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Letter to Manukau: Transport

Letter to Manukau

The buzz around public transport is really picking up in the region, with everyone positive about electrifying the rail network. There's also a lot of work happening to develop the rail terminals, and the economic hubs around them, at Newmarket, New Lynn and Manukau.

In amongst that there are some great local stories that could become great contributors to our options for transportation.

In the years ahead I believe two primary economic drivers will be the ability to attract tourists to Auckland, and then to ensure we can move them around efficiently.

This week I attended the launch of a 24/7 direct bus service from the airport to the CBD. Johnsons Coach Lines, the providers of the bus service and the owners of Airbus Express, representatives of ARTA and representatives of the Auckland International Airport were there to celebrate the Airbus Express expanding its timetable to run around the clock.

The seven day a week service connects a new large bus fleet direct for visitors from the airport to the CBD. It isn't just for tourists of course, the service is already popular with airport workers and business travellers.

There are presently 13.5 million arrivals and departures from the international airport, and this is predicted to double over the next 20 years. This type of service is crucial as is the need for us to provide a direct rapid transit link between the seaport and the airport.

There is some concern that provisioning of a direct rail link was not necessary and that the airport to city link would be provided by bus only. My view is that there is a huge growth expected in people going through the airport, so we need to be satisfied that bus and rail working in unison could easily deal with that.

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Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Awards
I had my first meeting with British Royalty recently, with Prince Edward attending the Duke of Edinburgh Hillary awards at Villa Maria's Barrel Hall.

It was a great occasion and I thoroughly enjoyed welcoming His Royal Highness on behalf of our City. Prince Edward has a very easy manner with the public and in particular young people which was evident at the awards. It was great to see the number of young people from high schools around Manukau present, including a strong contingent from James Cook High, particularly those who are part of the Taonga Teen Unit.

Shan and I were also hosted by the Governor General later at a lovely dinner at Government House. Prince Edward was at pains to put everyone at ease and he represented his father with great dignity.

Manukau Festival of Arts
The Manukau Festival of Arts continues to deliver some extraordinary events. We attended the Cult Couture show at the Genesis Theatre. This show again exceeded expectations and we enjoyed the colour and energy of this fabulous event.

We then backed up Cult Couture on the Saturday night by attending the World Premier of Strictly Brown, put on by Vela Manusaute and the Kila Kokonut Krew, on Sunday night.

The theatre was packed for what was a fantastic show.

Vela is an extraordinary comic talent and had people in stitches the whole night and it was great to be part of it. We have some amazing talent in our city and it's particularly interesting to see some of our very best and brightest comic talent coming through from Pasifika people such as Vela and his crew. They are naturally talented and amazingly funny comedians who add a great deal to our art and culture scene.

Have a good week.

Len Brown
Mayor of Manukau


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