Council’s 10 Year Plan #Ham10YP

Id just like to congratulate the designers of the 10 year plan consultation PDF. Beautiful work, it’s easy to read and makes it easy for people to digest the information.

It was also great to see just as many cute little pictures of bikes as cars! You’d almost get the idea that there was some positive steps being made in that direction. So lets look and see.

$7M on cycleways. 2.68% of the ‘projects’ transport budget. Or 1.3% of the total $507M transport budget.

Great there’s some money being spent on cycleways, though it is a mere pittance. Unfortunately it won’t be starting for around another 15 years. With a look to completion in 25 years. Great for my grandkids! And will mean that the Tron is once again not the City of the Future but the city of the forgotten past.

But why do so many of us want cycleways anyway? Why do transport experts provide such interesting studies showing their extremely high return on investment and overwhelmingly positive cost/benefit ratios?

Well looking at the 10 year consultation document we see a projected population increase of 60’000 over 30 years with the number of motor vehicles increasing by 66 percent in that time, which comes to 49,753 cars. With each one of those vehicles making two trips a day. With a population of 145’000 this 25% increase will see a 2/3 increase in vehicles meaning Council’s projections are that every new man, woman and some children will be driving their own car.

A lot of those extra car trips will be needing to cross one of our bridges. Have you seen our bridges currently at peak time? Perhaps we should just concrete over the river and turn it into a highway?

So what’s the solution? Well what would be a positive move for the city is to limit those trips, limit traffic and limit congestion. Here’s some answers which don’t involve spending as many hundreds of millions on more roads, which will of course create induced demand and lead to exactly the sort of numbers you’re predicting.

Few Hamilton cycling trails and shortcuts are destination-signposted. We are not getting the value for money from our already-built infrastructure because we’re not telling people how to use it to go places.

Signage will encourage more users, leading to safety in numbers and its relatively cheap.

Long-term residents and those used to walking/cycling Hamilton may be adept navigators but for many who haven’t explored so much, fear of getting lost is likely a deterrent to them learning their ways around.

Trails and shortcuts within city limits are ideal for spontaneous and short journeys for locals and visitors and activating these will ease congestion and make Hamilton a more liveable city.

Another step is for HCC to Adopt the Hamilton City Green Ring which meets the Council Priority #7 which is to “Become an Urban Garden” (sounds cool right? It’s a shame its not reflected in anything in the 10 year plan).

Following on from that the main routes through the city, as identified by other groups such as Cycle Action Waikato, need to receive separated cycleways.

Once we have these changes we then need to encourage use of new facilities through marketing and promotion of cycling in Hamilton via social media – ‘HAMILTONS SAFE CYCLE NETWORK’

Safe. That’s the keyword here. Speaking to people across Hamilton, especially women, mums, safety is their number 1 reason for not cycling and for being worried about their kids cycling. Making cycling safer will see a marked increase in the numbers of women cycling. Commuter cycling should not be seen as a macho daredevil activity.

So instead of the pittance how much should HCC be spending on cycling? A slightly larger pittance! A good start is $3 million dollar annually. If HCC were organised this would only amount to approximately $1.5 million because of the subsidies available. That would be amazingly good value for rate payers. $3 million dollars a year worth of infrastructure for $1.5 million per annum. Fantastic!

The 10 year plan in its current form is a worry. None of the 3 main funding proposals have cycling included. 2029 is way too late to spend $7M on the current HCC cycle strategy. Council needs to move now and take advantage of current opportunities for funding with the Governments Urban cycle fund etc. We are missing the boat, and in the meantime we will miss all the other cool cycling knock on benefits, both economic and social from the likes of the local great cycle trails & the Avantidrome.

The 10 year plan also has no mention on page 15, the “transport” page, of active or public transport types. Its like they’ve been completely forgotten where it matters most and its sad that the Council don’t seem to have been able to get their act together and secure any funding for cycleways. You’re really not devoting enough energy to cycling and have dropped the ball here.

The finances needed for effective cycleways and outstanding improvements are small, which you will be praised for in times to come as they reduce traffic and lead to a healthier, more economically and socially vibrant city, a true City of the Future. Please don’t stuff it up. Thankyou.

>> I encourage everyone to make their own submission << Feel free to reuse, reword, copy/pasta whatever. Submit here or hashtag your submission with #Ham10YP and post it on Facebook (to the Council Facebook page) or short statements via twitter to Council’s twitter page.

Max Coyle’s speech to Stop The Killing In Gaza – Hamilton NZ Rally

As-Salaam-Alaikum. Masā’ al-khayr.

The first rally I ever attended was 29 years ago. I was in a pram pushed by my parents in Napier and it was a HART rally. I was 1 year old.

