”Auckland in the Future„
However, Auckland’s current population generally perceives their council to be out of touch and out of control. For all the billions that they are spending on infrastructure nothing seems to be getting any better. Furthermore, they feel the council uses ratepayers like an unlimited ATM machine, and in reality this is not far from the truth. This perception needs to be changed, and changed quickly.
Only when the city has a mayor and a council that are willing to step up and undertake the strategic changes required to steer Auckland in the right direction, are we going to see this perception change. Current council ideologues are sending us hurtling down a dead end street at 200kph with no breaks and no idea how it will really end. In essence they are both drunk (with power) and asleep at the wheel.
Investing so much time and money into the CDB and central suburbs is like installing 4 extra doors onto a five seater sedan, and then expecting it to be able to comfortably seat an extra 4 people…it just isn’t going to work. Sounds crazy right, but this is the exact approach the council is taking with Auckland.
Auckland is going to expand, this is a fact. Statistics New Zealand projects the population to reach two million people by 2031. We cannot expect our current city to simply add nearly 500,000 new people within the current or slightly expanded boundaries as the current Unitary Plan proposes. Nor will the vast majority of them work in the CDB or live in existing suburbs.
Future population increases present Auckland with serious challenges. For Auckland to function properly, and at the same time continue to be a place Aucklanders want to live in, we need urgent and strategic policy changes.
The ideologically driven “Smart Growth” policies of the current and previous councils have actually been “Stupid Growth” policies. They have contributed to making Auckland fourth from bottom on the western world’s affordable city list. I care about Auckland and that’s why I am running for Mayor.
With council’s Smart Growth policy focusing on the CBD and inner areas, it has imposed high density living on some of our beautiful leafy suburbs, changing the character of many streets forever. Retrofitting and upgrading existing infrastructure to accommodate this high density thinking is hugely expensive and disruptive to everyone, residents and commuters alike. Building new areas for Aucklanders to live and work in comes at a fraction of the price, and has little disruption on the existing city.
Roads are already full, yet council wants more people to live in existing suburbs without the understanding of where these people need to travel to get to work, nor providing any cost effective and efficient way of helping them get there. Auckland lacks the necessary infrastructure for this kind of very weak minded and mismanaged intensification.
For Auckland to realise its full future potential we need to stop the drive that demands more homes be built in existing suburbs. We need a council that realises the cost in time and lifestyle this approach imposes on Aucklanders. Growth is the biggest challenge facing the city, and no amount of tinkering around the edges will solve any of the problems and issues it brings. Intensification is for city centres and master planned growth areas, not for established suburbs. Once council realises this, we will begin to grow Auckland without the turmoil we are seeing today.
A future Auckland must be able to develop new housing within a cost structure that young Aucklanders can afford. This CAN be achieved if the right policy and regulatory framework is adopted.
The Mayor and Council of Auckland need to be thinking of Auckland as a region, as this is what it truly is. By focusing in this regard the city can develop additional CBD’s to the North and South, which will grow and stimulate economic growth, as well as reduce the inequality caused by unaffordable housing.
It makes absolutely no sense to focus resources and money on one CBD when the vast majority of people will not work there, and live too far away for it to ever be an option.
To reduce Aucklanders commuting costs and lost productivity we need to encourage new commercial developments (CBDs) in strategic locations close to where affordable new housing can be easily developed. Auckland has space to allow such developments within a strategically planned approach that takes into account factors like where people want to live and work, and at the same time will reduce existing traffic congestion.
It is around these new satellite CBDs that intensification is required, not in existing suburbs. This is a real solution that has been implemented successfully in other cities around the world. I am the only mayoral candidate that is campaigning on a strategy that WILL make Auckland great again!