Blind to the facts on Auckland rail

Written By: - Date published: 7:03 am, July 28th, 2017 - 59 comments
Categories: national, transport - Tags: , , , , , ,

As usual the Nats ignore data that doesn’t fit their prejudices. Ben Ross at The Spinoff:

Finally revealed: report shows rail destroys roading for Auckland freight

Back in June, KiwiRail refused to release the full business case for building the “Third Main” – a rail track from Otahuhu to Wiri beside the existing two tracks. Instead, it released a heavily redacted version. Now the unredacted version has been released – and its contents are a shocking indictment of government policy.

The purpose of the proposed Third Main is to allow freight trains to have a dedicated track separating them from passenger services on the most congested part of the Auckland rail corridor. For a cost of $65 million, KiwiRail would be able to run six extra freight trains a day and Auckland Transport would be able to move towards getting frequencies for passenger services up to every 10-15 minutes all day. The Third Main would, in theory, also enable better express passenger services between Pukekohe and Britomart once the City Rail Link becomes operable.

The heavily redacted business case was analysed by The Spinoff, The Nation, Greater Auckland and my own site Talking Southern Auckland.

The unredacted business case was released on Tuesday in response to pressure from Harriet Gale of Greater Auckland.

Building a Third and Fourth Main together (P8 in the table), with a price tag of $200 million, came out first along all criteria lines. Building the Third Main on its own (P9), at a cost of $65 million, was second. Both were well ahead of any other options. Shifting more freight by road (P3 in the table), which would require upgrading the Southern Motorway, came out worst.

In fact, if you look back at the Multi Criteria Analysis, the gulf between the Third and Fourth Mains and all other options is enormous. The new mains have double digit positive scores. All other options have negative scores.

So, two questions.

1. Why was the business case redacted – especially for the Fourth Main?

The answer is surely politics. It seems to come down to an attempt to protect the position taken by the government.

The redacted material wasn’t commercially sensitive and nor would its publication have harmed the free and frank debate between officials and the minister. Instead, it contains a clear-cut case to build the Third and Fourth Mains as quickly as possible, and definitely before the CRL opens (2023 on current estimates).

2. Why does the government persist with the option of more roads for more road freight?

This question has been asked repeatedly by all the media organisations and many analysts following the issue, including politicians at central and local level representing nearly all non-government parties. The report discussed here was jointly prepared for the government by the NZ Transport Agency, KiwiRail and Auckland Transport. It recommends – that is, they all recommend – that the extra rail line or lines be built as quickly as possible.

The government’s continued support of the road freight industry in preference to expanding the role of rail, in the face of the data in this report, makes a complete mockery of its claim to prudent economic management. It makes, instead, a pretty good case for incompetence, or cronyism, or both.

Instead of the best kind of rail, we’re currently on track to get this: the worst kind of road. And it’s going to cost around 10 times as much as the Third and Fourth Mains.

Read the full piece, with plenty more and the source documents, at The Spinoff. Excellent work.

59 comments on “Blind to the facts on Auckland rail”

  1. lprent 1

    This is typical for National. Rather than thinking about basic economic facts they prefer to think with their lobbys.

    The geography of the Auckland isthmus is a narrow corridor in the most densely populated area in NZ. One where each new motorway has very limited areas to fit into and enormous price tags – and fills with trucks immediately on completion.

    It is far better suited for the whole region from northland to the waikato to be serviced by rail freight.

    • halfcrown 1.1

      +100%

    • Carolyn_nth 1.2

      Exactly. Was talking to someone in a small town up north yesterday (a family connection up there). Basically, freight rail goes north from the Auckland region to the Whangarei region about 3 times in every24 hours. The rail condition is declining. Trucks on SH1 are slowing down car travel considerably across that area.

      And, curious bit of info. SH1 in the Brynderwyn valley is built on peat. So, particularly with the large amount of trucks on the road, SH1 there is constantly moving up and down in a kind of slow undulating motion.

