Auckland is a city that punches above its weight in a country that does the same. Enviably located between two natural harbors and their surrounding hills, New Zealand’s most populous city is shaping itself for growth in the coming decades.
The Auckland region’s population is a diverse melting pot with 59 per cent European, 23 per cent Asian, 11 per cent Maori and the remaining residents identifying themselves as mainly Pacific peoples.
The city invigorated the dockside Wynyard Quarter and Viaduct Basin in preparation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and opened an exemplary new art gallery, kick-starting a renewal program that has brought a modern urban atmosphere to the city. This regeneration was timed to capture the imagination of global knowledge workers seeking a connected life in a smaller city.
Auckland is culturally rich, building on its history by putting Maori tradition at the center of communities and the city’s brand.
The cultural and placemaking of the city has been bolstered by a major planning overhaul for growth and a renewed public investment in metro rail infrastructure that will set Auckland on the path to a stronger global position.
As with most growing cities, Auckland is navigating through some legacies including a highway and land-use system that leads most commuters to use private vehicles, and challenges surrounding housing affordability.
Forecasts to a little beyond 2040 suggest Auckland will be home to more than one third of the country’s population, will the city be able to cope with this growth? The city planning authority believes it will and is committed to making Auckland a special place that is renowned for its lifestyle and environment.
The revised Auckland Plan 2050 sets out how the city will grow over the next 30 years, both in greenfield areas and through more intense development in existing urban areas. The Auckland Unitary Plan is one of the planning instruments that guides how Auckland will meet its residential needs. It sets a direction for a compact model of urban development and quality of growth.
Because of the strong population growth, central and local governments are focusing on the supply and affordability of housing. The Auckland Plan 2050 identifies the need to improve housing availability through several directions, including a quality urban form, accelerating the construction of homes and the provision of quality public spaces.
One of the four key directions in the Auckland Plan 2050 is to provide public spaces and places that are inclusive, accessible and contribute to urban living.
The Auckland Design Manual provides planning guidance in areas such as buildings, parks, streets and neighbourhoods. Auckland also has an Urban Design Panel that reviews significant private and public developments in their early stages.
In recent years, several big transformational projects have contributed to the quality of the public realm. These include harbor edge and street upgrades in the central business district. More improvements in central city spaces in the public realm are also planned. Panuku Development Auckland has the specific role to rejuvenate parts of Auckland with a work program on various neighbourhood centers and other key public spaces such as the Wynyard Quarter.
Throughout the city, Auckland Transport has been building safe cycleways designed to encourage bike riding both for recreation and commuting. Since the first stage of the Nelson Street cycleway, the Lightpath and the Grafton cycleways were completed, and there has been a 46 per cent increase in the morning inbound peak cycle trips around the city center.
Auckland is also known as the City of Sails because of its many opportunities for yachting and boating on the Waitemata and Manukau Harbors and in the Hauraki Gulf. It also has an extensive network of regional parks as well as local open spaces for passive and active recreation. The parks include sanctuaries for New Zealand Indigenous species. Most of the regional parks are on Auckland’s coastal margins and provide opportunities for day and overnight visits.
Many Local Board plans seek to increase and improve open space networks and sports fields, particularly in the high population growth areas.
The quality of Auckland’s natural environment, including its harbor, islands, beaches and green spaces, is central to attracting visitors and permanent migrants. However, that same population growth has put the region under environmental pressure. The Health of Auckland’s Natural Environment in 2015 report recognizes the projected growth will place pressure on the natural environment.
Increased population growth has also resulted in big increases in some school enrollments and has put pressure on other community infrastructure such as health providers and hospitals.
Auckland has some internationally recognized universities, which are well-established in the city and residents have access to polytechnics and private training establishments.
In Auckland a number of initiatives are underway, these include the Tamaki Transformational Program (TTP) and The Southern Initiative (TSI).
The TTP is a 15- to 20-year regeneration initiative focused on three large suburbs in Auckland. It is a joint effort of the council and government through a development company. About 7,500 new homes are planned with associated social infrastructure such as schools, amenities and play spaces.