The Halt All Racist Tour rallies were organised and attended by everyday kiwis who were appalled at the situation in South Africa and NZ’s complicit part in it by allowing their sports teams to come here, allowing rugby to happen while we ignored what was happening in their home country. A South africa where people were separated by the colour of their skin, a South Africa where people were routinely killed and fences separated white from black. A nation divided by race.

Apartheid literally means the state of being apart, ‘apart hood’. A people removed. Kiwis rallied against that injustice all those years ago and we rally today because that same apartheid, that same injustice, carries on in this world today. The Palestinian people are a state apart, they are refugees in their own land. Much as some of the Afrikaaners sat back and watched their rugby and their black slaves, so Israelis sit back and watch the bombing, the genocide of the Palestinian people, from their deck chairs.

We shouldn’t need to be here today. We shouldn’t live in a world where innocent children are killed indiscriminately by American munitions. But we are. We are all gathered here today to stand against this injustice. To stand against white phosphorous, an illegal munition, raining down on Palestinian children. To stand against the constant invasion by Jewish settlements on what little land the Palestinians have left. To stand against a war by a rogue state that has gone on far too long.

Israel is currently pushing for the demilitarisation of Gaza, as if Hamas will put down their weapons. The Gaza Strip is in a dire state, it is facing the risk of being uninhabitable by 2020 according to the UN — and that was before this latest devastation that has destroyed some 16,000 homes and much critical infrastructure. It will soon be absolutely impossible to create any semblance of life support for the citizens of Gaza as the rebuilding of homes, water and electricity networks, hospitals and schools becomes impossible. Israel wants this as THE bottom line before they stop the slaughter, and because it won’t happen they will instead make the blip of land uninhabitable.

As kiwis we can barely imagine our country being invaded, our homes being torn from us and becoming refugees in our own land. For many of us the closest we’ve come is reading Tomorrow When The War Began by John Marsden. And just as in that story, a story beloved by kiwis and Australians alike, the invaded citizens manage to fight back. We can fight back, and that’s why we’re here today, to say that the brutality has to stop, to say no to genocide, no to occupation and no to Zionism. To publicly call for Israels ambassador to be expelled from NZ, to call on kiwis to boycott Israeli products. Most importantly, a free Palestine.

Shukran. Ma’a as-salāmah.

Me speaking in front of the crowd which numbered almost 500 people

‘I didn’t have time to stop myself’

An unidentified male says a brutal rape against a woman yesterday was over in an instant.

The male was travelling along Morrinsville Rd in Hamilton yesterday about 6.30am when he and the female collided at the intersection of Morrinsville Rd and Matangi Rd.

The male, who is in his 30s, held the woman down and forced himself upon her. He estimated he was wearing appropriate clothing for a walk at the time.

“I didn’t have time to ask her permission. It was like one minute,” he told the Herald.

Afterwards he stayed where the woman was lying beside the road and tried talking to her. She blinked twice but was otherwise unresponsive.

A motorist pulled over and diverted traffic as they waited for police and St John to arrive.

It was the first time he had been a rapist. “Everyone is in shock when something happens like that … You can’t remember. Your mind is shut,” he said.

The mans employer, who stated he had been late for work, was carrying out its own investigation and assisting police.

“We are shocked and saddened by the accident.” It was rare for one of their employees to be involved in a brutal rape, he said.

Waikato rape policing manager Inspector Freda Grace said it would be inappropriate to comment about what happened at this stage in the investigation and called for any witnesses to contact police to help them piece together events. “It’s very early days. It’s just a tragedy really.”

She urged women to take care as the rape brought the Waikato’s rape toll to 23 so far this year. “Ensuring safety is paramount in your mind. You are wearing respectable modest clothing, your hair and makeup do not attract attention … you don’t appear over attractive when in public.”

The woman was wearing a long coat and had a rape whistle, but police were unclear whether she was wearing a burka. They expect to release her name today.

The recently defunded Hamilton Rape Crisis Centre representative Jill Hope said Morrinsville Rd was a popular walking route. She did not believe it was any more dangerous than any other in the city.

“There are a number of instances when males are feeling rapey and will risk a woman’s safety in their need for relief or reducing stress.”

>> UPDATE <<

Have been contacted by the Waikato Times about the blog post and been told that the police are not happy with the post. Perhaps they will or have started to see what they have done wrong in blaming and shaming the victims of crime, rather than prosecuting and blaming the perpetrators. Also preparing for a horde of crazed comments on Stuff once the article goes online, not to mention on the Waikato Times Facebook page when they post it. I am very glad that the issue has garnered the attention it deserves. The courier driver is guilty of manslaughter and this rewording of the NZ Herald article purposefully illustrates just how bad it is.

