Opinion from No More Rates
Yesterday’s traffic gridlock should be a catalyst for a wider debate on how Auckland plans to cope with population growth.
Mayor Len Brown’s total preoccupation with the Central Rail Link is blinding him to the real alternative of expanding land supply to cater for both population increases and the provision of affordable housing.
The draft Auckland Unitary Plan, due to be released on 16th March, clearly shows that removing the current metropolitan urban limits will provide development land for up to 40% of the estimated population growth over the next 20 years.
However this expansion is delayed for many years, presumably to allow concentration on building medium and high rise apartment blocks all around the region.
The Auckland Council should make expansion beyond the present Metropolitan urban limits its first priority, rather than plunging ratepayers into the danger zone of huge debt and horrendous rate increases in the years ahead to pay for a rail link that many believe is unnecessary and financially unsustainable.
A move away from ‘intensification’ in favour of greenfields development, and expansion of satellite towns, would support the already planned extension of the northern motorway and the early completion of the western by-pass.
Add in a mostly government funded additional harbour crossing, and a much less costly solution is there for the taking.
Ratepayers in particular would be wise to consider this plan as an alternative to the rail dominated proposals in the draft Unitary Plan.