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Len Brown's Letter to Manukau issue 11

Len Brown's Letter to Manukau issue 11

Gardeners and more!

If you want to do something that will cheer you up and put you in touch with the positive heart of this city, then I encourage you to join me next year at the Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust’s annual best streets and gardens awards.

I very much enjoyed this year’s awards at the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa, it was a brilliant show.

Gardeners generally tend to be optimistic and positive people who are passionate about nature, particularly their own little patch of heaven. People who tend their few square metres of soil, sometimes for decades, are invariably also caring people who contribute positively to their communities. Many of the awards I handed out went to people who were also active in groups that added to the safety, beauty, welfare, cultural, sporting or social inclusiveness of their neighbourhoods.

I found myself sitting amongst, and presenting awards to, people who had pride in their gardens and their city. It is these people that you build great cities around.

In all, a blooming marvellous occasion.

Airport shares

Airport shares again became a matter of discussion this week as the New Zealand share market responded to the latest overseas investment interest in the airport company. As a result, the airport share price took a significant hit.

However, my view, and I am sure the council’s, has always been that councils hold airport shares on behalf of their communities. It’s about staying with the philosophical strategy of holding this asset long term as a crucial national asset. There are also benefits for our city in retaining the airport shares that go beyond the bald economics of the bottom line. Upward or downward, spikes in the share price should not impact on that view.

The latest Canadian offer does not fit our policy that foreign ownership should not exceed 30 per cent, or our desire to encourage investments which bring relevant business experience to add value to our airport business.

Quiet achiever

I recently enjoyed a day out with business media taking on a magical mystery bus tour around some of our high performing businesses. We termed the day the “Quiet Achiever Tour”.

We visited great local businesses such as Endace, Ibex and Styrobeck and heard presentations from several others during our lunch at Villa Maria. These businesses all have something in common – they all started from very humble beginnings in our community, have grown incrementally and are all doing particularly well nationally and internationally.

They are also all companies that actually make things, and it’s no coincidence that manufacturing is one of the economic strengths of this city. Manukau seems to be a city that brings out the practical hard working entrepreneur and it provides the people and the services that allow that innovation to grow into success.

Our city is rapidly becoming the economic powerhouse of New Zealand. We generate around seven per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product (20 per cent of the Auckland Regional GDP) and our GDP has been growing over the last 10 years by three to six per cent per annum, which is above the national and regional average.

These excellent economic indicators are not reflected in the manner in which the regional and national media cover our city and, therefore, our economic success story is not widely known. That’s about to change!

The country’s economic pulse is increasingly connected to that part of the economy which is largely generated within our back yard. For example, Manukau is the transport hub of New Zealand and our council is doing its bit by providing an excellent platform for economic growth and development, particularly in East Tamaki, Manukau and in the vicinity of the airport.

I will continue to ensure that the brilliant success stories of Manukau businesses are promoted to our media so that they receive the coverage they deserve. Our city’s economic success and the strength of our contribution to the national economy have been under the radar long enough.

Len Brown

Mayor of Manukau


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