NZ Herald business columnist Brian Gaynor has a good extensive article yesterday about the need to accept that Auckland will continue to grow in size and to ensure that its growth is adequately planned for.

Auckland is at a major crossroads. We can either accept that the city will grow dramatically over the next few decades and plan accordingly or we can do nothing and allow Auckland to become more and more congested and less attractive to live in.

The early signs are that we will take the do-nothing approach as community groups oppose developments that will have a positive impact on the city as a whole. This is unfortunate because international trends clearly indicate that Auckland will experience strong growth even if we don’t develop the facilities to cope with this growth.

We’ve often noted that Auckland does sit at the crossroads at the moment – perhaps more obviously than at any point since the 1950s. We need to decide whether we’re going to be a “real city” or just an overgrown provincial town.

Gaynor touches upon some reasons for why improved technology over the past couple of decades hasn’t (as had been expected in some areas) undermined the benefits of urban living – instead perhaps even adding to the allure of inner-city living and working:

Cities continue to expand even though the general consensus 20 to 30 years ago was that they would stop growing because technology would allow people to work from the beach, skifields or a remote office.

These predictions were totally wrong for a number of reasons.

The first is that our work and social lives have become intertwined.

In the past we went straight home after work, particularly if it was a manual or blue-collar job.

We rarely worked from home or at weekends. Now we go to work and have coffee with friends at 10am, go to the gym at lunchtime and stay in the city for a drink or meal after work. We shop, either real or online, at lunchtime and email and text our friends and families.

The demarcation between work and non-work has become blurred, particularly as we can work from home if we have access to the office through cloud computing.

Cities offer a mix of coffee shops, bars, restaurants, theatres, gyms, sports stadiums, medical facilities, parks and shops that encourages us to work in the city rather than in isolation at home.

In the modern world we are able to mix and match our work and social life and our dress style, which is increasingly similar for both work and social occasions, reflects this.

Twenty years ago the Auckland CBD was dying. The 1987 sharemarket crash had left huge swathes of empty sites when new plans for office buildings didn’t eventuate. Barely anyone lived in the CBD. These days – while still not without its flaws – my general feeling is that the centre of Auckland is in better health than its been for decades. Not just as a place for people to work and shop, but increasingly as a place to live, to visit for events and as the real hub of growing tourist activity.

Gaynor then turns his attention to transport:

Transport is a major issue in Auckland and we spend most of our time arguing whether the city should provide more public transport or more roads and who should pay for these.

There is a clear need for more public transport and better roads and we all have to contribute, even those living in the inner city who don’t use transport.

It is vitally important that there is full connectivity between trains, buses, taxis, roads, and cycling and walking facilities. There is no point in having a train, road, cycling or bus system that ends in a part of the city with no connectivity with other transport facilities.

The observation that Auckland needs a properly connected transport system that works for all different modes is consistent with what we’ve been advocating on this site for years. Once a few key roading projects underway at the moment are complete – like the Western Ring Route and upgrades to key bottlenecks like around AMETI – then we’ll have the roading side of the equation pretty well sorted out. Time to focus on the other stuff.

Helpfully, he also picks up on the need to focus on improving walkability:

The next and most important feature is the ability to walk from one facility to another. Walkability is one of the most important features of modern urban planning.

Hong Kong has a network of elevated walkways that connect one city block with another and Singapore has a network of underground connections allowing pedestrians to walk between hotels, residential facilities, social meeting places, work and important urban landscapes.

One survey ranks Zurich, Amsterdam, Singapore, Munich and Hong Kong as the best cities in terms of walkability. Melbourne also has excellent walkability in addition to its trams and urban rail system.

Many of the benefits that arise from cities relate to the ability to be in quick face-to-face contact with other people and the ability to ‘bump’ into others frequently. In an inner city area where this is most likely, walkability is a crucial factor to enabling easy connections and maximising the ease of chance encounters and pleasant locations for discussions. Walkability is still something that Auckland does terribly – even/especially in the CBD.

Gaynor finishes by looking to the future – and noting how it’s really in our best interests for Auckland to grow – because it’s such a good wealth generator:

Auckland now accounts for 33.4 per cent of New Zealand’s population compared with just 16.7 per cent in 1950. In the past 60 years Auckland has contributed 46 per cent of the country’s population growth.

