A press release by Statistics New Zealand today indicates that Auckland’s population will be pretty close to 2 million by 2031 – only 21 years away. Here’s the press release in full:

Auckland home to 38 percent of population in 2031

The Auckland region is projected to account for 60 percent of New Zealand’s population growth between 2006 and 2031, with an increase of 570,000 from 1.37 million to 1.94 million, Statistics New Zealand said today. “The Auckland region would be home to 38 percent of New Zealand’s population in 2031, compared with 33 percent in 2006,” Population Statistics manager Denise McGregor said. Natural increase (births minus deaths) is projected to account for almost two-thirds of the population growth, with the remainder due to net migration gains.

Of New Zealand’s 73 territorial authority areas, 44 are projected to have more people in 2031 than in 2006. However, population growth will generally slow over the projection period because of the narrowing gap between births and deaths. The highest growth rates between 2006 and 2031 are expected in Queenstown-Lakes district (an average of 2.2 percent a year) and Selwyn district (2.0 percent). Manukau city and Rodney district (1.7 percent), Waimakariri district (1.6 percent), Tauranga city (1.5 percent) and Franklin district (1.4 percent), are also projected to experience relatively high population growth.

All territorial authority areas will have more older people in the future. In 2031, 34 areas will have more than double the number of people aged 65 years and over, than in 2006. Selwyn district is projected to be home to almost four times the number of people aged 65 years and over in 2031, than in 2006, while Queenstown-Lakes will be home to over three times. Nationally, the number of older people (those aged 65 years and over) is projected to double between 2006 and 2031. “The increase in older people is due to higher life expectancy, accentuated by the baby boomers born during the 1950s and 1960s entering these ages,” Mrs McGregor said.

Somewhat hilariously, the New Zealand Herald website is reporting that by 2031 60% of all New Zealanders will be living in Auckland. Ummm…. no, that’s 60% of the country’s population growth between now and 2031 will be in Auckland.

Now one could suggest that as 60% of the country’s population growth will be in Auckland over the next 21 years, perhaps 60% of the transport spending in the country on new infrastructure should also be in Auckland. After all, one doesn’t really need to widen roads or build new railway lines in places whose population isn’t getting any larger you would think. Generally Auckland has struggled to keep up with its population growth in terms of providing infrastructure – particularly during the 1980s and 1990s when it seems like not much at all was built (maybe our political thinking at the time was hoping “the market” would come along and build it for us?)

One would think that by 2031 we would need to have built the CBD Rail Tunnel, Rail to the Airport, some sort of Howick/Botany Line, perhaps rail to the North Shore and a whole pile of other important transport projects.  I tend to think that if Auckland’s population can grow to 2 million well, then a city of that size is perhaps a bit more useful than where we are now. I can’t help but feel that Auckland is a slightly annoying size at the moment: big enough to suffer many of the problems of a larger city such as congestion, but too small to be able to fund projects necessary to do something about it.

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  1. I think the bottom line is something has to give and when that Southern motorway becomes a near permanent parking lot and Oil is skyrocketing we will win and comfortably, just be great if we can get a head start now…

  2. Yup, and even if David Bennet & Steven Joyce are right about electric cars being the best thing since sliced bread, and saving us from peak oil, that won’t stop the southern motorway from becoming a parking lot.

  3. I’m starting to have an irrational reaction to the electric car debate, usually involving the desire to throw and smash things…

  4. 2030 does not sound like a long time to me. Perhaps we can cover Remeura with 6-8 storey apartment blocks. Or amybe some Gold Coast style apartments in Omaha. If we are going to have open slather development why not do it properly?

  5. 2030 does not sound like a long time to me. Perhaps we can cover Remeura with 6-8 storey apartment blocks.

    That would be a hilarious result of some ****head lawyers managing to throw out the heritage protection rules because it prevents them from bowling over their old villas 😉

  6. I can just see it now – Auckland 2031 with 2 million inhabitants. We’ll have tacky Mcmansions all the way up to Puhoi. Chronic gridlock in every direction we’ll have the WRR, holiday highway and no doubt the eastern corridor, petrol will be $6 a litre and dipshit politicians will still be debating “if rail will really work in Auckland” or if it’s fair for motorists to pay for public transport. Can’t wait.

  7. Neither can I. I live in the inner city, but not at a motorway, so if they screw it all up, at least I won’t have to bear most of the damage.

  8. I guess that is the most negative outcome possible but given the history of Auckland’s development and the continuing myopic ideological pigheadedness of some of our politicians it’s far from the least likely.

    “@Cam, after the annoucement in Chch, in your scenario I shall be living there…” Yep so will i if that’s what happens however i do wonder if when requests for funding the new plans are put to central government they turn around (Joyce has already attempted to dampen down talk of light rail expansion in CHCH) and decide and royal commision into Christchurch governance is nessasary. This will be followed by the setting up of a new CHCH super council which will “add efficiencies”, “remove duplications” and “streamline decision making”, a new transport COO will be set up as part of this reporting directly to the Minister of Transport and they will decide the city need to take a different direction with it’s transport policy. Or am i being too much of a cynical consipracy theorist?

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