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Christine Fletcher: Mayoral candidate - EMA Debate

10 September 2004


CHRIS FLETCHER MAYORAL CANDIDATE AUCKLAND CITY EMA DEBATE

Mr. Hubbard doesn't seem to realise the need for urgent action.

Auckland can't wait for more plans. Today I want to tell you about the strategies already agreed.

Mr Hubbard has ideas.

What he hasn't is knowledge. Why? Because he hasn't bothered to read the existing agreements for Auckland.

He reminds me of the stroppy shareholder who turns up to an AGM to have a gripe and hasn't bothered to read the Annual Report.

Today I want to tell Mr. Hubbard about Auckland's " Report" .

We can't afford to waste any more precious time or energy on naive and crazy suggestions like starting from scratch.

Democracy and Auckland is too important.

This city cannot afford to have more reports on reports or dizzy concepts like four harbour crossings.

We have to play the hand we've been dealt now. With all of the statutory impediments and bureaucratic hurdles. Do our troubleshooting and go for broke.

Our agreed plans are realistic. Not 50 year dream schemes.

Most of you like me were from the Rolling Stones era. Do you remember "you can't always get what you want- you get what you need"!"

Eastern Motorway is a case in point. We'll never agree EMA and I.

You had your chance but it just doesn't stack up environmentally or financially.

Even if it did it's donkey years away and we need relief now.

At least with me you know where I stand. The fact is that Motorway is not part of the agreed plan so we shouldn't be wasting our breath on it or fiddling while Rome burns.

We can't spend billions of dollars turning all of Auckland into Spaghetti Junction.

Muldoon had his day, and maybe some of us liked it, but this is 2004.

We don't need any more think big dream schemes.

For Mr Hubbard's benefit there are two key strategies for Auckland.

The first is the city's own strategic Plan "First City of the Pacific" and the second is the Regional Transport Strategy.

Both workable, tested, costed and requiring action now.

As mayor I was determined for us to have a plan. Auckland had had a history of policies based on three year electoral cycle with disregard to responsibility for long term decisions. That is why there was no commitment to completion of infrastructure..

The Council elected in 1998 was the first in 50 years not to have a majority meaning we needed a plan that everyone regardless of their party politics would buy into.

Our plan was developed in partnership with community to formulate a community vision.

Your then president Simon Holdsworth played a key role and brought passionate advocacy to the issue of amalgamation. It was launched at St. Matthews in the City. We said forget about the boundaries, think outside the box and envision the kind of Auckland you want to live in twenty years time.

Running concurrently with this was a Regional Transport Strategy to ensure we aligned ourselves with the rest of the region and Government with key priority objectives.

The plan is current and has seven key priority areas. The first two are leadership and transport.

The changing role of cities in the world requires us to be strategic in our decision making.

The single biggest problem getting any decisions taken in Auckland has been fragmentation. Our plan called for amalgamation under one Regional Council of the 7 cities that make up Auckland with entities for transport, water, tourism and events.

You may not realise it but Competitive Auckland was initiated out of my office and funded from the outset from Auckland City.

This identified clearly the responsibility the city has in setting the direction for growth.

Firstly good governance and then the right infrastructure.

To quote from ARC Transport Chair Catherine Harland " For decades the region has planned improvements but too often failed to deliver these. This strategy builds on the core approach of the 1999 strategy - a balanced comprehensive range of transport solutions but now reflects on the regional will to move from planning into deliver action"

This strategy builds on 5 objectives which take into account quadruple bottom line objectives that is to ensure the social, environmental economic and cultural well being of our communities To ensure transport system supports regional and local land use strategies To provide access opportunities that meet the needs of the people business and communities To maximise the efficiency of the transport systems To avoid remedy or mitigate the adverse effects of transport on the environment and on the health and well being of communities To maximise the safety of the transport system.

Mr. Hubbard we do not need to re-invent the wheel. We need to get on with the plan we have. The Regional Land Transport Strategy which was started in June 1996. Damn it that was nearly ten years ago. Lets just do it.

This requires maturity.

But none of us should be allowed to carry on like petulant children when we are unable to get our own way - we can't have a separate agenda for the Eastern Corridor.

Not only is it not in the plan and it isn't even budgeted for by Mr. Banks and his Council.

The regional priorities were developed under my Chairmanship of the Regional Mayoral Forum in partnership with the Mayors and the wonderful late Phil Warren.

