Auckland mayor ticks off successes

Len Brown says progress is being made towards making Auckland the world's most liveable city.
ALEX BURTON/FAIRFAX NZ

Len Brown says progress is being made towards making Auckland the world's most liveable city.

Aucklanders are earning a bit more, breathing more pollution and facing a much bigger struggle to buy a house than they were five years ago, the city's latest scorecard shows.

The annual scorecard was introduced by Mayor Len Brown in 2011 and shows the progress Auckland is making towards his vision of being the world's most liveable city.

It tracks 19 measures, including the economy, transport, community and environmental factors.

All measures have improved over the past five years, except housing affordability, greenhouse gas emissions, fresh-water quality and air quality. Overall, the scorecard has improved 19 per cent.

Housing affordability is the poorest performer, down 23 per cent.

The biggest improvements are a drop in graffiti complaints received, an increase in new dwelling consents, a lift in the number of public transport trips being taken, investment in cycleways and spending on local roads.

Employment has improved 12 per cent and median weekly personal incomes are up 10 per cent.

Brown said: "There are obviously ongoing challenges with housing but the Special Housing Area work we are doing with the Government is an example of the improvements that are starting to come through".

"However the trends are definitely swinging in the right direction with new housing consents more than doubling since the creation of the new Auckland Council."

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Brown said the Unitary Plan, Auckland Plan and Economic Development Strategy were also important steps to tackle the affordability question.

But councillor Cameron Brewer was not impressed.

"I think most turning up to open homes and auctions this weekend will tell you the only thing up 19 per cent is house prices in less than 12 months," Brewer said.

"What's more, if we are talking liveability, ask thousands of home owners in wards like mine whose rates are up at least 40 per cent in the past four years alone, if they feel better off because of Len Brown."

The "liveable city" mantra was an excuse to rack up debt and hike rates, Brewer said.

"I accept a lot of things are better in Auckland five years on, but I also think a lot more ratepayers are worse off, the council has never been so poorly viewed, the city's debt levels have never bee higher and maintenance in our town centres and parks is in fact poorer in the likes of Auckland City than was the case before the amalgamation of the former eight councils."

What has changed?

Since the first scorecard in 2011:

- Percentage of students achieving NCEA level one literacy and numeracy: Up 11 per cent

- Youth unemployment: 17 per cent improvement

- Crime: 21 per cent improvement

- Graffiti: 26 per cent improvement

- Housing affordability: 23 per cent deterioration

- Housing supply: 145 per cent improvement

- Public transport trips: 20 per cent improvement

- Investment in cycleways: 49 per cent improvement

- Time lost to morning peak congestion: 10 per cent improvement

- Expenditure on roads: 27 per cent improvements

- GDP: 14 per cent improvement

- Jobs: 12 per cent improvement

- Incomes: 10 per cent improvement

- Guest nights: 20 per cent improvement

- Greenhouse gas emissions: 1 per cent deterioration

- Marine water quality: 4 per cent improvement

- Freshwater quality: 21 per cent deterioration

- Air quality: 4 per cent deterioration

 - Stuff

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