The city is projected to have a population of 1,844,000 by 2025 when it will contain 36.8 per cent of the country’s total population. The 2025 projection for Auckland may be on the light side as Statistics NZ believes that Auckland’s population could exceed 1,950,000 by the mid-2020s and 2,100,000 by 2031.

A population of 2,100,000 by 2031 would represent growth of over 50 per cent since 2010. We shouldn’t be surprised by this as Auckland’s population surged by 68 per cent between 1990 and 2010 while New Zealand’s overall population increased by 31 per cent over the same period.

One of the main road blocks towards planning for the future is the unwillingness of a large percentage of Aucklanders to accept that their city will continue to grow and the need for more and more infrastructure to cater for this growth.

Submissions to the city council, and letters to the editor, continue to promote policies that would stop people from moving to Auckland or encourage Aucklanders to move to Otago or Southland.

This is naive because Auckland is a very liveable city and the earnings gap between the country’s largest city and the South Island continues to increase.

For example, Auckland’s median income is now $126 a week higher than Otago and $163 a week greater than Southland compared with $76 and $115 respectively in 2005.

We have to accept that Auckland will continue to experience strong population growth, as will most major urban centres, and the city will be less liveable unless we plan carefully for this growth. 

I certainly think Auckland will be a much more exciting, prosperous and fantastic place to live in with a population of 2.5 million than it is now. Just like Auckland’s a much more exciting, prosperous and fantastic place than it was at 500,000 people or 1 million people.

Overall a really good article.

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  1. The question is not about whether Auckland will grow but how fast. I believe that Auckland is growing uncomfortably fast – especially in relation to the rest of the country and am campaigning for a national Population Strategy linked to a Regional Development Programme. In fact I am just off to the Local Government Conference to debate just that issue – hence brevity of my comment.

    1. Well Graeme I think you should be wary of unintended consequences in any attempts at population manipulation. Anyway what’s your evidence for ‘too fast’? Do you mean for your taste? Who decides what the ideal is? Are you feeling nostalgic for the Auckland of your youth?

      Remember the best way to slow down population growth is to simply make the place as unsuccessful, unproductive, boring, and not worth living and working in as possible… that a good idea?

      Cities are like run away trains; they generally are on the up, stagnating, or in decline; very hard to change direction without massive interventions [wars or huge disasters] for example. Be thankful AKL is in the first group.

      There’s always Detroit.

      Either we put energy into adapting well to what is happening or into imagining some ideal and cooking up schemes to prevent births and the free movement of people, or of course the reverse if these are too successful…… really?

      1. Patrick and others misrepresent my position on population growth:

        Firstly: Auckland IS the fastest growing urban area in Australasia and WE DO STRUGGLE to cope with that growth – it is not just about my taste. Having been involved in local government for 21 years I am only too painfully aware of the constant growing pains – not only with transport and other hard infrastructure but also the full range of community facilities and programmes. It is not just finding the funds to pay for it all but having the time for meaningful consultation about the best way forward. So yes, I am absolutely convinced that Auckland would be better off if the pace of growth was a bit less frenetic (say 1.4% per annum rather than the 1.6%+ we have been averaging in recent years – peaking at almost 2.5%).

        Secondly: I did not say anything to suggest stopping Auckland growth. In particular, in ten years of talking about this growing issue I have never suggested any kind of forced family planning measures or anything remotely similar. Rather than attempting to curb the natural population increase (births less deaths, which accounts for approximately two thirds of Auckland’s growth), I believe that it is the remaining third of growth arising from migration (internal and external) that could be better managed – not by policy “sticks” (rules and regulations to stop things happening) but rather by use of “carrots” (incentives of various kinds to encourage more growth in other parts of New Zealand.

        Thirdly: I do not need to read books about what is happening elsewhere in New Zealand – I went to the recent Population Association Conference to bone up on the way in which large parts of New Zealand are actually going backwards (reducing economic activity, reducing population) and many others are either “flat-lining” or experiencing very weak growth.

        So my proposal (please re-read what I actually said in my brief post) is for “a national Population Strategy linked to a Regional Development Programme” – shifting some of the economic growth to the regions so that young people are not compelled to leave their home towns or regions and join the “northward drift” to the upper North Island. At the LGNZ Conference we had a powerful and spooky presentation on this devastating trend (exacerbated by a general aging of the population in all regions) which afflicts so much of New Zealand, and which will shortly be underlined by the census results due out in December.

