Categories

Archives

Farewell Len

After two terms, yesterday was Len Brown’s final meeting as Mayor of an amalgamated Auckland and so I think it’s appropriate to look back at what he and Auckland have achieved over the last six years.

len-brown

 

First here is his valedictory speech.

As the first Mayor of an amalgamated Auckland I think the Len and the council often faced some very unique challenges and ones that won’t exist to anywhere near the same extent for any future mayor. The bringing together of eight different councils, each with their own plans, policies and rating systems was never going to be a straightforward task and the process of making the new council omelette was always going to require a few eggs to be broken.

The government amalgamated Auckland in part to try and address some of the long standing issues that weren’t being adequately addressed, particularly around planning and transport. By and large those have been or are well on the way to being addressed. Some of the significant pieces of work such completed include: the first Auckland Plan, the Unitary Plan, Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP), the standardisation of services across the region and of course combining eight separate rating systems in to one.

Simply by virtue of all of these disruptive changes having already taken place, any future mayor and council is going to look much more stable and in control of what’s going on even if they carried on exactly as things are. Also let’s not forget that Len had only one of 21 votes on the council for decisions. If all of the other Councillors didn’t agree with the changes then they could have voted against them.

But not everyone has been happy. Whether it be rates, policies, plans I don’t think he’s had a particularly fair time from the media. As we’ve repeatedly seen with the Unitary Plan debate and other debates like the Long Term Plan, the truth has often been bent to paint Len in a negative light. I do think that history will much kinder to him though. The city has come a long way in just six years and we’ve probably witnessed some of the most dramatic change the city has seen:

  • The city become more walkable through developments like the Shared Spaces
  • We have an internationally award winning waterfront development at Wynyard Quarter and there is now an urban regeneration arm of the council looking to replicate the success in other parts of the region.
  • We’re in the middle probably the biggest building boom the city has seen. It’s hard to go far in the city centre, or even out in most of the suburbs, without seeing signs of construction and the city evolving.
  • Electric trains have been rolled out across Auckland’s network and over the six years of the council, rail patronage has increased by 94%
  • Bus patronage has increased by 35% while usage of the busway has well more than doubled, this has been helped in part by double deckers are an increasingly common sight on city streets.
  • Ferry patronage has increased by 30% with new routes rolled out to Hobsonville Point and Beach Haven.
  • The city has started to roll out good quality cycling infrastructure that is encouraging more people to ride. Some older cycleways such as SH16 at Kingland now have more than double the number of bike trips on them as they did just 5 years ago.
  • The government and council now have aligned views on the future of transport for the city with the recently completed ATAP.

But by far the biggest achievement has to be the City Rail Link. Len has consistently pushed for the project since elected in 2010 despite the government originally not being supportive of it. After they agreed to the project back in 2013 he continued to advocate for it to start earlier. The council backed that and Albert St is now a hive of activity with the project now well underway. More importantly and just two weeks ago, the council and government signed a heads of agreement to fund the project 50/50. Considering how hostile the government have been towards the project at various times over the last six years, that’s an impressive achievement and one I imagine Len is most proud of.

This is far from an exhaustive list and of course some of those changes were already under way before the council came into being, but they are all things the council has had some involvement in achieving. Furthermore, the future certainly looks positive thanks to the work and focus that Len and the council have had.

In saying all of this not everything has been great. Perhaps the biggest concern I’ve had and continue to do have is that Len has spent a lot of time trying to please everyone. When it came to transport he could best be described as trying to do it all, for example in the Auckland Plan instead of making some tough calls as to which projects get included as priorities the council have opted to just do everything – something partially addressed now with ATAP.

Still on balance I think Len did a pretty decent job, most importantly being that he pushed a vision for Auckland that has been positive. Many people still think fondly of Mayor Sir Dove Myer Robinson for pushing his rail scheme in the 60’s and 70’s despite it never being built. By comparison Len has actually resulted in the CRL getting funding and starting construction. I suspect Aucklanders of the future will thank him for it. His legacy will be that Auckland is and will become a much better place than it was when he became mayor. He has helped make Auckland a more liveable city.

Thanks Len and good luck for the future.

94 comments to Farewell Len

  • Brian

    Good call.

    He was the Mayor that Auckland needed at this important time. Relentlessly positive and passionate.

    I sure hope he enjoys the day CRL opens.

  • Alex F

    Great article Matt.

