Phil Goff promises fairer, cleaner and liveable Auckland
Auckland, March 3, 2019
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff launched his re-election campaign this afternoon, promising to make Auckland an ‘Exceptional City’ with cleaner beaches, better transport network and higher quality of life for its growing population.
Speaking at a Special Meeting organised at Mt Albert War Memorial Hall in Mt Albert, Auckland to announce his decision to run for the Mayorality, he stressed the importance of preparing the country’s biggest city for the future generations. He said that he had decided to run for the post again, “since he has to finish the work that he began three years ago.”
“Auckland is a busy city with more than $73 billion worth of construction activities in the pipeline, with 90 cranes on the horizon, more than any city in the United States of America. Our population, currently estimated at 1.7 million, is expected to cross the two million mark in less than two decades. About 40,000 more people make Auckland their home every year. We have to prepare our City for growth,” he said.
Mr Goff asked the Central Government to contribute its share if Auckland is to succeed.
“Auckland houses 35% of the country’s population and contributes 38% to the GDP. For New Zealand to succeed as its only international and globally competitive city, this City has to succeed. One of our biggest challenges is housing shortage and affordability. We have brought Council, Central Government and the private sector together to find solutions,” he said.
Addressing Housing Crisis
Mr Goff said that as at the end of last year, the Auckland Council issued more than 13,200 housing consents, an increase of 4000 consents over the past six years.
“House prices have stabilised, but we need to work with the Central Government to ensure that the new generation of Aucklanders have access to warm, healthy homes and to the Kiwi dream of home ownership,” he said.
He admitted that homelessness remains a major problem in Auckland, with people sleeping on roads and in cars. He said that the Council housed more than 700 homeless people and families through its ‘Housing First Programme,’ over the past year.
“We are also contributing to Auckland City Mission’s Home Ground Project currently under construction. It will help people with decent shelter while dealing with underlying problems of addiction and mental health,” he said.
Improving transport network
Recognising traffic gridlock as ‘the biggest challenge,’ Mr Goff said that a massive, $28 billion is being invested to improve the Auckland transport network.
“We will have more busways, walkways, cycleways and Skypath. We will also invest in roads, road safety and City Rail Link will double our rail capacity. New cycleways like Skypath across the harbour bridge will revolutionise the way people can move around our city. We are looking to transform our city centre and many of our suburban centres like Manukau, Henderson, Avondale, Onehunga, Takapuna and Northcote,” Mr Goff said.
“With pedestrian numbers doubling in the last few years, pedestrianising Queen Street, a linear park on Victoria Street and new city parks will make the city centre a better place to live, work and study for the over 200,000 people who live or come into it each day,” he added.
Diversity and Tolerance
Mr Goff warned against people resorting to hate speeches and targeting communities, in an obvious reference to his ban on the controversial Canadian speakers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux from speaking at Council venues last year.
“We will resist those who seek to sow discord between people of different ethnicity and faiths and continue to promote our city as a place where people can enjoy each other’s cultures and live in harmony and with mutual respect. We want a fairer society, where we look after all of our community and all our children can reach their potential,” he said.
Review of CCOs
Later, speaking to the media, Mr Goff said that he would ‘look at’ the working of the Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) after they complete ten years in 2020.
“This year’s Mayoral election is about who Aucklanders trust with the job of building the future of their city, and whose values and vision best matches up with their own. There are hard decisions that must be made over the next three years. None of it is easy. The challenges are immense. Across Australasia, construction costs have soared putting pressure on the cost of new infrastructure,” he said.
Jackie Clarke, a popular singer and entertainer was the Master of Ceremonies at the event, which included a cultural programme comprising vocal music by Venice Qin (an Auckland University student), Bharati Sonukumar and Ashriel Cabales (students of Greenbay High School, Greenbay) and a Bharata Natyam dance item by Ambika Krishnamoorthy (student at ACG Strathallan College). Auckland Councillor Penny Hulse advocated the Mayoralty of Phil Goff in her speech.
Phil Goff announces his re-election campaign
(Stuff Picture by Chris Skelton)
Ambika Krishnamoorthy presenting a Bharata Natyam item (INL Picture)