Anika Moa, musician
I am a musician and a mother. I was born in Auckland and lived in Christchurch most of my life so a lot of people think I am a one-eyed Cantabrian, when in all honesty, my heart is in Auckland. I am an Aucklander!
I first moved to the creative musician/actor hub of Grey Lynn and I didn't know this at the time but it was an important move. It had a wonderful supportive energy and I wined and fan geeked with musical royalty. I was in awe of so many talented musicians and it helped guide me to where I am now. Mostly, because it created the scene and then because it was affordable. That brings me to my point -- house prices.
All my friends, including myself, have moved to the 'burbs, meaning that the creative hub is now an uncreative blub. The high cost of renting/buying has pushed all of us out. Way out. Like, to Te Atatu and New Lynn and the likes. No offence. I have lived everywhere in my gypsy life, I like to wander and meet the folks in this country but to come home to my community felt good and warmed the heart and now there is no community so there is no music love.
I wish house prices would miraculously zoom down. For the sake of our art.
Another wish is to have more parks/walkways and things to do for my tamariki!
I have three energetic sons and they need to run for about four hours a day. Outside, but when it rains, which it often does in Auckland, we need something for them to run around inside in. More indoor play areas!
Silo Park is an excellent example of a good outdoor area, Olympic and Myers Parks too. There are some great parks in central Auckland but they are seriously lacking out west where I live.
The thing I love about Auckland is its absolute diversity. Lots of colours, traditions, cultures, food, beaches and heart. Our city is a beautiful one and I am extremely proud to live here. I also would love to own a house on Waiheke if someone could loan me the money . . .
Mai Chen, lawyer
I have lived in the South Island and in Wellington most of my life, but it is clear to me that Auckland will become world-class only when New Zealanders treat Auckland's success like the All Black win on Saturday night. All New Zealanders benefit when Auckland succeeds, because New Zealand and Auckland are inextricably linked. Auckland and the regions do not have to be competitors. One is not mutually exclusive of the other.
When Auckland flourishes, the regions flourish, and when the regions flourish, Auckland flourishes. Auckland is New Zealand's gateway to the world- and it can bring the world to New Zealand (and vice versa) if we support it to do that.
As a country, we need to value and support what differentiates Auckland on the world stage. Auckland may be one of the most super-diverse cities in the world and New Zealand's only "global" city, but it has a uniquely large indigenous Maori population different from New York, Johannesburg or London, for example, which is attractive and interesting to the rest of the world. Auckland is also the biggest Pasifika city in the world.
We need to make Auckland's unique super-diversity work to attract first-rate people, ideas and investment to Auckland and to all of New Zealand; people who can generate wealth for all of us, and deepen our talent pool in sciences and the arts, as well as business. This will grow the number of great jobs, opportunities and experts here so our children don't have to leave to get a great job or to work with experts in their field, and have a real choice to stay.
We need to develop a formal multicultural policy on a bicultural base -- acknowledging that Pakeha and Maori values such as the rule of law, fairness and transparency will be dominant, but recognising the additional benefits of the rich cultures, heritages and values brought to New Zealand by the 44 per cent of Aucklanders and 25 per cent of New Zealanders who were born outside the country.
Finally, we need to continue the Super City concept of joined-up thinking to get major results on housing, transport and infrastructure fast. Many of Auckland's most difficult problems can only be solved by all of the key central and local Government decision-makers in the same room finding the fix, with the shared interest in helping New Zealand go faster.
Len Brown, mayor
We are well on track to making Auckland a world-class city. That's confirmed by your excellent series.
From day one, it's been my vision to make Auckland the world's most liveable city. There's plenty of evidence including examples you have covered such as the Hobsonville development, the housing changes at Tamaki, the way we have transformed our city centre and waterfront, putting high-quality urban design at the heart of new development and, after years of neglect, our building of a single integrated transport system.
We have adopted a bold transport plan which the series confirms is Aucklanders' number one priority. In addition to setting the level of overall investment for the next 10 years, we have agreed to a three-year interim transport levy that will mean we can start work now on projects, including more cycleways and bus lanes, to help keep Auckland moving.
