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Auckland: City of slums

Auckland: City of slums

The development disasters and transport failures in Auckland are a reminder to the rest of the country of what happens when we leave it up to "the market", the Alliance says.

Party co-leader Jill Ovens says we need long-term plans, backed up by effective controls on development with regulations that work in the interests of ordinary people.

"Leaky houses, apartment towers that block each others' views and everyone else's, cheaply built warehouse and office conversions -- the greedy developers have had it all their own way. The city of sails is fast becoming the city of slums."

Ms Ovens says that during the 1980s and 1990s, local government was reduced to a supporting role for the private sector. The common good was sacrificed in the interests of allowing business a free reign.

The Local Government Act, pushed through by former Alliance MP Sandra Lee when she was Minister of Local Government in the Alliance-Labour Coalition Government 1999-2002, means local government no longer has to act within the narrow guidelines of specific acts of Parliament.

"Councils must use these new powers to provide leadership over a wide range of issues in the public interest," Ms Ovens says.

The Alliance says there is no need for more local body reorganisation.

"What is needed is greater co-ordination. Public transport is a classic example of why we need one body taking responsibility. Everyone has known for 30 years or more that we must reduce the number of cars and trucks on the roads, and that more motorways are not the answer.

"But in Auckland we have four Councils, a regional council and numerous other bodies competing with each other instead of co-operating to make public transport solutions happen."

The Alliance says buses, trains and ferries must be brought back under public ownership and control, and then the services funded and operated to provide an integrated service with single ticketing to make it easier for people to use different modes of travel.

"The ticket price must be kept down as an incentive for people to give up their cars and there must be frequent, reliable services, with buses looping round the suburbs bringing passengers to the trains and ferries," Ms Ovens says.

The Alliance supports a fair rating system based on people's ability to pay, with business differentials to ensure that business pay their share, given that they put a heavy strain on local government services such as water and waste.

The Alliance opposes the sale of public assets and wants local government to own and control services such as water and waste disposal, as well as public transport.

"In 1992 the Alliance swept into power in Auckland and, under the late Bruce Jesson's leadership, we stopped the sale of the Ports of Auckland. This asset has returned billions of dollars to the people of Auckland and will provide the funding base for a 21st Century public transport system now that it's back under full 100% public ownership."

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