    Len’s departure in a way is saddening but only by being guilty of his own success. I just hope whoever the new mayor is elected will continue on the good work Len has achieved. This will also require a council with fewer elected members (including the three elected unopposed) who continue try to undermine their good work.

  • Adrian

    I think Mayor Brown did a great job bringing the all the councils into one new council. That is not an easy task and I think his detractors don’t give enough credit. Obviously, the CRL is his greatest tangible achievement but really it’s the mindset that has changed that is of greater importance. Apart from very few, Len’s push for more PT and a denser city is now accepted as the path forward. The next mayor won’t need to have the same fight over this and can really push for new PT projects and initiatives. I see Mark Thomas posters saying that a vote for Phil Goff is a vote for Brown and my response, and appears many others, is ‘good’.

  • Peter Nunns

    Well said Matt. The city is a better place for the work done by Len and the other councillors. We still have a number of short- and long-term challenges to deal with, but that doesn’t undermine the value of what they’ve done. Good luck to Len in the future – I hope that history remembers him as someone who got things done in a tough environment.

  • Well put. The challenges for the Mayor and Council in the first two terms in the rates alignment alone was formidable. The opportunities that that unavoidable process gave detractors both inside Council and in the media were huge, but Brown not only kept coalitions together inside Town Hall but also drove through the CRL despite government hostility and an often inaccurate and slanted press. Despite the power relationship it was the government that yielded to Brown’s view.

    The important thing is that his two terms have built a real foundation for the city to change to meet the challenges of our age. This has really only just begun. There will inexorably be much more change ahead and Brown’s six years have set us on the right path.

    History will indeed measure his Mayoralty well.

    At Britomart this is a plaque commemorating its opening by John Banks, who not only tried to stop that project but earlier tried to have every rail line in the city paved over for roads. Brown deserves his name in stone somewhere on the CRL. Let’s make this happen.

  • RHarris

    I think he’s put us heading in the right direction that’s why there is so much business and international optimism around Auckland.

  • Steve Cable

    fully agree, Len brought together a unified council in a way that John Banks probably couldn’t comprehend and I think that this achievement gave him the credibility in Wellington to make some major inroads into govt policy for Auckland

    bringing together Auckland Council starkly contrasts with the amalgamation of North Shore City, which retained a toxic partisanship from the former cities and boroughs up to George Wood coming mayor (and yes, he once was good value in an elected position!); that Auckland Council avoided this outcome is a credit to Len

  • Ben

    I would go as far as naming Len Brown – The Father of Modern Auckland.

    He helped build modern Auckland up from the mess it built itself into. Now, more than ever, Auckland is feeling like a proper city, and now Auckland has a single paved path to follow.

    The CRL loop or one of the future train line should be named in honour of him. Len Brown Loop or Len Brown Line sounds way better Len Brown Road or Len Brown Street.

  • Louis M

    Good article Matt. We should be thankful for the general positivity and vision for Auckland that Len has brought to the mayoralty, a welcome change from previous councils.

  • Tony

    Leaving large parts of Rodney in a worse position than it already was before is definitely some achievement.

    • Sailor Boy

      Given that your council was massively indebted with very few assets and looking at a doubling of rates, I would hardly say that you are worse off.

    • James B

      Care to come up with specifics?

    • Greg N

      I’d blame “Rodney” for that situation, both “Rodney Hyde” the father of the Auckland SuperCity for “ignoring” your wishes.
      And “Rodney Council” for living well beyond it means for years and years prior to the amalgamation forcing them to be included in the amalgamation or become a basket case council.

      In any case, yes, you’re might well be worse off that you were before, but that was always going to be the case, no matter who was mayor.

      Can’t blame Len for the inevitable and thoroughly predicatable events happening.

      Or do you think he is also responsible for things like the sun going down each day, and Global warming as well?

    • RHarris

      All the new libraries and services paid for by the new council must be a real burden on the area.

    • What part is worse? I see lots of development, huge roading projects, walking/cycling path projects.

      • Tony

        I count zero new librarys, services, huge roading projects, walking or cycle tracks in my area.

        We got a renovated RSA basement and a couple of swings at the park. Oh and upgraded waters. Which I’m not connected to so yeah.

        A road that’s never been so consistently shit house and parks dripping in glyphosate are a nice feature though.

