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Banks takes strong messages to the Shore

Banks takes strong messages to the Shore

“Have a global view of Auckland, not an inward one” Auckland City Mayor Hon John Banks told the North Shore City Council last night during an address and question and answer session he was invited to give.

Mr Banks espoused his vision of Auckland becoming an international competitive city with first-world economic infrastructure.

He said motorway network completion with integrated public transport would only be complete when the region had an Eastern Transport Corridor and an additional harbour crossing.

“Let me give you five reasons why the Corridor should be built: the creation of Silvia Park – the biggest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere; 3000 new homes will be built on the Mt Wellington quarry; 10,000 students will attend Auckland University’s new Tamaki campus; the enormous growth projected in the south eastern industrial precinct and that the number of cars in Auckland is set to double in the next 20 years.”

Mr Banks said he advocated the re-introduction of tolls on the Harbour Bridge as part of a tolling network across the region.

“I have a vision to publicly own much of the guilt-edged waterfront from Queen’s Wharf west to the Harbour Bridge for our great grand children.”

He criticised North Shore for not supporting the proposition of the viaduct’s ACVL-owned syndicate row land being transferred to the Auckland City Council at no cost as public open space. He also expressed his disappointment at North Shore’s mute response to Auckland City’s purchase of Westhaven Marina, given the number of North Shore boaties that use the facility.

“However, I salute your $22.5 million purchase of 38.5 hectares of land to add to the Long Bay Regional Park. This was a good decision.”

The Mayor described Auckland City as a generous council, pointing to the many regional costs it substantially incurs including the Maritime Museum, Art Gallery, Auckland Zoo, Central Library, Aotea Centre, Civic Theatre, Observatory, Motat, Auckland Museum and Tourism Auckland.

Not to mention the capital project costs of Westhaven, the proposed indoor arena, Fanshawe Street improvements, the North Shore Busway, the Central Transport Corridor and Britomart.

He challenged North Shore residents to get out of their cars, onto public transport and to use the $200m busway when it is built.

“We will be negotiating with Stagecoach for your residents to use buses freely during the V8 Supercar street race in two years time. The Hikoi of Hope gave us much hope. It proved gridlock could be avoided if you give drivers even short notice. We’re giving drivers two years notice and I am committed to public transport incentives and working closely with your officials.”

Mr Banks, a former Birkenhead borough councillor, expressed concern at North Shore’s projected net debt for 2004/2005 of $99.9 million.

“When I came to office Auckland City’s net debt was forecast to peak $371 million. Today we have zero net debt and our overall rate increases have been kept in line with inflation.”

Mr Banks said every day of the week he represented and advocated for all citizens of the region, not just Auckland City.

“We need to get over our parochialism. For the country to have an internationally competitive economy, we need a global city. Only Auckland can be that city.”

The Mayor said it was important he made a number of points during his presentation because it was unlikely he’d be invited back.

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