The Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce has labelled Auckland’s draft plan “800 pages of mishmash.”
In a submission on the draft plan the chamber “strongly recommended” the plan be trimmed down to identify key issues only.
And it also called for partial privatisation of assets.
In its submission the chamber also identified several key projects in the plan that it called “game changers.”
These game changers include establishing an iconic building on the waterfront as well an upgraded cruise terminal and convention centre, an infrastructure investment scheme that would allow the completion of major transport projects and an action continuum to help transform Auckland’s economy and the execution of the Economic Development Strategy.
Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, says the "game changers" are key to the success of the plan for several reasons.
"Those specific game changers were chosen because for Auckland to lift its game to compete with other global cities successfully – i.e. achieve the Auckland Plan vision – we need bold, strong leadership to provide Auckland with world-class infrastructure, a strong Auckland identity and economy, a skilled and responsive workforce and increased innovation and export strength," Mr Barnett says.
The chamber also had concerns that two documents cited in the plan to support its first 10 years had not yet been drawn up. The long-term plan and the unitary plan, which will not be available until early next year.
In its submission the chamber says government funding would be crucial in the funding of large scale projects and that Auckland’s council needs to be proactive in coming up with its own funding solutions in order for the plan to be effective.
"Funding the plan is the conversation we need to have to break the mold of past plans that have gone nowhere because of lack of funding," Mr Barnett says.
One funding scheme the chamber suggested was the council opening up assets, such as the airport, for investment from Auckland’s residence.
“Plainly, many people have lost confidence in the stock market and instead invest in property to create a retirement nest egg. For Aucklanders to have the opportunity to take a stake with Auckland Council in a ‘shared ownership’ arrangement of Auckland assets would be win-win; there would be a return from the investment in the asset, and the satisfaction of seeing progress on critical infrastructure that would not otherwise happen,” from the Auckland chamber of commerce’s submission.
The chamber says the only projects that should be included in the final plan are ones with viable funding strategies.
Another area of concern for the chamber was the amount of property required for anticipated growth had not been adequately assessed.
"Among the most important areas in the property sector that need to be addressed include, ensuring there is enough new serviced land for business and industrial growth, getting the regulatory costs down – development contributions, consent etc – and working on a strategy to get enough new affordable houses built," says Mr Barnett.
The chamber's main points about the final plan were that all major projects should be economically assessed so they can be prioritised and their suitability judged, major “game changers” should be clearly identified and clear strategy should be used so solid ties can be fostered with Auckland businesses.