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Cycling Politics is Winnable Politics

Written By: - Date published: 3:43 pm, May 29th, 2021 - 100 comments
Categories: climate change, cycleway, global warming, local government, science, transport - Tags:

Hot on the heels of Cycle Wellington’s tactical urbanism this week in Adelaide Road, Wellington City Council has bowed to public pressure and voted for the largest of four cycling budget options of $240 million over 10 years. This is as big a win as it gets, and actually has nothing to do with the collapsed “Let’s Get Wellington Moving” cross-local government effort.

This critical vote took emotional pleas in submission before their budget to turn the tide, and plenty still arguing that the overwhelming surveyed majority of Wellingtonians don’t want to support cycling.

More generally, cycling across New Zealand is a tough sell even within urban areas.

But there is only one way to confront and defeat our common addiction to the combustion engine, and that’s through unified public protest that bends public budgets.

The contest against our planet-killing oil addiction can’t just be left to high-end professional advocates taking down major corporates in court.

Sometimes, as in last week, Big Oil wins in the United States Supreme Court as they seek to expand the scope of arguments and essentially play for more and more time. Which the planet doesn’t have. So this ruling enables them to go back to the lower 4th Circuit court and keep grinding the greenies down.

Other times they lose. This week Royal Dutch Shell faced upheaval in their business after the district court in The Hague ruled that the company is partially responsible for climate change and must reduce its emissions by 45% by 2030, compared with 2019 levels. What they are faced with to curb emissions includes selling assets, rethinking exploration spending and halting growth of liquefied-natural gas operations.

That target – called for by the environmental grou[s that brought the case, is in line with the United Nations guidance for members states aimed at preventing global temperatures rising more than 1,5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Every time we chose to fill up our car with petrol or diesel we are pouring profit into the bank accounts of multinational oil companies.

Every time we fight City Hall and turn their budget towards cycling, we decrease the number of times we pour that same profit into their bank accounts.

Beyond the stupendous scale of such courts, the same fight is here, locally, in our face to win.

This Sunday Aucklanders have an opportunity to protest the catastrophic failure of NZTA to generate a cycleway from the North Shore to the CBD, and to promote a practical proposal to “liberate a lane” on the Harbour Bridge which would do the job in the meantime.

If you think what’s proposed is impossible, the BikeAuckland people are saturated with highly qualified engineers and planners who keep Auckland Transport on their toes. Their charismatic leader Barbara Cuthbert is a qualified planner, and as she did with John Key, she advocates and she wins on a major scale.

We already know it’s possible to “liberate a lane” because every year the Auckland Marathon takes over a third of the bridge for most of a day.

Cycling civic politics is not in the standard lexicon of old-left issues: it’s the contest that is not specific to left, right or green politics, and these wins and protests are part of its sure rise.

So well done Wellington.

And Auckland, see you there on Sunday.

100 comments on “Cycling Politics is Winnable Politics ”

  1. Peter chch 1

    Beating the combustion engine does not have to mean cycling lanes though.

    Cars are not going away, even though the combustion engine will. No way will we surrender the convenience and freedom we get from driving.

    • Ad 1.1

      It does in the cities I work in. We're converting public roadway everywhere. Can't speak for Chch.

      • Peter chch 1.1.1

        Not Chch. Guess it a little colder down here and those vicious easterlies.

        Used cycleways quite a few times at weekends though, and with scooters.Must admit it is so nice biking without worrying about idiots in cars. I support the cycleways, but sometimes just a few too many and placed it ridiculous spots, like busy narrow Ferry Rd.

      • Foreign waka 1.1.2

        So, the sick, old, infirm just need to stay put where they are and die with dignity? Are you part of a whole society or just an elite section that lives close to their workplace (10 min with the bike) and supermarket? You do know that NZ has virtually no functioning public transport system. If you live outside the 5 km range of any center you are stuffed.

        • Ad

          Yes that's actually what it means. It means that we're all out to tear away your zimmer frames, crush your cars, lock you indoors, ban your barbeques, and bury you all in the compost.

          For Auckland, where 1/3 of this country live and travel, cycling has reversed its downward trend and is going steadily upward once you account for the Level 4 lockdown peak last year:


          Note the peak in March 2020: when people don't fear traffic on their roads, they get out and bike and walk and run. We saw that elsewhere as well.

          And if you are skeptical about Auckland having a functioning public transport system, more people come into town by public transport than they do by car. It's been like that since 2015.

          • Foreign waka

            I know, Auckland is the navel of this world 🙄

            I personally would never choose to live in that city that looks to me like a slum with high rise buildings and a cute city center.

            • Ad

              Auckland policies in everything from water, amalgamation, solid waste, and cycling, are all coming to Wellington whether you want them to or not.

              The policy directions from the Ministers of Local Government and of Transport are there for all to see and are commented on at length in the media and in Parliament.

              So it really doesn't matter which New Zealand main city you live in: it's coming for you.

            • Incognito

              Cultural snobs wallow in their superior ignorance.

          • cricklewood

            Um. .. not so much fear of traffic as needing to get out if the house for sanity's sake don't conflate the two… only fuckwits like the health minister drove before taking some exercise

        • William

          Your comment illustrates how car reliance has influenced the design of the manmade landscape in NZ. Because driving has been easy small centers have collapsed and facilities have become centralised. In the Netherlands small towns still have local supermarkets because many people cycle & walk to them (and before you mention flatness, even large parts of Wellington are flat).

          And nobody is proposing the complete abolition of motor vehicles, just the need for total reliance on them.

  2. Peter chch 2

    Does anyone know anything about the rumour that the government will partner with an electric car maker to bring in ev's in a joint venture, cut out the distributors and sell them at hugely discounted prices?

    Not sure if there is truth to this or just a wind up.

    • Ad 2.2

      There are plenty of commercial-led publicity rumours that float around like this. MoT is awash with them, and is sometimes guilty of not denying them.

      In Christchurch some US startup is proposing driverless and fully autonomous hovering passenger electric planes to take you where you want. They breathlessly went on TV1 new a month ago and said they were all ready. They just needed to inhale into a paper back for a bit.

      These rumours will get a lot louder as the Climate Commission reports back and government actually has to generate policies to achieve the targets.

    • Molly 2.3

      Partnering with an electric car company to recondition/recycle batteries (which at present is not part of their business model. Looking at you, Nissan) might be a better move.

      New industry that can take place anywhere, existing stream of second hand vehicles with right hand drive, and the possibility to invest in R&D regarding batteries, recycling and development.

  3. bwaghorn 3

    Spending one cent on a cycle lane on the Auckland harbour bridge is stupidity of the highest order ,fighting for a new rail car, cycle and walking crossing is what any one with a brain would do.

    The taking a lane for cycling use is even more ridiculous,

    • Ad 3.1

      I remember they said that about a dedicated busway up the North Shore a decade ago. It's now how 40% of the Shore get to work.

      • cricklewood 3.1.1

        Yes, are you expecting another 20 percent to cycle? Not a shit show know some guys who went on their 10 grand bikes… drive to work in their fucking beamers…

        We need another crossing… it needs to cover road, rail and pedestrian… anything else at this point is a distraction… sky path anyone?

    • Molly 3.2

      I would prefer they improved access and service to a greater number of Aucklanders.

      I had an AT long term plan that had in fine print on one of their spreadsheets on how they identified and prioritised projects. It relied, not on investigation and data monitoring across Auckland, but on public suggestions and then public and local board support for those suggestions.

      As you can imagine, you can game the system, leading to funding and service inequalities throughout Auckland.

  4. georgecom 4

    a bridge in hamilton was retrofitted to provide cycle lanes both ways. my daily experiences using the bridge is as many people walk the lanes as cycle them. the 'build it and they will come' leap of faith has proven an abject failure on this project to date. I think that naive approach to other cycleway projects in the city will see similar results as well. At least for the forseeable future. One project moots closing a city street from one end, 40,000 vehicle movements occur down that street, I cannot see 40,000 such movements being replaced by cyclists as a result. There are worthy cycle way projects in the city though, one being to link schools together with a cycle lane

    • Ad 4.1

      Hamilton's cycling efforts are about where Auckland's were about five years ago. It's a mighty uphill fight, but thankfully it's the public not the transport agencies and councils that need convincing that it's worth it.

