A recent report about the future ‘spread’ of Auckland painted a picture that would best be described as a compromise between allowing an endless expansion of Auckland’s urban sprawl and‘containment.’ This meant that in selected areas, Auckland would be able to crawl over onto the green belt but at the same time, ‘moving on up,’ to a varying degree; like in some ‘hubs,’ the high rises would be to about 4 levels and at others, quite a lot higher.
These medium and high density high rises are planned to be around town centres with good transport links. To Aucklanders, it represented a good balance; they know that they cannot keep spreading over our valuable agricultural land. Let’s face it--- we need that land to feed us and anyone living in outer suburbs knows how long it takes to travel to the central city or to the other side of the sprawling mass that is Auckland. The fact is that Auckland spreads our far more than cities with ten times the population overseas.
We need our public transport to work for us; not necessarily making huge profits, but the maths all point to a higher density population to make it work. Other services also benefit from higher density living.
We in Auckland are slowly changing; both in ethnic make-up and in attitude. They are different to rest of New Zealand. It is this change that will allow for the ‘new Auckland;’ the one that will see a thriving economic base and one that we can all enjoy with the ‘closer facilities’ that result from a more efficient city. There will still be the outer suburbs where it may be cheaper to live and also the larger sections that many will still desire. As long as we have a choice with this ‘compromise as proposed by the current Mayor and his council, then I believe that we are on the right track.
BUT---along comes Cabinet Minister, Nick Smith, with his proposal to legislate against Auckland’s plans for the future. He wants to allow for much more agricultural land to be opened up, all in the name of increasing the land needed for new housing on the periphery of Auckland; this at a time when Auckland must look to changing the historical mistakes of the past.
Nick, we don’t need your interference. We don’t need your bullying tactics. Leave Auckland alone, other than giving the support you should normally give, as in any other New Zealand city. Auckland’s Mayor and city planners may just have struck the right balance this time, so we don’t need your interference and thereby put us back many years as a result. Back off!