Introduction


Introduction

Auckland is New Zealand's bold experiment in local government. Is the Super City a success, a disappointment or something in between? The local government elections in 2013 provide an opportunity to assess the state of Auckland. How is New Zealand's largest city measuring up three years on from the unique governance reforms that created it?

This report examines various areas of living in Auckland; its people and communities, democratic participation, the economy, the state of the built and natural environment, transport and other infrastructure, public services, confidence in Auckland's regional and local governance and value for money. It aims to help citizens make informed decisions when they vote in the 2013 local government elections. It also allows them to be involved in a continuing research project that assesses the city they live in.

The monitoring of the Super City provides an objective and authoritative reflection on trends and change over time. It has been written by researchers from the new School of Social Sciences and Public Policy at AUT University and is based on a framework developed by the Department of Internal Affairs in 2010. An online survey of Auckland residents commissioned by AUT in April 2013 revealed that the most pressing current and further issues were public transport, law and order, health, housing availability, the economy, and population growth/sustainability.

This report uses a wide variety of data sources, some already published, some from the Auckland Council, and information generated by new research. More information is available on theSuper City? State of Auckland

website.1It provides insights into Auckland Council's performance during its first term but also acknowledges that much of the quality of daily life in Auckland relies also on central government policies, the public and private sectors, and voluntary activity.

Super City? State of Aucklandhas been produced at a time of heightened public debate in and about Auckland. This has been prompted by:

  • The Auckland Unitary Plan and a contest of ideas over urban intensification
  • The degree of authenticity of consultation and participation in Super City planning processes
  • The relationship between Auckland Council's elected representatives, the bureaucracy and citizens
  • The balance of power between central and local government and autonomy of decision-making
  • Housing affordability and intergenerational differences
  • The persistence of inequalities and the deepening structural divide between parts of Auckland in employment, health outcomes, wellbeing and prosperity.

The amalgamation of the region is only three years old and is in a consolidation phase. This provides the AUT research project team with an opportunity to develop a programme of monitoring and evaluation. The Super City warrants continuing research. It will be judged in future by whether Auckland is more democratic and Aucklanders are happier, richer, greener and safer.