      No one can view cycling as an alternative to much more than weekend social rides unless there is a really well protected dedicated cycle network. The commentary here on Hamilton's Eastern Pathways is pretty instructive:


      • georgecom 4.1.1

        the north/south school link cycle way I can see merit in, taking school drops off/picks ups off the road. there is the priority I would think. do that first and then see if demand warrants east/west links

  5. coreyjhumm 5

    Aren't the winds by the harbour sometimes windy enough to move trucks?

    Honestly, instead of adding more onto that ugly old rickety bridge, build a new one altogether. A new one should have been built decades ago.

    That bridge is a time bomb.

  6. DukeEll 6

    Celebrating $220mill being spent by the council in Wellington when they can’t even provide working wastewater services to the entire population and rates are going up 14% seems a tad elitist

    • Ad 6.1

      You'll find there is money in the Wellington budget for both.

      Wellington City didn't need to make that tradeoff, because they chose to fund both.

      • DukeEll 6.1.1

        With a 14% rates rise, borne by all ratepayers for the pleasure of a minority.

        as if housing wasn’t expensive enough there

        • Ad

          You probably don't realise then that cycling infrastructure is over 50% subsidised by central government taxes. Water isn't.

          Many services councils provide are used by a minority. Few go to libraries, hardly anyone uses footpaths, pools have a tiny majority of users outside schools, a handful of citizens use parks.

          • DukeEll

            So the council voted $220 million for cycle ways and the government stumps $110 mill just like that? You’re going to need to prove that one

            • Ad

              Each Council puts up their RLTP to the NLTP, and after a bit of go-around it usually comes back the same. It's been that way for a wee while.

              Except this time I suspect the Minister is put his finger on the cycling scale weight even harder: with the collapse of LGWM this Minister is going to need to see some fast electoral delivery.

      • Foreign waka 6.1.2

        Yes, I know those bastards on minimum wages and pension should cough up for the people on those 10-20K bikes and pronto.

        • Ad

          "Those bastards", if they own a home, pay for plenty of things they don't use already. You can imagine a society run like that: it's called user pays government and belongs at the far end of Act.

          Like those who take the ferry from Days Bay where each trip is already highly subsidised for not very high use. Or those who visit Te Papa, or visit NZ Archives, or walk on a footpath, or don't live near a river stop-bank. Low bastardry all round.

          • DukeEll

            Not really an excuse to add an extra 14% in tax.

            if the council had amazing track record at providing basic infrastructure, was running a surplus and could be trusted to keep this within budget, they could be forgiven for spending $220mill on a vanity project only used by a few people.

            your justification is pretty light

            • Ad


              If you want the justification for the 14% rates increase, you would of course look at the whole of the investment programme across every activity. Which you can do by going online to the Wellington Council yourself and get the entire breakdown.

              You can actually read the rationale for the cycling decision here, with policy and intended effects and everything:


              Otherwise, since you sound like you're from Wellington, go talk to the Mayor and the Council that voted for it. It was theirs to make the political decision based on the evidence and policy direction provided.

              • RedBaronCV

                The 14% rates increase hammers renters as well as home owners. The demographic that cycles looks like 18- 45 year old males. The link given hasn't anything much in the way of numerical cost analysis to support the case. Any council spending needs to be efficient spending(cycles and everything else) and I don't see this huge lump spend being either green (run for the bus and catch it is an alternative) or being some thing a large demographic will use. I'd have expected a lot better supporting rational than I have seen anywhere so am leaning towards the "pressure group with time on its hands wanting it's own way – entitlement argument".

        • William

          Well they're already paying for roads that allow people to drive in their BMWs, Mercs, Lamborghinis etc. The bang for buck from building cycle infrastructure is much better than building roads for motor vehicles.

          And the vast majority of bikes don't cost anywhere near that. I'm at one extreme but I don't know what my bike cost, it was new in 1965 from my parents. Since then it's had three sets of tyres, a new seat, a front carrier & crate, a few other bits & pieces, and it does me fine for getting to the supermarket.

          You seem to be relying on extremes in your arguments, extremes of cost here and extremes of ability in your comment at 1.1.2

          • alwyn

            "in their BMWs".

            I don't know where you live but there are certainly lots of these around Wellington. They always have at least 2 people in them though. There is a driver in the front seat and a passenger in the back most of the time. They all have number plates starting with the letters CR.