The TSI has three focus areas:
Raising employment and skills
Family and community health
Promoting entrepreneurship though community-led economic development
It has been described as a world-class, place-based It has been described as a world-class, place-based initiative that combines several innovative approaches to shift outcomes in a community that has experienced some challenging issues for many years.
As a member of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Auckland is committed to a 40 per cent emissions reduction by 2040 (from 1990 levels). The city’s Low Carbon Strategic Action Plan lays out how to achieve this. The vast majority of Auckland's Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are from stationary energy generation and transport.
The Auckland Transport Alignment Project is tackling transport emissions by establishing a low-emission, multimodal transport system for the region, improving cycling and encouraging the proliferation of electric vehicles. This includes a commitment to using only electric buses by 2025 and a zero-emission city center by 2030.
Auckland’s stationary energy emissions are being reduced through fostering distributed renewable generation and energy efficiency requirements across infrastructure and buildings and guided by the Auckland Design Manual. More generally, and to reduce transitional risk, Auckland is helping its people to adopt low-carbon lifestyles. The city is committed to planting one million trees and is about to issue its first green bonds to fund green infrastructure assets and projects.
Demonstrating proactive transparency, Auckland commissioned climate change projections and impacts research for their region to support resilient and sustainable decision-making. Some of the key threats include a 30-centimeter sea level rise by 2050, increased temperature, heat stress, energy demand for cooling, invasive species and increased extremes in rainfall intensity, flow levels, dry and wet seasons, erosion and slope instability.
The long-term Auckland Plan 2050 draws on these findings when it lays out its Development Strategy and includes climate change risks and opportunities. Auckland is at the beginning of this resilience journey and is embracing innovative approaches. However, the urgent and considerable transformation of mobility systems and built form is required to meet the expected challenges in the next 30 years.
Auckland is growing rapidly. In the past few years, the rate of population growth has accelerated, from about 17,000 people each year from 2006 to 2013 to more than 40,000 since 2015, making Auckland the fastest-growing major city in Australasia. During the next 30 years, the city is projected to grow by up to a million people, accounting for 55 per cent of New Zealand’s population growth in the next decade.
Due to its rapid growth and an historic underinvestment in transport infrastructure, Auckland has become increasingly congested. This means longer travel times and reduced journey time reliability, making it more difficult to reach employment, education, healthcare, shopping, recreation and other activities. Easy access to jobs and education is crucial to boosting Auckland’s economic productivity and prosperity, as well as improving the quality of life of its citizens.
The government and Auckland Council agreed in 2016 to a transformative and visionary plan known as the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP). This is a game-changer for Auckland commuters and the first step in easing congestion and allowing Auckland to move freely. In 2018, ATAP was updated to reflect the priorities of the new Labor led Government, including the promotion of light rail and a greater focus on safety and access, assuming plans for an increased fuel tax are approved.
Auckland needs a transport system that provides a genuine choice for people, enables access to opportunities, achieves safety, health and environmental outcomes and underpins economic development. The aspiration must be to ensure it is a world-class city. Auckland’s success is important for its citizens and for the country’s long-term growth and productivity.
Auckland has benefited from a sustained increase in funding for public transport in the past decade or so, including electrification of the metro rail network, major investment in the bus system and most recently, the start of the CAD3.1 billion City Rail Link, which is the largest transport infrastructure project in New Zealand.
While public transport use has tripled since the mid-1990s, the overall demand for travel is outstripping the capacity gains and a further boost in public transport provision is needed. ATAP 2018 outlines the government’s and the Auckland Council’s shared direction for transport in the city. It is a transformative plan that includes accelerating the development of Auckland’s rapid transit network through investment in light rail and new busways.
The draft Transport Agency Investment Proposal also signals the government’s intent to invest in expanding public transport networks to provide increased choice and support a shift away from single-occupancy vehicles towards sustainable modes. For Auckland, new funding is identified for the rapid transit network that forms the backbone of the public transport system. It is recognized that investment in rapid transit will also have a significant impact on shaping urban form and development.
