- Date published:
2:30 pm, April 5th, 2011 - 27 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, Economy, local government, national/act government, Politics, public transport, transport - Tags: steven joyce
As I’ve pointed out previously “Steven Joyce: still living in the 20th century”, virtually every Aucklander I have spoken to about a new harbor crossing is aghast at the attitude of National MP’s in Wellington. Even considering putting in a new harbor crossing without the heavy rail that hooks into our existing rail system is simply ideological stupidity by National.
Well it is good to see that Aucklanders recognize the critical requirement for a new harbor crossing –
“Rail crossing wins big backing in poll”. The sample is small but…
A UMR Research poll found 79 per cent of 241 Aucklanders in favour of installing railway lines across the harbour – whether on a new bridge or through tunnels – and 18 per cent against.
The small number of people polled meant the difference between support for a bridge and for tunnels fell within a margin of error of 6.3 per cent.
But UMR research director Gavin White said the emphatic preference of Aucklanders for a rail crossing was well outside the margin.
The harbour crossing questions were added at short notice to a list of unrelated issues, in an omnibus survey of 750 New Zealanders.
I have no doubt that the apologists for Steven Joyce will attempt to point out that his plan includes ‘rail’ as an option. However it is light rail that is incompatible with the rest of the Auckland rail network. The reason? The plan put out by Steven Joyce for a new bridge option would require a grade that would be impossible to put our existing heavy rail system on.
Mr Brown said the poll result reflected feedback he received every day about rail projects including links to North Shore and the airport, and a central city tunnel.
“Aucklanders understand that we need to unclog our roads by fixing public transport – we need to future-proof the additional harbour crossing for rail to cater for Auckland’s growth.”
Auckland Council transport committee chairman Mike Lee said the survey showed “the average member of the public seems to be somewhat ahead of your average politician, especially the National Party cabinet, when it comes to rail transport”.
Needless to say, Steven Joyce is ineffectually talking about the ‘costs’. However like his previous bridge proposals, most of the costs he is currently talking about appear to be total rubbish desperately throwing unfeasible options in to increase the costs. That isn’t an argument – it just reeks of a minster desperately avoiding reality. Even the position of Steven Joyce’s preferred bridge is completely silly. It seems designed to just cause more congestion.
Since Aucklanders pay enormously more tax into the transport budget than it receives, you’d think that central government would take some cognizance of the clear intent of Auckland’s representatives in the super city. After all that was why Act imposed their super-shitty on Auckland (but you get the impression that NAct is unhappy with the result). Not to mention people voting with their feet in the rapidly increasing use of public transport. But apparently this is not the case.
Isn’t it time that Steven Joyce was replaced as the Minister of Transport? He clearly isn’t interested in what Auckland actually needs in terms of transport. I get the distinct impression that like his colleague Rodney Hide he is far more interested in pushing his ideas about what Auckland needs than he is in listening to Aucklanders saying what they actually need. How else can you explain his push for the stupidity that is the Puhoi holiday highway over projects that make economic sense for Aucklanders.
Chris H points out that when looking at the political imperatives of Auckland transport that there appears to be an ideological stupidity inside National and Act on the question of public transport.
As to the very important question of why the Govt is stuck on roads to the point of departing from the reality-based universe, I think that roads are kind of a symbol of the New Right’s privatisation agenda, of the opposition of private cars to public transport.
That is the debate that should have died with the 20th century, the demise of cheap oil and the intellectually barren landscape of the latter day Rogernomes when dealing with the modern environment. Aucklanders are well and truly over those types of arguments when they are looking at their cities transport needs.