We need a team approach - not lone rangers like John or Tonto.

We need to support the urgent regional priorities to give early relief to the congestion clogging our roads and triggering our tempers. The plan prioritises SH20 for completion. We need to connect that motorway from Mangere and Onehunga, up past Hillsborough and across to Avondale and the motorway out to Henderson. That connection will relieve spaghetti junction and stop the cross-city rat-runs and help your businesses move goods and services faster. That should be our focus not wacky bridges to Waiheke or underground dream schemes. We have Government commitment to funding. We need the commitment by Transit to accelerate the consenting process and require Transit to get into gear to find solutions for minimising environment effects like cut and cover. This sound complicated but is really about giving the effect of tunnelling while retaining our precious open space and unique landscape. We need Transit to programme the completion of SH20 within 2 to 3 years not 2011. 2011 is unacceptable. It will be even later if we continue the farce of Eastern motorways and other wacky ideas. We saw what can be possible in the region in a short time period when we got together over Britomart. It became the circuit breaker for getting the rail corridors and rail plans in place. I applaud the Government decision now to create one transport agency. Now lets demand the region get on with new state of the art fast electric trains linking our region and the Light Rail (option 2A - aboveground trams-based, linking the CBD through Britomart with universities, Newmarket and Western Line. For the record Mayor Banks and his Council cancelled with indecent haste that project. The previous Council brought had engaged Bill Lambert from Vancouver to work on the introduction of the light rail system. That project would have been under construction now for completion in 2007. Although I am pleased Mr. Banks has now done a flip flop. Auckland's economic future must embrace tourism and attract people who are innovative, entrepreneurial and creative. People who will generate jobs and capital in the value niche markets.

The economic base to our city cannot be focussed just on property development.

Our manufacturing sector is important but we need to be realistic over competition with China on labour costs. We have to pitch at high value niche markets.

My own background is in the manufacturing sector. My father Ted Lees was a pioneer. We were one of the New Zealand's largest manufacturers in New Zealand from the 60's until the 80's.Dad, a Cassino veteran came back from the second world war and ended up building the machinery we needed to grow this country. The material handling equipment for our factories, ports, airports and farms.. Dad is proud that right through that turbulent period in industrial relationships from 60's through 80's we never had a stop work or strike in any one of our factories.

What I learnt from working at Lees and what is relevant to this city is that you have to have to get agreement on the direction and stick to it.

Not every one gets there own way but they get a bit and then you get on with it. You see it though.

If we are to survive in this new global era industry needs a skilled labour force and as much certainty over conditions as realism can permit.

That is what is contained in the City's plan.

Although we have lost a lot of manufacturing there is still a group of New Zealanders who have hung in there and are succeeding like Gilbert Ulrich.

Adding value is something that New Zealand can do very well.

Our plan requires us to work regionally to develop the tourism and exhibition space to complement this.

A Convention Centre is part of this.

We must promote an Eco-economy that builds on the city's unique icons, with tourism and marine events;

Being a city of sails we must capitalise on that in every way, boat shows and competitions, fishing tours - we need real business and not just property development. Auckland must have clean and unpolluted water, land and air. The investments in our water/waste water/stormwater infrastructure is urgent and overdue. The challenge is to ensure that the costs are shared equitably over all generations. We can't just sell airport shares and smugly say we have no debt. Look at the mess Papakura is in where they did that and are broke now. It is not sustainable. There must also be an increase in developer financial contribution to city infrastructure where any new growth is occurring. The progression of Britomart and the 5.2 hectare site with the preservation of the 18 heritage buildings is allowing the most grotty and rundown part of the CBD to be transformed into a vital area of waterfront development. I'm pleased Mr Banks hasn’t cancelled that project which I initiated. This will generates further investment and growth in the CBD waterfront area and adds to the Viaduct area. Now we just need to redevelop the tank farm, secure public access to the wharves - Queens, Captain Cook and Marsden - and provide a boardwalk from St Heliers through to Westhaven and Herne Bay International events like the Volvo stopover to complement Auckland's reputation as a premier harbour-city tourism destination.

I have delivered on every political commitment I have ever made.

I have the experience, I know what will work.

With me you know there is no other agenda at play. I am independent and will work with or without a majority on Council.

We don't need any more consultants reporting on reports.

We have a plan - Let’s just do it.

ENDS

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