​Phil Goff’s first year

Oct 9, 2017 | News

Here’s an excerpt from Todd Niall’s Radio NZ piece

The mayor can point to smaller victories. His environmental promise to plant 1,000,000 trees during the term is well underway, as is progress on tackling homelessness.

The council’s years-long work on homelessness led to the mayor launching the Housing First programme jointly with government, which has at last count found permanent homes for 190 people.

Mr Goff’s biggest pieces of work are continuing the lobbying of government to help fund infrastructure for new housing, and for major transport investment.

That work actually began under Len Brown, but the first fruits have been seen on Mr Goff’s watch, with the government contributing to infrastructure from a new fund, and allowing new entities to be created to fund infrastructure without it adding to the council’s debt.

The city’s historic under-building of new housing is the political supertanker which Mr Goff is struggling to alter the course of.

He moved quickly to set up a Mayoral Taskforce on Housing, but in doing so snubbed a separate initiative by well-respected strategist Leonie Freeman, who, with a wide range of industry and community housing groups, continues to work parallel to the mayor’s group on an action plan.

Auckland’s rate of home building continues to rise slowly, but at 7000 completions over the past year, is still only half the 14,000 needed – meaning the shortage worsens.

On the election trail Mr Goff called for council support for more affordable housing developments.

However, the first council project to materialise since his election is a 105-apartment development on Dominion Road, which won’t include any affordable units.

Mr Goff has defended the focus on financial return for this development, saying affordable housing works better in cheaper parts of the city. The community housing sector has publicly taken him to task on this stance.

On transport, the make-up of the next government will directly affect how many of Mr Goff’s (and Auckland’s) wishes may be fulfilled early.

The mayor wants an early start to light rail across the isthmus, and mass transit of some form to the airport. National has moved closer to a start on light rail, while Labour and the Greens have made big promises of a network across the city – and for a regional fuel tax to supplement ratepayers’ contributions.

It took nearly two terms for Auckland’s first regionwide-mayor, Len Brown, to achieve a start on his biggest goal – the downtown rail tunnel City Rail Link.

Here’s the link to the full story.

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