While campaigning I have really enjoyed seeing the rich and unique character of different communities throughout Auckland. Meeting people right through Blockhouse Bay, Lynfield and New Lynn and have been eye openers as I listen and understand what’s important to locals.
Everyday I see Auckland’s potential to be a world-class city. Unfortunately, we are facing constant congestion, failed transport networks, rising house prices and a disconnection between Council and residents.
That is why I left my job at Xero to champion a council that stands up to provide the necessary services and infrastructure needed for growing towns without the extreme rates rises we have seen.
The recently recommended Unitary Plan is an example of where Council should have been much more in touch with communities. The plan will allow for more intensification and urbanisation. New Lynn is set to become the new metropolitan centre and suburbs including Lynfield, New Windsor, Green Bay and Blockhouse Bay are largely zoned for mixed housing suburban. Council could have done a better job at showing people what their community could look like and reassure them they would have enough facilities to cope.
Council is going to have to use carrots rather than sticks to encourage good neighbourhood design and transport integration. This is definitely possible but only with a change in culture to one of unity, action and putting Aucklanders first.
One thing I’ve heard loud and clear is there’s an unequal access to opportunities and amenities across Auckland. In a recent Auckland Council study it was found that in the central-west areas of Auckland many residents felt isolated, disconnected from their communities and saw the definite potential for service improvements. Employment was also a major concern.
As Mayor, I want to power up local boards. They are better at understanding their communities’ main concern and will be able to decide better on priority spending in their areas. Centralising so much decision-making power to the CBD is ineffective and inefficient.
It is clear Auckland is in need of a transformation. We need a Mayor who has a solid vision and purpose for Auckland, one that produces strong leadership, fresh ideas and real results.