Sunday, October 4, 2009


Listening to Todd Niall's Insight on Auckland's economic failures on Radio New Zealand this gloomy morning was like watching a whale stranded in an alphabet soup. At least the first eight minutes of the program was a swamp of acronyms fringed with a mudflat of reports allegedly set up to alleviate the problem. It was clear they were certainly one of its causes.
Will the super city turn out to be nothing more than another version of the same sorry thing?
It is hard to avoid the conclusion that it will.
As Rod Oram pointed out Auckland is a city of shopkeepers. Its economic future will hardly be built on anything much more than silt if it goes on producing and providing only for itself.
Two successes of an alternative plan were clearly seen.
The film industry.
The marine industry built around super yachts. (Oddly enough ignored in favour of a clearly struggling with competence Australian ship building industry when it comes to re-equipping our small scale Navy.)
Neither got a look in when the discussion of the City's future got discussed by the same people who have so clearly been in charge of its less than successful economic past.
The notion of a major national convention and exhibition centre as a small economic driver got a once over lightly with another acronym to produce yet another report.
All the government in the form of the Minster for Economic Development Gerry Brownlee had on offer were:
More Roads.
Eden Park
Queens Wharf
As Rod Oram sadly noted.- the first might make us faster for a nano second but none of them will make us smarter, richer or more competitive.
Final gloomy note - London was held up as an example.
Does anyone think that the smart and the clever in the City of London drive to work in their Aston Martins along motorways.
Does anyone really think that London will pull itself up by Rugby Bootstraps.
What did the first super Mayor of London do as his first priority?
He got its public transport right -and his second call was to introduce a congestion charge to make it work.
Rodney Hide has just been talking to his successor Boris Johnson - I hope they talked about how public transport makes a city faster and smarter but I wont hold my breath
Wheels are already invented people - just put them on the wagon and let it roll.

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