Expat digital democracy and innovation expert Andy Williamson posts his initial assessment of the Auckland Plan.
Reading the Auckland Plan I’m left with the distinct feeling that Auckland does not want to be a world-class city. Or perhaps more to the point, it doesn’t really believe that it can be. Which is a shame. The Plan might talk about it but deep down it doesn’t want to be an entrepreneurial oasis and has given up on the idea of lifting the economic quality of life for many of its residents. Not that the plan says that, it says the opposite, but it doesn’t feel like the council really believes it.
There’s too much looking backwards, where we’ve come from. Not enough looking forwards, where we’re going to.
What's a "world class city" anyway? Moscow? Beijing? Mexico City? Lagos?
I live in Wellington. It's a great capital village, and I can't think of anyplace I'd rather live. Sure, there's not the "..fast pace and fast trains and much bigger clubs, ... money and kudos and much stronger drugs" (Princess Chelsea)
I'd be happy with economic goals of a decent income for everyone, quality housing, basic services and a clean environment. There are always going to be better places to make lots of money than NZ.
I don't think Andy or the Plan are just talking about money. To me, 'world-class' means able to attract and keep talented people and ventures against competition from many other places to live, work, play, commune and prosper.
That relies on our natural environment, friendly communities, cultural richness (refer Richard Florida), and satisfying work opportunites - but also as you say on basics like transport, communications, housing, health and education being delivered to more than bottom-rung standards. It all takes time and although this region has great head starts in some areas, coherent long-term planning and investment are crucial.
To me, 'world-class' means able to attract and keep talented people and ventures against competition from many other places to live, work, play, commune and prosper.
Wow, it's a much lower bar than I ever imagined.
Feel free to offer another take on it.
The emphasis of "world class city/country" needs to be replaced with something else.
I agree with Rich Observationz and would add to the list a better national health, a place where measles, meningococcal disease, and hepatitis were not as prevalent as they are now becoming.
When politicians, local (Leny the great) or central (the Great John Guy Smiley), talk about a world class this or a world class that my eyes gales over. Define which world – third world and define what class – shonky and non functional.
We have a super city and a govt that could not organise between them a RWC opening without chaos and who couldn’t get their shit together on so many important facets of their primary function – there are so many example – Leaky Homes, the motorway system designed in the 50s that only over mid 2000s till now the original plans are completed.
I want them both to demonstrate some competence in delivering with their basic core functions as a first step before they rush around building monuments to themselves and their greatness. An emphasis on solutions that are within our means.
Feel free to offer another take on it.
No, that's fine, I'm happy to go with your interpretation. It's not a term I've inquired deeply into the meaning of, but the word "world" implies something really big. So it's yet another one of those phrases that evokes something big, but means something quite average? Rather like "top bloke", by which is meant "nice guy".
What’s a “world class city” anyway? Moscow? Beijing? Mexico City? Lagos?
To me it is like the term 5 Star (as applied to hotels), meaning a standard expected by those not willing to spend any time with the "Locals" you could be anywhere in the World. It has the same bathrooms and fittings, the same Gideon Bible, the same mint on the pillow. In terms of Cities, the same high rise financial centre, the same McDonald's, the same "Gift Shops", the same rip-offs.
Not representative of the Country as a whole but a caricature in a corporate suit.
the word "world" implies something really big
I think it's meant to be that the people and organisations they're trying to attract can choose anywhere else in the world to be instead. Which is big, yes, and you could certainly argue is bigger than the true scope that applies.
That's probably a 4 star hotel. Which some might say is a better fit for Auckland, so long as we accept the accompanying constraints as well..
So the opposite is "national class", the product you get if you're locked in to the country in some way. And I guess the lamest would be "house class", which probably describes Heineken at Queen's Wharf.
ETA: OK, temper that to "no lasting legacy for sports". It seems like it has stimulated a lot of local developments at least, which is pretty cool.
I think there will always be argument over the money, but I'm building a strong impression that the new Dunedin stadium has kicked pretty much everyone else's butts in terms of "stuff we did to get ready for the world cup". Take note Auckland - it's quite close to the waterfront (though not in a particularly useable area for social activities), and people like the view of it, despite it being in the way.
I'm not going to any world cup games, but I saw Otago play Manawatu in it. Fantastic.
However the politics have paid off handsomely for the government, with 75% of respondents in a recent poll blaming the Council, not the government who decreed a stately party central and had a strong presence at the planning table throughout.
That PR success has further emboldened McCully. As predicted by many, he is rewriting history to take credit for the smooth running since opening night (though subsequent crowds were never going to be the same size), and twisting the knife after last night's stoushy Auckland Council meeting over approving more funding.
He was pleased the council had decided to "do more" to provide for the public during the tournament.
"We are, though, two-thirds of the way through the tournament and the fact that Auckland Council is at this stage voting on the casting vote of the mayor to put some more resource into the public entertainment space just reinforces the need for the Government to have acted speedily and with certainty at the beginning of the tournament, which is what we did," he said.
There had been "a fair bit of activity in the news media" after the opening night of the tournament on September 9. Stories emerged about overloaded trains, cancelled ferries and people trapped in the waterfront crowds.
"Some shortcomings were identified and people asked who was going to take responsibility to fix them and I said that the Government would and that the Government would pay to fix those short-comings. That is what we did," McCully said.
"Having been there on each of the last few weekends, not to have closed Quay St each of those weekends would have been to invite exactly the same sort of problems that we saw reported on opening night.
"I'm absolutely adamant we've done the right thing there."
Joel Cayford notes a prime reason for the opening night chaos.
Planning is everything when it comes to managing crowds at events.
200,000 people plus attend Christmas events and others of similar size on the Domain. They come from far and wide. But they come. Those events last a good long time. Some might have a fireworks display but it's just a part of a several hours of entertainment, and people come gradually, throughout the evening, and some go before the big bang. Still had a good time.
Those in charge of Rugby World Cup festivities in Auckland made the mistake of emphasising one specific event which required people to be at the waterfront at a very specific time. This was the fireworks display. 15 minutes. And it was heavily promoted. It was a beautiful night. Everyone came. They demanded transport. Demand exceeded peak. Gridlock. Q.E.D.
A repeat performance is almost guaranteed if the powers that be decide there will be a fireworks display at the end of the RWC tournament that you can only see from the Waterfront, and that you see best from the VIP platform at the end of Queens Wharf.