Property editor of the NZ Herald

Auckland growth woes: 'quality problem' - Key

Prime Minister John Key has dismissed Auckland's growth issues as "a sign of success....a quality problem."

Citing housing, immigration, transport and hotel capacity, Key challenged a business audience by asking if they would want the opposite scenario and lack of growth.

Opening the Employers and Manufacturers' Association's new $20 million headquarters in Grafton this morning, Key told more than 100 guests how the issues were an extremely visible display of a city flourishing.

His comments follow a two-week Herald series on Auckland housing issues and strong calls for changes to immigration policy and policy changes to deal with the pressures on the city.

"If you look at the challenges Auckland has at the moment - and you know, they're well documented from housing to transport - they are in a funny kind of way a quality problem to have because what they reflect is that Auckland is doing well.

"You've got net migration not just strong from India, China and Australia but actually net migration from around the country," Key said.

"If you look at cities that are doing badly, yip, they may not have issues on their housing and may not have as much traffic jams - although I will point out last Thursday I was in Te Kuiti in a traffic jam - but the point being, in a way what would we rather have?" Key asked guests.

"And the truth is we would rather be having to deal with the challenges of growth and say 'OK we've got to deal with those issues but gosh they're signs that as a city we're doing incredibly well and actually as a country we're doing incredibly well'," Key said, also citing growth in the information technology, tourism, agricultural and horticultural sectors.

"Yip, dairy prices are weaker but manufacturing has grown 41 months in a row now," Key said, then referred to meeting the Indian president on the weekend at Auckland's Langham hotel.

"These guys running the hotel said they have never had an April in the history of the Langham that's been this busy. You know, these hotels in Auckland now are running at 97 per cent occupancy.

"It's amazing and it's just a sign of success of success as a country. So there's a lot of good things happening out there. We have issues to deal with you're in the right place to do it," Key said, congratulating the EMA on its new premises.

- NZ Herald

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