        Love having to pay $20k for a simple boundary change too…

        • Damian

          I’d have loved to keep Rodney out of the SuperCity, and if it ever comes to it, I will vote to let you go. If you don’t want to be part of a city, then you should be allowed to be rural.

          • Bryce P

            The problem is that Rodney, as it sits now, isn’t the old Rodney. The more heavily populated area of Hibiscus Coast, was likely paying a large percentage of rates and propping up the lower density areas. Hibiscus Coast would be kept well away from any Rodney breakaway.

        • spartan

          We did get CRL though, which is awesome.

        • Bigted

          Tony, Rodney wanted either all in or all out, not split like Franklin but as more was inside the old ARC boundary than was outside it ended up all in. It would not have made sense to leave a huge part just north of Auckland outside when the idea of the super council was to cut costs (not that it happened) and become a single voice of regional development (not that the outer parts have seen any and are mostly forgotten with the focus on the central city and old ACC area), it was moderately successful but there is no way of knowing if the old eight councils could have made similar progress.

        • You haven’t heard about Puhoi to Wellsford motorway? Or the Matakana Trail? Warkworth Library was brand new in 1994 so is only 22 years old, Wellsford library is new as of 2013.

          • Tony

            Jesus. A Government project, a trail 30kms away in a different town, a library 50kms away in a different town and a library built before this council? Big f%&king deal.

          • You specified Rodney. Where is this town of Rodney that you live in?

          • Tony

            I said large parts. Even so you’ve managed to come up with a total of 2 projects for the entire area.

            Where’s the list of exciting things about to happen in helensville?

          • Sailor Boy

            Helensville and Parakai have about 10,000 people total. We should expect literally 40 tones more investment in libraries and the like on the isthmus or in former manukau city.

            You seem to erroneously believe that occupying vastly more land is a justification for more spending. Rodney is comparable in population to the Oeraki ward so that library in Wellsford is equivalent to an urban dweller having one in the next suburb.

          • Tony

            You’ve absolutely no idea what you’re talking about do you Sailor Boy?

          • Sailor Boy

            I was talking about the victim complex rural auckland residents have in spite of the massive subsidies you receive. What do you think we are talking about?

          • Tony

            You idiot. If we were getting 1/40th of the billions being spent downtown, or even the millions being spent in Manukau, there wouldn’t be anything to complain about.

  • tuktuk

    Great article Matt. Yes Len has been relentlessly positive under what at times would have been, the most difficult of circumstances. A great story about taking life’s half chances and turning it into big results. You see that capability in among the best sports men and women, and Len Brown also demonstrated this in his leadership, his fortitude and stamina, which will be an an inspiration to future generations.

  • Angus Robertson

    Taking the median land price of Auckland from $300,000 to more than $700,000, creating a housing crisis and locking young people out of the market forever.

    The largest upswing in Auckland sprawl in living memory.

    Well done Len Brown, you got out at right time.

    • 01anthony

      That’s right, he created the housing crisis … gees, really? Perhaps talk to some of the other elected concillor’s about always voting against upzoning. Always protesting / complaining about any sort of residential development that is proposed within ‘leafy’ suburbs.
      Perhaps then your point may hold a smidgin of validity.

  • mfwic

    Len was the Hillary Clinton of Auckland. Nobody actually wanted him but he was a hell of a lot better than the alternative they offered us.

    • Jeremy

      I think you have a short memory, the other guy was the shoe-in who had been suckling on the teet of the state for decades, and Len was an unknown who gave up his higher paying salary to be Mayor of Manukau and had just returned to his duties after recovering from heart surgery.

      • mfwic

        No I remember. It was the classic choice of a douche or a turd https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douche_and_Turd . So we went with the former to avoid the latter. There was also a third guy but he peed on a tree so now he is an MP instead. Maybe the fish and chips on his Manukau City credit card weren’t the best lifestyle choice.

        • Jeremy

          My point is people wanted him to stand for mayor and he has said he was pressured to stand. I’m well aware of the South Park analogy you were indirectly referring to. I never go along were the media narrative, such as the credit card non-issue where it was disclosed and not due to be paid back, and I voted for the only qualified person to do the job – he had 4 pages on the Herald Profiling him then and Banks only had half a page.

          • mfwic

            Yes and so long as they get the Ngati Wahtua room steam cleaned then we can say he left the city in a better state than he found it.

  • Jeremy

    In terms of big projects promised he also delivered the East-West link for the ‘business community’.

