Rodney Hide on Auckland: Let it grow

Stop restraining Auckland from what it wants to be, writes Rodney

Auckland is a great city that could be the greatest. All it needs is to be allowed to breathe and to grow.

Unfortunately, it’s stifled and suffocated. Decades of command and control have left their ugly mark in ticky-tacky development, grandiose council projects and run-down infrastructure.

The congestion and sky-high house prices are the result of city planning, just as surely as astronomical prices and queues in the old Soviet Union were the product of the State Planning Committee.

The waste is horrific.

Some readers will blame Rodney for Auckland’s woes.   But that’s not really fair.  The Auckland amalgamation that was implemented was only half of the ACT plan.   And without the other half, the power brokers never let go its suffocating control.

This was the essential second step that was never realised.

Developments – from the backyard shed to the city’s skyscrapers – are rigidly controlled by the city’s planners. The result is cookie-cutter developments where the new ones look just like the old ones and the ones in the west look just like the ones in the east.

It’s as dreary as an old Moscow state housing project.

The talent Auckland has can do so much more if only the council would do far, far less. For Auckland to breathe and grow the council should set minimal rules and scuttle out of the way. We would be amazed at the result.

He continues to point out how useful Phil Goff has been to date.

New mayor Phil Goff has spent his precious first months arguing for a bed tax. It doesn’t matter much either way to the future of Auckland and it’s shocking that it has become the mayor’s thing.

He should be removing the council as a roadblock to the city’s development to let homeowners and business to get on with what they do best.

That would make great chunks of the council redundant, which would have the added benefit of meaning no need for new taxes and no need for rate hikes.

The burden of the council would fall and the city flourish. It’s all upside.

We need council to go back to doing council things – which should be extremely limited.


– Rodney Hide, NZ Herald

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