1 Jul 2014

Aucklanders 'more proud' of the city

10:20 am on 1 July 2014

Auckland has come of age and is characterised by a new-found optimism and confidence, according to a report by a consulting company.

Its conclusion is based on 50 interviews with influential Aucklanders and a survey of 973 people who live in the city and read publications by Bauer Media such as the New Zealand Listener, Fashion Quarterly, and celebrity gossip magazine New Weekly.

Report author James Hurman, head of innovation consultancy Previously Unavailable, said the idea for the report was sparked by a conversation with high profile local restaurateur Al Brown.

"We were both talking about how excited we were about Auckland, and I came away from that really inspired to try and sort of figure out what we're becoming," he said.

Other interviewees were media personality Pippa Wetzell, the Icebreaker chief executive Rob Fyfe, and the Auckland mayor Len Brown.

Auckland has newfound optimism, according to the report.

Auckland has newfound optimism, according to the report. Photo: PHOTO NZ

In the report's survey, 47 percent of those asked said they were more proud of Auckland compared to a decade years ago and 32 percent said they were as proud. Just over 20 percent said they were less proud.

Salvation Army social policy analyst Alan Johnson said for those in the outer suburbs of Auckland, the situation was not as rosy as the report suggested .

"It's clear that the hip people, the people who've got lots of money are doing well in Auckland, and we can see that down in the Viaduct and in Wynyard Quarter and places like that," he said.

"But if you go out into the outer suburbs, life's not so sweet. And I just wish the people who claimed all these things would look around a bit more."

Mr Johnson said there were increasing numbers of homeless, and in South Auckland hundreds of unemployed young people hang out in the street during the day. For them, he said, the optimism outlined in the report simply isn't there.

Mr Hurman said it was in no way an all-encompassing report on the condition of Auckland, but his survey results showed the city's coming of age was something being experienced by people from all walks of life.

"It really focuses on the good things - and that's not to marginalise or ignore the issues we have in our city," he said.

"Like any city we've got issues with income disparity, inflated house prices, transport and all of these things we know exist. This report's much more about saying we feel much better about our city, and what's driving that, what's causing that."

Mayor Len Brown agreed with the basic findings and said that while the city was not without its troubles, it had got its mojo back.

"This is not the perfect city - we have challenges ... this is why as a council we're focused on the Southern Initiative," he said. The initiative is designed to improve educational achievement, job growth and housing and social conditions in South Auckland.

"We know we've got things to do, but the journey that we're on is a positive journey."