David Willmott is standing for Auckland mayor in the 2010 local body elections. He provided this statement:
Auckland and New Zealand are at a critical juncture. We are unsustainably consuming more resources - including rates and taxes - than we create. We are borrowing $250 million per week, much of it to offset the killing of Auckland's productivity and jobs by excessive, diversionary and wasteful (local) government interferences.
To avoid another 1984 collapse (or worse Iceland, Russia, Rhodesia), we must reduce spending while increasing productivity. That means no more anti-economic "lolly" projects until we "get back into black", and THAT means (i) postponement of extraordinarily-expensive (per user) rail transit (maximum real potential patronage? about 0.3% of total daily trips!) in favour of buses on multi-purpose road-lanes, (ii) surface roads replace dangerous, commercially-restrictive "Demand Management" (restriction) tunnels costing about eight times more, (iii) affordable traditional-density timber housing on inexpensively-developed peri-urban farmlands INSTEAD OF high-cost, high energy-content concrete chicken coops attempting to re-centralise (and congest) the city against massive countervailing forces.
Just one such force? The overwhelming advantages for most jobs to be located where workers and customers actually live, with only top-end regional specialists best located downtown. Automobilisation has enabled this, and the dispersed congestion and competition for market share which results in best behaviour employers and suppliers, and much shorter trips to access most daily wants and needs. Post-war, 50% of urban employment was downtown; today it is 10% and still falling. Rail transit is better suited to much longer trips than are needed to access the local mall - and check out another mall, attend the gym, pick up the kids and throw a barbie in the boot, all in one circuit. Try that by any form -more likely, successive forms - of public transport! It just can't compete, and is going the way of the horses which preceded it, in favour of privately-owned shuttles and subsidised taxis for the disabled. Its hey-day is over, recognised by all except foolish would-be social engineers wanting to use it as a tool in their creation of a monumental aesthetics-based "designer city".
Transit advocates claim energy savings; as big a self-serving myth as they get. Rail transit especially uses several times as much energy per person-km actually delivered, day-long, as cars. Buses are comparable, but restrictive routeing and time-tabling, inherent discomforts and inconveniences, and irremediably uncompetitve travel times, restrict their use to about 4% of total urban travel today. Auckland is irretrievably an automobilised city, to our immense advantage, with ever-greater fuel-efficiencies and safety factors in store. Any major and sustained energy shortage will close down New Zealand, not just its cars.
It is time to get real : too many "justifications" for straight-jacketing and imploding development are self-serving myths and fancies. America enables comparison of such cities against more accommodating traditional expansion cities. Without exception, the former are pumping house prices to unaffordable levels (above six times income) at which their development, building and supplier industries collapse, and commerce and employment stagnate. Meanwhile, expansion cities are still attracting development, jobs, and housing at three times incomes, and attracting the young and enterprising from implosion cities.
The last thing Auckland needs right now is further loss of youthful kiwi talent and energy, commerce, and savings to overseas destinations. The youngsters in particular are our very future, yet all we offer is a sustainably stagnating over-priced economy.
I stand for Mayor because other candidates are not about to reverse our decline, as I consider essential for Auckland to regain vibrancy and a progressively prosperous future. I know urban development and inter-accessibility inside out, am economically-driven, and can face down the monopolistically-empowered symbiotic enviro-planning industry, which is today converting New Zealand into a backwater of the southwest Pacific. My education in civil engineering, town planning, resource management, economics, philosophy, and management, coupled with experience designing and managing major projects, and a lifetime of public service, including many leadershop roles, renders me unusually suited to the task of reversing Auckland's current decline. If that's what you want, sustaining our future is my whole purpose.