Buses account for more than 70 per cent of public transport boardings. Although the share of public transport trips made by rail and light rail will increase over time, most public transport trips are likely to continue to be made by bus. The ATAP 2018 includes about CAD192 million of investment in a comprehensive bus priority program. This investment will enable whole-of-route priority improvements for the most critical bus routes across Auckland and help realize operational savings through more efficient bus operations and increased ridership and fares.
Ferries make up about seven per cent of public transport ridership in Auckland. They will continue to play an important niche role in the public transport system, particularly in serving locations where travel by sea is much shorter (or in the case of Waiheke Island, the only option) than travel by land. Auckland Transport is in the process of completing a ferry strategy that will guide the long-term approach to developing Auckland's ferry network.
the only option) than travel by land. Auckland Transport is in the process of completing a ferry strategy that will guide the long-term approach to developing Auckland's ferry network.
Increased travel times and poor reliability have a severe impact on the freight industry and the efficient movement of goods and services. Auckland has an important logistics function in the production and distribution of freight to the rest of New Zealand and internationally. Travel delays and poor reliability create substantial costs to businesses that are ultimately borne by all.
Freight in Auckland is expected to grow substantially in the next 30 years, with total freight carried projected to increase from 63 million tons to 109 million tons by 2046, an increase of 72 per cent. Freight kilometers’ traveled are projected to increase by 53 per cent over the same period, with freight kilometers traveled within Auckland projected to rise by 85 per cent.
Analysis undertaken for the Ministry of Transport has found that 87 per cent of the 63 million tons was carried by road. Internal distribution and service trips make up most of the commercial travel within Auckland, with freight moved initially within Auckland before it is sent to its destination. Within Auckland, freight moves primarily on the state highways, motorways and arterial road network. However, a proportion is also moved by rail on the North Island Trunk Railway in conjunction with the inland port operations at Wiri and Westfield.
The key challenge will be to limit the growth in congestion on the freight network, particularly at peak times, and to improve the efficiency of connections to major freight hubs. ATAP 2018 identifies rail infrastructure improvements that would enable more freight to be transported by rail in the future.
Ports of Auckland Limited’s main cargo wharves sit in a sensitive location adjoining Auckland's city center and harbor front. Port expansion and the intensified use of port facilities and the supporting road and rail links can have adverse amenity and environmental effects. Port activities and expansion proposals have attracted significant public concern and debate.
The container port can grow on its current footprint for about 20 years, assuming it continues to benefit from productivity improvements. For the proposed central wharves plan to proceed more wharf capacity is needed.
Many possibilities for the relocation of the freight port outside Auckland have been studied, but no easy solution has been found. Studies are continuing. The cruise ship, distribution and vehicle wholesaling industries generate significant economic benefits for Auckland.
Last year, Auckland Airport handled about 19 million passengers. Much of the passenger growth has happened since 2014, along with a big increase in the number of international airlines using the airport.
The objective of the country’s international air transport policy is to help grow the economy and deliver greater prosperity, security and opportunities for New Zealanders. This will be achieved by seeking opportunities for New Zealand-based and foreign airlines to provide their customers with improved connectivity to the rest of the world, and to facilitate increased trade in goods and services (including tourism).
In 2014, Auckland Airport announced its 30-year vision to build the airport of the future. Implementation of that vision is now underway — more than CAD900,000 is being spent every working day on aeronautical infrastructure to ensure that Auckland Airport can accommodate 40 million passengers and 260,000 flights by 2040.
Walking journeys account for 14 per cent of trips in Auckland but the variable quality and an unsafe environment can be a barrier to increasing the movement of pedestrians.
So far, walking improvements have typically been delivered as part of other investments, including general street upgrades and safety programs, shared spaces investments and CBD pedestrian crossings upgrades. A dedicated walking program would enable a more proactive approach to improvements. Present approaches are generally reactive and constrained by a tiny annual budget of about CAD3.6 million for new footpaths.
