Poll: What Auckland wants, what NZ needs
YOUR OPINION: Len Brown is standing down and a new Auckland mayor will take office next year – complete our poll to tell them what their priorities should be.
In one large gulp, the Super City swallowed up Auckland with alluring promises of a cheaper and more efficient council.
It's been five years and Auckland residents are feeling short-changed.
Yes, the electric trains are fantastic – for those who live near the lines.
But most people are staring aghast at million-dollar property price tags, rising rents and congested roads.
Rates bills seem to multiply skyward with every unfulfilled promise from the departing mayor Len Brown.
So when Aucklanders vote to change the city's leadership in 2016, what are the gritty issues that matter most?
Our suburban newspaper editors weigh in.
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Public transport is the one thing people always mention.
How can we be this wonderful 'liveable city' when you can't get around it without a car, or get a train from the airport to town?
The average Aucklander feels like the promised City Rail Link is all talk, no action.
Residents who pay huge rates – like those in Orakei – also don't feel they get bang for buck in terms of services in their area.
Why is there no train station in the nearby suburb of Meadowbank?
On the housing front, we know we need more affordable options, but nobody actually wants a high-density development in their street.
Dissatisfaction with the new super-city started early for North Shore residents.
After being gobbled up into one big council, concerns were mounting about reduced service and local wishes being ignored.
A key early issue was breaches of North Shore's chemical free weed policy.
The council is bringing in one regional policy with widespread chemical use, despite public views.
Chip sealing roads, major changes to bus routes and rising council housing rent are angering residents.
Crime and safety, weed control, swimming pools and retaining the unique Westie way are hot political issues in West Auckland.
Many residents feel unsettled after last year's homicides and a perceived increase in violent offences. What will be done at a local body level to help keep everyone safe?
The region is proud of our green environment but weeds are a blight on the beautiful landscape.
West Auckland needs more swimming pools - one is not enough.
It is the top talking point for much of Auckland - transport and rates.
The Auckland Transport chief executive admitted Howick through to Botany and Ormiston were the worst served for public transport.
Areas like Ormiston are growing but there's no transport infrastructure in place.
A busway isn't due for completion until the mid-to-late 2020s.
Locals want the start dates of key projects brought forward. While public transport lacks, it hasn't stopped Auckland Council from increasing rates by at least 10 per cent for many out east.
Housing is likely to be the major issue dominating the debate in South Auckland.
Not just housing affordability, but accessing any sort of housing for financially-stressed families.
Rising rents, the lack of rental housing, the shrinking Housing NZ pool of homes are all contributing to overcrowding.
Families are forced to live in garages and even in their cars.
Residents are also dealing with unreliable public transport and poor council services in town centres and public spaces.
The council has also failed to bring rubbish collection services in line with those offered to ratepayers in the central city.
The council is pushing for fast-tracked housing developments in areas where there are no or limited infrastructure and public transport. Expected population growth in some areas will increase traffic congestion, infrastructure pressure and social problems.
Residents are waiting for roads and footpaths to be sealed in some areas.Villages - including Huapai, Kumeu, Riverhead, Helensville and Taupaki - are struggling to maintain their rural communities with the urban push from Auckland.
Council rate rises for services which some areas don't even have, including water and sewerage.
Complaints also include the maintenance of reserves, weeds, and rubbish.
Change is coming, but it's too slow for most.
The new council needs to remember it has a big, fast growing northern area that needs a bit of TLC from time to time.
So much so that the Northern Action Group in north Rodney still wants out of the super-city.
There is a move by a group called One Waiheke to deamalgamate Waiheke Island from Auckland Council.
But whether this happens or not, the hot topic for residents is sustainable tourism.
The island was listed as the fifth most desirable region in the world to visit by Lonely Planet and the fourth best island in the world by Conde Nast Traveler readers.
But Waiheke residents are finding the roads and infrastructure don't cope at peak periods.
Waiheke is still battling after years for a swimming pool.
This issue could be a deal breaker in the next elections.
What do you think Auckland needs? Complete our poll, or comment below.
- Sunday Star Times