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John Banks - 'Getting Things Done' Keynote Speech

Hon John Banks QSO

7 September 2004


Newmarket Rotary Club

Ellerslie Convention Centre

Speech Notes: Hon John Banks QSO

12.30 noon, Tuesday 7 September 2004

While my Russian family enjoyed Father's Day in Auckland, hundreds of families in the Russian town of Beslan lost their fathers, lost their mothers, lost their children, and lost everything.

In a world where terror can strike anywhere, anytime, we are indeed fortunate to live in the south west Pacific.

I love this city. I am passionate about Auckland and ambitious for New Zealand.

It all started so long ago when I was first elected to the Birkenhead Borough Council. My commitment then was the same as today: civic responsibility, public duty, and an overwhelming desire to balance the family ledger.

I have been in business in this city for 40 years. This is a land of opportunity. New Zealand has given me every opportunity.

In 1964 I paid 38 pounds for a 1936 Morris 8 and trailer. I would get up at 3.30am each morning and collect bottles from beer houses around the city and sell them before school at Corbans Wines on Hobson Street.

At five o'clock in the evening I would begin a six-hour shift at Findlay's Bakery in New North Road - they were long nights and hard days

This is my eleventh election for public office.

We all know what my opponents stand against. They stand against me!

Today I am going to share with you what I stand for.

Rotary club president, Charles Miller, members. Thank you for your work in this city. I am honoured by this opportunity.

It is a time of change, not a time to turn back.

You cannot have an internationally competitive economy without a global city. Only Auckland can be New Zealand's global city.

Over the past three years there has been more investment, more growth, more jobs, more construction and more confidence than ever before.

Greater Auckland grows by the size of Dunedin every three years.

There must be no turning back.

Auckland City is striving for greatness but it will take strong leadership.

I am committed to Auckland's future - the engine-room of the New Zealand economy.

Auckland does not compete with Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin.

Auckland competes with Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane Singapore, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Thirty years ago New Zealand was 9th in the OECD with Australia. Today New Zealand is ranked 20th of the 28 OECD nations, just above Spain and one below Italy.

Thirty years ago, the average New Zealander and the average Australian received the same take-home pay each week¡K Today the average Australian earns $175 more.

To catch up with Australia's average standard of living, our GDP per capita would need to grow at an average rate of 5 percent for the next 10 years.

Our projected growth of 2.5 - 3.0 percent will not be enough.

My mayoralty is about wealth creation.

Social justice can only be achieved when we have economic growth, and modern Auckland is a key driver to that growth.

I want a world class education system for our children and second-to-none healthcare for our elderly and everything in between. As a nation we deserve nothing less.

My mayoralty is about leadership. I was elected to lead not to follow.

I am singularly focused on fixing Auckland's economic infrastructure.

Auckland needs an investment of probably $15 billion over the next 15 years to complete its motorway network with integrated public transport. Much of the funding will come from public-private partnerships - borrowing and network tolling.

The number of cars in Auckland is set to double in the next 20 years.

Our greatest challenge is to get people out of their cars and into public transport. It's not just about more roads. It's about network completion with world class public transport including modern trains, modern stations, electrification, and reliable services.

There are huge costs as a result of shameful neglect and a head in the sand attitude of successive governments - both local and central.

The good news is we have made more progress on transport in the last 35 months than has been made in the last 35 years. We are certainly moving ahead in terms of roading construction.

Grafton Gully has been transformed to the tune of $67 million and the major $195 million upgrade of Spaghetti Junction' is set to continue until mid 2006. The funding is now in place for Transit to get on and build the next stage of the western bypass, State Highway 20.

Three years ago the national road builders were spending $200,000 a day on Auckland's roads. By this time next year the spend will be a $1 million a day¡K and this $1 million will need to treble going forward.

This is ambitious - I am ambitious for Auckland.

Auckland is making great progress but let's not turn back.

Even when we don't agree, every voter in Auckland knows what I stand for and what I stand against.

Don't judge me by my faults.

Judge my mayoralty on our achievements.

Let me share some of this Council's great achievements:

- On this very day we have more than 40 major multimillion-dollar developments under construction in the city

- The 5.2 hectare Britomart precinct is set to get a fabulous $350 million redevelopment - a deal struck by this City Council it is a massive project funded by the private sector.