Ensuring Auckland street design standards focus on providing safe and attractive facilities for pedestrians is also key to improving walkability. These standards have been updated recently to place greater priority on pedestrians. They now need to be fully integrated into business-as-usual activities, such as road maintenance and renewals, if they are to promote change and create more walkable environments.
The draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport places a higher priority on encouraging walking, including supporting projects previously funded outside transport budgets (e.g., town center upgrades). Further work is needed to understand the financial implications of these changes.
In the past few years, investment in cycling has doubled, from less than CAD18 million in 2013 to about CAD36 million in both 2016 and 2017. Most investment has focused on providing safe and protected cycling infrastructure, which previously only existed along a few corridors in Auckland. Despite this recent increase, Auckland’s safe cycling network is still very undeveloped and will take sustained investment and effort to be completed. A program business case to guide the next 10 years of investment in cycling was approved by Auckland Transport and the NZ Transport Agency last year. The analysis undertaken as part of this work emphasized the need to provide complete networks and improve cycling infrastructure in an area-focused way to achieve the greatest gains. This work fed into developing the ATAP. Overall, about CAD573 million of investment in cycling infrastructure has been included in ATAP.
Historically, Auckland authorities required minimum parking ratios for developments, leading to big expanses of off-street car parking in and around metropolitan and town centers. The strategic direction for parking is set out in the Auckland Plan, the Auckland Unitary Plan, the Regional Public Transport Plan and in Auckland Transport’s (AT) strategic themes. This includes the introduction of maximum car parking ratios in the central city and around town centers.
AT’s objectives for the management and supply of parking in Auckland are to:
Prioritize the safe and efficient movement of people, services and goods on the road network
Facilitate a transformational shift to public transport
Provide an outstanding customer experience at AT-operated on- and off-street facilities
Support the economic development of the Auckland City Center, metropolitan and town centers
Support placemaking, amenity and good urban design outcomes
Ensure a fiscally responsible approach to providing, managing and pricing parking facilities and that benefits cover the costs
AT’s parking policy on wider regions is set out in the policy document entitled Criteria for the development of Comprehensive Parking Management Plans (CPMPs). CPMPs provide guidance on how to manage parking in centers and other locations with parking demand pressures in the short, medium and long-term based on analysis of local circumstances. CPMPs include recommendations and supporting evidence to enable AT to implement measures to manage parking including introduction of restrictions or pricing. They will also help decisions about divesting, retaining or providing more parking to meet future demand.
The strategy being developed by AT recognizes that a customer’s journey begins with the commute from home to the nearest transport hub and ends with a similar commute home. The connecting journeys before and after a public transport ride can also be influential enough to encourage or discourage a person to take public transport. Therefore, AT is planning to improve first and last leg connections to transport hubs. These strategies will facilitate a seamless and convenient travel experience for its customers. They will also make public transport more accessible to potential customers who are expected to increase use.
AT is trialing an on-demand ride-share service to address customers’ first and last leg connections. The service will use six electric vehicles and operate within a three-kilometer radius of the Devonport ferry terminal on the North Shore initially. Customers will communicate with the service through a mobile application to book, manage and pay for services as well as monitor vehicle location and expected pick-up times.
Dedicated on-street parking spaces for shared vehicles are provided around the city, but they are not widespread and nor is the uptake of this model.
AT and the Transport Agency have signed a Technology Partnership to cocreate a 10-year future transport technology roadmap and strategy that includes:
Intelligent transport systems
The introduction, extension and use of mobility as a service and Mobility Operating Systems (MOS)
Technology that will support Auckland Transport Operations Center, CCTV and Analytics predictive modelling
Any future dynamic pricing systems
Management of third-party suppliers of transport technology solutions
Leading the communication and promoting the program of work
Nationwide, the Transport Agency is committed to delivering a step change for customers using digital technologies. It wants to grow a digitally-savvy, innovative culture within its agency and the wider sector. In Auckland, alongside their journey planner and real-time information systems, AT is trialing RideMate, a pilot project for the Auckland Airport.
