29 August 2002
Auckland and Manukau cities need to push ahead with the Eastern Corridor project without pausing to congratulate themselves on the rapid progress they have made in the last three months.
Michael Barnett, Chairman of the Auckland Business Forum and Chief Executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, said that finally to have a strategy confirming the economic and social consequences of NOT having an eastern transport corridor and offering a clear pathway forward represents a huge milestone in getting Auckland moving forward.
The traffic demand data unveiled in the Eastdor report establishes a strong case to move urgently, said Mr Barnett.
As New Zealand’s only urban regional economy of size, Auckland needs to be in a fit state to contribute to the nation’s goal of achieving higher sustained growth signalled earlier this week in the Speech from the Throne as the primary objective of the new government.
While we generate a third of the nation’s jobs and wealth, it is very clear from international comparisons that we are falling behind comparable cities in Australia and elsewhere. A big contributor to Auckland’s under-performance is the fact that we are trying to run a first world economy on third world infrastructure.
In taking the Eastern Corridor project forward, Mr Barnett said it was most important that the benefits to the regional economy were maximised and adverse impacts on local communities minimised.
Congratulating Auckland Mayor John Banks and Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis for making the tough call to move the project ahead, Mr Barnett said that by doing so Auckland gives itself a chance to lift its game to compete with places like Brisbane and Melbourne.
“In doing so, business wanting action to end our interminable gridlock will be encouraged,” he said.