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Hubbard Sends Out Strong Signal To Business

Tuesday 31 August, 2004

Hubbard Sends Out Strong Signal To Business

Auckland City Mayoral candidate Dick Hubbard promised to become a champion for business today at a speech to members of Newmarket Rotary Club in Auckland.

In his first address to the business community since he announced his intention to run for Mayor of Auckland City, Dick Hubbard said his vision for a vibrant Auckland City could only occur if we had a vibrant business community.

Dick said there was an urgent need for a more co-ordinated approach to the development of business in Auckland City and he would look at setting up a new structure.

“If elected, I will pursue this vigorously …Auckland needs a city-wide business assistance and attraction programme,” he said, “There is a crying need for it.”

Referring to a Boston Consulting Group report undertaken in 2002, he said it showed Auckland’s economic performance over the past decade had been poor relative to other benchmark cities. The report pointed out that a 5 % extra growth rate for the Auckland economy would generate an extra $18 billion increase in regional GDP over a ten year period.

“The success of a business growth strategy depends on a transformation of Auckland’s skill base….we must have Local Government understanding business and being committed to improving it,” he said, “That is something I’m taking on my shoulders.”

He said that as custodians of the country’s principal commercial centre, we should not be expected to bear the full financial cost of this responsibility and that national funding was required. “This will require, and will get from me, vigorous advocacy to the ARC, other cities of greater Auckland and of course central Government.”

A world-class public transport system to serve the people and businesses of Auckland City is also top of the list. The city of Sydney, he said, laid its underground loop 50 years ago when the population was slightly less than that of Auckland today.

“It is not IF we have rail, it’s a matter of WHEN,” he said, “One of my functions as Mayor will be to sell this concept to the people of Auckland.”

More…

The creation of a ‘Super City’ is also up for discussion if he is elected as Mayor. He believes the administrative structure of greater Auckland should be rolled into one, much like the city of Brisbane and many other cities with populations considerably larger than Auckland. The current structure, he said is “convoluted and complex…you would never have a structure like that in the business world,” he said.

“There may be a case for leaving North Shore City aside because of its geographic separateness but there would be a strong case for rolling Auckland, Manukau, and Waitakere together with Papakura into a structure that also incorporates ARC functions.”

He said he had detected considerable disquiet with the leadership style of the current Mayor. “It is about firm leadership,” he said, “It is about leaders who say ‘we did’ rather than “I did”. These are the leaders of today.”

ENDS

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