The Ministry of Transport is working to clarify the legal situation for the deployment of autonomous vehicles in New Zealand, although there are no obvious legal barriers to their testing. Unlike some countries, the country has no explicit requirement for a driver to be present.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or drones, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or remotely piloted aircraft systems, are rapidly gaining popularity, both commercially and recreationally. They are being used in scientific research, engineering, film and TV production, photography, agriculture, power line inspection and search and rescue work. In the future, we may even see UAS being used for goods delivery.
The government is committed to having a thriving and successful UAV sector. UAV use in business is an innovative direction the government is keen to support as it will bring the commercialization of new products and services, creating more jobs for New Zealanders. New UAS safety rules came into effect in 2015.
All New Zealand universities are now using UAS as part of their research efforts. Massey University is offering UAV pilot training. An area of restricted airspace in New Zealand has been set aside specifically for the testing of UAV by the University of Canterbury’s Spatial Engineering Research Center.
New Zealand is well-placed to benefit from Electric Vehicles (EV). More than 80 per cent of electricity is generated from renewable sources and there is enough supply for widespread adoption of EVs. Even if every light vehicle were electric, there would be sufficient generation capacity, provided most were charged at off-peak times. Auckland already has many places where batteries can be charged.
In May 2016, the government announced its Electric Vehicles Programme that plans to double the number of EVs on the road each year to reach 64,000 by 2021. Presently, there are 7,600 EVs. While no subsidies are available for private EV purchases, New Zealand is now able to access EVs from second-hand markets and, as a legacy of the previous government, EVs are presently exempted from paying road user charges. A contestable fund was set up by Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) to support infrastructure and increase public awareness and acceptance of EVs and support innovative trials. The new Green Investment Fund identifies opportunities for coinvestment to grow EV uptake and sustainable modes.
Well-developed physical and digital infrastructures affect productivity directly by connecting economic agents, reducing transaction costs, easing the effects of distance and time, facilitating the flow of information, and facilitating integration of markets into global value chains. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are becoming increasingly important and there is growing empirical literature that they facilitate innovation and lift company and country productivity by giving decision-makers more complete information.
Auckland does not have a standalone digital strategy, but the city is becoming increasingly prominent in the innovation and technology space through a combination of population density, widespread availability of fiber and fast internet, and the number of private companies investing in digital technology and innovation both individually and collaboratively. GridAKL is one such collaborative space, in the Wynyard Quarter innovation precinct of Auckland, which houses organizations such as WSP Opus, Air New Zealand, Datacom, IBM, HP, Microsoft, Fonterra and Emirates Team New Zealand (holder of the America’s Cup). The innovations driven by these organizations have widespread effects for both the city, New Zealand and the global community. Auckland Council, through Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, has driven the creation and community-building associated with the Wynyard innovation quarter.
The New Zealand Government, through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, is leading a Digital Economy work plan aimed at supporting the growth of the country’s digital sector and the uptake and smart use of ICT across the economy.
Traditionally, internet services have been provided via copper wires initially designed to support landlines. Fiber optic cable is replacing copper wire in most countries. Fiber is a fixed-line internet that can support much higher bandwidth for multiple users than the copper wires it typically replaces. It is made from glass, uses light to transmit data over long distances and is far superior to copper wire. It is essential to support both consumers and businesses as we become more dependent on our ability to receive and transmit large volumes of rich media content and information.
Auckland has almost complete coverage for fast internet connectivity across the city. Most properties can access ADSL, VDSL and increasingly fiber for their connectivity requirements. The fiber rollout in Auckland is nearing completion, and will enable most citizens to access fiber broadband in their home or business. Gaps in coverage are being addressed through the Rural Broadband Initiative and through Broadband over LTE (BoLTE).
Each new generation of cellular technologies has brought us greater functionality available in more places with ever faster access to information. In almost all cases, these improvements have been accompanied by decreasing access and usage costs resulting in mobile devices becoming an essential and ubiquitous tool for communications, content digestion and content creation. The evolutionary 5G will give wireless broadband the capacity it needs to power thousands of connected devices in homes and workplaces.
