Green MP for Auckland Central Chloe Swarbrick is calling on mayoral candidates to support a petition to pedestrianise Queen St and transform the area into a cultural hub.
Swarbrick launched the petition directed towards Auckland Council and mayor Phil Goff in partnership with the City Centre Residents' Group.
"The broad message that we've been getting back from people is that they've been wanting this for a very long time now, and it's time now to just get on with it," she said.
Swarbrick said she hasn't spoken to any of the mayoral candidates, but believed this was an issue that would win them votes.
"Here is a plan that was signed off 10 years ago and is hugely supported by the 45,000 who live in the city centre, which are of course important votes they will be vying for," she said.
Call to make Queen St a destination rather than just a thoroughfare. Photo / Dean Purcell
"So if any of them are trying to sell themselves as people who can 'get it done' or as people who are keen to engage with the communities and make our views and visions into fruition then they need to be engaged with this as an issue."
Swarbrick says Queen St deserves to be a destination rather than a thoroughfare, and an area where people want to hang out.
She said a similar model had been implemented in Australia with "great success" on Sydney's George St.
"If Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland wants to be the world's Most Liveable City, we need the city centre to reflect the needs of people on the ground," she said.
Pedestrianising Queen St means access for everybody, something that was signed off in the city centre master plan a decade ago and refreshed two years ago, Swarbrick said.
Swarbrick said it would be a "fool's game" to think Auckland would return to pre-Covid working trends, and it was time to evolve.
"We deserve a space that's a destination for visitors, where everybody can enjoy and it's time to get on with the job," she said.
Nolene Buckland, from the City Centre Residents Group, said during the Covid-19 lockdown, it was the residents who kept the city centre alive - and they walk everywhere.
She said pedestrianising the street would make it the first in Auckland - and there are many reasons to do so.
"Part of that is climate change, less pollution, less emissions and part of it is just making places for people. We know what we want to be, we just have to do it," she says.