According to a new report, a radical overhaul is needed of how Auckland is governed, with a focus on building social cohesion.
The report by Koi Tū, the University of Auckland’s Centre for Informed Futures, aims to provoke debate on how to create the kind of Auckland that locals and the country as a whole need over the next two generations.
Koi Tū spent a year putting the report, Reimagining Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland: Harnessing the Region’s Potential, together. Hundreds of people were interviewed, and focus groups explored the potential Auckland could reach by 2070 and what the barriers were.
Declining social cohesion, and a growing disconnect between Aucklanders and decisions about their lives and futures, were considered early and fundamental challenges that needed tackling.
Possibilities to help bridge that gap ranged from building a database common to Auckland Council and central government, a forum of MPs chaired by Auckland’s mayor, and making key sure decisions were actually made and agreed.
The report proposed nine themes for discussion to build on Auckland’s strengths, such as its environment. It floated the idea of Tāmaki Makaurau becoming an “urban National Park” and noted that universities should play a bigger role in civic life and future directions, and areas such as innovation, culture and creativity should be built upon.
Koi Tū director Sir Peter Gluckman said the rest of New Zealand needed to understand why Auckland, as the country’s only global city, was important to the nation’s future. He pointed out it generated 40 percent of the economy, which could lift to 45-50 percent over the coming years.
“We can’t become another dying city,” said Gluckman.
“We need to be a growing, positive, imaginative city and finding our own way of doing things, which will be different from Brisbane and Singapore and San Diego.”
The report was commissioned by the Auckland Council’s culture and economic agency Auckland Unlimited, but chief executive Nick Hill said it was not a “council report.”