Is Auckland really viewed as a liveable city?
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.’’