Russel Norman: Auckland must intensify
Auckland must intensify in order to become an international city, the co-leader of the Green Party says.
Dr Russel Norman stated his party's position to a crowd of about 100 senior citizens at a Meet the Politicians event organised by Howick and Pakuranga Grey Power on Friday, admitting his opinion is not popular with everyone.
"The truth is Auckland is going to need to go up, and that's a controversial thing to say, right?
"I think that that will make Auckland a better city in the long run as long as it's done well and with high-quality good public transport."
Norman said the country needs Auckland to be an international city with a more dense population so people bump into each other.
"Big cities are melting pots for innovation so we do need this place to really hum."
And the answer to solving the city's transport woes is not to build more motorways but to improve public transport, walking and cycling, he said.
One in three Auckland peak hour road trips are parents driving children to school.
Making it safe for children to use bicycles instead will cost "a fraction" of upgrading roads and "will actually reduce congestion more than all the motorways you can possibly build".
Norman said one of his party's main focuses is on reducing poverty and inequality, which will also help lower crime rates.
"If you have one in four children who can't access education properly, can't get ahead properly in society with their lives then they are not able to contribute to New Zealand when they become adults because they miss all the opportunities."