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The state of the city. Benchmarking Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s international performance

Committee for Auckland, Deloitte, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, The Business of Cities
Committee for Auckland, Deloitte, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited
Publication date:  
Environment ,Economy

From the Executive summary:

...what is Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s place in the world?

Benchmarking Auckland in an international perspective offers an additional view on this question. This paper gauges how Auckland is doing via a close look at its performance among a group of 10 international cities of broadly comparable size, location and liveable reputation – including Brisbane, Copenhagen and Vancouver.

The pillars and principles upon which cities are now appraised bring the state of Auckland in 2023 into a fresh focus.

For those who access them, Auckland retains many of its easy-going lifestyle advantages. New and existing residents tend to be more satisfied with the quality, pace and balance of life and work than in other cities. The perceptions and performance of Auckland are still high in relation to its natural environment, low pollution, and friendliness. These factors breed an abiding international appetite to visit Auckland.

Auckland is also making more steps than others to translate its accumulated diversity into a fairer city. The city is one of the most ethnically diverse in the world. Although there is a long way to go, it has made more moves than many towards more equal gender outcomes and to begin closing the economic, social and skills gaps for Māori and Pacific peoples. Auckland’s indigenous people and
culture emerges as a distinctive asset that offers opportunities for a resilient future.

Yet big challenges remain. Auckland’s constraints are holding the city back, especially on the pillars of Opportunity, Innovation and Knowledge.

The threats to liveability have become more obvious. Concerns about housing affordability and safety have become chronic. The city is falling behind in terms of vibrancy and international recognition. Through the other side of the pandemic Auckland has witnessed a faster shift back to the car than other cities, and with it worse congestion. With slow delivery of infrastructure and the benefits from completed projects yet to register, connectivity is a clear deficit.

Auckland also risks getting stuck in an economy that fails to deliver the promise of broad-based prosperity. The city has strong clusters of highly paid technology jobs but productivity and wages overall are lower than most comparable cities. Access to good jobs is uneven. Skills supply is further behind demand in advanced sectors. And in the global technology innovation race, there is a bigger challenge attracting business investment and commercialising ideas. ...


The drivers of city performance internationally make it clear that if Auckland is to improve its position there is a need for greater focus on:

01. Consistent infrastructure investment and credible plans to deliver in order to service Auckland’s growth. Reducing the city’s transport deficit is a multi-cycle effort that relies on reliable and responsive project funding, long-term planning and land acquisition, and stronger Auckland-specific co-ordination and commitments with national government.

02. Collaborative working to bring forward a network of quality and distinctive places.

The combined capability of Auckland’s private and public leadership can reinvent the city centre and support other locations in different parts of the city to be magnetic, innovative and inclusive. With the right infrastructure and management, these places have the potential to create many more pathways to jobs, opportunities and connections especially for Māori and Pacific peoples.

03. The conditions for attracting more businesses, investment and talent into Auckland’s innovation economy. To support the momentum in the city’s high value industries, Auckland needs strong outreach and visibility in international markets, as well as efficient local infrastructure, planning, and setup costs. Cities that drive more capital and clustering into their competitive industries tend to benefit from economic development arrangements where government and business partner on strategy, resourcing and narrative. ...

Committee for Auckland, Deloitte, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, August 2023