31 Aug 2015

Aucklanders shouldn't have to move south - Goff

12:00 pm on 31 August 2015

Aucklanders shouldn't have to leave the city because of poor transport and housing policies, says Mt Roskill MP Phil Goff.

Auckland has much better weather than the capital and a beautiful environment, says Phil Goff. (Image shows sun rising behind Rangitoto Island)

Auckland has much better weather than the capital and a beautiful environment, says Phil Goff. Photo: 123RF

Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown penned an open letter in The New Zealand Herald saying liveability, affordable housing, and a packed events calendar are good reasons for Aucklanders to pack up and relocate to the capital.

"Many of you in the City of Sails are 'doing it tough', working long hours and adding extra hours on to your day just to get there and back," wrote Ms Wade-Brown.

"Transport in Auckland isn't easy and, for the thousands of renters looking to buy a home, you'll be struggling to get started on the property ladder because the amount you can save isn't near enough to what you need for a deposit."

Auckland is a paradise of quarter-acre sections, she said. "Good for lawnmower manufacturers, not so good for your daily commute," while "more than 40 per cent of [Wellington's] population growth is downtown - where you can walk home from a late night out at karaoke or the ballet."

Phil Goff, former Labour Party leader, now widely-tipped mayoral hopeful, said rather than suggesting people move south, serious problems in Auckland should be addressed, as should challenges in the rest of the country.

"We do need regional development but that doesn't absolve the government's responsibility to redress those key problems of traffic congestion and house prices."

Wellington sign

Photo: 123RF

Fellow Labour MP Grant Roberston, who represents Wellington Central, said encouraging people to move was necessary to promote regional development.

"Auckland is our largest city and it really does matter for New Zealand, but if we don't get the spread of people across the country, if we don't get investment into the regions, then the country becomes a bit unbalanced and that's not good for us long term.

"We need to sort out all of those terrible transport woes up in Auckland but there's some great lifestyles available if they want to come here to Wellington."

Conceding the capital's weather might be one of the very few of the city's downsides, with a "gentle zephyr that blows through the city from time to time", Mr Robertson said Wellington was a brilliantly compact city and had a much better rugby team.

The upside for Auckland? Much better weather, and a beautiful environment, says Phil Goff. "There's a lot going for Auckland - that's why people want to live there."