  • Ari

    He wasn’t great, but he had a very difficult job which he did fairly well and managed to get the CRL over the line and that will be his lasting legacy that will bring enormous benefit to the whole city in perpetuity. Or at least until the tunnels are flooded from rising tides.

    • Damian

      Hey, I hadnt heard that one before. Lets stop CRL now, and build some more motorways on reclaimed land instead. That will teach those climate changers.

      Len was pretty flawed, but also pretty great. That’s my take.

  • JBM

    Well done Len Brown. History will remember you as the Mayor that finally got Auckland moving. Sir Dove Meyer Robinson will be smiling down from above.

  • Waspman

    He did achieve a reasonable amount given the constraints of the real council namely CCO’s that have no democratic oversight that Hide and the Nats forced upon us.

    It’s a real disappointment that rail to the airport has been given up on and there is no hope from Goffs insipid vision either.

    But his well publicised infidelity and use of council furniture to round it off was a killer and he suffered the ignominy of being the first real victim of Nationals dirty politics hit jobs. The thing I hope for is that all future councillors especially those on the right is that they lead the lifestyle of Mother Teresa and are similarly slandered if they don’t but I won’t hold my breath on that one.

  • Kieran

    What will Bernard Orsman write about now? 🙂

    • James B

      Don’t worry they’ll be another Mayor from left of centre that the Herald can transfer their hatred to.

    • Damian

      Seeing that many Herald editorialists have long since moved into the post-fact world, I think Orsman can write anti-CRL editorials for the next 5-15 years yet…

    • Judging by Orsman’s recent effort on East-West his programme is to focus on ways to blame the Council for terrible moves by gov and NZTA, is this simply because local gov is his beat and this gives him the angle to own the bad news? Remember all journalists are in a withering fight for their jobs now. Sadly the era of secure, if poorly paid, journalism is in the past now. They are as insecure and photo lab technicians and video store operators. It’s over. This is a serious problem for debate and information in society, no matter how imperfect the MSM always was, its absence will be worse. This is we can tell but its current decline.

      His failure in that article to describe the whole project, but instead to focus on the Council giving in to gov and NZTA’s power is a poor reading of the situation, as is his continued angle on the CRL cost issue as blame game on AT and AC, but is probably just a reflection of his clinging to a ‘dig dirt on Council’ meme as a point of specialisation in a last ditch effort to remain employed…?

  • The Real Matthew

    I don’t think Len Brown will be remembered positively at all.

    Spending by his council hit astronomical heights, requiring an average 9.9% rates increase in a time when inflation was at record lows. As if that wasn’t enough council debt has also increased massively under Len’s watch. What do we have to show for it? Promises about what’s going to happen in the future. 6 years under Len’s leadership and traversing across Auckland is worse than it’s ever been.

    Len’s inability to show leadership in selling underperforming council assets showed his robotic thought process and his inability to think outside the square.

    He is the leading cause of house price rises in Auckland. Putting a ring around the city prior to the passing of the unitary plan was one of the dumbest things in the history of Auckland. The result was entirely predictable and the government has had to step in to try and sort in out (thus far unsuccessfully).

    We’ve also seen a reduction in core services under Len’s watch.

    Sure, Len sympathetic counsellors also need to take their share of the blame but the buck stops with the leader. Len should have resigned after his fling and became a lame duck Mayor.

    Instead of creating the world’s most liveable city Len’s legacy is the world’s most Leavable city.

    • Damian

      > and traversing across Auckland is worse than it’s ever been.

      If you aren’t willing to go with the times and see the improvements (because you are refusing to use them), then I don’t see why you should get any. trying to build your way out of congestion has always been a failure, and in a growing city, it is even more hopeless.

      > Instead of creating the world’s most liveable city Len’s legacy is the world’s most Leavable city.

      For some reasons, more and more people are COMING to Auckland, yet people like you aren’t leaving. So I agree, Len must have done something wrong.

      • The Real Matthew

        Improvements to PT aren’t available to everyone. The nature of PT is that it is inflexible. Great if you are privileged enough to live near a train station, not so good if you don’t. Bus improvements outside the north shore have been minimal.

        Like this blog Len had difficulty seeing past the central city, focussing his time and investment there whilst leaving other parts of Auckland to rot.

        Yes there are lots of people coming to Auckland. That’s because the New Zealand economy is one of the most resilient in the world and Auckland is own only city of international scale. Are you seriously trying to say that people are moving to Auckland for Auckland? The place is a hole. It’s becoming like Wellington where those who live there think it’s great but you travel there and go WTF?