Spark New Zealand, as the largest telecommunications provider, in March 2018 begun the initial pilot of 5G through the launch of a pilot vehicle equipped with 5G connectivity alongside the installation of 5G equipment in a Wellington exchange building. Other New Zealand telcos are following suit, with consumers being told that 2020 is the target date for 5G to be widely available. As the country’s largest and most populous city, Auckland is a natural target for early adoption.
Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) radio technology standard developed to enable a wide range of devices and services to be connected using cellular telecommunications bands. It is the backbone of connectivity for the IoT. NB-IoT focuses on indoor coverage, low cost, long battery life and enabling many connected devices. The move towards autonomous vehicles and connected infrastructure will make reliable, robust access and connectivity essential.
Spark and its competitors, Vodafone and Kordia, are all in the process of rolling out NB-IoT networks to support the burgeoning growth in IoT devices and demand for such connectivity. In addition, international providers such as AT&T are also entering the New Zealand market with IoT offerings to suit different needs. Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and the New Zealand Transport Agency are showing interest in IoT to enable easier monitoring and management of their infrastructure networks, whether its street lighting, road corridors, water networks or other critical infrastructure.
As more people and devices are connected and depend on the internet, the complementary wireless technologies of 5G and NB-IoT will become redefined as part and parcel of our critical infrastructure.
The availability of Wi-Fi is essential for both personal and business applications. Many cities recognize this and provide free public Wi-Fi access both through commercial providers such as telcos and businesses (such as cafes) as well as by the responsible authority themselves. Regardless of who is providing the free public Wi-Fi, access and availability enable citizens and visitors to easily access a range of services at no cost.
Following the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, a key lesson was that the easy availability of public Wi-Fi made a significant difference to the ability of people to connect with loved ones. Spark New Zealand had an existing infrastructure of telephone boxes with power and connectivity. It used that infrastructure base to add Wi-Fi to the offering so that Spark customers who are near a Spark telephone box can connect to Wi-Fi for free rather than using mobile data. This has created an extensive Wi-Fi network nationwide, which has the biggest coverage in cities such as Auckland. Auckland also has wide availability of public Wi-Fi through individual merchants (and public services such as libraries) who now provide Wi-Fi access for customers while they are in-store.
Open Data is the idea that some data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control. There is a global movement in developed countries for governments at all levels to make their vast amounts of public data freely available.
The State Services Commission is leading New Zealand participation in the Open Government Partnership to dramatically increase transparency to the public of the machinery of government, increasing accountability and enabling broader participation in the democratic process. Opening official information can also support technological innovation and economic growth by enabling third parties to develop new kinds of digital applications and services.
Open government applications seek to empower citizens, to help small businesses, or to create value in some other constructive way. Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and the NZ Transport Agency have all begun to make data publicly available to allow private companies and citizens to leverage that data for additional public value. On the Auckland Motorway Alliance, all partners are provided equal access to the data and underlying intellectual property associated with the systems that are run on the motorway network including congestion monitoring and modelling and sensor data.
Citizens using services, and especially government services, must be confident that:
Any information they provide is confidential and stored appropriately
The system they are using is safe and secure
They know how their information will be used
They can easily retrieve any information they provide
If a service cannot guarantee confidentiality, integrity and availability of the system, people will not use it.
The presence of strong legislative and regulatory forms of protection for data security and privacy is essential to sustain confidence and usage of online sites and information. New Zealand has comprehensive privacy and data protection legislation, and, in addition, the Government Communications Security Bureau publishes the New Zealand Information Security Manual (NZISM), which includes minimum technical security standards for good system hygiene, as well as providing other technical and security guidance for government departments and agencies to support good information governance and assurance practices.
