Auckland set to become New Zealand’s new capital

This would be the case if the latest Lonely Planet writer had their way.

After calling Wellington “the coolest little capital in the world”, travel guide Lonely Planet is now suggesting that Auckland should be New Zealand’s capital city.

But would it be logical or practical or is there even any point?

The debate of whether the capital of New Zealand should move from Wellington to another city comes up now and then. 

Most of the reasoning surrounds Wellington being an earthquake prone city and therefore it would be safer to move it elsewhere.  People have spoken about moving it to Palmerston North in the past….  And what if it had moved it to Christchurch…  Besides, the risk of earthquake damage to modern buildings is the same no matter what city you live in, since structural engineers scale the earthquake loads up or down depending on the seismicity of the area.

The latest Lonely Planet suggestion says Auckland is bigger and therefore better and for those reasons New Zealand are wasting an opportunity to have a bigger and better capital….

What does the public think?  Reaction is mixed.  Many Aucklanders don’t want the politics.  Most Wellingtonian’s agree that the political scene in Wellington helps make it the great city it is. 

Would it be practical to move it?  Where would the new parliament be located?  Where would all the new government departments be housed?  What would happen to Wellington’s building stock should the government departments vacate?  Would the beehive be converted to a cheap tourist attraction or a home for stray cats and dogs?

In my opinion, a move from Wellington is neither wanted by the public nor would it be logical or practical. 

Or am I misguided?  Is it time to consider a change?



5 responses to “Auckland set to become New Zealand’s new capital”

  1. Auckland is Super enough as it is.

    But seriously, I feel that the current division is good and sensible. Auckland has always been the centre of commerce and it does that well (well, except for when it tried to be the capital).
    Wellington is well placed for a capital—we’re on the cross roads between the two islands. We’re in the middle.

    I don’t think that a single city can be all the things to a country. Just look around the world for examples: New York, LA, Osaka, Sydney, Hamburg, Milan, Vancouver. All fantastic cities, thriving commercial and cultural centers but would they make good capitals? I think that much of what makes those cities great would be lost if they also became seats of political power.


  2. Wellington would have a real problem with its economy if the big G shifted north. Tourism and the film industry couldn’t fill the gap.

  3. Every now and then Aucklanders whine about the logic of Wellington as a capital, but this is the first I’ve heard of it from a foreigner. Basically, the answer is a big fat No Way.
    London is the classic case of having too much going on in one place. It is the economic powerhouse of Britain, the Royal capital, the home of the British Parliament, the seat of the Church, the financial centre, etc etc etc. No body else gets a look in, and it is like a giant skin cancer growing on the face of a once green and pleasant land. Big thumbs down. Spread the wealth and power around. In the same way that the Brits have now devolved Scottish Parliament up to Edinburgh, and the IRD to Nottingham, it’s important that Wellington remains separate and able to view The Jafas from a safe distance.

    The earthquake thing is a real red herring. Auckland is just as likely to be destroyed by volcano.. The only safe place is Dunedin. Move Parliament there instead?

  4. Samantha B Avatar
    Samantha B

    It makes me laugh when random statesments like this are made. I mostly think it’s to get a reaction and start a debate, when in reality it will never happen.
    Does an outsider, Loanly Planet, know about how this country is run or should be? Do people come to Wellington, tourists, to solely see the Beehive? If the government was moved to Auckland, would that make it an even better destination? It may take money out of the current Capital, but I don’t think there’s any reason for a travel guide to believe this is a good idea. We’re on the other side of the world. When most people travel here, they travel all over NZ. There’s no point putting up with the excruciating flight otherwise.
    As a Kiwi and one who has lived in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, I feel all have their own flavour and style. Why mess with perfection?

  5. Jonathan Lowe Avatar
    Jonathan Lowe

    The damage to Wellingtons CBD is only just starting, 10 buildings sealed off and more to come. Auckland and Hamilton are the only centers well clear of the quake zone that is creeping north. Architects are not building any structures that can resist ongoing quakes. High rises are so close they impact into each other when they sway. Many foundations do not resist liquefaction on reclaimed land.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *