Auckland’s Mayoral election: A tale of six cities

Auckland’s Mayoral election: A tale of six cities

Total Property - Issue 6 2016

A tale of six cities

The upcoming mayoral election on October 8 will influence Auckland’s future, not just for the next three years, but for the next decade. Six candidates set out key visions affecting the city’s commercial and industrial property market:  

Victoria Crone - Auckland is experiencing high levels of commercial and industrial property development that will be beneficial in the long run, but the appropriate infrastructure is not in place to cope with such intensification. Auckland is struggling to fund infrastructure growth and we can’t expect ratepayers and taxpayers to pick up everything. There’s a pipeline of private sector interest ready to go. I have experience with this and I’d like to bring some of that leadership and stability to help public-private partnership develop and thrive.

Phil Goff - Auckland attracts over 40,000 people a year but with growth comes extra pressures. As roads become more jammed, the property market becomes more heated including commercial vacancies now at very low levels.  We need to the resources to provide the needed infrastructure but Auckland has limited access to those resources. The problem cannot be solved by one party. As mayor, I would work with Government, property sector, NGOs and developers to ensure we all work towards the same goals.

David Hay - My vision for Auckland is cool: net zero carbon emissions by 2060 or sooner.  To achieve that, Auckland must be sustainably cool (a low carbon and clean environment), successfully cool (through economic development and council performance) and enjoyably cool (socially diverse and culturally vibrant). We have to wean ourselves off hydrocarbon energy. A far-sighted property investor will be looking ahead, and thinking about the types of property most needed in a world without petrol or diesel-powered cars.

Mark Thomas - We need a council that works more effectively with commercial partners. I have a programme of initiatives to change council’s culture; introduce a new customer-led approach; and dramatically improve consent processing times. Auckland needs an urban development authority that will “crack on” with building desperately needed housing, transport and water infrastructure. Auckland’s Unitary Plan process has identified key gaps in our infrastructure. I will look at council’s $42 billion balance sheet and identify assets to help fund the infrastructure gap.

Chlöe Swarbrick - Commercial property growth is hindered by a consenting process fraught with inordinate red tape. I will correct this by: streamlining and simplifying (greater clarity of fees, process and steps, less double handling and more accountability); and removing artificial barriers to supply. I will work to ensure Auckland’s control of spending aligns with international standards. The OECD average sees local government control about 30 percent of government spending; in New Zealand, it is 11 percent. Re-balancing is necessary to ensure Auckland Council works autonomously to provide needed infrastructure.

John Palino - The existing growth plan hinders commercial planning, so I want to build up our existing satellite CBDs, to help grow residential and commercial developments. I would introduce incentives to encourage businesses to operate in easily accessible “hubs” - removing massive daily commutes that clog cities, motorways and roads. This would include building a new satellite city for 300,000 people beyond south Auckland around Pukekohe and Papakura, where land is eight times cheaper. This would achieve something infilling suburbs can’t do

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