LGNZ honours Sir Bob Harvey’s many years of service to local government, with the LGNZ EXCELLENCE Award for Outstanding Contribution to Local Government.
Sir Bob served as mayor of Waitakere City from 1992 to 2010 when it was among seven territorial authorities replaced by the new Auckland Council.
LGNZ president Lawrence Yule says that among Sir Bob’s many achievements, he was a pioneering mayor who had served the council through six consecutive terms – the first time that had been achieved in over a century – and been a passionate advocate for sustainability in communities, locally, nationally and globally.
“Sir Bob’s vision and the success of that vision has been reflected in international recognition for Waitakere City’s environmental initiatives, including winning the United Nations-backed LivCom award for being the most ‘liveable’ city in the world,” says Lawrence.
“Alongside his deep commitment to the Waitakere community, he represented New Zealand’s local government on several international sustainability committees and at many global events. His legacy and achievements continue to be appreciated in the community he led.”
Sir Bob was elected on an environmental platform to manage growth in the Waitakere Ranges and to make Waitakere City the first eco city in New Zealand. Under his leadership, the city built four major libraries, a stadium and environmentally-friendly local government headquarters.
In 2009, he was invited to join the executive committee of the global organisation Mayors for Peace and is one of only a handful of mayors around the globe to be honoured as a global Mayor for Peace and the Environment.
His dedication to peace and non-violence included leading a local government delegation to Tahiti against French nuclear testing in the Pacific. In 1998, he joined the working party of the Mayors’ Asia Pacific Environment Summit and was an executive member of that summit the following year.
In 2002, he was the local government representative at the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. In 2007, he became a member of the Australasian Mayors for Climate Change and in 2008 was the keynote speaker at the Eco City Summit in Washington.
In 2010 Sir Bob was appointed chairperson for Waterfront Auckland, one of the seven council controlled organisations created under the Auckland Council amalgamation. During his tenure with the development agency, Sir Bob oversaw $120 million of capital expenditure on the waterfront prior to the 2011 Rugby World Cup and was instrumental in the first stages of the urban regeneration of Wynyard Quarter.
This article was first published in the August 2015 issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.