Not Helpful!

Does not help me, the Local Board, South Auckland, nor the Council

 

Manukau Metro UP map revised
Manukau Metro UP map revised

After the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board delivered their draft Area Plan to the Auckland Development Committee seeking endorsement for public consultation, and getting that endorsement with high praises from all the Councillors at the Committee, ex-Local Board Chair (but still part of the Local Board as a minority member) John McCracken coins an “opinion piece” in the New Zealand Herald that potentially undermines his Local Board’s recent work.

From the NZ Herald

John McCracken: Black budget proves council has lost touch with reality

Auckland Council’s desire to create “the world’s most liveable city” is creating the world’s most unaffordable city.

 

The council’s 21 local boards have all been told that savings need to be made; that no local project is safe from budget cuts. Local communities will pay the price.

Meaningful capital projects across Auckland that have been identified by each local board and financially programmed into their annual and long-term plans will be put under the microscope by the central body. The likely result is that anything that has not already gone out for tender will be shelved. Local boards and local community projects will be sacrificed in favour of one thing – the inner-city rail loop at a cost that will be well in excess of $3 billion.

The desire to create the world’s most liveable city is creating the world’s most unaffordable city for the people who live here.

A top ranking in some global tourism publication or other appears to be what our city leaders are most concerned about.

They have already lost any meaningful connection with our communities and the real needs of those communities.

Are we focusing all our resources to build an inner-city just to cater for tourists and holidaymakers? The rail loop is losing its appeal by the day.

Imagine if each local board received $100 million for capital projects and infrastructure funding over 10 years. That’s $2.1 billion, significantly less than the cost of the rail loop project.

I don’t think the Otara-Papatoetoe board could spend $100 million, and it is highly likely that other boards would be in the same situation. But we could achieve life-changing results for Auckland’s people. Wasn’t that the intention of a super city?

I am totally in favour of creating an amazing and liveable city but it needs to be done community by community.

Local projects are the true building blocks that ensure local support and, ultimately, community ownership and improved community spirit.

It is now time to ask the question again: Who will benefit from the rail loop?

Will it be useful for a city workforce that is continually decentralising? There are thousands of ratepayers in southern Auckland who almost never travel to central Auckland.

Manukau is becoming a metropolitan centre which provides their every need and this trend will continue. It’s no fun asking them to pay for a rail loop they will never use.

Auckland – like much larger cities around the world – has begun to sprout independent metro centres.

How can we follow and support a mayor who has continually said: “It is the local boards that can deliver real and meaningful results for individual communities”, and in his next statement advise us that no local project or budget is safe and sacrifices have to be made?

In Papatoetoe we have a swimming pool which can be used four months of the year. With a roof, it can be a year-round facility for our 50,000 people. But the rail loop needs that money.

I wonder if the central administration of the city is sipping too many lattes in central Auckland and perceiving that area to be the centre of “all things Auckland”?

Perhaps geographically. But it is not the heart, nor is it able to fund itself.

—–ends—–

Source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11290695

 

Let’s go through John’s rant bit by bit.

“They have already lost any meaningful connection with our communities and the real needs of those communities.”

Yes there is that perception out there and some Councillors have even raised it. The Council has been jolted (as recent as Thursday when I jolted them with the Metropolitan Centres) about Auckland outside of the City Centre. That said the Area Plans are now coming into fruition which will help build the local communities up especially if those Area Plans are of high quality as both Otara-Papatoetoe, and Devonport-Takapuna Local Boards’ plans are.

 

Are we focusing all our resources to build an inner-city just to cater for tourists and holidaymakers? The rail loop is losing its appeal by the day.”

It shows John does not understand how the City Rail Link works and how it will benefit the Local Board area he serves. I recommend to John reading this “Bernard’s Holes” and get clued up on the City Rail Link’s benefits for Papatoetoe and Otara. Also not all resources are being dedicated to this large project. Sure a large chunk will be but the benefits across the entire region are worth that heavy level of investment

 

“I am totally in favour of creating an amazing and liveable city but it needs to be done community by community.

Local projects are the true building blocks that ensure local support and, ultimately, community ownership and improved community spirit.

It is now time to ask the question again: Who will benefit from the rail loop?”

It seems McCracken despite being on the Local Board for his second term and was Chair in the first term is missing the difference between regional planning and localised planning. The Auckland Plan lays down the overarching goals for the next 30 years. The Unitary Plan lays down the zones, The Long Term Plan sets the budget to realise the Auckland Plan, and the Area Plans both plan and implement (the Auckland Plan) at local level. Those Local Boards with Metropolitan Centres have an extra “pressure” added in the fact that their plans have to reflect a Centre that serves either a regional or sub regional rather than local catchment. So happening concurrently is both City and local community building. If McCracken had bothered turning up to the Auckland Development Committee to see his Local Board Area Plan get endorsed and praised highly by the Councillors rather than scaremongering to the NZ Herald and being apparently uncooperative during Local Board meetings he would see both local community building and regional City Building happening – bit by bit.

As for the City Rail Link and who it benefits? Just about everyone in Auckland whether they be a car driver, a public transport user, a cyclist or even the truck drivers out there delivering your goods somewhere!

 

“Will it be useful for a city workforce that is continually decentralising? There are thousands of ratepayers in southern Auckland who almost never travel to central Auckland.

Manukau is becoming a metropolitan centre which provides their every need and this trend will continue. It’s no fun asking them to pay for a rail loop they will never use.

Auckland – like much larger cities around the world – has begun to sprout independent metro centres.”

Grrr these set of comments got me most rankled most especially the timing of McCracken’s opinion piece in the Herald which came just hours after I gave a presentation to the Auckland Development Committee on the Metropolitan Centres, and the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board successfully getting the Area Plan through to the public consultation stage. That Area Plan includes the Manukau City Centre and its place as a Metropolitan Centre in the future. There are Unitary Plan submissions also before the Hearing Panel pushing for the introduction of the Super Metropolitan Centre which gives Manukau that extra planning “grunt” in recognition of its place and identity it has with Southern Auckland. It would be wise for McCracken to get behind the South and get the Manukau South Rail Link built as fast as possible.

 

At the end of the day McCracken is entitled to his opinions but his opinions landing in the Herald so soon after his Local Board’s Area Plan was endorsed and allowed to go out for public consultation has consequences. Undermining his Local Board and diminishing their capabilities on delivering a well-built Area Plan is one. Making his Local Board look particularly silly to wider Auckland and the Auckland Development Committee is another. Basing his opinions that illustrate how out of touch he actually is with the happenings of wider Auckland really grinds my gears. Especially as the South is working its guts out to better itself and its heart – the Manukau City Centre Super Metropolitan area!

 

Apologies for the shouty post folks. While the main Council does have its shortcomings to which even I acknowledge, undermining good regional, sub regional and local projects that capture very high praises is something that does not sit well with me AT ALL!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

One thought on “Not Helpful!

  1. If McCracken thinks his people of the South will never go into the Central City and they don’t want to contribute to the CRL….? Then, I don’t live in the South and I don’t see why I should contribute anythng to any construction that is down there, ’cause I never go that far from my centrally located home spot.
    What he is really supporting is no Super City, just lets get back to the multi-small town councils !.
    Sounds like a big sand pit and somebody has his head in the sand ?!

    CRD
    Cliff Dew

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: