Hi, we’re Greater Auckland. We’ve been a part of the landscape for over 15 years now. Over that time, we’ve provided informed commentary, evidence-based analysis, and inspiring visions for the future of Tāmaki Makaurau.

You might know us from such hits as:

Or perhaps you’re here for the daily news, insights and discussion? With almost 8000 posts and over 300,000 comments so far, that’s a whole lot of conversations that wouldn’t have happened without our platform.

But did you know that we’ve delivered all of the above on an entirely volunteer basis*?

*A big shout-out to all our volunteers over the years – and huge thanks to Sandfield for pro-bono website support!

To cut to the chase: after a decade and a half of doing it for love, we need your help. If you value our workwe’d love you to chip in to keep Greater Auckland going!

Measuring our impact

Beyond the sheer numbers above, we’re proud of how we’ve positively influenced progress towards a more evidence-based, future-focused, people-centred approach to shaping our city.

It hasn’t happened overnight – but it has happened. We see it not just in the quality and breadth of the conversation, but also in tangible progress toward the three pillars of our vision:

HOW WE LIVE  It’s now much easier to build desperately needed homes in Auckland, thanks to the Unitary Plan and other housing policy reforms. The housing shortage actually declined between the 2018 and 2023 censuses. Yes, there are places where transport has yet to catch up with housing, we’re seeing more new homes rise up in places with convenient access to existing amenities and jobs.

HOW WE MOVE  Auckland’s public transport system is far better than it was 15 years ago. The rail and ferry networks, which are currently undergoing growing pains, are certain to bloom once their upgrades go live – and especially when the transformational City Rail Link opens. New bus networks and integrated fares are improving the viability of our city. And while Auckland’s cycle network is still very much a work-in-progress, there’s lots more of it now than when we started.

HOW WE CONNECT  We’re all witnessing the ongoing transformation of the city centre and many local town centres around Auckland into much more interesting and people-friendly places. We’re also benefiting from long overdue moves to make streets safer for children and everyone else who lives and visits here, and neighbourhoods healthier, more resilient, and better connected.

Challenges persist, of course. But in many ways, Auckland is on the right track. We’re stoked to have played a key part. And as our readers, you’ve been a huge part of this progress as well.

“Chatty, well-informed, and reasoned” prose: that’s what you’re here for, and it’s what put Matt and Greater Auckland at #11 on this 2019 Auckland Power Player list.

This is where you come in!

We need your help to keep things moving in a positive direction. 

We’re optimists, otherwise we wouldn’t be in this advocacy business. But we’re up against real challenges, and some heavily-resourced pushback.

This is a critical moment. In the past few years, it’s begun to feel as if progress has slowed. There’s even a risk we might go backwards. 

Longtime readers will know this isn’t just about a change of government. It’s also due to things like:

  • An unwillingness in our transport agencies to deliver, even with a strong political backing, popular support, and mountains of evidence and examples.
  • A wild degree of scope-creep that’s seen the last government fumble major projects like light rail, the Northern Pathway, NZUP and the Waitemata Harbour Connections; and our current one is about to fall into the same trap with more RoNs.
  • A 2022 shift at Auckland Council, which brought a more reactionary and grumpier tone to the Governing Body, despite the presence of old and new progressive voices.
  • The very real pressures of climate change on our physical infrastructure, available investment, and our very lives. By every measure, our city can’t keep doing things the same old way.

We can’t afford to lose all the progress we’ve made in the past 15 years, to silly distractions and culture wars. And we won’t sit and watch as regressive voices and vested interests undermine efforts to make our neighbourhoods and city centres safer, healthier, more vibrant and people-friendly. We all deserve better.

People in the city, doing city things, in the new public space between a huge new development and refurbished central railway station, enabled by the CRL project. Image: Patrick Reynolds

That’s why we want to step up our efforts, so we can:

  • Protect hard-won recent improvements to safer streets and roads.
  • Hold our transport agencies to account on the undeniable role of transport in climate change, and their obligation to do better.
  • Ensure much-needed housing continues to be built in the parts of the city that people most want to live, with the best access and travel choices.
  • And so much more!

Let’s keep our eyes on the prize, keep telling the stories of what works, and keep talking so we can get to common ground for the greater good.

Matt Lowrie fielding a question from National’s transport spokesperson, Simeon Brown, at a Select Committee in November 2022.

So, here’s what we’re doing

We’re taking steps to ensure our core business – what we do best – can stay sustainable into the future:

  1. We’re formally bringing in more voices to keep the conversation rolling. You may have spotted some updates to our About Us page. We’ve always been a collective enterprise; but in the last decade, our director Matt Lowrie has written over 3600 posts, almost as many as every other contributor combined. Matt also has a full-time job and now has two young children. So it’s only fair, and way more sustainable, if more of us pitch in to keep this site running.
  2. We’d like to keep publishing regular high-quality posts. We know many of you rely on us as a trusted daily read. For a volunteer organisation, this is a huge challenge. Up to now, daily posts have rested on the mammoth efforts of Matt, supplemented by our core community of guest posters. We’re keen to expand our writer base and reach the wider audience we know is out there – and this will require substantial editorial time to pull together.
  3. We want to advocate more actively for our vision. This includes writing submissions, presenting at hearings and select committees, and attending Council meetings, as well as sharing our messages in various forms via mainstream media and social media. There are some very well funded groups arguing against our vision. So our influence depends heavily on our capacity to do this work.
  4. We want to keep producing transformative proposals, like the Congestion Free Network and Regional Rapid Rail, which have shaped the thinking and policies of many different governments and councils in the past decade. This kind of detailed work and strategic vision is vital for challenging status-quo thinking and leading the debate. We’ve achieved a lot so far with pro-bono expertise – with more resources, we can do even more.
  5. We’d like to bring people together IRL. In the past, we’ve organised events and networking meet-ups, and we’d love to be able to do a bit more of that in the future. Again, this is a matter of resources: the more the merrier!

For 15 years, we’ve kept Greater Auckland going thanks to the spare time and goodwill of our highly professional volunteers. To achieve what’s needed now, we have to gear up – and we need you.

A misty moment from the last decade: Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee, flanked by Patrick Reynolds and Matt Lowrie, with a poster of the Congestion-Free Network.

Here’s how you can help

We’re appealing to you, our community, to donate to support our work if you can, and help secure the future of Greater Auckland.

Our success in keeping progress alive depends on having the time and resources to keep publishing quality content, to make submissions and attend hearings, and to produce more policy-shaping visions and plans.

Your generous support will allow our team to keep Greater Auckland influential and  sustainable into the future. By contributing whatever you can, you’ll help us to meet the major challenges to progress in our city and reveal them as the enormous opportunities they truly are.

We have some longtime readers who’ve kindly donated regularly for years – thank you, you know who you are! Now, we have an easy way for others to join them.

Pop over here to make a donation – we’ve made it easier to do and welcome both one-off gifts and recurring payments. Either way, we’re immensely grateful.

Thanks to every one of you for being part of the push for a greater city. And if you have other ideas for supporting the kaupapa, we’d love to hear from you.

(Fun fact: our brand is so strong – and our kaupapa so irresistible – that Auckland Council is currently using ‘An Altogether Greater Auckland’ as its tagline in ads and on buses all over the city. You’re welcome?! )

Do it for them. Image of kids on Nelson St in 2015 by Matt Lowrie.
Signs of progress: buses, trees, wider paths for people, families going places on bikes. Image of Queen St from 2022 by Jolisa Gracewood.
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  1. Done.
    Happy to donate and support good reporting.
    It’s important that Auckland makes good decisions with high benefit to cost ratios.

  2. Thanks for all the work you’ve done, but I’m not clear what donations are going to be spent on. Is the dream to pay all the volunteers, so they can give up their jobs and work full time for GA, buy consultant time, set up an information/campaign centre, or what? Also my bank has just suspended my credit card because a fraudster tried to use it. Is there a way of making a direct transfer to a bank account please?

    1. Yes, our bank account details are
      Account name: Greater Auckland
      Account number: 06 0541 0510679 00

      Note: we’re not a charity so the donation is not tax deductible.

  3. Is it worth it for you to use the substack format as a way of bringing in income?

  4. Happy to donate, so will do later tonight.

    One question I have is the platform that GA uses. I really find the lack of easily accessible mark up and clunky commenting enforced by WordPress a bit limiting.

    TBH, I prefer something like Reddit in which comments can easily be upvoted/downvoted and moderated.

    1. It’s something we’ve debated before but that requires readers who wish to comment to have an account and we felt that having an open forum that anyone can comment on, including folk from government and industry that would prefer to remain anonymous, was preferable.

  5. I’d be happy to contribute the odd piece here and there provided my pieces are unedited and I can keep my identity secret for my own personal safety.

  6. an awful lot of brigading from bad-faith status-quo cagers in the comments going on. Good on the admins for keeping things in check.

    you just know those nutters would be doing everything in their power to silence any transit advocacy and evidence in support of transit, urbanism, and the environment – oh wait, they do in the media and on platforms like X.

    ‘Freeze Peach’ idiots don’t actually want free speech, they want to retain the way things are where they have all the lanes to run over kids on, and the ability to punch down unchallenged on groups they don’t like. ‘Conform or die’ is blatantly the right-wing establishment agenda in pretty much every area.

      1. Absolutely, especially when coming from those who HAVE the majority voice in the media – look at all the anti-walkability, anti-bike, anti-density anti-public transport articles and op-eds in the Herald, RNZ, NewstalkZB, giving priority to those voices and only briefly mentioning pro transit voices almost as an afterthought – even in an antagonistic light.

        The car-biased establishment are a bunch of Dudley Dursleys, complaining about getting 35 presents this year instead of 36.

  7. On the subject of 110kph speed limits and reasonable debate, since that was brought up – my opinion is that 100kph should be the maximum highway speed limit for fuel efficiency and emissions reasons – evidence for this being fuel consumption increases dramatically at speeds higher than 90-100kph. Speed limits 110 and above would therefore increase fuel consumption, and thus vehicle emissions, over a constant journey distance. Hyundai’s own website says this: ‘Driving at 110km/h uses roughly 13% more fuel than driving at 100km/h.’

    With regard to speed bumps and pollution, ScienceDirect runs an article that attributes said pollution to particulate pollution, and links this to drivers speeding up after going over a speed bump. Their conclusion is ‘to install two speed bumps rather than one bump that the drivers would not be motivated to accelerate’. I don’t think anyone would deny that consistent driving is more fuel efficient than accelerating and decelerating/stopping; calming traffic around schools so that drivers go at a lower speed smoothly.

    The main argument I can think of against mine is that time savings would negate the higher fuel consumption of higher speeds, though the UK transport advocacy site 20’s Plenty cite a study by Future Transport with a graph showing optimum fuel efficiency plateauing between 30 and 50kph, and another indicating that in terms of fuel driving at 30kph is cheaper even when factoring in stopping regularly at, say, traffic lights.

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