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Hon John Banks QSO - Moving Auckland Forward


Moving Auckland Forward
Mid-Term Keynote Address
Hon John Banks QSO - Mayor of Auckland City

Rotary Club of Auckland Inc.
The Auckland Club, 34 Shortland Street

12.15pm, Monday 30 June 2003

My mayoralty is about investment, growth and jobs.

I am focussed on quality intergenerational development.

In 25 days we open the magnificently restored old Chief Post Office and the world-class Britomart Transport Centre.

Much thought has gone into transforming the Edwardian Oamaru Stone building from being a working Post Office to becoming the gateway for a state-of-the-art underground train station.

Britomart is the largest transport and heritage project ever undertaken by a local authority in the history of New Zealand.

It is not the end - it is only a beginning.

We will soon commence a total refurbishment of the 19 historic buildings, which surround the Britomart precinct.

I am committed to a modern, efficient, and affordable train service for greater Auckland.

I am committed to the electrification and broad expansion of our region's rail network, as proposed in the business plan, recently released.

At this time in history we have 38 major commercial developments under construction in this city.

The Auckland skyline is crowded with tower cranes! Just drive down College Hill or Parnell Rise and look at the CBD - more cranes, more investment, more jobs and more progress.

Again - this is not the end. It is only the beginning.

Auckland is in great shape - more investment, more growth and more jobs. We are moving Auckland forward.

My mayoralty is about your future.

To the east of Queen Street, from Queen Elizabeth Square outside the old Central Post Office to the site of the Quay Park arena represents a $600 million development.

To the west of Queen Street on the western reclamation we are working on a 15-year plan to completely rejuvenate the very best urban real estate in New Zealand.

Over the next five years Queen Street - the gateway to Auckland - will be completely transformed.

A five-minute train trip to Newmarket will witness a $700 million investment on both sides of Broadway.

On the eastern boundary of the city - the Tamaki Edge - expect to see a billion dollars invested in the next 10 years:

- 10,000 students at Auckland University's new Tamaki Campus;

- The biggest ever retail development undertaken in this country at Sylvia Park;

- The Mount Wellington Quarry will become the quality home for at least 5,000.

This is great news but if we are to make real progress, we must keep focused on the big infrastructure projects.

After all, where Auckland goes New Zealand will follow.

We are New Zealand's fastest growing region, with the region's population set to reach 1.65 million by 2021 - an increase of almost half a million people.

Auckland City's own population is set to reach 530,000 by 2021. At the last Census, 388,000 people resided in Auckland City.

Auckland is responsible for a third of the country's economic wealth.

As the nation's engine-room Auckland needs to do better if this country is to achieve our potential on the world stage.

At the heart of the problem is the fact that Auckland's economic infrastructure has been left unattended to for far too long.

Fifty years ago we were third in the OECD - behind the United States and Canada and just ahead of Switzerland. In 1970 we were 9th- just behind Australia. Today we're in the bottom third between Spain and Portugal.

If we want better education, better health, more security and a lift in our way of life¡K then we need a substantial lift in our growth.

I believe in putting success on a pedestal.

As well as recognising success, we must attract investment and investors.

At the Town Hall we are commercially committed and business friendly. As leader of this city I accept there is a responsibility to ensure Auckland has an attractive business environment.

- Rates must be competitive to other cities - they are.

- Council administration must be business friendly - it is.

- Our economic infrastructure must be the best - that is the challenge.

Auckland City's cost-cutting drive has seen its long-term credit rating raised to double-A-plus (AA+).

Auckland City is today debt free.

However to compete with Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne we need to move fast and we must be growth focused

With enormous population pressures comes the need for substantial infrastructure development in the areas of roading, public transport, wastewater and sewerage.

This represents $9 billion over the next 10 years.

For this city the biggest investment, with the greatest urgency and the best return is transport.

My mayoralty is built around a simple vision of completing the region's integrated transport network by 2010.

There is a lot happening to move this vision forward.

Transfund's announcement today of its funding allocation for next year has a focus on investing in Auckland's land transport network, but whatever it allocates it won't be nearly enough to address the $2.4 billion shortfall.

The region's seven mayors are collectively committed to completing our transport network and the Government is committed to giving us the tools to finance the $2.4 billion funding shortfall. We are working with the Government on the specifics and we are working on the timeframes.

It is my commitment to have all the money bolted down by the end of the third quarter of this year.

The Government is working with us every day of the week with urgency and in good faith.

Traffic congestion in Auckland is this country's number one tragedy.

It costs the economy at least $1 billion a year in wasted time and wasted energy.

In 20 years time the number of cars in Auckland will double.

There are more households in Auckland that own two cars than there are households that own one car.

Doing nothing is no longer an option.

It is not just about building roads. It is about giving Auckland a modern, integrated transport network, which embraces the triple bypass with affordable public transport.

Three hundred million dollars of work is underway at Spaghetti Junction and in Grafton Gully. With support from Sir Barry Curtis and Transit we have formed an alliance to move the Eastern Corridor forward - that is to build it.

State Highway 20 - the western corridor through Mt Roskill is moving ahead. It forms a critical part of the triple bypass.

The $200 million North Shore bus way will soon be a reality.

When we complete the region's motorway network the wins will be significant.

Fixing Auckland's economic infrastructure will unlock the city's potential and will deliver significant benefits to the nation.

I am very ambitious for this city. Auckland should be the pride of New Zealand - and the envy of the world.


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