        Following discussion of these issues at our just completed conference LGNZ will work with other interested parties (hopefully including the Government but if necessary without them) to promote a nationwide debate – hopefully leading to some meaningful and equitable policies and programmes to address them, rather than just accepting them as inevitable and unavoidable.

    2. Graeme, I suggest your concerns should not just be over that fact that Auckland is growing so fast but also why but why other centres are not. Perhaps start with this book:

      Your ‘national population’ strategy will be flawed and is the wrong direction to take. What do the young, highly educated, professional people want in a city? A place to socialise, PT, active transport. An urban location. Tauranga could be a fantastic city but while it continues to sprawl, all 1950’s USA like, it will slumber along. Density is imperative.

      1. So some not so young or non-doctorate level educated people do not want the same? 🙂

        Yes, the Tauranga exampe is an interesting one. I maybe wrong, but from vague memory in 2004 the local election result there showed a dislike for a strategy similar to the Auckland Plan to allow for growth to create the future fourth largest city.

        New Zealand does need a debate on the population issue. A national population strategy is something Singapore seems to have looked at and it appears to be quite logical to plan a vision of what a desirable growth rate and skill set would be. New Zealand seems to follow the “Anglo” model – high population growth through immigration at any cost.

        1. And good on Tauranga. With a single stroke they will limit the opportunity for economic development and keep themselves as a ‘retirement city’. I love the area (city close to great surf and not in Aust – bliss) and would live there but for the endless arterials and motorway building with no dense city center. Sprawl to the max.

        2. Yes – it is not pretty. The coastal sprawl will continue massively with the new RONs completion.

          There is always Whangarei or New Plymouth for surf 🙂

        3. “High population growth through immigration at any cost” – this really isn’t the case. And for Auckland at least, 2/3rds of our growth is coming from births minus deaths, and only 1/3rd from immigration. For the rest of NZ, immigration is even less of a factor.

        4. And of that immigration, a large chunk is Kiwis moving from elsewhere to Auckland. Closing the door to foreign immigration, or forcing immigrants to live somewhere other than where they want to, might deal with 20% of the ‘problem’. To stop the other 80% you’d have to tell Aucklanders they can’t have children, or you’d have to tell Kiwis they can’t move around within their own country.

          There are only two countries I know of that have been successful in such policies, China in the first instance and Soviet Russia in the second.

        5. Well all of Eastern Europe until 1989. It worked really well at keeping the growth of the main cities in check – and destroying their economies. It also forced densification on small cities and even small towns that didnt really need it.

          In China the internal migration system is being allowed to break down for exactly the reason that te growing cities are fueling the economy.

        6. Re: Nick R, internal migration is actually going the other way, i.e. Aucklanders are moving to other parts of NZ. That was the case between the 1996-2001 and 2001-2006 censuses, at least – it wasn’t true historically. It will be interesting to see if the trend continues when the 2013 census results come out.

          So what we actually have is a larger degree of international immigration than the basic figure suggests, balanced out in part by domestic emigration. Not major in the scheme of things though: 2,000 people over five years in 1996-2001 and 20,000 between 2001 and 2006.

    3. nothing wrong with a regional development programme, however shouldn’t be linked to stopping Auckland growth. Regional development needed to keep decent jobs and stop population declines in some regions. However many young people leave prosperous regional areas of NZ too. This is because they are too small and quiet. This is exactly what I did. Lots more opportunities in Auckland than smaller centres.
      Stopping Aucklands’s growth will just send lots more overseas. There is a huge NZ diaspora living in predominantly large urban centres all over the world, should be trying to attract these people back with a vibrant urban place that they are used to overseas.

      1. I’ve got no issue with a regional development programme and believe that the regional towns could learn a lot from what people like about cities. Recently I was in Gisborne for a week and the lack of government support for the town was staggering. The problem with the smaller centres is that once people start leaving, the rate take starts to drop and therefore compounds the problems these places face. The wording of “national population strategy” was what had me concerned.

    4. Graeme, I normally agree with you. You’re a sensible, progressive, centre-left politician with a commitment to a diverse and vibrant Auckland. We want the same things. Which is why your “shut the gates on Auckland” comment makes so little sense. People want to live there. In the mid-2000s I was tempted away to Australia, but there’s now enough growth and vibrancy in Auckland to make it worthwhile.

      Auckland is a very different place than it was when my grandparents arrived in the 1950s. It will be very different again by 2050. So long as we keep the things that make it special – open spaces, harbours, forests – we’ll get the best of every world.

  2. Traffic congestion is a symptom of growth. Lots of planning for growth, lots of expenditure and lots of debt. The quickest way to slow down growth is for the cities debt to spiral out of control.

  3. Interesting article. It’s a shame he mentions “community groups oppose developments that will have a positive impact on the city as a whole.” then doesn’t mention a single example…

    Community groups where I live are pushing hard hard for apartment buildings on a (certain street) but Council would rather fill that with car yards and large building supply businesses.

    Wonder if he’ll do a column on that? 😉

    1. But Geoff that same community group wrote silly fearful nonsense about improvement anywhere else in Grey Lynn. Don’t feel so smug about wanting it ‘over there’. Still NIMBYs.

    2. The Grey Lynn residents association has campaigned hard to stop the Unitary Plan from allowing more intense housing development in anywhere in Grey Lynn except for Great North Road. You can read their pro forma submission on the Unitary Plan here:

      This submission frequently includes the line “we support intensification but….”. This line is to NIMBYism what “I’m not racist but…” is to racism.

      What annoys me most about this organisation is that they claim to care about things like sustainability and reducing carbon emissions yet they don’t want any more development or people coming in to ‘their’ neighbourhood. One of the most sustainable things New Zealand can do is allow more people to live in attractive suburbs within walking distance of the city yet these supposed champions of sustainablity vehemently oppose this in Grey Lynn.

      While I’m no fan of big box retail, and admit the bunnings site could be a missed opportunity for residential development, I think this organised kind of NIMBYism and expectation that people have a right to stop any development in ‘their’ neighbourhood is making Auckland less affordable, less sustainable, and less wealthy.

      1. Yes. I live in Grey Lynn, my street has had both apartments and terrace houses added over the last decade. The area has improved considerably, especially in terms of the variety and sophistication of retail and social opportunities now on offer within walking distance. I know that these two things are causally related. The NIMBYs who wrote the above response to the Draft Unitary Plan are hypocrites. They want the advantages of living in an intensely inhabited burb, with all the cafes, bars, Farro Fresh etc, so long as the mild intensification that this requires happens over the hill, up there, somewhere else.

        Furthermore, the old fools don’t realise that one day soon they are going to want to unlock the value in their old houses so will need some to downsize to. Wouldn’t they prefer to have the option of doing that in the neighbourhood that they apparently so love? Or are they so determined to ‘preserve its character’ that they are happy to price themselves out of it.

        The worst aspect of this group is that they think they are high minded heritage campaigners whereas they are just snobs slamming the door shut on new entrants to what should be, used to be, a vibrant and dynamic community. They are starting to act with the entitled and narrow selflessness of the St Mary Bay and Northcote NIMBYs.

        Once were Liberals.

        1. “They want the advantages of living in an intensely inhabited burb, with all the cafes, bars, Farro Fresh etc, so long as the mild intensification that this requires happens ”

          Patrick- you are describing something that has already happened. You live in the hood, you know this.

      2. Wow, you and Patrick have a real hate on about local residents having some democracy.

        Damn those residents who care enough about their neighbourhood to get involved, damn them for insisting on high quality high density residential, with some commercial on the ground floor, on a well served transport route with great sunlight and views to everywhere.

        That’s not going to help fit those extra millionish people in the UP is it? Bless the planners and pollies who side with the caryards and Bunnings.

        Throw that Nimby tag gents, throw it as often as you can eh? Do you really think it helps your cause?

        1. I don’t see what is democratic about locking out new entrants and freezing the city in time to the benefit of those who have already secured their place and the detriment of those who haven’t.

        2. Exactly: I’m in Jack, close the door. Anyway Geoff as someone who was recently wanting to buy in the area and complaining it is too expensive don’t you see the connection between restrictive planning controls and lack of supply and therefore price?

          I know it’s not your intention but by freezing the area into large indivisible sites with single detached houses will lead to monoculture of one socioeconomic group. Just another Parnell or Herne Bay.

        3. I can see both sides of the fence here. Firstly, GNR. GNR is proposed to form part of the North West Busway. To allow a Bunnings, or any other high vehicle use business to be built there (the car yards are ugly but most of the cars just sit there. They would be nice gone though), is setting the busway up for failure before it is built. If council allows the Bunnings proposal to go ahead then they obviously do not believe in their vision of a PT connected city. I know from a recent story that the Waitemata LB are already being stymied by AT about cycle lanes on GNR. This road is a PT road. There is a motorway a mere 100m from this road! And we wonder why people don’t trust councils implicitly?

          Grey Lynn and the DUP. The zoning on the DUP is so haphazard that I’m not surprised the residents kicked up a stink. I’ve been out there a bit lately for work and I’ve made a couple of observations. One: the old bungalows are fantastic and are mostly on 400 sqm (or thereabouts) sections. This places the area on the lower side of medium density to start with. Two: The logical places for intensification are the bus routes or very close to. This has already started on Richmond Road and Surrey Cres and looks great. Being a hilly area, there is plenty of scope for some places to be 3 storey where geography allows but there are also plenty of places where 14m would be a damn shame.

        4. My understanding – and I could be wrong – is that theBunnings proposal is allowed under current planning rules. Based on that I can’t see how the council can go and turn it down despite how bad the proposal might be

        5. @Bryce P

          The logical places for intensification in Grey Lynn are the entire suburb. The entire suburb is within a 30-40 minute walk of the CBD, and the entire suburb is less than a ten minute walk from some of the best bus connections in Auckland.

          The Unitary Plan zoning for Grey Lynn is hardly “haphazard”. It is actually extremely conservative and freezes the current wasteful urban form in time in the vast majority of the suburb. It allows moderate intensification in a few select areas but yet this extremely conservative change is not enough for the local patch protectors.

          Heritage protection is a worthy goal – but in an inner city suburb like Grey Lynn it comes at a high social, environmental, and economic cost in the lost residential development potential. Sure we should protect the best examples of our historic built form, but given the high cost should this protection extend to preventing development from anywhere near every unremarkable 80 year old drafty bungalow?

          I believe the proposed Unitary Plan goes too far in its enshrinement of the existing built form in Grey Lynn, yet groups like the Grey Lynn residents association want to further limit what little intensification is allowed under this moderate plan.

        6. I stand by my use of haphazard. I’ve just been and had a look at the DUP map again and it is haphazard. There are Single House zones along GNR and then mixed SH and MH areas on a single block. Also, having more cars and busier driveways (and you know this will happen) within the traffic calmed areas will make walking and cycling become less appealing. Dryden St is already a high’ish speed rat run of a road, right next to a well used park. Work out your PT nodes and intensify there first.

          I was in Wynyard yesterday. All this talk of walking friendly, multi use zones is fine but there were security guards stopping people from crossing roads when cars come along – on what appears to be a shared space. We have to be careful not to increase density all over the place at the expense of walking and cycling.

          Edit: Looking further, the corner of Garnet and Old Mill Rd is slated for MH. It is on a bus route, has some heritage houses but also quite a few non-heritage houses. This area, including West View Road, would be very suited to lower level THAB mixed retail and housing. This alone relieves pressure to intensify elsewhere.

        7. Geoff:

          a real hate on about local residents having some democracy

          Why are local residents the only people who get to have a say? What happens in Grey Lynn is the business of every Aucklander, and really every New Zealander. It’s particularly important to people who might be future Grey Lynn residents, but aren’t right now.

          I agree with Frank – we should save buildings that are genuinely historic (that is, important pieces of history), and a few particularly good examples of a particular era. But making huge swathes of the city into museums as the Unitary Plan does, comes at far, far too high a cost.

        8. Haphazard is exactly the process that built the Grey Lynn we see now, so if its so great that its worth preserving then surely the process that made it is too. No Victorians would brook the crazy limits to personal and property freedom advocated by the GLRA.

          Those streets are a happy jumble of periods, styles, and personal aspirations in built form. I’m very fond of it too, but we musn’t give in to our bossier tendencies or we will strangle the life out of it.

          How to keep a place vital? It’s important to keep growing the access to these places for all types and incomes and not freeze them into some gentrified emptiness. Weekdays where there’s nothing but the buzz of leaf blowers and the scrape of the hired help. There’s already Remmers, Herne Bay, and the other deracinated burbs for those that want that.

        9. So the US should have a say on how Auckland develops if you carry that argument to it’s end as we are all on the same planet.

        10. Yes Patrick, haphazard is exactly how Grey Lynn got developed and is the reason why, by Auckland standards, it is already at the lower end of medium density. What does need planning is how do we tie intensification into our soon to come RPTP network. In my opinion, randomly having MH zones away from bus routes is contrary to what we need to be doing as it will merely grow motor vehicle use on roads not designed for such these volumes which may very well have negative consequences on residents.

