The problems of a burgeoning population are always preferable to the reverse, but that is cold comfort to Aucklanders facing increasing traffic congestion, a shortage of affordable houses and a water supply that partially failed in last month's heavy rain.

These, and the sewers that overflow into drains and close some for the city's beaches after rain, are signs of a city creaking at its seams.

Many a letter to the Herald pleads for Auckland to be "closed" to further immigration until the infrastructure can catch up.

That is a solution that would stack the reverse problems of stagnation.


Life is never static, a place that stops growing soon finds business and jobs contracting, shops closing, vacant lots appearing, people and services drifting away.

Stopping population growth, even if it were possible, would be defeatist.

Auckland's challenge is to step up its housing, roading, public transport and other infrastructure to match the numbers who want to live and work in New Zealand's largest city. It ought not to be too hard.

It takes realistic planning, co-operation between central and local government, machinery and money.

The money should not be a problem. A city with a rapidly increasing population of working age and stratospheric house values ought to be generating all the taxes and rates it needs to finance its capital development.

The problem for Auckland is that the Government takes the taxes and the council takes the rates and they do not always agree on what needs to be built.

Our report today of Auckland under pressure, suggests they need to agree, and fast.