The NZISM is publicly available and is often used by private sector companies wishing to leverage the work done by the central government to inform their own activities and controls.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is the government body responsible for delivering the Digital Economy Work Plan (DEWP) and is also the agency with national responsibility for business and the ongoing productivity of the New Zealand economy. Typically, local authorities in New Zealand are not resourced to duplicate the efforts of MBIE, so they tend to leverage the central government outputs to inform their own local planning. The existence of the DEWP, together with the political support evident in producing and implementing it, is a positive indicator of future readiness.
The Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development is the council body responsible for the planning and promotion of the initiatives that result from it.
New Zealand already has a Chief Scientist and is recruiting a Chief Technology Officer, who will further strengthen the development of policy and the execution of specific initiatives that deliver value for NZ Inc.
Power generation for Auckland is predominantly provided by three big New Zealand generation companies in which the government holds a majority stake (Genesis Energy, Mercury and Meridian Energy) and by two private sector companies (Contact Energy and Trustpower). Power generation is largely from sustainable energy sources such as hydro, geothermal, wind and to a lesser extent non-renewables sources such as gas and coal, with generation situated in remote locations. The city relies on the state-owned national Transpower transmission system to transport power from these remote locations to Auckland.
The national transmission network feeds into the Auckland-wide distribution network, owned and operated by Vector. Vector is one of 29 distribution companies in New Zealand that, along with Transpower, is regulated by the Commerce Commission. Vector is majority owned by a private sector trust. Some smaller-scale generation is included in the Vector network, including network level battery storage. The distribution system in early in 2018 has been found to be susceptible to extended outages because of more frequent storms affecting the large portion of the network conveyed via overhead lines.
Vector has a target of 100 per cent renewable electricity generation by 2035, which is aligned to the government's wider goal of a carbon-zero New Zealand by 2050.
Auckland’s three main water sources are dams in the Hunua and Waitakere ranges, an aquifer in Onehunga and the Waikato River, providing adequate capacity for future demand and flexibility to adapt to droughts or plant outages.
As Auckland grows the pipe network will need to be expanded to meet demand without compromising on the delivery of reliable, safe and efficient water services. In 2016, the water network had the capacity to allow 45,000 new houses to connect. During the next 10 years, the network will need to be expanded to provide for a further 195,000 homes. More pipelines and reservoirs will be required to improve connectivity within the system to meet demand and provide resilience during system outages.
Auckland’s two main wastewater treatment plants process most of Auckland’s wastewater to a high standard (tertiary treatment). The other 16, much smaller, regional treatment plants are being progressively upgraded to provide similar standards of treatment.
A regional approach is being adopted to address growth and improve resilience, with additional infrastructure being built to efficiently distribute wastewater across the network to maximise the use of existing assets and increase connectivity.
The central part of Auckland is still served by a combined system with pipes transporting both wastewater and stormwater. In rain events, diluted wastewater is discharged directly into Auckland’s harbors. In other sections of the network, where there are separate wastewater and stormwater pipes, stormwater and groundwater is entering the wastewater network causing wastewater to overflow during heavy rain. The frequency and volumes of overflows will increase with population growth and climate change without further investment in infrastructure. Significant investment is planned in new infrastructure to augment the capacity of the existing wastewater system to mitigate these risks. Additional infrastructure will be required to reduce the amount of stormwater entering the wastewater system.
Improvements to the stormwater system are required to:
Reduce flooding to open areas for development
Remove stormwater flows from the wastewater system
Improve the quality of water discharged to the receiving environments.
Increased expenditure will be needed in the next two decades on all three water systems to renew existing assets as they reach the end of their useful lives.
Auckland sent 1.174 million tons of waste to landfill in 2010. This represents about 0.8 tons of waste for every person in Auckland. The waste includes a significant quantity of material that, if separated, could be recycled and used.
Auckland adopted a waste minimisation plan in 2012 that outlined an ambitious transformation program with the aim of achieving zero waste to landfill by 2040. A Resource Recovery Network was to be developed in the next decade with 12 community recycling centres being established. So far, five have been established.
Other actions include a move from weekly to fortnightly kerbside refuse and recycling collection for domestic users, measures to support business waste reduction, developing waste-exchange and waste-brokering services and increasing education and community development programs.