Auckland business boss Victoria Crone has ranked the city's biggest challenges as rates rises, traffic and housing and revealed she will announce next week whether she will stand for mayor.
In her first media interview on major Auckland issues, the Xero managing director was frank on concerns about the city's direction, leadership and its inability to grasp or take advantage of significant technological changes.
Other mayoral candidates to replace Len Brown include senior Labour MP Phil Goff, Orakei Local Board member Mark Thomas, Stephen Berry and Penny Bright.
Crone has so far been coy about a political career but yesterday spoke frankly from her Xero office in Parnell.
"There are multiple issues for Auckland's citizens: rates increases, traffic in terms of congestion and public transport, and housing affordability. I think the public is very dissatisfied with the level of rate increases. I don't feel the city has used technology or innovation to solve some of its major problems," she said, referring to remote workplaces, which she said was a major global trend.
"We can be setting up trials and programmes between the public and private enterprise."
She also wants Auckland to examine driverless buses and car technology to ease road congestion.
"International research shows you can shift [traffic] volumes 50 to 100 times faster with driverless vehicles. It's not about saying we're going to solve it tomorrow, but where is the thinking in the next five to 10 years? I'm not sure we're looking strongly at future innovations. I think there's plenty of opportunities," she said.
On the controversial port issue, Crone indicated she wanted facilities moved from the CBD. "There are two aspects to the port: cars and the port and secondly the question has to be asked of what city has a major port in prime land? It needs a look."
Leadership is also a big concern and she ranked that ahead of the Unitary Plan and the port issue: "A strong leader is able to guide people through those changes," she said, referring to intensification and housing issues.
"I understand the issues around highrise and apartments but I don't think it was that different 50 years ago," she said, referring back to people's concerns then about the city growth rates.
She also opened up somewhat on the political process but refused to say whether she was connected to the Auckland Future ticket.
"It was about eight months ago ... People who know me well say they would love it. People who don't know me well say 'what would she know?' I'm still considering it and I need to be very conscious of Xero shareholders and I have an obligation to them. Next week, I will have made my decision."
Position: Managing director of technology company Xero
Lives: In an Auckland apartment and at Muriwai
Family: Single. Daughters Megan, 15, Mackenzie, 11
Interests: Multisport and triathlon events, kayaking.