This month, Auckland's rail network went all electric. In the past year, rail patronage is up 22 per cent. That's two and a half million more passengers than in June last year. We will meet the Government's target for funding the City Rail Link three years ahead of schedule.
Now we're developing a transport accord with the Government to finally agree on our programme, timing and delivery of funding. We already have a housing accord. The Special Housing Areas will free up more than 1000ha of land for housing with fast-tracked approvals and consents.
We've created the new agency, Development Auckland, to drive large urban development projects, and have provided financial levers to enable community housing providers to build more affordable homes.
For the first time in the city's history, we have a 30-year plan; a long-term agreed vision to meet the challenges of accommodating an extra million people, providing enough additional land for business and creating 300,000 more jobs against a backdrop of a very high performing economy.
Following the Herald's lively series, I encourage Aucklanders to keep the ideas flowing. Together, we can make Auckland No 1.
Phil Goff, Labour MP
Auckland is a great place to live.
Its beaches, harbours, volcanic cones and regional parks give us a beautiful natural environment. Our size gives us choices and opportunities in jobs, education, and leisure. Ethnic diversity makes Auckland culturally rich and interesting.
People want to live in Auckland. The problem is that transport and housing have lagged behind rapid population growth. Traffic congestion is a critical issue. It causes frustration, pollution, lost leisure time and $1.5 billion a year in lost productivity.
"Government needs to fund rail as it does roads."
We need the City Rail Link urgently to double the capacity of rail. On current rates of growth, Britomart will be congested by 2018. We need more busways, light rail, better provision for cycling and walking. It can't be done out of rates. Government needs to fund rail as it does roads and allow investment to come from a regional fuel tax or motorway charge.
Auckland has a shortfall of over 20,000 houses and each year it gets worse. Demand has driven up house prices and rents so that more and more are excluded from the Kiwi dream of home ownership.
A central and local government and private sector partnership is needed to achieve scale and certainty for the building industry to gear up to build enough houses. We should stop speculators outside New Zealand from causing further inflation in house prices. Auckland will have to move up as well as out. Good urban design and public open space are critical. We should protect our heritage, and our harbour from further port encroachment.
We need more jobs in Auckland and for it to be a learning centre, an event centre, a tourist centre and an innovation hub.
At the heart of all this is good governance, financial responsibility, and ensuring elimination of waste.
We must not allow rates to run out of control or to borrow beyond our means. We need to capture the efficiencies the Super City was set up to achieve to assure the rate-paying public their money is being used wisely.
Sir Peter Leitch, Mad Butcher founder, league fan
Like many Aucklanders, I hate the view from my window -- my car window that is. The traffic is abysmal.
When you drive into the city on a Sunday and it is as bad as driving in the Monday-to-Friday rush hour you know you have a problem. We have to sort out the roads and improve public transport.
And while it might seem predictable someone as sports mad as me identifies the lack of a quality stadium as a problem, it doesn't alter the fact that the absence of such a facility is a problem.
There is no doubt we missed our chance when a waterfront stadium was on offer, and I still believe that is the place for it. To advance it, petty interests have to be set aside. It's not about building a stadium for rugby, or league, but one that can be used by many sports and other events.
"I wish people would take more pride in their surroundings."
And I wish people would take more pride in their surroundings. We can influence that, simply keeping the place clean is something we all could contribute to, and it wouldn't cost anything. Some of the most celebrated cities in the world are dumps compared with our piece of paradise.
Cairo or Auckland, I know which I'd choose.
We have fantastic assets, like Motat, a quality museum, a lively arts scene, and of course all visitors are welcome at Mt Smart to see the Vodafone Warriors play.
Our harbour is superb and Waiheke Island is a crown jewel, although I'd hesitate to say too much because I don't want the place over-run. But the other day I took the Sealink car ferry out, chilled for 40 minutes and arrived at what I consider to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever set foot on. On the other hand, if traffic is not at a standstill, you can drive 30 minutes and be in glorious countryside.
Sure we have a few challenges, but Auckland is a brilliant place I'm proud to call my home.