Written By: - Date published: 9:26 am, July 1st, 2013 - 41 comments
Categories: accountability, auckland supercity, Gerry Brownlee, infrastructure, john key, labour, national/act government, privatisation, Privatisation, public transport, quality of life, sustainability - Tags: phil twyford
There was a big fanfare about John Key’s u-turn embrace of the Auckland City Rail Link. But, as usual with dear leader, it was all smoke, mirrors and sleight of hand stealth of the common good.
The construction of the Central Rail Link is so far in the future, Key will be long gone and won’t have to account for its funding; there’s more immediate funding and planning going into to work on the road system; and now the pressure starts for Auckland to sell its assets (first on the block most likely the Ports of Auckland). I urge Len Brown to hold his ground on this:
Auckland Council wants to fund its half of the project through rates rises, road charges or a combination of both, but Mayor Len Brown has ruled out selling shares in Auckland Airport and Ports of Auckland.
And I urge Phil Twyford to stay focused and to keep exposing the distortions, diversions and anti-democratic maneuverings of Key and his ministers. Last Thursday Twyford stated,
It will take more than a U-turn on the City Rail Link to turn around the Key Government’s difficult relationship with Auckland, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford.
“This survey also highlights the fact that the majority of Aucklanders don’t believe the Government listens to them, nor do they trust it.
“The Government’s adoption of Labour’s policy on the City Rail Link was a final capitulation to common sense after three years of obstructing and denigrating Mayor Len Brown’s flagship project.
“The survey results indicate there is clearly something rotten in the Government’s relationship with Auckland.
I hope Twyford gives the government’s transport package the sort of examination that is being done on The Auckland Transport Blog (ATB).
Like Twyford they welcome the government u-turn, but posters on the ATB are far from impressed. Matt L looks at “the good, the bad and the ugly” of the “transport package”; welcomes the U-turn on the CRL, but is less than happy with some of the planned road projects. For instance, Matt looks at the planned the AMETI/East-West Link project, that is
a series of projects between Panmure and Botany – most crucially including a full busway from Botany to Pakuranga and onto Panmure.
Matt sums up this project, thus,
For this reason the East West Link actually reminds me quite a lot of the Puhoi to Wellsford project. In both cases there’s a definite problem that needs to be solved but in both cases smaller scale improvements that may deliver really significant benefits are being completely ignored in favour of massively expensive and destructive motorway options – seemingly for political reasons only.
And following detailed and informative analysis, with helpful graphs and images, he ends the post with this:
Overall, as I said at the start of the post there are useful bits of the announcements (CRL aside which is obviously a massive positive) in that we might see a Northern busway extension and an AMETI busway happen faster now. But there’s also a whole heaps of “over the top” projects which are pretty unlikely to achieve lasting benefits or could be replaced by far far cheaper projects which would deliver most of the benefits at a fraction of the price.
Patrick Reynold’s post today on the ATB focuses on the funding implications. Patrick begins by outlining the scope of Auckland Transport’s Integrated Transport Plan (linked to the councils, Auckland Plan), which the government now supports. He argues that the ITP (Integrated Transport Plan) is total “rubbish”, with the result being that,
even with the eye-watering price tag of $60+ billion the transport network’s performance gets considerably worse over the next 30 years.
The underlying reason he gives for this is that most of the funding goes to road projects. He graphically argues that the result will be:
Patrick argues that under-funding public transport and related infrastructure will have negative impacts: the costs of traveling on public transport will be higher than the cost of driving, public transport journeys will take too long, and too many jobs will not be within a 60 minute public transport journey.
He finishes the post stating that over the nest few weeks “we” are going to present an alternative, environmentally-friendly plan for Auckland transport, called the Congestion Free Network. It will cost around the same as the government’s transport package and the ITP, but will have “superior outcomes”.
Key’s Auckland Transport “U-turn” is just a new slippery strategy for over-riding Auckland democracy, selling assets, and controlling the city for the road-loving, asset stripping, profiteering 2%. And as Anthony Robbins said:
And on top of that, show us a plan that will use the money effectively to provide a comprehensive transport system and related infrastructure: a system that works for the good of all Aucklanders and the environment we all live in; and without selling the assets that benefit us all, for the enrichment of the 2%.