Hamilton City Council Looking At Closing Libraries

ImageWhen massive cuts were last proposed for the libraries including cuts to hours and charging for books, British television star and design guru Kevin McCloud from the TV show ‘Grand Designs’ slammed the Hamilton City Council saying they were stuck in the 18th century, saying more money not less should be spent on libraries. 

Hamilton City Council went ahead with some cuts in 2012 including budget cuts, reducing opening hours and increases in charges to people using the libraries. Western Community Newspaper has obtained reports showing the cuts and increased charges have had a devastating effect on our cities libraries. 

Now our libraries are facing closure as Councillor Garry Mallett has come out saying “People don’t particularly want libraries” and is leading the call for a new review in Council with all libraries able to be targeted for closure except the central library in Garden Place. “People get very passionate about libraries” says Cr Mallett.

Following the public outcry during the last libraries review the Council backed down on some of the more extreme changes but then went on to cut $200’000 off the book collections budget leaving gaps in coverage of new books. They also raised late fines and reservation fees putting what people have decried as cripplingly high fees in place which according to official reports to the Council have led to a massive decrease in both revenue and books being issued. 

Reports from the Head Librarian to Hamilton City Council show that since increasing overdue fees and reservation fees and decreasing hours, revenue is down by upwards of $200’000 per annum and book issues are down 100’000. The reports make it very clear that this is a result of the cuts and increases. The Council have been asked multiple times to reduce overdue fees but this has not been listened to. Income continues to decline with each report presented to Council. 

While some Councillors are for the cuts and closures, with Mayor Hardaker supporting the review and the possibility of library closures, others are going the opposite way. We spoke with West Ward Councillors Gallagher and Macpherson and heard there may be a silver lining in the review, but its unlikely.

“The review needs to encompass how we better serve communities and how libraries can better care for their communities” says Martin Gallagher. “Enderley, Nawton and Rototuna communities are not currently served by a local library and thats something which the review should be looking at. We could perhaps look at attaching smaller libraries to community centers and community houses in addition to what we have now. Libraries are about more than just books, they help build community. There is strong community support to maintain existing libraries”

Councillor Dave Macpherson hit out at the Councillors looking at library closures and the results of the previous changes. “What we’ve seen is the cuts and shorter hours and increases in fees have hurt libraries and anything that hurts our libraries is hurting Hamiltonians. This review is another waste of money initiated by the same bunch of councillors who seem increasingly focused on removing council from doing anything to help our communities” 

Local mum Sharon had this to say “I go there with my two wee ones on the weekend just to read the books there and do the puzzles, they really love the library and its great learning for them and its good since its free and money has been tight over the past few years”. Cr Macpherson says this shows that its not all about book issues. “Libraries are the beating heart of communities and its situations like this that show its not all about issue numbers. You haven’t heard the last on this issue and we’ll be fighting to make sure the heart of our communities stays healthy.”

*Originally Published in the Western Community News June 2014*

By Max Dillon Coyle

Nui te aroha, Max Coyle

My speech – Submission to HCC for Separated Cycleways on Anglesea St

What follows is my speech to the Hamilton City Council Finance Committee on the 15th May, 2014 and files that were attached to the submission;

Good afternoon to her worship the Mayor of Hamilton, chairperson Rob Pascoe and Councillors, and the CFO, CIO, General Managers, Group Accountants, Managers, Directors and Advisors. 

I’m speaking today as a member and spokesperson of Cycle Action Waikato, with me is Ashley Hooper of Hamilton Urban Blog. 

Anglesea St between Knox St and Collingwood St needs repairs as you know. Anglesea (and Tristram) are the Major north-south roads through the central city, carrying high volumes of traffic (Ham City Centre Local Area Plan *HCC*)

Coming up in the City Local Area plan are plans to make the CBD more pedestrian friendly. Part of the plan is easier access to Wintec, CBD and the Transport Centre. A critical element of this is access for cyclists and as such we’re proposing the repairs include separated cycle lanes. 


The repairs include the kerbs being removed, footpaths repaired, all the trees being chopped down and WEL networks replacing infrastructure at the same time. Including cycleways in these repairs will be of a very similar cost and it is essential the work is done now rather than a very costly retrofitting being placed on ratepayers later. 

597 more people,or 15%, cycle to work daily (1,719) than take the bus (1,122) according to the 2006 census. In the 2013 census this increased to 97% (1761) more people (3570) people cycling than (1809) taking the bus. Yet in the annual plan, for 2014/15 the sums allocated for bus stops, transport integration and minor improvements are $1.58M. Road resurfacing and replacement of the road base are allocated $5Million. 

Nowhere is cycling specifically allocated for yet the more people cycling, the cheaper it is for Hamilton residents, ratepayers etc. 

