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Banks: Auckland Mayors Meeting With PM Historic

Banks labels Auckland mayors meeting with PM and ministers historic

Today’s joint forum at Premier House between Auckland region’s eight civic leaders and the Prime Minister and government ministers was historic in the fact that it took place, Auckland City Mayor Hon John Banks said this afternoon.

“This is the first time in 25 years that Auckland has presented itself to a government as a region unified on the issues that matter. It is also the first time in 25 years a government is of a mind to engage with Auckland so Auckland can address its own problems,” said Mr Banks.

He described the Wellington forum as being very “up-beat and constructive”. It looked at transport, reducing crime and drugs, sustainable cities, and the gambling and local government acts.

Mr Banks’ real interest in the day was around discussions on roading, public transport and transport governance.

“The region’s mayors reiterated that we are collectively committed to completing our transport network in the next 10 years but we are reliant on the Government giving us the ‘toolbox’ to finance the substantial funding shortfall.”

The latest Joint Officials Group (JOG) report on Auckland’s transport strategy and funding project was discussed.

“Some very good progress is being made as we move forward on developing the specifics and agreeing to the timeframes. Local and central government are working together every day with urgency and in good faith.

“The response from Wellington today on this issue of governance and engaging the necessary legislation to sort out the chaos has been very positive. I fully support Sir Barry Curtis’ urgent call for a new greater Auckland transport authority. It can’t be business as usual.

“The forum agreed that in many ways traffic congestion in Auckland is this country’s number one economic tragedy,” he said.

Mr Banks said both mayors and ministers alike left today’s forum clear in knowledge that if New Zealand is to return to the top half of the OECD, Auckland’s serious transport woes must be fixed once and for all.

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