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Onus on leaders to make Auckland, NZ world-class

Joint Media Release from Metro Project partners Auckland Regional Council, AUT University and Committee for Auckland

Onus on leaders to make Auckland, NZ world-class

27 July 2006

Auckland’s leaders have been issued with a strong call to action following the release of an international report that maps out how to transform Auckland into a world-class city-region.

Michael Barnett, Chair of the Auckland Regional Economic Development Forum, says a report alone will not make the difference: “The onus is on Auckland city-region’s leaders to move quickly and turn the report’s recommendations into a big, bold and transformational action plan.”

The final Metro Project report, written by an international team of experts, confirms that Auckland plays the key role in New Zealand’s future economic success as the major commercial centre, service hub and gateway to the world.

The report was commissioned by the Auckland Regional Council, AUT University’s Institute of Public Policy and the Committee for Auckland, with funding from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. The international team is led by Greg Clark, Advisor on City and Regional Development to the OECD, UK Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the London Development Agency.

The report’s findings, and the subsequent action plan, are being advanced alongside work being undertaken by the Auckland Regional Economic Development Forum.

The report stresses that taking decisive action will benefit Auckland, and New Zealand as a whole, by making the city-region more competitive internationally. Its 15 recommendations include the following:

Develop one plan for Auckland, integrating other plans around a single vision, single evidence base, and single time frames. Create an investment prospectus for 8 to 12 extra interventions that harness a range of financial sources. Bring employers and skills providers together to make more impact on labour market interventions. Transport, energy and broadband and wireless connectivity must be advanced in a committed and systematic way.

Michael Barnett says the Auckland city-region is at an important juncture and its future depends upon its leaders working together to achieve a common approach and take decisive action.

The Forum is using the report as the base for workshops with a range of Auckland city-region stakeholders. This work will form the blueprint for a bold action plan complete with priorities, responsibilities and time frames that will be released by the end of September.

Sir Ron Carter, Chair of the Committee for Auckland, supports Mr Barnett’s call to action: “Auckland matters to New Zealand. This country’s success requires common understanding that Auckland must become one of New Zealand's biggest assets.

“It is only Auckland that will lead in the competition amongst global cities for new investment, international events and for the most talented people. We have to take a united view about Auckland’s value to New Zealand - this country is just too small to be thinking any other way."

AUT University Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack says the report’s message is clear: “Auckland can grasp the opportunity to thrive, or watch it slip through its fingers.

“Achieving the report’s recommendations will require widespread cooperation and flexibility. It means changing, or even abandoning, some other agendas. The question is, are we bold enough?”

ENDS

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