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Grant’s kōrero: The Mayor’s Manifesto and What it Means for Tāmaki Makaurau

Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa’s biggest city and home to Te Tōangaroa, will play an important role in the new Government’s focus on rebuilding the economy. In his recent manifesto, the mayor of Auckland, Wayne Brown, named Tāmaki Makaurau as the engine room of Aotearoa – but highlighted there are areas that need work.

The mayor shared that Tāmaki Makaurau not only represents around 40% of the national economy but is also the base for some of Aotearoa’s largest cultural institutions and hosts international events which no other city in the country could provide for.

On the other hand, he added that Tāmaki Makaurau is being held back as it has struggled to keep up with population growth over the years – with more growth still to come - which has played a part in creating the issues many of us are familiar with today such as traffic congestion, limited public transport, housing affordability, public safety, social deprivation, and ageing/inadequate infrastructure.

In an opinion I share, Wayne Brown notes that Tāmaki Makaurau needs to be better than these problems and should be a beautiful, bustling, and safe place to live. With the population of Tāmaki Makaurau forecast to increase (the figures indicate 2 million people by 2033) we need to act on these issues now to future proof our city. 

I believe this starts with acknowledging what the mayor refers to as ‘systemic growing pains’:

“Major cities like Auckland drive and enable growth, but tax receipts generated go mainly to central government. Auckland gets short-changed and stuck with the problems caused by growth without the tools to address them and fully realise the benefits. Auckland puts more into the Treasury coffers than it gets out”.

In moving forward, the mayor’s manifesto seeks an ‘Auckland Deal’ citing that in other locations around the world, this type of place-based agreement between central and local governments has seen successful outcomes.

In this instance, the deal would exist between Auckland Council and the National Government and would give the Council the tools to address key issues on the following fronts:

  • Partnership and Devolution
  • Transport
  • Housing, Growth and Urban Regeneration
  • Infrastructure, Water Reform and Climate Resilience
  • Environment
  • Social, Cultural and Economic Development

This manifesto outlines a strong vision for Tāmaki Makaurau with the key issues reflecting a focused, pragmatic, and business-like approach. In addition, I believe any ‘Auckland Deal’ must embed two kaupapa.

Firstly, it is imperative that tāngata whenua are actively included in such agreements. There needs to be recognition of both tangata whenua in Tāmaki Makaurau, as kaitiaki and of Māori culture as a positive point of difference for Tāmaki Makaurau. The gift from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei rangatira Apihai Te Kawau of 3000 acres to establish central Tāmaki Makaurau is not only an historic but also an ongoing act of generosity and warrants acknowledgment. The ownership of Te Tōangaroa, an inner-city precinct, by the hapū is internationally unique and deserves celebration.    


Secondly, the purpose of any deal should be to uplift everyone in the Tāmaki Makaurau community – not just some parts of that community. Tāmaki Makaurau is home to many people who face more challenges than others, including those going hungry or those who are homeless – they must be explicitly remembered in the deal, and uplifted too.