Mike Hosking's recent article, "Get your hands off my car", on the parking-free Daisy apartments by Okham Residential suggests the council is trying to ban all cars, including his Ferrari, and replace every road with bike lanes. I'll tell you a secret. I love cars, particularly Maseratis, and this couldn't be further from the truth.
Rather than telling people how to live, what we are simply trying to do is respond, facilitate, champion and enable those who want to build a more inclusive and prosperous city with not only choices in transport but choices in housing as well as the number of car parks based on needs and location. We are not being prescriptive at all.
We can't bury our heads about climate change, nor can we avoid or not plan for the resurgence of bike ownership, fewer young people seeking driving licences, and a simple preference for many city dwellers to use convenient car share schemes, Uber or public transport for many everyday trips. It happens elsewhere in the world. Why not in Auckland? How different are we really?
Rather than anti-car, the Daisy development is in fact pro-car because it takes vehicles off the road, builds the patronage for more Public Transport and then frees up the streets for drivers to drive more freely and with less congestion. It's win-win surely?
The Daisy and similar developments that are in planning around the city, are simply a commercially smart and practical response to how many want to live. It's a free market economics in action and you'd think that it would be right up Mike's alley.
Car free or "car-lite" developments are a global trend and developers are responding to a basic need in Auckland for issues like lower cost housing, where a car park can be the difference between affordability and non-affordability. A single car park can add $100k to the price of a property.
Yes, change often brings with it issues that need resolving but there's a palpable momentum gathering pace here in Tamaki Makaurau that's irresponsible to ignore.
Through your columns I'm happy to challenge Mike to join me and try out an e-bike and have a cycle around some of our new cycling infrastructure.
If he's up for more, then I'd also like to take him on a city walk and meet some of the businesses who not only demand a new type of city of us but who are paying for projects that move us towards this new urban mobility agenda. It would be a great chance to chew the fat and get his side of the story. As fathers of young children I'm actually sure we are not that far apart.
Auckland is at a crossroads in its short history. Like an adolescent, it is maturing and changing for the better. It certainly doesn't need to be told how bad it is.
There are bold heroic business men and women who are putting their livelihoods on the line to help build a world class city. What our great city needs and what these heroic and mindset shifting projects need is influential people like Mike to sing from the rooftops about the changes rather than criticise.
As is so often with cities, it seems everyone wants progress but no one wants change. Then once change is delivered and it's sensational (like Wynyard Quarter, the Downtown "shared spaces" or Britomart for instance), everyone says how much they supported the project in the first place.
Human nature perhaps, but we must be careful not to criticise just to satisfy personal desires or elite projection, because if we do our children and their children may inherit the city that we wanted not the city they wanted.
Ask them about the type of city they would want. I bet it will be utterly magical.
* Ludo Campbell-Reid is Urban Design Champion at the Auckland Council.