            I do wonder how much all these electric bikes are actually used though. A few days ago one contributor to this blog described his usage. He seemed to think it was a lot but it actually turns out to be about 850 km/YEAR. It hardly seems to be worth providing very expensive cycleways when that is all the use they are going to get. The average distance travelled by a car in New Zealand is, I believe, about 14,000 km or about 16 times that cycling distance.

            We seem to be being called on to spend an inordinate amount of money for very little use. Does anyone actually do much more travel on their bike?

            The comment was

            "I brought an e-bike towards the end of 2017. Been mostly commuting on it ever since when I have been in NZ – rain or shine. I wrote about it at the start of 2019. It is now closing in in 3000km."

            • Incognito

              Why are you setting up another strawman?

              There are about 4 million cars in NZ and a total length of roads for cars of about 100,000 km with a total asset value of more than $52 billion and you comparing that to the use of one single person with an e-bike here in Auckland!?

              You realise that the OP is about encouraging use of cycling through expansion and improvement of infrastructure, yes? You realise that one major reason not more people are cycling more is lack of infrastructure, yes?

              Your concern trolling here is starting to become tedious, again.

  7. Jenny How to get there 7

    Public transport vs cycling?


    Public transport to complement cycling?

    There is no way on God's Green Earth that Auckland motorists will surrender one lane of the Auckland Harbour Bridge for a cycle way. (the maths just doesn't make sense).

    But short of building another harbour crossing, there is another way to get cyclists across the Bridge.

    Auckland Harbour Bridge – Wikipedia

    The Auckland Harbour Bridge is an eight-lane motorway bridge over the Waitemata Harbour in Auckland, New Zealand…..

    ….About 170,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day (as of 2019), including more than 1,000 buses, which carry 38% of all people crossing during the morning peak.

    Dividing 170,000 vehicles by eight lanes gives you 42,000 vehicles per lane.

    Ignoring for a moment the 1,000 buses. Let's be generous and say there is only one person per vehicle, ie 42,000 people.

    Take one lane off the Harbour Bridge for a bike lane, 42,000 still need to get across the bridge every day.

    Let's be generous again, and assume that, 4,000 of these commuters will switch to cycling across the bridge, every day. (even in bad weather).

    For argument's sake, let's assume that the bridge is already at full capacity.

    How can it be done?

    40,000 extra vehicles added to the remaining 7 lanes – grid lock.

    Let's bring the buses back into the equation.

    Doubling the 1,000 buses a day, to 2,000 buses a day, will get 40,000 people across the bridge, with seats to spare.

    Again assuming the bridge is already at full capacity.

    An extra 1,000 buses added to the remaining 7 lanes – grid lock.

    But how about this?; Quadruple the number of buses, and Instead of making one lane for a bike lane, take two lanes to extend the Northern Busway across the Harbour Bridge, and right into the city centre.

    Many buses are already fitted with a cargo bay. To accommodate cyclists wanting to cross the harbour, buses with cargo bays for bikes and dedicated bike loading bus stops either side of the bridge. (Lynn Prentice will be able to get to Takapuna on his E-bike. while viewing the beauty of the harbour from the comfort of the bus ride over the bridge, without risking getting blown over the railing).

    For convenience of use, and to sweeten the deal, and to get even more people out of their cars, make the Northern Busway fare free.

    (People love free stuff) Single payer, means people still pay through their rates or taxes, but the trade off for commuters is in the savings made in fuel and running costs, not to mention parking costs. Other external costs pollution climate change traffic congestion will also be less. A net gain for all of us.

    38% of commuters already cross the Harbour Bridge during peak hour on the bus. Increase that to 50% (or more), will free up capacity on the remaining 6 lanes – grid lock avoided.

    Much less vehicle traffic in the inner city, will benefit cyclists and pedestrians, and the remaining drivers.

    Oh, and one more thing. Make those buses zero emission buses. We only have 33 Zero emission buses in Auckland now, but it's a start, but the council intend to make the whole bus fleet zero-emission within 'a few years'.


    Written by Geoff Dobson on April 23, 2021

    …..The e-buses will help reduce carbon emissions and enable Auckland to meet its climate change goals and ditch diesel and petrol public transport, [Mayor] Goff says.

