Housing and Transport priority to make Auckland better
1 November 2016
Mayor Goff: Housing and Transport priority to make Auckland better
New Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has stressed the need for bold action to address the housing crisis in Auckland and connect communities with a smart and efficient public transport system.
Speaking at his inauguration at Auckland’s Town Hall, Goff outlined measures to address housing affordability and boost public transport as key priorities to implement his vision of a socially inclusive city that gives all Aucklanders equal opportunity to make the most of their lives.
“We want a city that allows all people to live decent lives, that builds prosperity, celebrates diversity and cherishes and sustains its environment,” he said.
“It is critical that we have the infrastructure in place to service the needs of new residents now rather than after the event. So far, this has not happened,” he said.
Goff also underlined the importance of protecting, sustaining and enhancing Auckland’s environment saying that reducing carbon emissions was a priority as was protecting Auckland’s harbours.
“Siltation and over fishing are destroying our marine environment. Our million trees project can help address these issues as can electrification of vehicle fleets, use of technology to provide car sharing and slashing our use of plastic bags.”
He promised to focus on halting further encroachment into Auckland’s harbour and progressively restore public access to the waterfront.
Going up and out
Goff said that building more secure, affordable and healthy homes was an urgent priority for the city.
“Each night hundreds of people sleep rough. Kids are living in cars. Families are sleeping in garages. We want our children to grow up in an inclusive and fair community and that starts with secure, affordable and healthy homes.”
Goff said that the Council had a significant role to play in building houses and increasing affordability, and that it needed to do so in partnership with the Government.
“Passing the Unitary Plan was a turning point for our city. We made the decision to go up as well as out, but zoning does not represent development-ready properties.”
“We need access to new forms of funding, we need a best practice consent process and will look at measures to curb land-banking. And we will work with Government to bring more affordable and social housing to Auckland.”
Goff was encouraged by developments on Auckland’s transport system saying that the opening of the new Otahuhu bus and railway station symbolised a new era of a modern and integrated public transport system that would decongest Auckland’s roads.
However, he pointed out that Council and its partners would need to accelerate its efforts to bring more developments like Otahuhu to life.
“No great city ever built its way out of congestion by simply relying on new roads. Electrification, double-tracking, new stations, busways and cycleways have helped, but we need to do more,” he said.
He reiterated his call for mass transit between the CBD and the airport, and the need for light rail on the isthmus.
Doing more with less
Goff underlined his promise to do more with less, saying the Council would have to use its resources wisely, cut waste and duplication, and he promised to spearhead a change in culture at the Council.
“We are going to become a can-do Council, working with Aucklanders to tackle their problems rather than standing in their way. Part of this will be better accountability over the Council Controlled Organisations to ensure coherence and consistency between different arms of Council.”
Goff also stressed the partnership approach needed to move Auckland forward saying the city had outgrown antiquated laws and funding systems that reflected an era of boroughs and provincial towns.
“The scale of Auckland’s problems are unique to New Zealand and cannot be solved by our efforts alone. Central government recognises this and we need to work together to kick-start affordable housing and secure investment in our transport system.”