Written By: Mike Smith - Date published: 9:47 pm, May 29th, 2013 - 8 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, Gerry Brownlee, infrastructure, labour, phil twyford, politicans, public transport, same old national, Steven Joyce - Tags:
“The Auckland that never was” in my view is the most interesting chapter in Chris Trotter’s “NO LEFT TURN”. It details the Ministry of Works’ post-war plan outlined in a document The Shape of Things to Come
…in which the government promised to electrify Auckland’s railways and extend the eastern semi-circle into a complete circle accessing western suburbs like Grey Lynn and Mount Roskill, in addition to Orakei and Panmure. The rising industrial area of Penrose and the Auckland CBD would both be served by the circle. The existing southern and Western lines would cross the circle, and a harbour bridge would extend the railway service to the North Shore. The plan said that special legislation had been enacted so that land could be acquired ‘without dander of paying an inflated price’ for great new settlements being built by the State, chiefly around Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch.
As Trotter says, counterfactual history is a bitter-sweet exercise. We’ll never know if the if the planner’s dream of the Auckland that might have been might have contributed to a better city now. However,
…just as the frazzled Aucklanders who every day clog the arteries of their dysfunctional city will never know how much less stressful their lives could have been if the first Labour government’s comprehensive plan for a more geographically compact and intensively settled Auckland, bound together by a cheap and efficient public transport network, have not bee deliberately scrapped by the National Party. What we know for certain, however, is that the Holland government’s rejection of Labour’s plan – a decision taken in the interests of expanding its own power base, and hugely enriching its financial backers – made the anarchic, automobile-inspired, socially dislocated sprawl of present-day Auckland inevitable.
Now we see history repeating itself. In what Labour accurately describes as a “War on Auckland” Key, Joyce and Brownlie are following in the footsteps of the much unloved Sid Holland.
As Phil Twyford spelt out in a speech to Auckland’s regional conference, Labour by contrast has an integrated plan that brings together affordable housing and integrated transport. Twyford says:
You need hands-on government to do good urban development. The revitalisation of New Lynn took a Labour Government to invest in transport infrastructure, and a progressive Council to initiate the land development and urban design to create a new city centre. National’s mix of free market economics and crony capitalism will never deliver the affordable housing and the modern public transport system Aucklanders want.
On the other hand…
We will build 100,000 affordable starter homes.We will set minimum standards for warm dry homes.
We will modernise and rebuild Housing NZ.
We will build the City Rail Link, as the next step in giving Auckland a world class transport system.
We will drive urban renewal projects to revitalise depressed parts of our city, and build modern liveable communities.
Like the First Labour Government the Sixth Labour Government will use the power of the state to build this nation and improve the lives of our people.
Amen to that.