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Aucklanders Did NZ Proud During APEC

Auckland City Council - City Scene

This week's column is written by Balmoral Ward Councillor, Frank Ryan.

Auckland City did us proud during APEC. Venues were superb, and all arrangements went smoothly. Our Mayor was gracious to visiting businessmen, and encouraging to our traders at the two meetings at which I was an interested observer.

There was no traffic chaos, thanks to good planning and excellent public cooperation.

The quiet achievement of an agreement to act on East Timor gave a clear example of the value of face-to-face meetings for world leaders. The Indonesian government could not hide from such united scrutiny, even by staying home.

The success of APEC brought Auckland and New Zealand priceless exposure in the international news media.

This will benefit tourism, but in many other business areas we need it to be known that we are not sitting in grass huts gnawing on mutton bones. Manufacturers of such goods as sophisticated veterinary products or fashionable clothing need to be able to point out to world buyers that they have good facilities, skilled staff, and a tested home market. Raising our country's industrial and social image throughout the world will help create new jobs.

Keeping up the publicity pressure for the America's Cup and Millennium Celebrations must be our next focus. Shopkeepers will be the first to benefit when our buoyant tourism numbers increase again. I do not begrudge them this benefit from what we spent to get the city ready for APEC, although we cannot give them little bonuses out of that same purse.

Auckland City is looking better and better, despite the exertions of disloyal opposition elements in Council. Chaining themselves to the wharf railings is the only ploy they have not tried to stymie the Britomart project.

We must make public transport a real option in Auckland. By harnessing it to the great value of the waterfront property we own, we can get it cheaply now. We need the construction jobs the project will bring, as well as the rational connection to the harbour bridge and south eastern highway.

This valuable land will not stay in scruffy low buildings forever. We want the jobs and the transport interchange now, not at the next change of council. Let your councillors know this.

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