        • Just out of interest what is it you think makes Auckland a hole and wouldn’t have been like that if someone else other than Len had been mayor?

        • JBM

          If I can speak for my experiences in the south of Auckland. I think this is the most exciting time for our city. Mangere is getting a huge makeover around the town centre and the streets surrounding it have bike lanes. Otahuhu’s rail station is going to transform the suburb. Otahuhu’s recreation hub (library; basketball/volleyball/netball courts; swimming pool; cafe all under one roof) is absolutely fantastic. I know of families that make time to spend a day at the recreation centre. The library is packed; the outside and inside courts are packed; the parents in the cafe and their kids are nearby. It has transformed the area. Manukau’s bus station will equally be transformative. The Manukau rail station built directly under the MIT building is a masterstroke. Already a major law firm has set up their offices in the MIT building. A lot of their lawyers simply take the train to and from work. These transport and community projects suck in further investment.

          The only worry I have is the housing crisis. It is pushing working families and first home buyers out to the periphery. As rents go up, people are being forced out of suburbs they’ve lived in their whole lives. Suburbs like Otahuhu, Mangere, Otara. I hope the next Mayor and government really take the issue of housing seriously. National is ideologically opposed to intervening in the market so I guess we’ll have to wait until they get voted out (if ever).

        • Auckland may have some problems, but it clearly isn’t a hole. If you think it is, then I suspect you’re the type of person that won’t be happy anywhere, anytime. Enjoy your weekend!

        • ‘Auckland is a hole’

          Why are you here? Go, flee, move to some non-hole. Why live somewhere you despise? Leave to those of us that love it, and can see how to improve it.

          You even call it the ‘world’s most leaveable city’ which is funny, as record net migration to AKL shows, you are pretty much alone with your miserable view, but still; fill your boots, lead the way… paradise awaits!?

        • mfwic

          Dude, Wellington is a great place as well. How can anyone not like it there. Even when the wind blows you have to say it’s impressive, and on a calm sunny day it is unbeatable by any city anywhere.

    • Are you seriously still quoting that 9.9 % rates rise that the Herald had to print a retraction on a few days later as it was in reality around 5.7 %.

    • Anthony McBride

      “Auckland is a hole”

      LOL yet we have masses and masses of people coming in from around the country and and the world to make it their home.
      Deluded much? Seriously, go to Kawerau or Kaitaia if you don’t like it.

      Also, Wellington is spectacular…You clearly don’t think so just because it’s not a city where you have a lovely acre wide yard and a 0.01% rate.

    • Bryce P

      In my line of work, I drive. A lot. And travel around Auckland is no worse than it was 10 years ago. In some places it is better.

  • Steve Cable

    “Len’s inability to show leadership in selling underperforming council assets showed his robotic thought process and his inability to think outside the square.”

    now there’s an inability to think outside the neocon square if ever there was one

    • KLK

      Exactly. The neocon utopia…

      The Real Matthew could have saved his oxygen with that rant with, “I don’t like him or his policies because, well, he doesn’t share mine…”

      Anybody who doesn’t think Auckland is moving ahead at an impressive rate just doesn’t want to admit it because of political ideology. Are there issues? of course, housing being #1. But, glass half full…

  • Matthew W

    I think there was too much emphasis on totemic high profile projects and not enough on setting out principles and standards that AT should work towards. So we get a super detailed plan for grade separated heavy rail under Auckland, and then we get “cycleways” and “bus lanes”. With the latter two there has been little direction from the council as to what they expect. I think setting out some high level principles in terms of quality and safety standards and criteria for prioritising the use of roadspace should come from the governing body.

    If you look at the ATAP report (I know it is half the governments) there was a complete lack of setting up a consistent evaluation framework and too much jumping to conclusions of specific projects. I think the politicization of specific transport projects is a legacy of Brown but is also just a sign of the times with the current National Government also embarking on it.

    • Peter Nunns

      It’s not really possible to build a new rail tunnel (or any infrastructure project, really) without “super detailed plans”. It’s not the kind of thing you can bodge together with a pencil sketch.