- The biggest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere, Sylvia Park at Mt Wellington, will soon be built, accommodating 5,000 jobs and boasting more shops than CBD Wellington.

- I am supporting an exhibition centre four times larger than any other venue in the country will be built at the Auckland showgrounds.

- Queen Street is well overdue for a substantial $23.4 million upgrade and one by one we're upgrading and rejuvenating our town centres.

- We are spending $40 million over four years on upgrading our footpaths.

- The central city is a safer and cleaner place. Our liquor bans have been successful and the illegal antics of boyracers have been chased out of town. We have a zero tolerance on graffiti and our closed circuit television cameras photograph everyone entering and leaving the CBD.

Auckland City is a better place to live today than three years ago. I want to pay tribute to my Deputy Mayor David Hay and the Citizens and Ratepayers Now team.

This is the best Auckland City Council for a long long time.

- This City Council has given the historic Parnell Baths a fabulous $4.2 million makeover. This month I will open the $6 million beach for Kohimarama. We are committed to a five-year sand replenishment programme for eight other key beaches - St Heliers, Blockhouse Bay, Taylor's Reserve, Pt Chevalier, Pt England Reserve, Herne Bay, Sentinel Reserve and Home Bay.

- This afternoon I will officially open the $5.9 million Waiatarua Wetland Restoration Project - New Zealand's largest urban wetland restoration project.

- Auckland City's Tamaki Edge project - New Zealand's biggest urban renewal challenge - will see more than $1 billion pour into the Tamaki Edge area over the next few years.

- It includes 3,000 new homes to be built on the Mt Wellington quarry, and Auckland University's Tamaki campus will be expanded to accommodate 10,000 students. Adjacent to the campus will be a huge research and technology park and an even bigger business park known as the Auckland Innovation precinct.

- This is why the Eastern Transport Corridor is all about suburban revitalisation.

- I have worked closely with those involved for a $700 million truly outstanding international retail development at Newmarket.

- At the bottom of Parnell, alongside the old railway station, construction has begun on an $80 million 12,000 seat indoor arena set to open at the end of next year.

- If it wasn't for the Prime Minister and myself Westhaven Marina would not be in public ownership today.

- I am committed to preserving much-needed public open space.

- Having inherited a projected debt of $371 million, the City is now net debt free. Auckland City has no net debt.

- Eliminating debt, prudent financial management and focusing on core business has enabled the Auckland City Council to keep overall rate increases within the rate of inflation. We have arguably had the lowest rate increases of any city in the country.

On the Eastern Transport Corridor, we have more focus than ever before in its 70-year history. We now know where it is going, what will be on it and how we are likely to pay for it. We now have three international road funders interested in building, owning and tolling the Eastern Transport Corridor.

The corridor is about economic development and urban renewal. It will substantially lift GDP. It will support unprecedented growth in Auckland's south-east - home to the fastest expanding industrial precinct in Australiasia.

It is my belief that in the long term the Eastern Transport Corridor will join the North Shore by a third harbour crossing - most likely a tunnel.

It could well be that a rail link between downtown Auckland and the Hibiscus Coast would form part of our integrated public transport.

This is my vision for Auckland: A truly international city with heart and soul - a great place to raise a family and work for a living - a truly global city.

There is something else that will greatly lift this region's prospects: I have always supported the concept of a super city - one great Auckland.

A lot is happening in Auckland but there is still much work to be done.

This Auckland City Council has made unprecedented progress, but we need the mandate to continue that progress. We must not stall Auckland. There should be no turning back. There must be no turning back.

We have had hard choices and made tough decisions¡K and when the going gets really tough I do not flinch or back down. I can never be accused of shirking my responsibilities.

Leadership is about knowing the difference between right and wrong.

It is about being brave and being bold.

Leadership is about believing in yourself and believing in the cause.

It is about having faith and having hope.

I finish as I began: This country has been very good to me. Judge me not on my limitations, but judge me on our achievements¡K Judge me on my ability to get things done

I have a positive attitude - I never dwell on my mistakes, I learn from them, and I do not look back.

It is a privilege to be the Mayor of this great city.

It is not the end it is only the beginning - much work is left to be done.


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