Auckland city Mayor, Len Brown spoke to Humm FM in an interview by our producer, Shalen Shandil. He was candid and spoke on a variety of issues relating to Auckland including the Rugby World Cup. Here are some excerpts of the interview. For the full interview, please visit our Hummcast link on our website:
SHALEN: Auckland is a very diverse environment where you have many ethnicities living here. What is the council doing about diversification and what are the things you have done to encourage different communities that exist in Auckland?
LEN BROWN: I think the primary reason why I was selected the first mayor for all of Auckland was I really strongly promoted as my first leadership value – inclusiveness. I know that there are 200 different ethnic cultures and communities in our city from right around the world and that number is increasing so I keep hard at making Auckland a successful class as leveraging of the reasonably tolerant nature of our society and working to ensure that people of different cultures, creeds, races and religions get on well, accept and embrace each other and use the energy from their huge multi-cultural diversity to repower up our economy and to ensure that we have very vibrant social existence around our events, the way through which we express ourselves artistically, culturally and in a sporting sense. That was a part of my upbringing in Otara which is a very multi-cultural community with very strong base in Maori and Pacific community to be particular and of course through my time as the mayor of Manukau.
Now what we have done in this first council is that establish an ethnic advisory board which consists of members from right across the ethnic divide in our city and they are working with me and with our council, local boards to advise us and to give us their very best view and work with us to ensure that we really reach out and encourage that sense of inclusiveness – no one’s left behind and everyone is embraced as a part of our city.
SHALEN: Rugby World Cup had some concerns in the transportation system on the opening day. Is the mayor happy with what happened with the Rugby World Cup?
LEN BROWN: I was so proud of the city really, in a way in which everyone in Auckland and of course in New Zealand embraced the world cup and was so welcoming and such great hosts to those people who came from overseas and we (Auckland) have never looked better. We scrubbed the city up, we got rid of the tagging, everyone got into the townships we took on and adopted second teams – the Tongans absolutely took over the show and really kicked it off beautifully. So as a multi-cultural city and as a city that’s really yearning to become the world’s most liveable city and a great destination for international visitors, we did a fabulous job.
When you don’t invest in public transport for 40-50 years and you have got very old stock, you are going to have the potential of problems and we had massive numbers of people. I asked them to come down to the waterfront and I asked them to get involved with the world cup which they did in huge numbers – it was fabulous. That was very much a blitz on what was otherwise a fabulous world cup and of course the All Blacks winning as great and then to finish it all off with the parade that we organised in about 12 hours’ time and had about 200,000 people. I just think that what it reflects is that Aucklanders are really up for change – they are excited about the future of the city and everyone said to me, “So Len, what’s next?”.
SHALEN: What is the major issue for Auckland?
LEN BROWN: Inclusiveness was the psychological, social reason why I was elected, but in terms of infrastructure and building Auckland - transport is clearly the major. We’ve have tried to build the city on road and I know it hasn’t worked. I am now seriously focussed on re-gearing the city so we get a full integrated transport system – we need rail, bus and ferry to complement our roads and I am doing that. I am spending 50% of my time shifting that paradigm, shifting the argument, getting new projects set up, like:
To really give people a greater choice and I want something like 15-20% of our people using public transport and then I think will have much less pressure on our roads....
- Interview by Shalen Shandil
For the full interview please go to our Humm Cast link: http://hummfm.com/hummcast (Click on Power Talk)