Big enterprises want to have a say in shaping city's future, writes Graeme Hunt.

Enterprises with $6.6 billion in combined assets and employing nearly 32,000 fulltime-equivalent staff have joined forces to help shape the future of the Super City.

They have been brought together by the Committee for Auckland, a not-for-profit private-sector organisation seeking to help make Auckland an "exciting and dynamic place to live".

Known as Auckland Anchors, the enterprises are mainly in the public sector and wedded to Auckland - so called "sticky capital" because of their inability to pack up and leave greater Auckland.

Under section 80 of the Local Government (Auckland Council) Amendment Act 2010, the new Auckland Council is required to "involve" organisations such as Auckland Anchors in the preparation and development of its "spatial plan" - the legislative name for its long-term strategy for growth and development. The council is also required under the act to "secure and maintain" the co-operation of such groups in the implementation of the plan.

Chairman Dr Rick Ede, who is chief executive of Unitec and a member of the Committee for Auckland, says the idea of creating an Anchors group came from the United States where organisations like CEOs for Cities play an important role in reshaping cities.

"No governance organisation has the resources to create a world-class city," he says.

"The Auckland Council cannot be expected to have all the answers."

Ede says Auckland Anchors is non-political and, with the exception of the district health boards, one step removed from Auckland's governance.

"It is about how the council can leverage the resources of these other organisations."

Ede says there are already strong links between the health and tertiary education sectors in Auckland and Unitec has worked with local government to create the combined Unitec and Waitakere City Library in Henderson. He says the Anchors will provide the council with a sounding-board and prospective partners for the Super City's development.

"These organisations are here for the long haul ... [They] are less swayed by short-term objectives than others might be."

The Committee for Auckland says Auckland Anchors make a substantial contribution to the region's GDP, employment, capital investment, purchasing power, research and development and property holdings.

The committee told Super City mayoral candidates the Anchors spent $2.6 billion on staff, had a footprint in the region of 2300 ha, and annually generated turnover of $6.3 billion and invested nearly $680 million in capital spending.

Auckland Anchors, it said, had offered to work in partnership with the new mayor to develop a better Auckland by, among other things, by helping provide region-wide unity by eliminating "friction points" and offering a voice to institutions not directly represented in the new governance structure.

The US' CEOs for Cities organisation says Anchor institutions have special importance in the remaking of a city and special reason to want to be instrumental in shaping its future.

City anchors
* Auckland International Airport
* Ports of Auckland
* University of Auckland
* AUT University
* Unitec
* Massey University
* Manukau Institute of Technology
* Auckland DHB
* New Zealand Defence Force
* Auckland War Memorial Museum
* Waitemata DHB
* Counties Manukau DHB
* Ngati Whatua o Orakei