    Not only are the e-buses quieter, but they will also improve Auckland’s inner city air quality – especially in the Queen Street valley area, he says.

    “Black carbon damages health and is at higher levels in Queen Street than in any other New Zealand city and many other cities in Europe and North America.”

    Goff says Auckland is working with central Government to bring forward the transition to a fully electric bus fleet and the council is looking to halt the purchase of new diesel buses from July this year.

    When the switch to e-buses is completed it will stop around 93,000 tonnes of CO2 entering the atmosphere every year compared to 2019 emissions levels, he adds….

    ……On Sunday April 25, Lower Albert Street will re-open for North Shore buses. Some Central and West Auckland bus routes will also now use it to begin their journeys out of the city

    Auckland Transport will now have 33 zero-emission buses deployed.

    Inner city Auckland CityLink buses go electric | EV Talk (evsandbeyond.co.nz)

    • Ad 7.1

      On the main Auckland roads they have separate lanes for cycling and for buses. Mode separation is safest for all.

    • William 7.2

      Perhaps your calculator needs new batteries. Dividing 170,000 vehicles by eight lanes actually gives 21,250 vehicles per lane, not 42,000.

      It's better to look at people moving capacity per lane per hour because this better reflects the limiting situation at peak times.

      Both bikes & buses vastly increase the capacity of the present bridge.

      • Jenny How to get there 7.2.1

        Omg, How did that happen. Oops my bad. Sorry about the addition error.

        But the point still holds, Twentyone thousand commuters are not going to become cyclists. At best maybe ten percent of them. On bad weather days, none of them.

        Far better that cyclists load their bicycles into buses for that part of the journey.

        There will not be a three month bike lane trial. There will not even be a one week bike lane trial. The resulting traffic chaos from the one unofficial Sunday trial bike-way will ensure there never will be.

    • Sacha 7.3

      Where do all your extra buses go when they reach the city?

      Lack of capacity for more of them (see Central City Future Access Study) is what prompted AT to start planning light rail along Dominion Rd.

      • Jenny How to get there 7.3.1


        30 May 2021 at 2:07 pm

        Where do all your extra buses go when they reach the city?…

        They stay on the road and return back over the Bridge, and then repeat the cycle, they certainly don't park in the CBD like cars.

        …..Lack of capacity for more of them (see Central City Future Access Study) is what prompted AT to start planning light rail along Dominion Rd.

        Hi Sacha, Do you have a link and/or notated quote for that?

        Do trains take up less road space than buses??

        Would a busway on Dominion Road be a cheaper and more flexible option than a light railway???

        Is the Dominion Road comparable with an eight lane motorway, (which is the Harbour Bridge), with a suburban road with shops and residential houses and cross streets, and traffic lights, along its length????

        Just asking.

    • Jenny How to get there 7.4

      It occurs to me that with proven lane moving technology, only one lane is needed to carry the busway across the Harbour bridge. Southwards in the morning, switching to Northwards in the afternoon, the return journey always made on the less congested side.

      The Shelley Beach Road overbridge would enable this switch to be carried out without the need for buses to cut across the flow of traffic.

      In the morning – Northward buses stay on the motorway.

      In the morning – Southward buses stay on the busway, exiting onto Fanshaw Street.

      In the afternoon – Southward buses exit the busway at Onewa Road to enter the motorway to head South. (This may need one bus only overpass, to cross over the Northbound bus lane).

      In the afternoon – Northward bound buses enter the motorway bus lane from Fanshaw Street and pass below Point Erin to exit at a new buses-only-exit ramp onto Curran Street, looping around Point Erin at Sarsfield Street to enter the busway at Shelly Beach Road overpass to head North.

      (On the North side of the Bridge a specialist bike loading bus stop at Onewa Road, and at Point Erin Park on the South side.)

      Never be late for work again.

  8. alwyn 8

    Just out of curiosity.

    I assume the the rally, demo, protest or whatever it was called was held this morning.

    How many people turned up and did they all arrive on bicycles?

      • alwyn 8.1.1

        Thank you. A lot of people turned up from the photos. They obviously had better weather there than in Wellington. There is even sunshine in some of the pictures. Given that it is cold and it has been raining here all morning I think that hardly anybody would have turned up to something like that here today.

