If I were standing for Mayor, my main policies would revolve around people, transport, parks and house prices
It’s time we had a non-politician for Mayor who is able to run the City like a business . For far too long the bureaucrats working at the Council have created systems around themselves to protect jobs and the “Council industry”. This has to change! A level of efficiency has to be established using technology to ensure required standards are met and of course saving time and cost.
I would rid the City of 50% of the bureaucracy! My view is that private enterprise and optimising systems should be carrying on a lot of the Council function, therefore the Councils workers (who aren’t retained by Council) will not become long term unemployed as they can work in the private sector. This policy would reduce household rates by 50%
As far as transport goes; spending 1.4 billion dollars on less than 3km of underground train track, which at times will require 60 to 80 steps to go underground seems a ridiculous waste of money! Instead I would tomorrow; buy electric buses, have them running them up either Queen Street or Albert Street, in the same direction as the proposed underground train link and have those available FREE. They would also control the traffic lights so that they wouldn’t be stop start.
I would also ensure while we are building North and South of Auckland, that the trains from South Auckland especially, have some early morning express routes. At the moment taking an hour from Papakura, stopping at each station, defeats the purpose of fast, efficient and quick public transport.
So unless some bypasses are built in the tracks, there is no point!
As far as otherwise reducing congestion, just do what a lot of the cities have done. Have 1 day a week, where depending on the number of your number pate, you are unable to drive into the City (or around). Yes a return to the old carless days. That should in theory reduce the congestion by 20% every single day and make it much more palatable for people to drive. As Mayor, making a sacrifice one day a week to go on public transport, having 4 days of clear driving, is certainly a winner!!
I would also get a moratorium on petrol taxi cars and make them convert to electric cars within a 10 year period and ensure that all council cars were converted also. Projects like the harbour bridge cycle/walking lane, I would just do it, and for the few nimby’s who are effected, I would just pay them compensation rather than having a great project delayed for a decade. Irrespective of the economic benefits, over a long period of time it’s not sustainable to have a Port smack bang in the middle of a big City. Relocate it to Whangarei or Tauranga (preferably Whangarei) and from the sale money, contribute it towards a high speed train network from Whangarei to Tauranga. This will allow a lot of people to travel to the Far North for tourism and of course people to live in Whangarei and work in Auckland.
All public reserves in Auckland invariably have a block of toilets and of course, the reserve which needs to be maintained. I would commercialise the reserves, allowing cafes to be built on them to offset the cost of maintaining toilets and the surrounding grounds. I would also encourage, streets to take ownership of local reserves and pocket parks using technology to ensure that the parks are maintained to a sufficient standard. Make sports clubs maintain the public fields they use. This would hugely reduce the household rates bill.
Well the prices aren’t going down so maybe the Government needs to be lobbied to have a moratorium where GST is not charged on house sales, for a period for a time. I doubt that the government will want to do this as it’s a huge revenue collector, but that’s 15% off the top of a house immediately.
On top of that there’s probably another 15% of Council charges and delays related to resource consent. My view would be to interpret the Resource Management Act the way it was supposed to!
When land is zoned as residential, why should one need a resource consent? Only require Resource consents for land that wasn’t zoned, are the difficult projects. Once the pressure of a resource consent disappears then all matters relating to construction and building on a site can be dealt within the building consent process. Yes, a full time design panel may be necessary to ensure there is continuity and protecting consumers from their own foolishness, ie buying south facing tiny units etc but there would be a huge cost reduction in house building from eliminating the resource consent process.
P.S. We need a practical mayor who can make decisions. Eg. For the last 15 years when going to the Airport from the City there are two bottlenecks. The first one appears to have been dealt with and quite frankly the Airport Company should have dealt with this long ago as they converted what was zoned as airport to retail, office and industrial land. The change in use of what was airport land has exponentially increased the patronage of this part of Auckland. Currently a bridge is being constructed to allow the motorway to flow directly into George Bolt Memorial Drive. ( who is paying for that? The ratepayers again I presume)
The second bottleneck is in Onehunga, Pah Road and all that’s needed is a bridge to go directly from Pah road where it goes from 2 lanes to one lane then a roundabout entry, onto the motorway. This together with the recent Hillsborough and Southern Motorway connections to the airport, would allow free flowing traffic to get to the airport without the need of an expensive train service.