      I also think that you’re being a bit unfair to AC and AT about progress on bus lanes and cycleways. Took them a while to get moving on it, but now they seem well underway with it. See e.g. the August board papers on bus lanes: http://transportblog.co.nz/2016/08/29/august-16-at-board-meeting/

      A comparison to Wellington and Christchurch really shows the progress that has been made in Auckland. In Wellington, they’ve debating PT infrastructure on the Lambton-Courtenay-Mt Vic spine for about a decade, with nothing tangible to show for it, and gotten mired in a (fairly silly) argument over their first on-street separated cycleway. In Christchurch, progress is being made on cycleways but they’ve only implemented about 1-2km of bus lane since the earthquakes. Both outcomes are, to a degree, the product of institutional disconnects between road controlling authorities (city councils) and public transport providers (regional councils). The new council in Auckland has done a generally good job overcoming those barriers, even if it’s taken a while.

      All that being said, I fully agree that the role of the governing body is to provide strategic direction and make the tough calls about which outcomes to prioritise. As I wrote last year: http://transportblog.co.nz/2015/02/13/on-engineers-politicians-and-pohutukawas/

      • Matthew W

        Interesting post, thanks. My point about plans is that the Mayor himself actually campaigned on a specific plan to build an underground heavy rail line between Britomart and Mt Eden. That type of desicion should be left to AT as it should fall out of planning based on principles set by the governing body.

        • Nick R

          Matt W, one thing to note is that by the time Brown was campaigning on the CRL it had already been through the planning cycle to find the best mode, the right alignment, the operational concept etc. this was completed before AT came into being. Len Brown did nothing to plan, design or choose the CRL except support the preferred option. So it was a case of saying “ACC, ARC and ARTA have worked out we need to do this particular thing and I’m campaigning to make it happen”.

          It’s a bit like Goff and the light rail, he’s not picked anything except saying he supports the final conclusions of a planning and development study that AT has spent the last two years working through.

          • Matthew W

            It had been identified as a potential project but there was no business case ranking above other investment prospects. But even if there was he shouldn’t be getting into the operational side of things he should be spelling out principles to allow AT to work under.

            Of course it wasn’t just the CRL he also campaigned on rail to the airport (why, from where?) And rail to the north shore.

          • Not correct, a business case had already been completed – although was not public at that time but earlier stages of the process had been released such as the preferred alignment etc. The government then mocked the business case with a hatchet job which lead to further studies once again confirming the CRL was the best option. It’s also worth pointing out that both Len and John Banks were campaigning on the CRL

          • Matthew W

            Well exactly that is what I am talking about – a politicisation of specific investment desicions on all sides. Of course some further studies actually showed it wasn’t economic. So we have also ended up with as well is a debasement of economic evaluations in the process

          • No because all the analysis (and they would have had access to more info than the public) suggested this was much needed project. Those further studies you referred to often had bogus inputs to get poor results e.g. govt claimed parking prices would stay at $16 a day which would would limit demand. Even the MoT admitted in internal documents we got via OIA that the modelling for the CRL was biased against it.

            Further economic analysis often doesn’t cover everything, for example there’s billions of private investment happening because of the CRL that isn’t captured in the analysis. Hell that analysis doesn’t even allow agencies to bank the savings of selling left over land in the future.

          • Matthew W

            Yes that’s what I am talking about. One business case is virtually cheerleading (the authors were talking before they even started the business case about how the project was definitely needed and about how they needed to be innovative in their business case) and then another with conservatI’ve assumptions giving get an answer an order of magnitude different. This is nothing new – the entire premise behind transfund was to avoid interested parties and agents justifying favoured projects.

          • Matthew W

            And in today’s herald there is a revelation of essentially a pork barrel deal between Key and Brown! QED

      • Matthew W

        My comment on bus lanes and cycle lanes is really about how AT will tend to compromise their design in the way they wouldn’t for a dual carriageway expressway. AT have just rolled out an unprotected cycle lane as part of its flagship inner west program. Is that acceptable? AT will do it if it makes their life easier trying to balance competing uses and they don’t have clear guiding principles to work under that prevent them from doing so (eg if you are building a cycle Lane make it safe and comfortable for 8 to 80 users).

  • Matt P

    I think he has done an OK job in his role as the ‘Super City ‘ mayor.
    But I lump massive blame at his and other ‘leaders’ lack of action between 2001 and 2010 on housing.
    The large reason we have our housing crisis is because both collectively, and individually, the various councils failed to do really anything of any substance at all in terms of planning.
    Both he and Penny Hulse must take big possibility for the housing mess given their roles at Manukau and Waitakere respectively.
    And don’t tell me they couldn’t foresee the problem back then – I was writing articles and submissions on plans in 2005/2006 urging urgent action to address the issue. There was a pathetic lack of political will, I am afraid.