    • adam 1.3

      Hear, hear.

    • NZJester 1.4

      It would be far better suited also to have a complete circular rail system going right around the entire North Island of New Zealand from Auckland to Wellington going both along the East and West coasts. You then put near major population areas some places to offload and onload the goods onto trucks to ship short distances to and from the cities and towns. The main roads will become safer with fewer heavy trucks on them and road maintenance costs will drop significantly with lower wear and tear from the reduction in trucks also. The maintenance costs and the amount of pollution produced by goods transported by rail per KG would be a fraction of that currently incurred by the heavy trucks currently going up and down the Island every day. Transport by truck is also something that is currently being heavily subsidised by the average motorist as they are paying the most in road maintenance costs but do only a fraction of the damage that trucks who pay the least do in wear and tear to our roads.

  2. Hanswurst 2

    So it would seem that the National government is telling lies of omission in order to defraud the taxpayer to the tune of millions of dollars in order to feed it’s favourite baby, the road transport lobby.

  3. gsays 3

    So would the building of the third and fourth main be unpopular with Auckland voters?
    Is it just the trucking lobbyists that are agin the rail proposal?

    Here we go labour greens, announce building of these two rail projects, $200M isn’t too much and reiterate a difference between yourselves and the current mob.

    • lprent 3.1

      Aucklanders simply eouldn’t care about freight rail unless you told them that it’d get some of the trucks off the road or free up rail for more commuter traffic.

      But they want something done INSIDE Auckland about the traffic. They know that building daft motorways in the boondocks north and south won’t do it. They just fill up with cars and trucks.

      That is why you get irritation with the massive disruption of the CRL works, but a lot of resignation that there is nothing else that could be done. They are irritated with the do nothing fuckwits in Wellington for delaying the CRL. And I am quoting a taxi driver there…

    • So would the building of the third and fourth main be unpopular with Auckland voters?

      Hell no, we’ve been crying out for better rail for decades.

      Is it just the trucking lobbyists that are agin the rail proposal?

      No, I’m pretty sure that the car lobbyists, the road builder lobbyists, and the oil industry are also more in favour of more roads as they all make a direct profit from them. None of them will make a profit from trains.

      That decreased profit will also show a decreased GDP as well.

      Essentially, we’re seeing poor economics done due to the drive for profit.

      Here we go labour greens, announce building of these two rail projects, $200M isn’t too much and reiterate a difference between yourselves and the current mob.

      QFT

  4. Ad 4

    I would be interested to hear what Labour, the Greens, or of likely more political relevance New Zealand First prefer as a new structure for Kiwirail. The government is clearly holding the report back until after the election.

    Kiwirail are a fat pain in the ass to any Minister because all they do is lose money.
    Perhaps they’re designed to.

    Or perhaps their procurement record over the last decade is so shit that no Minister has any faith in them any more to come up with fat ideas.

    Or just maybe no local or regional government other than Auckland Council (and Dunedin’s little tour trains) is prepared to so much as lift a finger to help.

    Maybe they want to merge them into NZTA.

    Kiwirail have to do better and start delivering results, no matter how good the case is.

    • gsays 4.1

      In respect to results: I think the ‘economic paradigm’ kiwirail operate in is part of the problem.
      E.g. when looking at locos, the nz made locos were 25% more expensive than the Chinese ones that kiwirail went with.
      There is no room on kiwirail’s books for the work created in Dunedin, the gst, the materials sourced within nz and the general boost locally and nationally.

      Perhaps more cynically, rail needs better lobbyists.

    • KJT 4.2

      Actually it is trucking that is losing money. it is just that the costs are paid by tax payers, rate payers and the environment.

      If trucks had to pay their full costs, shipping and rai; would quickly become competitive.

      Even with rail losing money it is still considerably cheaper than not having it.

    • Or perhaps their procurement record over the last decade is so shit that no Minister has any faith in them any more to come up with fat ideas.

