People will be able to bike or
walk from Devonport to St Heliers via the new SkyPath, says
Auckland mayor Len Brown, crossing the water under a new
tube-like structure suspended beneath the Auckland Harbour
Tomorrow, Mr Brown will reveal more about the futuristic
looking cycleway and will also talk about a new broadband
scheme to get more Aucklanders online.
In a speech prepared for delivery in the morning to the
Greater East Tamaki Business Association, he spoke
optimistically of those schemes and his underground railway
"The SkyPath will be Auckland's first public private
partnership (PPP) and will eventually enable a great vision:
a cycle and walking path stretching from St Heliers to
Devonport. This will act as a real game-changer for building
pedestrian and cycleways around our city.
"This is a chance to cut our teeth on PPPs and show that we
can deliver real value for money and better outcomes for
ratepayers," his speech said.
But he warned how PPPs were not a free ticket to be clipped
by the private sector.
"We need to use our considerable scale and position to nail
down the best possible deals for Aucklanders, learning the
lessons from international experience and retaining public
ownership," he said.
The bridge project would show how a new funding model could
"Beyond the SkyPath, there will be major opportunities for
transport projects, including the Central Rail Link, better
waste management and other major transport projects," Mr
On the digital scheme, he said more free Wi-Fi would be
"Auckland Council will be developing a Digital Auckland Kick
Start programme. My intention is that this will include
working with business partners to roll out free Wi-Fi in
public places and public transport and finding commercial
partners to help expedite the rollout of ultrafast
Auckland had its brightest economic outlook in nearly a
decade but it could do better, he told the association.
The city's annual growth was projected to be around 3.5 per
cent this year and he acknowledged the role of the
residential property market was playing in its fortunes.
"The housing market continues to be the key driver of
Auckland's growth. Building activity is up nearly 25 per cent
on a year ago, and for the first time since 2008 annual
consents for new homes have exceeded 6000.
"The picture we're seeing from our consents team - which
tends to provide a leading indicator of what's happening in
housing - is that capacity is finally starting build in our
housing market, with consent numbers for 2013-14 set to be
double the number for 2011.
"We're also seeing a rebound in consumer and business
confidence and signs that the labour market is improving," he
However, Auckland's economy had plenty of capacity and there
was opportunity to improve.
"If we want to achieve the growth rates we're really capable
of -which I believe are around 5 to 6 per cent - we have to
make the shift to an export focussed economy. Doing this
successfully would allow us to take advantage of faster
growing overseas economies," he said.
The city needed to attract more international investment and
talent, he said.
Liveability was the biggest driver of migration and as
Auckland became an increasingly liveable city, the potential
provided by international migration as increased.
Brown said Auckland needed to start building the CRL in 2016.
"The clearest message from Aucklanders in the past three
years is that we need to get our transport problems fixed
once and for all. Auckland has suffered from decades of
under-investment in public transport and a lack of joined-up
planning. We are only now beginning to put in place the
foundations of a world-class public transport system," he
Last year, the Government agreed to back the CRL, the central
plank of our work to improve Auckland's transport network, he
The CRL would double the capacity of Auckland's rail network,
offering twice as many train journeys and passengers across
the entire rail network and trains at most stations every
5-10 minutes at peak.
"I welcome the government's backing for the CRL, but the fact
is their proposed start date of 2020 is too long for Auckland
Without the CRL, by 2021 Auckland's bus network will have
reached capacity, and speeds on city roads will have dropped
to a creeping 7km per hour during peak time. I have taken my
proposal for an early start to Prime Minister John Key and
begun what I am confident will be productive discussions with
the Government this year. The PM has asked the government to
look at the proposal," Brown said.
- By Anne Gibson of the