By Bassett, Michael
As Auckland grew more rapidly than the rest of New Zealand, its city council emerged as the country's premier local authority. In 1989 when the whole of the Auckland isthmus containing 10 local authorities was amalgamated into one, the Mayor of Auckland became the most significan...t local leader. However, rapid migration from within New Zealand and from overseas changed the city's dynamics. Urban sprawl was brought under control and the inner city that had emptied its occupants into the suburbs regenerated. The political make-up of the Auckland City Council altered in response to the new challenges. Here historian Michael Bassett, who himself was an Auckland City Councillor in the 1970s and Minister of Local Government in the 1980s, explains the ways in which the enlarged council dealt with the issues of the following 21-year period before Auckland's 'super city' came into force in November 2010. It is a story of challenges, change and fluctuating levels of leadership, and of the council staff, some with exceptional skills. The Auckland City of 2010 with its Sky Tower, Viaduct renewal, Britomart transport centre and a rapidly regenerating Wynyard Quarter was a different place from what it had been 21 years earlier. The book is based on archival research and interviews with many of the main players and onlookers. It provides a snapshot of a metropolis of growing international significance gradually shaping up to occupy a more significant place not only in New Zealand but in the wider world.Read more
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An Aucklander by birth, Michael Bassett grew up in Mt Albert, graduated from the University of Auckland, and taught there in the 1960s and 1970s. He served on the Auckland City Council and spent five terms in Parliament where he was Minister of Local Government, Health, Internal Affairs and Arts and Culture. He has held professorships in Canada and the United States, and is the author of several biographies of New Zealand prime ministers as well as numerous other works. In 2004, he won the Qantas Media Award for Best Political Columnist in New Zealand.
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