      Kiwirail seems to have been doing exactly what National wanted them to do.

    • Trewindle 4.4

      Ad, it was my understanding that Kiwi rail actually does turn a profit from an operations standpoint, the issue is how they’re funded, with a continuing need to be lender capital from the government coffers to cover maintenance and upgrading of infrastructure. Toll gave us back a system totally run down and uncared for, which is still not totally up to standard, but is the reason for the apparent loss. Personally I’d rather see the continued investment to the point passenger trains can run on the southern main trunk again and then some.

  5. Sanctuary 5

    Given that both the UK and France are now pledged to get rid of the internal combustion engine by 2040, and that will only snowball, rail is the obvious replacement – and we need to start building that capacity NOW. The sneered at (by the right) ” 19th century” technology will get the last laugh, I suspect. Also, things like high speed (150-200 KPH on narrow gauge) rail to Hamilton and on to Rotorua and Tauranga should be fast tracked.

    • Norfolk Traveller 5.1

      “The sneered at (by the right) ” 19th century” technology will get the last laugh, I suspect. ”

      HEV’s (Heavy Electric Vehicles) are already in production, capable of hauling 40 foot containers, and some.

      • Carolyn_nth 5.1.1

        HEVs on roads? that’ll do a lot of expensive damage to the roads.

        • Norfolk Traveller 5.1.1.1

          Seems not to be an issue, and they’ve been around for a while. Pick-up’s, semis, tractors, milk trucks etc etc. One of the most advanced in terms of commercial use is rubbish trucks. Here’s an article about what’s happening in California, including road haulage vehicles. http://zevnz.com/index.php/2017/04/10/the-emissions-free-state/.
          All taking massive government subsidies, of course.

          • Carolyn_nth 5.1.1.1.1

            That article just says it’s a proposal for freight in California. So, they haven’t been in operation for any length of time to see the damage to roads.

            • Norfolk Traveller 5.1.1.1.1.1

              That’s just one article explaining what is happening. Nissan have produced an electric truck since 2012. Electric milk trucks have been used in the UK for at least a decade. Electric rubbish trucks were deployed in Beijing from 2008, France since 2011. The HEV’s are in use in many countries, including some very big rigs.

  6. Wayne 6

    It is not one or the other but both.
    There is an excellent case for a third/fourth track in large part to separate freight and passengers. This will become more important as passenger trains increase, especially with the CRL being completed.

    But not all frieght can go by train, probably not even the majority. Roads also service cars. The proposed East/west link is part of the motorway puzzle just as the Waterview tunnel is (and yes it has made an obvious difference).

    It looks like this is going to become another left/right fight, so the outcome might be largely determined by the election result.

    But as for roading north (as well as rail), well if Winston goes left, he will insist on it as part of the deal. The Greens will just have to accept that as part of a NZF/Labour/Green deal.

    • Ad 6.1

      You need a good sit down with Daniel Braid.

    • KJT 6.2

      Road/rail to Northland makes sense, just as it did for Tauranga.

      But more heavily subsidised roads for trucks, through Auckland, doesn’t make sense.

      The cost off having rail is infinitely less than the cost of not having it.

      However National, are incapable of reading a ledger which has total costs.

    • lprent 6.3

      But not all frieght can go by train, probably not even the majority.

      Nope. But the vast majority of freight getting sent to and from Auckland Port and Airport or transiting the Isthmus sure as hell can. They can do that from railheads outside of the isthmus.

      All we really have to do is to put a hefty truck congestion charge on trucks. That should clear about 20-30% of the space on the road and about 90% of the maintenance. It isn’t like Auckland benefits from those monster long haul trucks. We seldom see more than a small fraction of the revenues we get from the cars.

      The much light trucks used for city deliveries are much less of an issue. Then the collected and saved revenue can be used for doing some real work.

      Like getting rid of the ritualistic jam at Greenlane that has been there since I started driving 42 years ago.

      It looks like this is going to become another left/right fight, so the outcome might be largely determined by the election result.

      More of a crony fools vs realists. FFS Wayne – you haven’t even attempted to make any kind of case for increasing road transport over rail freight. Just like National can’t bear to release any economic analysis for their religious faith based belief that roads are better. What is it with National – are they that dependent on Road Transport funding?

      • What is it with National – are they that dependent on Road Transport funding?

        They’re dependent upon the higher profits that cars and trucks show to increase GDP and thus make it look like they’re growing the economy.

        Of course, what they’re actually doing is making the economy less efficient and thus less economic.

    • It is not one or the other but both.

      Nope. There is no business case that supports more roads.

      There is an excellent case for a third/fourth track in large part to separate freight and passengers. This will become more important as passenger trains increase, especially with the CRL being completed.

      Yes, we know. National seems to have ignored it on purpose and gone for more roads against all logic and economics.

      But not all frieght can go by train, probably not even the majority.

      Yes it can.

      Roads also service cars.

      Cars are highly inefficient and uneconomic as well. Actually, that’s a large part of what makes roads inefficient and uneconomic.

      • Wayne 6.4.1

        Cars are incredibly useful. They allow personal choice and multiple flexible trips. That is why just about every adult in NZ has one.
        And yes I also use public transport, mostly the Bayswater ferry.
        The car will be be ubiquitous for at least another 50 or more years, though electric and autonomous. In fact I would say another 100 years. 50 years ago in 1967, post the first Mustangs! The reason why Trump was elected. He was recalling for millions of Americans a time when young people could by a new Mustang, clearly the best working persons car in the world in the 1960’s!

        • Draco T Bastard 6.4.1.1

          Cars are incredibly useful.

          Personal cars sit still doing nothing for 96% of the time. There’s no way that can be considered useful.

          They allow personal choice and multiple flexible trips.

          And they do so uneconomically.

          That is why just about every adult in NZ has one.

          No, the reason why we have cars is because the government built for cars. If the government had built for PT we wouldn’t need cars.

          The car will be be ubiquitous for at least another 50 or more years, though electric and autonomous.

          No they won’t as they’re uneconomic and can’t be supported. This is what the facts tell us. Like the report that this post is all about that shows cars having a negative BCR.

          He was recalling for millions of Americans a time when young people could by a new Mustang

          I doubt that there were very many young people, even in the US, who could afford to buy a new Mustang no matter what you saw on Happy Days.

          • jcuknz 6.4.1.1.1

            I was an member of the Wellington Milk-bar cowboys in the fifties. Loosely around fifty young guys with six or seven owning motorbikes…. Council in their ‘wisdom’ wanted us to change from Courtney Place [?] to out on the coast beyond the current airport … miles from the nearest public transport …. such is the thinking of our leaders …. URRRGH!
            The ‘picnic’ has been going on for years … GHU.

          • alwyn 6.4.1.1.2

            You are talking about the current cars when you make the statement that
            “Personal cars sit still doing nothing for 96% of the time”.
            That is today. By the time any railway line can be built in Auckland we will have electric, autonomous vehicles on the roads. They will carry people from door to door and when released will simply carry out another trip.
            They will not need to be idle for 96% of the time as the current ones do.

            The cars the report were talking about were todays level 0 or 1 machines. In 10 years we will have the first level 5 models and they will be well-nigh universal by 2035.
            For the definitions see
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_car#Classification

            As for the Mustang. The current Mustang is nothing like the original one. It was a cheap, low-performance model that looked sporty but was based on the Ford Falcon of the time.
            It was intended for men who had been in WW2, come home, married and raised a family and now had, for the first time, a little bit of spare money and a family who were leaving home and off to college. It really wasn’t meant for the average young person. It was meant for men in their mid to late 40’s who had never really had a carefree youth.

            • Wayne 6.4.1.1.2.1

              alwyn,

              Actually the Mustang was aimed at people younger than your WW2 vet. But not as young as the Happy Days crowd, who were school kids.

              Mind you I was 17 when I bought my first car, a blue Ford Prefect with gold painted wheels, which I bought with the money from picking up hay for a summer. Now that was a dam hard job, picking up hay on a truck (a TK Bedford) and stacking it in hay barns. Up to 2,500 bales a day, though at that level it was a 16 hour day. Pay was by the number of bales picked and stacked. Thistles were the enemy. Prickles were still festering and coming out of my legs 3 months later.

              The Mustang came out in 1963/64. As you note it was (at least compared to today’s car) quite basic. But it had auto trans, 289 V8 (or a six) and electric windows, front seats were buckets. Overall quite sporty.

              The prime market was younger people, say 22 to 30 with a job, which was pretty much everyone. So single people and young families. The Ford ownership plans (real cheap credit) made them affordable for just about every working person. The equivalent car in the UK was a Mini, in Germany a VW, and in Italy a Fiat Bambina. And they are not affordable for everyone. So clearly the Mustang was the best car in the world in comparison the European options. And all working Americans could buy them.

              It was the epitome of America being great, in the 1960’s the richest country in the world (per capita) by a huge margin. Which is why it is a parable for Trump’s win. And look where he won. In the very states that built these cars, or the components for them.

              The current Mustang is intended to look like that 1964 Mustang. Hence Trump’s slogan, “Make America great again”. Trump was 22 when the Mustang first came out. He would have felt the vibe. The Mustang transcended class and wealth barriers.

              Anyway that is my pop physcology reason why Trump won.

              • alwyn

                I really don’t think that the original Mustang was intended for a family, even if the kids were small.
                There were only 2 doors and the legroom in the back was terrible.
                I based my explanation on what Iacocca had to say about the car and its target market.
                They were cheap though. The list price in 1964 was about $2,400 (US).

            • Draco T Bastard 6.4.1.1.2.2

              By the time any railway line can be built in Auckland we will have electric, autonomous vehicles on the roads.

              1. BS. It really doesn’t take that long to lay tracks. I wouldn’t be surprised if it took longer to lay a road.
              2. Even with electric autonomous vehicles the economics is against cars – they still use too far much scarce resources

              3. I really couldn’t careless about the Mustang except that it wasn’t young people going out to buy lots of brand new ones as Wayne implied

            • Carolyn_nth 6.4.1.1.2.3

              I don’t get the whole autonomous car promo, that’s being pushed by some media and pollies.

              I’d rather just have extensive mass transit, and my own car (that I drive) or use of taxis.

              The focus on autonomous cars is a major red herring in this resource-shrinking, climate-emergency world.

              And this whole thing of guys using cars as some sort of identity signifier, just passes me by.

              • alwyn

                “my own car (that I drive) or use of taxis.”.
                The problem with your own car is that it will sit idle nearly all the time. If you drive it somewhere you will also have to find parking for it.

                The advantage of an autonomous car over a taxi is that it won’t need a driver. It should also be a great deal smaller than a taxi and much cheaper to operate. A huge part of the cost of a taxi is paying to have a driver who actually spends a lot of his time sitting round waiting for a fare at the airport. Taxis cost you about $3.00/km in NZ, The IRD rate for running your own car is, I think 74 cents. The difference really comes down to having to pay the driver.
                Autonomous cars should be significantly cheaper as they will be in use for much more of the day than your personal vehicle. There really won’t be any need to own a car. Just call one when you need it. When they aren’t n use they can simply line themselves up and charge the batteries.
                They will also be much more convenient than public transport. Wouldn’t you rather have a car that comes to your door and takes you right to the place you want to get to than have to walk to a bus stop, or railway station, perhaps take a bus to the railway station, travel by train, get another bus, or if you are lucky be able to walk, to get to your final destination

                When they become common, and I think it will be much sooner than people think, you may not even be allowed to drive a car on the public roads. Autonomous vehicles should be safer than a human driver.