        11. Ah so your theory is based on residency in NZ? What makes that any different from residency in a neighbourhood as opposed to someone from another town,or even suburb, having a say?

        12. Because there is no such thing as “residency in a neighbourhood”. We are free to move around this country of ours as we please.

          Obviously, most people in New Zealand aren’t going to move to Grey Lynn ever, and the majority probably couldn’t care in the slightest what happens there, so I wouldn’t get too worried about hordes of Americans setting up the Grey Lynn Non-Residents Association and lobbying for… whatever it is they might want.

          But the government’s duty is to act in everyone’s interest, whether they own a house and belong to a Residents Against Change And Outsiders Association, or not.

        13. Scene from the Delaware chapter of the international Grey Lynn non-residents association:

          “What do we want?”

          “No more organic coffee or yoga studios in the Surrey Cres shops!”

          “When do we want it?”

          “I don’t know, I’m not sure why I joined this organization, I’ve never even been to New Zealand”

        14. And to point out the futility of the ‘current resident’ vs ‘future resident’ argument, Grey Lynn residents were not the only people to have a say. The option was open to anyone who wanted to submit to the DUP. There was nothing that prohibited someone from Manurewa having a say on how Grey Lynn should develop. I’m happy to discuss specific points in anyone’s submission but, while I may not agree with all that is in the Grey Lynn residents submission, it is also part of the democratic process.

        15. So if the government should have a big say then Auckland, under the current national administration, would be headed for motorways and sprawl. Or would you place your trust in local council? The same ones who want us to spend $70B on a transport network that doesn’t make sense to many people.

        16. Future residents: If you currently live in Manurewa, you may not know that you’re going to move to Grey Lynn. You might not know which suburb you’re going to move to, or if or whether you’re going to move at all. But we know that statistically, a lot of people would like to move there, even if none of the particular people know it yet. Their interests still matter, even if they haven’t chosen to write a dozen Unitary Plan submissions on all the different places they might potentially want to move some day.

          Sometimes, democracy means the representatives of the whole city rejecting the demands of a few people for the good of a whole lot more, even if that majority haven’t been vocal about it.

          Government: I didn’t say that either the government or the council were doing a good job. I was talking about what their duty is, not whether they were fulfilling it. That said, in both cases they do at least seem to accept the principle that they act for everyone, not just whichever parochial busybodies have the most time on their hands.

          I’d like to see the council take it a bit further, and get rid of the pre-1940 demolition control and the historic character zone. If the council can demonstrate why a particular building is truly historic and worth saving, it can at the very least take the trouble to list it individually with a rationale, the way the HPT does.

        17. @ Bryce, note the RMA requires Council to provide for the reasonably foreseeable needs of future generations as part of the plan development process. In that regard, Council has a moral responsibility to represent those people as part of the AUP process as they wont get the opportunity to submit.

  4. I posted the article on fb in the hope that some of my friends would read it. Several of them are of the “But there are no jobs for 1m extra people!! Stupid crazy Len!” variety, even though I point out that much of the growth will be from people having babies (and last I checked, babies don’t need a job). Unfortunately the first comment was someone saying that they would want to move away if the population increased that much. 🙁

    I live in hope that if I put up enough positive, informative posts then it’ll start getting through to people…

    1. Did you also point out that as more people enter the city, they will need more services, that will require more jobs.

      1. I emphasised the internal growth aspect first off since their original belief was that the council was trying to attract 1m extra people. I then try to follow up with the point you make, along with the point that when people have babies they usually take parental/maternity leave. My current job is only possible due to population growth! Haha 😀

      2. The service and manufacturing jobs “multiplier” looks to not be that great going forward though, with growth in online purchases. Multinational retailers are increasingly offering free overseas delivery to achieve volume, think the Herald recently covered this with the Marks & Spencer example and associated Devonport shop closures. Also, a lot of the ethnic supermarkets are now using mostly imported food so corresponding jobs are not created to the same level. Guess a larger Auckland will still need more real estate sharks, lawyers and look at me type cafes and restaurants though.

        1. Frank, Manufacturng is indeed getting gutted, and not just in NZ but everywhere, especially in the OECD. Advanced automation (robots) are killing off what survived globalisation. But service industry and creative (defined broadly) jobs are growing.

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