    • Waspman

      Revisionist history cannot absolve Keys government of this massive problem and growing crisis its policies, both official and unofficial have caused and their steadfast refusal to do anything meaningful to solve it. Blaming Brown or any other councillor is ridiculous!

      • Matt P

        why?
        Remember there were massive hikes in house prices between 2001 and 2007 WHEN LABOUR WERE IN POWER.
        The problem is not specific to National, at all.
        This post seems to be a Len Brown admiration society or something.
        All Auckland local government politicians, including Len Brown, in power between 2001 to this day should hang their heads in shame at the housing catastrophe they have hugely contributed towards. A disgrace.

        • Waspman

          Your average person could still buy a house in Auckland at least pre National and without pointlessly draining their Kiwisaver, (a genius Nick Smith initiative), your average solvent buisness could afford the lease or rent. Not any more! And I don’t think Honda ever saw their Odyssey model as a housing option in NZ for a family but there you go, anyone can be wrong. But hang on Key says it’s a challenge not a crisis.

          • Bigted

            House prices have basically doubled every 8-10 years since the mid 1970s, nothing has changed so how is that John Key or Nationals fault? Aucklands councils (the current council and its predecessors made up of the eight former councils and the old ARC) have over that same time been restricting growth as they still are so it has more to do with the council than it does with the government.

          • Matthew W

            Real house prices peaked in the mid 1970s and didn’t surpass that peak until the mid 1990s. Real house price growth has been much higher post 2000 than before. In Auckland, the recent boom, particularly relative to the rest of the country and to incomes is unprecedented.

            It’s both the council and the government’s fault. The National government actually came in planning to reform things but then sat on its hands for about 6 years. It had a golden opportunity to fix the roof while the sun was shining, but didn’t.

          • Bigted

            Matthew I think the reform you are referring to is the changes they planned for the RMA (something they are still planning) but they have not had the numbers to actually do so it is not about sitting on their hands.

        • Bryce P

          That is a very good point. The only reasons it didnt run away were a) The was a lot of land being developed in Botany and Albany & b) the GFC bought a severe but temporary slow down in new builds.

  • Jeff T

    I don’t think anyone could have come up with the level of supply of housing needed to meet the demand we have had in Auckland caused by a raft of factors such as immigration and an ‘open to all’ set of buying rules. Supply continues to be constrained by nimbyism and land bankers.

    Thanks Len for what you have acheived, particularly with the crl, in the face of what seems like some fairly mean-spirited opposition. I thought our country was better than this but not so on the evidence. One example would be a readiness to complain about rates on one hand while being more than happy to be property millionaires on the other.

    Stick tarmac over everything and see if it solves traffic congestion. Quite sick of this crap. Bernard Orsman from the herald being a prime example of this narrow-minded thinking.

    • Bigted

      Jeff you forgot the biggest factor “supply continues to be constrained” by the current council made worse after past councils that have been restricting supply for many years.

      • SteveW

        I’ve no time for this myth. The reasons for constrained supply have little to do with the Council. The Council has to operate in an environment where many of the developers and builders cheat. This slows things down and increases costs. I don’t blame the Council for the heavy costs and delays the cheaters cause through their behaviour.

  • Luke

    Ive certainly no regrets about voting for Len. I wish him well for the future. Pity people get so upset about ones personal lives which are irrelevant and either jealousy or ideology fuelled.

  • Sanctuary

    When the graves of Cameron Slater and John Palino are long forgotten and over grown with weeds, thousands of commuters will daily pass the statues of Len Brown and Dove-Myer Robinson.

  • Ian

    Of course Mayor Brown has been effective. Auckland has always been stymied by stodgy conservatives and to get get the CRL over the start line in the face of so much hostility is nothing short of remarkable. Perhaps if the internet and this blog had existed back in the days of Mayor Robinson we might have been here forty years ago. But they weren’t and National came to power in 1975 and rapid rail and the then new super scheme were both kicked into touch.

    • luke

      wellingtonian here, envoius of what lens achieved in auckland. i hope we can follow suit.
      longer runway, more apartements, light rail, less parking, more cycleways and less moar roads everywhere mentality.

Leave a Reply