Press Release – Auckland Council
The Mayor has described the government’s response to The Auckland Plan as signalling strong and robust alignment between Auckland and Wellington on a number of issues and work to do on others.
Len Brown’s comments follow the annual meeting between the Auckland Council and Government Ministers.
The meeting focussed on the government’s response to the Auckland Plan and included comments by Minister David Carter in which he heralded the plan as a significant milestone and a key vehicle for shaping ongoing dialogue.
In response, the Mayor focussed on the areas of the plan in which the priorities aligned, such as economic development, intensification and congestion issues.
However he also set out Auckland’s clear vision for dealing with shared areas of concern such as housing affordability and transport strategy.
“The government and the council are in the middle of thorough, robust and highly analytical discussions on the best way to complete planned and potential transport investments. It’s my expectation that this work will continue in good faith,” says Len Brown.
“With the Auckland Plan, we are now talking with a unified voice when it comes to fixing Auckland’s transport problems. The government in Wellington is now listening to our process.”
“The government-imposed amalgamation has had a huge impact on Aucklanders. That impact includes big changes to rates as we moved across from the old systems. But the greatest change is that Auckland now has a single plan for getting our region moving, and we won’t be muddling along for another decade trying to agree on transport priorities.”
“In saying that, every project needs to be thoroughly tested and supported by a sound business case,” says the Mayor. “This is well illustrated by the extensive work currently being undertaken by Council and Government officials on the City Rail Link (CRL) and agreement that council should get on and protect the route.”
The provision of quality affordable housing in Auckland is another area of shared concern.
“We must enable and encourage growth within the framework set by the plan and should not be confused by the current downturn in building activity versus the supply of greenfield land.”
There is currently provision in Auckland for the development of 18,500 dwellings on already zoned and bulk serviced greenfield land. Under current Auckland Plan projections, this represents approximately four years of supply.
“Housing affordability is a key problem facing the region and there was a recognition of the complexity of the issues involved. The Auckland Plan provides enough land to meet demand for the next 30 years, although uncontrolled release of this land will result in current ratepayers having to pick up the high marginal cost of investment in new infrastructure.”
Auckland Council’s Economic Development Strategy received welcomed endorsement from the government with particular support for strengthening collaboration between council and government initiatives, workforce development projects like The Southern Initiative (TSI) and a stronger emphasis on the provision of business land.
“Auckland and Wellington will continue to work constructively to achieve better alignment between our priorities for the ultimate benefit of Aucklanders,” says the Mayor.