Belgium, the UK and France are all on Phil Goff’s itinerary.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is heading to Europe what is being billed as a “working trip”, with Auckland ratepayers partly footing the tab.
Goff has been invited to a mayoral conference in Paris by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose foundation and other sponsors are meeting the cost of travel and accommodation there.
But Goff will also travel to the UK and Belgium, where he’ll be part of the official New Zealand delegation participating in the centenary commemorations of World War I’s Battle of Passchendaele.
He left the country on Tuesday, travelling with his chief of staff, Taha MacPherson.
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In Belgium, he’ll present a bronze statue of 1905 All Black captain Dave Gallaher to the people of Flanders on behalf of Auckland.
Gallaher was one of 492 Aucklanders who died in the Battle of Broodseinde, a successful offensive in the lead-up to the Battle of Passchendaele. The statue, sculpted by Malcolm Evans, is a smaller replica of the statue of Dave Gallaher that stands outside Eden Park.
“Every New Zealand family is touched by World War I in some way,” said Goff. “My family is no different, having lost a great uncle on the Western Front, whose grave I will visit.”
From Belgium, the mayor will travel to London to meet the incoming London Lord Mayor, William Russell. He will also meet Greater London Authority officials, and be hosted by the Prince of Wales Foundation to discuss affordable housing and urban regeneration.
“London is an incredibly diverse city that faces similar challenges of housing unaffordability, congestion and environmental harm brought about by huge population growth,” Goff said.
“There is much Auckland can learn from how London has funded investment in infrastructure and public transport, and managed growth.”
After London, Goff will travel to Paris to attend the “CityLab conference: Urban Solutions to Global Challenges.”
Hosted by the Bloomberg Foundation, The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute, the conference is a gathering of mayors from cities around the world to discuss innovation and urban governance.
Goff will return to Auckland on October 26.
A spokesperson for his office said the cost of the trip for ratepayers would be released on his return.
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