Auckland, Sunday, July 3, 2016
It is excellent to hear that the Government has finally accepted that it must do the Auckland Council’s job for it, but John Key should not be asking the same leaders who have condemned a generation of Aucklanders to debt or rent for guidance on how to spend that money. Systemic leadership failure in Auckland for over two decades has got us to the point where central government must fund the infrastructure Auckland refuses to.
The Key government should be asking mayoral candidates for guidance on where to spend the new $1 billion fund announced today.
At least half of that will go towards Auckland and it should not be the same people who have so utterly failed in their most basic duty who should be given reign over how to prioritise it.
Half a billion dollars is real money, but it’s not sufficient to provide all the roads, public transport, parks, schools and pipes we need just to catch up on the homes we should have built over the past decade but didn’t.
We must be careful with new money and direct it to where we’ll get the most bang for our buck.
There’s no doubt that the fastest and cheapest way to provide the homes Auckland needs is to build a new city for 100,000 people.
As mayor, I’ll give any future government agency responsible for managing national development funding full support to build as many homes as possible close to a new business centre located around rapid transit.
The most likely place will be in Auckland’s south, but if land and demand can be found elsewhere, that’s fine.
Auckland’s priority must be to build 15,000 homes a year costing $300,000 to $500,000 each close to employment.
That’s only possible with a new city.
I challenge other leading mayoral candidates to announce where and how they will provide the assistance to central government necessary to tap into the housing fund.
Will they follow me or will they continue the mistakes of the past and lock Aucklanders out of quality housing?
John Palino is a South Auckland based businessman and a Candidate for the Auckland Mayoralty, election to which will be held in October.