Data shows pedestrians abandoning Auckland's CBD

Central Auckland businesses are delighted to hear there's been a slight increase in the number of people coming into the city in the last couple of weeks.

But there needed to be. Data given to Newshub has revealed just how many pedestrians abandoned the city over the past few years.

Once it was the city of sails - but it seems the people have sailed on. Auckland city - in some places you can almost see the tumbleweeds.

While parts of the CBD certainly feel empty, there has been a slight uptick in foot traffic since last year's lockdown.

The latest numbers from Heart of the City show more than 120,000 people visited the CBD on Friday and Saturday in the last two weeks.

Chief executive Viv Beck said that's because there's been a concerted effort to bring people in.

"We've got events like City of Colour on - and that just creates something new different and events they can't see somewhere else, that's just one of the reasons people are coming back and we're just thrilled to see people out again and people being back together again," she said.

But if you zoom out the picture dims a little. If you compare the month of April in 2021 there were 100,000 more people walking the street than this April. And in pre-COVID times, 2019, 450,000 more.

Local businesses say the lack of foot traffic now is impossible to ignore.

"Auckland city has been like a ghost town for a very, very long time," Shakespeare Pub owner Sunny Kaushal said.

Kaushal says with construction outside the window - no one's coming in.

"When there are no people walking the streets, no customers around, how can people survive? It's been very very hard."

Celebrity chef Simon Gault says he's had enough - pulling the last of his restaurants from the city centre.

He says people are finding it harder and harder to get into the city.

"They want to be able to go into the city - they want to be able to park - the elderly people - some of them need mobility parks. They've put planter boxes in that are A) ugly and B) take up a park - we need carparks."

Despite the uphill battle some are still hopeful things will come back to normal.

"Come to the city right now - because this is the best place and there's people dancing - you get a dance show for free," one person said.

But whether Auckland is really getting its groove back, will depend on all the dog walkers, shoppers, even dancers trickling back little by little.