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Bruce Hucker mayoralty campaign launch


Bruce Hucker mayoralty campaign launch

Bruce Hucker speech notes

Welcome and acknowledgements.

1. I wish to share my vision for the future as mayor of this beautiful city of ours. Auckland is my home. I was born here. I grew up here. I have brought my family up here. I am passionate about its future.

The election this year gives people a clear choice between different styles of leadership, between different philosophies, values, ideas and policies.

Between a social democracy with a strong environmental emphasis and a narrow neo-liberal approach that does not believe in communities.

Between a city where people and the environment matter rather than one where money is the measure of all things.

3….Today I want to talk to you about transport and congestion About growth About our communities About a fair deal for all About a city in which all Aucklanders will have a place in the sun.

Auckland is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world. It is New Zealand's largest city and the most ethnically diverse.

It is the largest Polynesian city in the world and that is something to celebrate. It is nestled between two harbours – the Waitemata and the Manukau.

BUT Auckland has fallen into bad hands. It is becoming a divided city of the haves and have nots. The heart is being ripped out of its communities Its economy and its environment are threatened by congestion.

Auckland is a city run by a man that listens to no-one, who makes reckless and high risk decisions and takes credit for things he hasn’t done. I listen to people, reflect and act. I have a long track record of taking people with me and bringing Aucklanders together.

Transport and traffic are the number one issue for Aucklanders. We talk about it more than the weather. And in Auckland, thanks to the new Local Government Act, we have the possibility and obligation of dealing with transport in terms of sustainable development.
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Population growth, land use, transport and economic and community development form an integrated whole. For this reason linked strategies are required. These need to promote the four well-beings: environmental, social, economic and cultural.

We live in communities, as well as in an economy. We are nurtured by the earth and our cultures express who we are, where we have come from, where we want to go and what it means to be human.

In the transport field we are making progress. The Government has injected $1.63 billion into Auckland’s public transport and roading over the next ten years. It has established a new regional transport authority under the ARC. Double tracking of the western line has commenced, Britomart has been completed along with rail and ferry upgrades all of which I am proud to have been part of.

BUT it is not happening fast enough.

If we go on the way we are going now, even with the planned improvements Auckland will come to a standstill in five to seven years. It depends how fast we grow. The next five years will be critical.

Take roads. The current roading programme will increase capacity by around 15% by the time it is completed. But by then traffic volumes will have increased by more than 25%.

The John Banks way; roads, roads and more roads, is high risk and will simply lead to more congestion. It’s like treating obesity by loosening our belts.

There are no easy answers to congestion problems. Every new road will cut through existing treasured communities and landscapes. We must do our utmost to minimise this impact.

We need a balanced strategy: Improved public transport and improved roads, along with people living in communities that find ways of reducing the number and length of their car trips and firms that plan deliveries to minimise congestion.

More roads, more roads and more roads will not work and is unsustainable.

My commitment is to delivering integrated public transport, key roading links and non-engineering, community- based solutions sooner – much sooner.

So how can we do it?
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Transport strategy is about priorities and timing.

We need to move decisively to improve public transport - bus, rail and ferry; to give car owners and firms a choice: a world-class, fully-integrated public transport system is a priority a seamless, one-ticket network where people can move from bus to rail to ferry without delays and optimal comfort kicking the North Shore busway into life improving our ferry services for passengers and freight increasing the number of cycleways and walkways

BUT the key is rail. This is where we need to get serious. Rail is a major link. It provides a key fixed transport spine. It will assist in directing some of the city’s growth to areas where it can be catered for: the CBD, Newmarket, Panmure, Glen Innes and Avondale.

I will work with other agencies to seek early implementation of the rail business plan which I helped formulate.

This plan has an ambitious target of going from the present 2 million passengers a year to 25 million by 2016.

I support double tracking and electrification BUT we need to add to it - an airport link - future developments of the rail network - in the medium term, a light rail option linking the AUT, the hospital, Boston Rd and Britomart

2. Upgrading our key roading links is also a key priority. Much is already being done: SH 1 has been linked to the port through Stanley Street and is being widened. Spaghetti junction with its connection of the North and North Western motorways And the western city by-pass, SH 20, which is now being funded. This is important for congestion relief and for an alternative route from north to south

BUT stop the Eastern Motorway It is a nonsense A road to nowhere It cannot be funded If it were it would take major funds from public transport It is environmentally unsound -4-

It is a cruel hoax, putting hundreds of residents lives into limbo. I am firmly opposed to the Eastern Motorway, but will review eastern access options including significantly improved public transport and local roading.

Community-based options including walking school buses, glide time, car pooling, school and university plans will be encouraged.

I now wish to turn to growth. Auckland is growing rapidly. By 2021 our population in Auckland City will expand as much as 140,000, on top of our present 415,000 people. We are located on a narrow strip of land between two harbours. Our pattern of life is changing from suburban to urban before our eyes.

How we handle this growth and its impact on city form will be a test of our ingenuity. We need to ask what is the carrying capacity of our city and region and how we can extend it while ensuring that our quality of life is maintained.

Good urban design is a key to good urban form. Auckland City requires a strong urban design unit, which I pressed for unsuccessfully in this year's annual plan and budget.

Also it is wrong to say to communities you will take this much more growth and you this much. We have to talk with each other. We have to negotiate with neighbourhoods which are being asked to take more people about the numbers. The corollary of this is that priority will also have to be given to those communities in growth areas for improved spending on infrastructure, community facilities and open space.

More intelligent planning approaches are also essential. Auckland City has never done a strategic environmental assessment of its central area and district plan policies and rules. I want to avoid problems that are emerging in the CBD when I am approached by residents talking about the impact of neighbouring developments on the quality of their lives: reduced access to sunlight, blocked views, and people living cheek by jowl with their neighbours.

Invariably when I investigate the complaints I find that developers are simply exercising their rights under the rules. These need to be changed as would become apparent in a strategic environmental assessment.

Many years ago Jane Jacobs in The Death and Life of Great American Cities argued that three things were necessary for our cities to flourish. Cities and districts in cities needed to perform more than one function: residential, commercial, recreational, cultural to name a few.

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People needed to be on the streets for a number of different reasons including that they lived in houses and apartments in the area.

Also we have to get the mix of old and new buildings right to ensure a variety of uses. This is because the high cost of new construction leads to higher leasing and rental costs. The latter determines the range of activities that can take place. This is why Queen Street has become a street of banks and boutiques.

We need to apply these principles in Auckland City.

I would like to finish by talking about our communities, our heartland.

One of our biggest challenges in this exciting city is to recognise, celebrate and harness diversity. We are a city of many peoples, many races and many different cultural backgrounds. This brings depth to our life together. It’s part of the vibrancy of Auckland.

Our communities are the real heart of the city where our networks flourish through our schools and sports clubs and our churches, synagogues, mosques and temples.

BUT John Banks is not listening. He and his Auckland C&R Now council colleagues took Bill Birch seriously. He recommended $30.6 million in expenditure cuts of which more than half, $15.4 million, was at the expense of communities.

Community projects were canned for Pacific peoples, migrants, for women. Community maintenance work was cut. Community access to centres and halls is no longer affordable and the big one, our pensioner housing was sold.

Auckland City now has the shameful record of being one of only three councils in the whole country which does not provide pensioner housing.

I will not forgive John Banks for this. He and his council supporters put pensioners through hell for a year. I listened to them and talked with them: their security and their health were affected. What is worse they were fearful about their future. We need to start treating our senior citizens with respect and exercising our duty of care towards them.

With my City Vision and Labour colleagues I will introduce strong community development policies and back them with resources.

It is in our local communities that we learn the art of working together and begin to understand the importance of networks and trust. These are transferable into our new economy.

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Our major city-wide issues –transport, waste-management, care for the environment - all have a people dimension. A community- based approach can help those of us who are part of the problem become part of the solution.

It is in our communities that we are at home. We will empower people to ensure that they are at home in their communities.

Today I have touched on a number of things: transport, growth and communities.

As mayor I commit myself To listen To support communities To be fair To provide real leadership To achieve rapid implementation of public transport and roading projects To work with you to make Auckland the most beautiful city in the world.

I appreciate your presence here today and ask you to support me in this mayoral campaign and to vote for my City Vision and Labour colleagues so that together we can make a difference.

Bruce Hucker 4 July 2004

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