If I was running for Auckland Council: My Five Point Vision for Auckland

No more status quo!

Yesterday’s poll result presented polar opposites debate how to go forward with the Mayoral campaigns in Auckland. As a brief cap the poll yesterday showed Wayne Brown breaking away with a 6% lead over Efeso Collins who has stalled in the high 20s. The poll reflected both the pre and post Viv Beck withdrawal as well which made things more interesting (or alarming depending on view point).

But while Twitter thought my post Auckland Mayoral Campaign: Campaign Completely Stalls. Lack of articulating clear vision prominent. Looking at Technocratic Governance next three years was overly critical of the Collins campaign, LinkedIn settled down into a consensus that a vision was not being articulated. However, both Left and Right of LinkedIn concluded through that consensus that both needed to work TOGETHER to take Auckland forward. And that consensus is how Auckland has been governed over the last 12 years if one was wondering.

So, what would be my vision for Auckland be if I decided to come out from outside the tent where I have been working those 12 years and wanted to come inside the tent? Well I have five points that form the vision that would answer five sets of key questions that impact Auckland residents, businesses and visitors alike. Those questions being:

  • How to move about efficiently?
  • Where do I live (the community)?
  • The freedom to do business
  • Is Green and Civic Infrastructure up to scratch?
  • Is there accountability on failures especially with a particular CCO?

My replies (in bold) (thus my vision) that I would take to the City would be:

How to move about efficiently: The Auckland Plan would adopt the 15-minute City. Consequently, all Planning and Budget documents below the Auckland Plan would adhere to the 15 Minute City goal!

Where do I live (the community): BAN Special Character Areas and liberalise the Unitary Plan especially around Mixed Use being as of right, and allowing Perimeter Block developments

Freedom to do business: see above and below

Green and Civic Infrastructure up to scratch: speaks for itself given continued muddling around here and the fact the obsolete 2016 Open Space Policy Document is NOT fit for purpose (and never was). Land sales would also be banned as well given once land is gone you lose leverage for further CAPEX (Transit and Community Oriented Developments).

Accountability on failures: Automatic removals of those who fail to do their job starting with the Auckland Transport Board and CEO. This is especially have been there as the road death toll in Auckland doubled between 2019 and 2021 and continues to trend the wrong direction in 2022. Also their lack of action and commitment after two cyclists were killed in Botany/Howick in quick succession owing to bad road engineering design you have to wonder why they are still here…

Now that is all very good to present a vision but how does one pay for it? A valid question but for me one two key determinates influence how I would answer the question:

The first is to diversify the Council revenue base and make it less prone to economic cycles, and ongoing shocks like Climate Change and pandemics. To do this as oversees Cities and nations have done is property. While our Council is desperate to sell off strategic assets like land I would reverse that trend and use the property arm Panuku to develop Council property into Transit Oriented Developments the Council later owns. Why? Rent from residents, leases from commercial, and percentage of gross retail sales takings from retailers would go into the Transport budget. This is also called NON FARE REVENUE something New Zealand refuses to engage in while others do so to fund their transit systems.

Revenue makes up for oversees nations/cities. Source: UITP

Here are some Non-Fare Revenue champions that use non fare revenue to reinforce funding their transit schemes. Thus, I would want TOD’s set up in such a way that the Non-Fare Revenue would be strong enough that Auckland would not be relying on NZTA subsidies for Transit and Active Modes by 2035 – aka financial independence from Wellington!

The great thing about TOD’s is that you also get to influence spatial forms and behaviours as well which brings me to the next point of my vision: the reduction of the Super Commute.

As part of my vision, I would like to see the instances of the Super Commute reduced by 67% by 2035 which ironically also means a reduction in Vehicle Kilometres Travelled (which in itself reduces congestion and emissions while boosting productivity). And to do this the transport and land use system MUST match up (hence both affect each other) if Freedom to Business was to ever not be impacted by horrid traffic. Just remember this is about moving more efficiently not faster…

Of course, there is a lot more but this is just the vision and a starter or entree into how I would get things rolling. There is a lot more as you hit the mains and dessert but that is for another day and another post!