29 Mar 2011

Former premier pitches ideas for boosting Auckland

7:30 pm on 29 March 2011

Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett - credited with transforming the state's economy during the 1990s - says Auckland should try to persuade the United Nations to set up in the city.

During a visit to Auckland Mr Kennett has told a business audience that a UN Pacific regional office and an Aussie rules football franchise would help the Auckland economy.

"With Helen Clark now over there in the UN," he says, "I would try to seek out what part of the UN that deals with the Pacific could be located here. You ought to set your sights on attracting something here that is new and has a functional purpose that might last for 50 years."

Mr Kennett has previously promoted ideas such as opening up the waterfront and making Auckland more attractive and saleable to foreign tourists. He also says a couple of big projects such as the proposed underground rail loop should be implemented.

Mr Kennett's eight years as premier saw Victoria climb out of economic decline during the 1990s. His prescription of attracting major sporting events to Melbourne and building significant public infrastructure transformed its economy.