                “guys using cars as some sort of identity signifier”.
                I find that woman are just the same. Mind you, the desire to own a car seems to be much reduced among younger people. They may want to have one available but they don’t seem to want to own one nearly as much as did my compatriots.

                • Carolyn_nth

                  I like the community feel of mass transit. I like being able to walk to and from public transport.

                  I’d be happy to give up my car for good. I mainly use it for safety at night, going out of Auckland (inter-city mass transit is very poor), and on occasions carrying heavy loads.

                  A taxi would do just fine.

                  I would prefer a taxi with a driver. Their cars will be sitting around unused no longer than your fantasy autonomous cars. They’ll also probably be electric.

                  I actually like the idea of driver driven mini-buses for shorter distances, away from, or linking to, mass transit systems.

                  What’s with the desire to isolate yourself and others so much from others in the community?

                  • alwyn

                    ” Their cars will be sitting around unused no longer than your fantasy autonomous cars”
                    Maybe, maybe not.
                    They certainly won’t be sitting round as much as a private car.
                    The difference is that there will be no driver to be paid. If they aren’t carrying anyone they aren’t costing very much other than a bit of depreciation from weather deterioration.
                    And don’t be so silly as to call them “fantasy” cars. They will be here much sooner than you think. I suppose you thought that the telephone in his shoe that Maxwell Sharp had in the TV series “Get Smart” was fantasy. Had a look at mobile phone lately?

                    “What’s with the desire to isolate yourself and others so much from others in the community?”.
                    What on earth are you talking about. Trying to pretend you are a psychologist are you? Pretending you are “superior” because you associate with the “common people”.
                    Does it make you feel superior because you can order people to drive you wherever you wish to travel.

                • It should also be a great deal smaller than a taxi and much cheaper to operate.

                  And thus eliminating most of the economic advantages that it may have (removal of the driver still remains an advantage) as part of a mass transit system.

                  And at the end of the day everyone’s going to be going to/from work all at the same time meaning that we’ll still get traffic jams.

                  And they can’t carry freight at all.

                  Like all RWNJs you’re delusional in your effort to hold on to the past.

                  • alwyn

                    “Like all RWNJs you’re delusional in your effort to hold on to the past”
                    Don’t be so silly. It is you who are being delusional.

                    As for freight. This is just a sample but have a look at these.
                    https://qz.com/656104/a-fleet-of-trucks-just-drove-themselves-across-europe/
                    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/autonomous-vehicles-how-safe-are-trucks-without-human-drivers-9047546.html
                    They are just samples I picked out at random.

                    A small car can carry all the freight someone usually carries. You can’t lug much freight on and off a bus can you?

                    I’m not that worried about being in a traffic jam in an autonomous vehicle. I can read a book or watch TV. I won’t have to worry about road rage from my driver will I? Autonomous vehicles can also travel much closer together than the 2 seconds separation recommended for human drivers so you can fit more on the road.

                    • They are just samples I picked out at random.

                      And which were completely meaningless to the point. Economics proves that trucks cost more.

                      A small car can carry all the freight someone usually carries. You can’t lug much freight on and off a bus can you?

                      People can, and do, carry the same on buses as they do in cars. I’ve done it myself.

                      Autonomous vehicles can also travel much closer together than the 2 seconds separation recommended for human drivers so you can fit more on the road.

                      But still nowhere near what you can do with a bus or a train.

                      I’m not that worried about being in a traffic jam in an autonomous vehicle. I can read a book or watch TV.

                      Being in a traffic jam is a waste of resources. It’s a waste of the resources to produce the car, it’s a waste of the land the road is on and a waste of the resources used to seal it. And, on top of all that, it’s a waste of your time.

                      You’re ignoring the economics to maintain your delusional belief that the future will be the same as the past when all of the evidence shows otherwise.

