Sunday night, after watching the first chapter of the TV series What Next, I dreamed I was reading the Herald of February 7, 2025, in which this report stood out:
At the official civic observance yesterday of Tiriti (formerly Waitangi) Day, the Lord Mayor of Auckland, Sir Philip Goff, thanked newly-elected Prime Minister Simon Bridges for the foresight of his predecessors under Sir William English for holding the referendum in conjunction with the 2020 general election, that extended local and central government terms to four years, and for the 2018 review of Auckland's city governance that restored greater community self-determination through six constituent boroughs, and three independent neighbouring districts.
Sir Philip said the strong voter turnout and support in the local body elections in 2023 which saw not only his own re-election as Lord Mayor of Auckland City, but the public enthusiasm for the new mayors and councils of all six constituent boroughs, was a tribute to the foresight of the Government in 2021 mandating the new system that returned rating, local administrative and planning decisions to the respective borough communities, while leaving to the city council regional decisions relating to genuinely regional issues such as transport, water, the expanded urban boundaries, and major parks.
"We can now truly say we have a Greater Auckland that is practical and acceptable, as well as eminently liveable," said Sir Philip.
The Lord Mayor welcomed the progressive new partnership with iwi. "Nowhere is this better exemplified than the site of this morning's observance, on the forecourt of our new arrivals museum, Nga Tangata - Our People, in the former Shed 10.
"Across these wharves successive waves of ethnicities landed to make up the genuinely multi-cultural society Auckland has happily become.
"I am standing in front of the tableau sculpture depicting Chief Apihai Te Kawau of Ngati Whatua o Orakei welcoming ashore Captain William Hobson in 1840 when Hobson accepted the chief's invitation to make Auckland the capital of the new colony of New Zealand.
"Our decision to bring this Queen's Wharf area under the jurisdiction of Auckland City Council, and with it the adjacent social facilities offered by Iorangi, which we used to know as The Cloud, has confirmed not just the historical significance of this place, but its status as our civic community centre.
"And it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the tremendous positive contribution of Ngati Whatua o Orakei, under its chairman, Sir Ngarimu Blair, to the redevelopment of these eastern shores of our beloved Waitemata Harbour. T
"heir decision, in conjunction with Waikato Tainui and with the co-operation of Auckland City, to take ownership of the lands formerly used as a container port, and then in conjunction with Ports of Dubai to build a modern new container port near Orere Point in the Firth of Thames, has given the north of New Zealand ease of export and import cargoes for the rest of this century and beyond.
"Orere Point is accessible to the fifth generation container vessels that require draught much deeper than was available in the Rangitoto Channel, and the new port is linked to the Tainui inland port at Ruakura.
"Here on the city waterfront where just a few years ago we saw nothing but container cranes and car imports, we now see a new high-rise living and working environment, where families can live, work, shop and socialise in the intervening green parks when they are not swimming off the man-made beaches virtually at their ground floor front doors.
"Most of them have no transport worries, all their daily needs and desires are within easy walking distance.
"Not just a new style of family-friendly living but, as the Borough of Akarana Mayor Mike Lee reminds me, self-sustained by a new source of reasonably-priced rates.
"As cruise ships continue to moor at Queens Wharf and disembark through our city's history in the Nga Tangata building, their first views of our city will be of a modern metropolis that has truly earned its reputation as the world's most liveable."
The Lord Mayor said he was looking forward to officiating in the next few weeks at the opening of the newest major transport portal, linking the Bayswater Causeway to the northern end of the harbour tunnel.
"Why it took us so long to recognise, let alone implement this solution remains a mystery to me, but at least in 2019 we finally finished this causeway between the harbour end of Bayswater Rd and the northern approaches to the harbour bridge.
"It solved the local peninsula's problem by separating access to the central city from traffic to Takapuna and points north but it increased congestion at the North Shore end of State Highway 1. The new tunnel will fix that.
"What all this tells us is that we need to be longer-term, visionary and outside-the-box in our approach to our common problems.
"The new four-year terms for local and central government will help in that regard, as will the decentralisation of local decision making in matters that in the past have been clouded by excessive bureaucracy.
"Practical solutions are more easily found by local people with a better grasp of their local situation. We now seem to have the balance about right," the Lord Mayor concluded.
• Terry Dunleavy MBE is a writer from Hauraki, North Shore.