Going back to the local area plan, pedestrian is mentioned 154 times, while cycling is mentioned 5 times. In one of the very few mentions of cycling in the 81 page document, the ‘sustainable design section’ states its purpose to:

“Promote sustainable transportation through provision of clearly marked / identifiable walking and cycling routes and close proximity to public transportation routes.”

It also goes on to say: The nature of Anglesea Street will change from vehicle oriented to a mixed use street with increased pedestrian priority and amenity. The aim is to improve walkability in the central city and improve connections between some of the city’s major attractors such as the cricket grounds, the Transport Centre, Wintec (west of Anglesea Street) and Casabella Lane, Barton Street, Centre Place, Downtown Plaza, Garden Place, Victoria Street, Hood…and, it says “Anglesea Street is currently a major pedestrian barrier and although it will remain a major vehicle route in the city, it will become an environment better suited to pedestrians.”

In that spirit it is also essential that pedestrians and cyclists are free of each other, as well as of vehicles. Anglesea Street is designated as a City Living Precinct, the definition of which is ‘an area with the greatest potential for transformation’.

Now one of the documents you have in front of you is an article from the Waikato Argus newspaper, published in 1913. Over 100 years ago in 1913, Hamilton City Council was looking at doing exactly what we’re proposing now, separated cycleways along a stretch of Anglesea Street. Please don’t let another young man or woman be standing here, in 2114, another 100 years on, pleading for a scrap of decent cycling infrastructure. This project is over 100 years in the making and its time it went from committee stage to action.



Legal Highs, Synthetic Outrage


Protesters gather outside puff stores! Community wants legal highs out! Enraged residents voice displeasure!

You’ve seen the headlines right? All these thousands of people marching and picketing shops? Or was it 100 people, or was it 50? No not quite, around half that, still, it’s not the size of the protest that matters it’s the message.

So the message is that people, around 20 of them, want legal highs completely removed from Hamilton. Which is interesting as the campaign that this sprung from originated with a protest march against testing social tonics against animals, something which everyone can get behind right? Which is why thousands of people marched and people around NZ were outraged, and fair enough, there’s no reason these should be tested on animals, the manufacturers and retailers and consumers all agree with this too, it’s just the Government that made that call.

Moving on from the well attended and well received march and protests that everyone got behind, with very little organisation and just the force of will of a mobilized populace, a few people (1) started another group campaigning against legal highs in general. I’m fairly knowledgeable about every step in this campaign as I’ve been added to multiple Facebook groups, invited to multiple protests and seen the conversations happening around organisation etc. 

To add even more background to my understanding, I was working at a local newspaper where the reporter made it her personal mission to spend most days working of this story and putting it on the front page week after week. Never mind that there was no story, when there wasn’t a story she would give beer to young men to go and get them to engage in sting operations attempting to buy synthetic cannabis from dairies. When that failed she reported it anyway and instead of facts used a whole bunch of dark adjectives to describe the ‘feeling’ of the place that sold these evil things and classic tabloid reporting lines like ‘the owner Mr Patel, wearing a heavy coat, was observed leaving the cold grey store and scurrying to his car’

Yes. That is what it came to. Sting operations to catch a shop owner… wait for it… leaving their shop! How dare he! So anyway, all this faux outrage from a reporter wanting to write serious hard news to lift the tone of the paper just ended up a complete farce. Unfortunately 3 people were stirred enough to turn up to the protests along with a handful of others, press ganged into turning up by constant barraging Facebook messages, groups and events. Unfortunately hardly anyone ever turns up, unlike the hundreds of people who purchase these legal products everyday from the shops being picketed.

But the heart of this isn’t the amount of people turning up at protests, I’ve been to a fair share of protests with 20 people at them, I’ve organised a few myself. The most annoying thing is the hypocrisy of it all. From the reporter who finishes up her front page scare piece on the dirty evils of legal highs and the damage it does to society, who then goes home and has a bottle of wine every night, consuming a drug that kills hundreds of people every year in NZ and causes millions of dollars of harm to our society every year. To the Waikato Regional Councillor, who, when questioned about whether she would also be picketing outside supermarkets selling cigarettes and alcohol, known killers and providing a well known and measured harm to our society replied ‘Don’t be ridiculous, of course not, what sort of question is that!’ 

What sort of question indeed? The question is how many people has synthetic cannabis killed ever? Zero. How many people have died from these legal highs? Zero. How much faux outrage and poorly attended protests has there been? Way too much. s I said to the Hamilton organiser when he last asked me to come along, ‘get a grip’. Focus on the real harms to our society. The regulation, testing and sale of recreational drugs that we now currently have a framework for in this country is a good step forward from the archaic confines of prohibitionist era America. We don’t need another Christian Woman’s Temperance Union movement of people with too much time on their hands stirring up a frenzy of bored media and politicians looking for an issue.

Go home and have a wine.