                • Andre

                  What’s probably the biggest obstacle to autonomous cars: when people feel anonymous, a lot of them become jerks.

                  http://spectrum.ieee.org/transportation/self-driving/the-big-problem-with-selfdriving-cars-is-people

                  • Carolyn_nth

                    yep. I drove back to Auckland yesterday, through the Dome Valley in torrential rain.

                    How would one autonomous vehicle, let alone several on the road at the same time, handle such conditions? Winding road, poor visibility, signs saying there’s lots of crashes in that area, and indicating the roads are slippery when wet – up and down hills, etc.

                    • Andre

                      To me, the engineering required to let an autonomous vehicle cope with difficult road conditions doesn’t look like the difficult part of the problem. Sensors that can “see” in infrared and microwave can help an autonomous vehicle get better at predicting road grip etc than humans.

                      That’s still sometime in the future of course, not yet. But in the noughties DARPA ran autonomous vehicle challenges in desert areas giving the vehicles just very crude maps and GPS points to go to, and there were some vehicles that were able to find the correct roads, negotiate obstacles, avoid soft sand, and generally perform better than averagely skilled humans in difficult conditions.

                      The difficult part is picking up on the subtleties of how humans are behaving to predict what they are about to do. Things like predicting that the driver just in front is about to change lanes. Humans can pick subtle cues like changes in car positioning, glimpses of driver head movements, but it’s much harder to train a machine to do the same.

                    • alwyn

                      For Carolyn
                      I hope you travelled at a safe speed. From the description you give that would be about 5kph. Don’t kid yourself that you are a better driver than the autonomous vehicles will be in a very, very few years.

                      For Andre.
                      “it’s much harder to train a machine to do the same”
                      Yes and no. The gains in AI would seem to argue against that claim. You also have the fact that once one car learns the method all the others can know it too.
                      Look at the computer that basically taught itself to play Go. That was supposedly impossible but it wasn’t.

        • gnomic 6.4.1.2

          Are you shooting for dorklord of the entire universe? This may be the greatest twaddle of all time. Why expose yourself to ridicule by spouting this pathetic drivel? Have you heard that predictions, especially about the future, are very difficult? As to the past are these the same Mustangs that blew up in flames when rear-ended? Clownhat.

    • ropata 6.5

      It’s not a left/right issue FFS. It is an artificial problem caused by National Party ideology and obsession with motorways. The CRL could have been built decades ago were it not for your Wellington pals and their determination to choke the life out of Auckland

      • greywarshark 6.5.1

        ropata
        and their determination to chokesqueeze every drop of profit and life out of Auckland by directing Auckland’s civic needs to fall into their cronies’ hands.

  7. KJT 7

    “incompetence, or cronyism, or both.”

    Of Course.

    Look where ex National MP’s get Directorships.

  8. It makes, instead, a pretty good case for incompetence, or cronyism, or both.

    I was tending towards “cronyism,” given National’s relationship with the Road Transport Association, but on reflection there’s a genuine ideological antagonism to rail transport as well, so I think you’d have to call it “both.”

  9. Marcus Morris 9

    The National Government has been in the pocket of the Road Transport lobby for decades, going back as far as the days J B Gordon. More recently another former Minister of Transport retired from Parliament to take up the position of chairman of the said lobby. It doesn’t get much more cosy than that. The situation is appalling.

  10. Brigid 10

    What is the point of elections when lobbyists control the government?

    • Stuart Munro 10.1

      To delay the building of guillotines until the current troughers retire.

    • Marcus Morris 10.2

      Have just been watching this Sundays edition of Q and A. AU academic Dr Raymond Millar has just reinforced my earlier point. The Road Transport Lobby, since its inception, has been led by a series of former Transport Ministers. He also went on to point out that the biggest transport group such as Main Freight and Toll are not members because they are companies that are integrated with rail and accept its importance. This information needs to broadcast loud and clear to all of New Zealand.

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