I can't recall the last time I was in the central city after dark.
My neighbourhood has great shopping and good restaurants and at any time I'm only five minutes from home. Victoria St is a psychological Rubicon – cross that and who knows what might happen?
Reading the reports of crime in the inner city answers that question – venture into Auckland's CBD and chances are it'll be lights out on your night out.
Stats show more than a thousand people have been assaulted in the city centre this year and that there's been a 63 per cent increase in violent crime for the first five months of this year, compared with the same period in 2019. And people who have the misfortune to live or work in the city are absolutely appalled at how this once vibrant area has been degraded recently.
One caller to my radio show who used to live in an apartment in the CBD but moved away because of the anti-social behaviour said once the business owners close their doors for the day, it's like the zombie apocalypse. Dead-eyed creatures come out of the shadows, he said, and take over the city. It was a gruesome depiction but one that was pretty accurate according to the callers and texters who've been on the receiving end of the zombies' violence.
The Police Association's Chris Cahill says one of the main reasons for the sharp escalation in crime in the inner city is the concentration of emergency housing. The students have gone, he says, and the backpackers from overseas aren't here, and the buildings they used to live in now house the homeless.
The demographic has completely changed.
Others also say the concentration of a large number of people in emergency housing has brought a variety of problems. Many of the men and women requiring emergency housing have a range of social issues – that's why they can't find a place to rent. They have their needs met – but no money. They have all the time in the world – but nothing to do. And that causes problems.
A number of female callers said they didn't feel safe walking around the streets, even during their lunch breaks in the middle of the day, because of the aggressive standover tactics adopted by beggars, and because of the volatile behaviour of some of the people they encountered in the streets.
A lot of people were calling for a greater and more visible police presence in the CBD and history shows that certainly makes a difference. However, Inspector Gary Davey, the Auckland central area commander, would probably be hard-pressed to find more officers given that he has eight off work at the moment as a result of concussion injuries sustained during the course of their duties.
It's not just those in emergency housing who are to blame – people who are looking for trouble know exactly where to find it and the anarchic Wild West feel of the inner city attracts yobs from all over the metropolis.
Anyone who has the misfortune to live and work in the inner city is struggling to understand how Auckland managed to achieve the accolade of the World's Most Liveable City.
The Economic Intelligence Unit ranks 140 cities every year based on stability, infrastructure, education and access to healthcare and last year, thanks to this country's response to Covid-19, Auckland got the top spot.
I'd love to see the judges take a walk through Queen St and K Road on any given Sunday morning and come up with the same decision.