Recently Auckland Council released an update confirming that the City Centre would indeed reach 45000 residents this year. In 2012 this was not forecast to happen until 2032 & shows the strong demand for the City Centre which Auckland Council are calling a “Renaissance of inner-urban living”.
Other key events have also happened:
- Pedestrian numbers on Queen Street have doubled since 2012 and there’s been a 34 per cent increase in pedestrians across the city centre.
- No increase to car trips despite the rapid growth.
- More people now live in the city centre than travel in by car.
- 30,000 more residents now projected in next 10 years bringing up to 75000, up from 5000 odd in 1996.
- More than 10,000 added to the city centre since 2012 even on the narrowest of CBD definitions. Now more than 100,000 people work there.
This growth is predicted to continue especially now the City Rail Link has been confirmed. The issue now, however, is that not only has the City grown much faster than expected but we are also having a tourism boom at current. This means the City Centre infrastructure specifically the City Centre Masterplan needs to be accelerated to cope with the growth. Hopefully, this will be addressed on the Local Government Level in the 2018 – 2028 LTP (Long Term Plan) Budget discussions that will occur soon.
However, I think a large case is to be made that the Crown should help fund the City Centre Masterplan. Importantly, growth of the City Centre has seen increased Crown Revenue through a higher GST take and increased business activity. Investing in Auckland’s City Centre, enabling more tourism & business growth will help increase this revenue further. Auckland Central now is the biggest tourism earner $2.5b ahead of Clutha-Southland. Tourism is now a bigger export than dairy & and last year the Government earned an extra $400m in GST paid by international visitors. There are many ways in which this could be done which I will go into in the next post.
In the grand scheme of things helping fund the City Centre Masterplan is small fry compared to the size of the Crown’s budget, it is a one off CAPEX & will help increase tourism as well as job & resident growth in the City Centre making us a competitive international centre. But if they came to the party we would really be able to get moving on the Masterplan.