Is Auck­land re­ally viewed as a live­able city?

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - JOSH FA­GAN

The su­per city is touted as one of the most ‘live­able’ in the world by Auck­land Coun­cil, which prides its rank­ing on live­abil­ity lists as a sign of suc­cess.

The Econ­o­mist In­tel­li­gence Unit Global Live­abil­ity Rank­ings has Auck­land eighth in the world, up one spot from last year. But, as Auck­lan­ders face the up­com­ing lo­cal body elec­tions and the chance for their say on how they feel about those run­ning the city, does this re­flect the re­al­ity of liv­ing in the city And should we care about the re­sults?

Auck­land Coun­cil’s own re­search into live­abil­ity rank­ings sug­gests the an­swers are no and prob­a­bly not. It says the re­ports are good for po­lit­i­cal sound­bites but not much else. And ur­ban plan­ning ex­perts say the sur­vey re­sults are aimed at multi­na­tional busi­nesses so they’re re­ally only use­ful if you’re look­ing to move over­seas for a job earn­ing $250,000 or more.

But out­go­ing mayor Len Brown is a lit­tle more bullish. He says Auck­land is ‘‘un­beat­able’’ when it comes to most mea­sure­ments and is poised to take top spot in ‘‘two to four years’’.

‘‘Look I al­ready think it is (the world’s most live­able city),’’ he says. ’’Some of those great old cities are tagged out, they’ve got a lot of graf­fiti and they just don’t look well kept at all. ‘‘They’ve got a lot of his­tory, a lot of tra­di­tion, the ur­ban form is quite beau­ti­ful, they’ve got good trans­port but in terms of the look and the feel of pride it’s miss­ing. Whereas we’ve got high lev­els of pride in our city, the place is re­ally tidy.’’

Phil Goff is a bit more cau­tious. The may­oral can­di­date says the ti­tle won’t mean much if peo­ple can’t af­ford to live in the city. And Goff’s com­peti­tors are even more di­vided, with some sup­port­ing the goal of be­ing the world’s most live­able city and oth­ers dis­miss­ing it as ‘‘deeply im­moral’’ (John Palino) and ‘‘a sick joke’’ (Penny Bright).

Goff says de­spite the high rank­ings, he thinks Auck­land is strug­gling to be gen­uinely live­able be­cause it’s held back by the two over­bear­ing is­sues of trans­port and hous­ing. ‘‘The sur­veys are sim­ply an in­di­ca­tor of how we’re seen from the out­side,’’ he says. ‘‘The most im­por­tant thing is what New Zealan­ders feel, what Auck­lan­ders think about the city they live in.’’

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