There is one thing that would make a huge difference right now to drive our post-Covid success and it's free: attitude. We need to back ourselves and get really good at making things happen.
Here are some things that get talked about a lot and what I would do about them.
Let's bring back vibrancy. Events and festivals have proven through Covid to be a successful way to support our artists and musicians and bring people out when restrictions are eased. Pasifika is a great example - it brought crowds and a wonderful vibe to the central city this weekend and will bring the cultural celebration to other areas in the coming weeks.
The night-time economy can also ignite our city. Prior to Covid, it was worth around $1 billion per annum across the region and it's not just about bars and nightlife. It supports arts, entertainment and hospitality, provides shift workers with meals and gyms when they finish work, and creates safer spaces with more people out and about.
I love the idea of a night mayor, which cities like Amsterdam have appointed to recognise that different policies are needed to support trading at night and ensure transport, lighting and safety needs are met.
Let's support local. As well as focusing on high-growth technology and creative sectors, we must support our diverse food, beverage, manufacturing and other local businesses and essential service providers. Taking action to attract and retain talent is urgent. I'd also like to see more local decision making to meet local community needs.
Let's get excited about a vision and make it happen. Our waterfront is one of the best assets of our region. While not a priority right now for many people struggling to make ends meet, it could be even better if we bring an iconic landmark to reality on the land occupied by the port. This did wonders for Bilbao and it's hard to imagine Sydney without the Opera House. I'd love to see people get excited about the potential and get in behind a vision for this area.
In the meantime, we need to extract maximum value from Ports of Auckland and set a time limit – I'd give 10 years – to have a viable alternative for the port in place. The land must remain in public ownership and deliver a much higher return for Aucklanders.
Let's deal with transport and congestion. We have to solve transport and move away from gold-plated solutions that take forever and emulate the success of the northern busway. This has got people out of cars because it's reliable, regular and gets you where you need to go. Our transport plans must take account of technology and Covid trends as well as the layout of our region. Great cities invest in both public transport and roads. If we end up in electric and driverless vehicles, using demand apps with pickup and dropoff services, this will need roads. Innovative freight and logistics are vital too.
I'd like to see a real focus on reducing congestion, with targets set and monitored. We need improvements to congested intersections on arterial routes, traffic light phasing, and more use of dynamic lanes and clearways, to improve the flow of busy roads at busy times.
And let's get kids back on their bikes and walking to school. A fund sourced from the existing cycling budget should focus on smaller projects that make areas around schools safer.
Let's tackle crime. After two years of Covid emergency actions, Auckland needs concerted action on crime and antisocial behaviour. Illegal activity should not be tolerated, whether violent crime, theft or drug-taking and drinking in public spaces and there need to be consequences for intimidating behaviour.
While this needs action from central government, as mayor it's vital to stand up for our region to get our fair share of resources – police, addiction and mental health services, and better management of emergency housing, with wrap-around services. People shouldn't need to beg on the street and I'd like to see a successful work experience programme that is operating in the central city rolled out across the region.
Let's focus on housing and Infrastructure. We need a different way of planning and funding large infrastructure, which will change how we work with central government. Locally, I'd like to see red tape reduced and consents accelerated. Some developers are hearing on the last day that their consent is not approved. This delay costs time and money.
In the city centre, a strong heart that provides a hub for civic, cultural, educational, entertainment and commercial activity will complement a strong region. It needs to be safe with a permanent police presence and easy to get to for everyone, not just those lucky enough to live within walking or cycling distance, or on a good bus route.
Read the other candidates' views:
• Wayne Brown: Fixing up downtown means finishing what we've started
• Leo Molloy: Auckland got lost because it didn't know where it was going
• Gary Brown: Ideas aplenty to kickstart the city
• Craig Lord: We have changed and Auckland needs to change as well
• Efeso Collins: Bringing hope back will revitalise Auckland
• Ted Johnston: A competent and effective council with a wise leader
• John Lehmann: Let's reconnect Auckland Council, the ratepayers, and the public
• Michael Morris: A revitalised Auckland for all inhabitants, great and small
Businesses need customers and staff to get back on their feet, with the public sector leading the way in bringing workers and international students back and increasing migration.
Buildings that are not in high demand could be reimagined. Unused spaces could be reoccupied with residents, with a primary and secondary school to support families and new creative tenants who may not usually be able to afford a city-centre location, along with more recreation and green space.
Business and investment attraction is vital.
We can reach our potential as a region with a can-do attitude to support local, deliver an iconic landmark to attract visitors and a determination to address perennial issues like transport.
Bring on the recovery.
• Viv Beck is chief executive of Heart of the City and an Auckland mayoral candidate.