        • Ad

          Wellington's cycling advocates know how to achieve their wins without the mass protests. They achieve it with excellent tactical timing. As per the OP.

          • Foreign waka

            Words fail me with your arrogance and disrespect for the majority of people who are, often on minimum wage and little income have to pay rates at ever increasing amounts. And yet, you expect these people to pay for a cycle way whilst the city has a billion dollar tag for repairing pipes for safe drinking water and waste water. May I point out that the maintenance for those very pipes over the last 10 years was deferred to build cycle ways and in the meanwhile human waste is running down streets. I think the council has to get priorities right first because otherwise the protest you see will be quite a different one. Not sure what can be seen as a win with such dilapidation of a city.

            • Ad

              Words fail you because you are totally ignorant of the way budgets are formed for either Wellington's water system or its transport system.

              Both water and transport systems are in dire need of fixing, they are both important as both central and local government have realised, and after significant activism there are now budgets assigned to deal with both.

              • Foreign waka

                Fact: Wellington Waste water pipes maintenance was deferred to build cycle ways. Now we have waste running down the roads. Guess we need more of one to get the other.
                Any city council has a core program that they are bound to. Drinking water and waste water is overriding a bike ride at any time of the day. The pipes are 100 years old in many places and that is not new knowledge. The council was advise to double the budget over the next 10 years.

                • Sacha

                  Interesting claim.

                  How much did Wellington's councils contribute towards cycleways over the last decade (not including the central govt funding)?

                  How much funding did Wellington Water seek but not receive over the timeframe (not including any central govt funding)?

                  • RedBaronCV

                    I'm with FW on this one.The cycling arguments are starting to feel a trifle entitled. We need to fix the pipes pronto and we need to be very thrifty with our spending on other things while we do this. If we didn't get the mix right previously I'm not sure that revisiting this does anything much – we can't unspend the money.

                    As to mortality stats- we don't want people to die of course but I have also seen scooter riders, skateboard riders with and without helmets in the middle of traffic lanes. I really feel for the bus drivers trying to drive around it – but these people are OSH risks and if it started fresh today would any of this ever have been allowed on the road in the first place. Plus Wellington does seem to be hitting the electric switch – the 4 vehicles next to me in the supermarket park the other day where all electric

                    • Sacha

                      Pipes are crucial, yes. Stop spending any more money on roads as well, and your call makes sense to me.

                      Funnily, pipes and roads and cycleways do not have the same funding sources though. Can't tell NZTA to switch their dosh to the sewers instead.

                • Ad


                  Here's the death and injury statistics showing why mortality decreases come with the seperation of cyclists, pedestrians and general traffic. Regional breakdowns are there for you.

                  It's what the protest over the Harbour Bridge in Auckland was about today.

                  The fatality and injury statistics for Wellington roads are there in the breakdown, and that's a very big part of how transport investment decisions are weighted. They include cyclists in the count.

                  You can price the dead and injured better than your embarrassment over smell.

          • Sacha

            Wellington's cycling advocates were there today on the bridge, good on em.

            • Sacha

              30 May 2021 at 8:56 pm

              Wellington's cycling advocates were there today on the bridge, good on em.

              Good on them?

              I bet they didn't ride their bikes from Wellington.

              So how did they get here?

              On the plane?

              So much for being concerned about the climate/environment.

              I also guess that they are not regular Auckland commuters.

              The fact is that only a tiny minority of commuters will ever regularly commute on bicycles.

              It is why the cost benefit of the skyway fails the sniff test.

              It is why 20,000 commuters kept out of the proposed bike lane will crowd into the remainng lanes, to bring the city closer to grid lock.

              For what?

              The enjoyment of a few dilettante day trippers and leisure bike riders?

              People really need to get a grip.

              Let's be honest here, a cycle lane over the Harbour Bridge goes no way to address Auckland's traffic woes or environmental worries, instead more like a pandering to the lifestyle choice of a tiny but vociferous minority.
              A bike lane on the Harbour Bridge will not make things better for the environment and the climate, but it will make things worse for the majority of serious commuters and working people who have to cross the bridge as part of their daily grind.

      • Jenny How to get there 8.1.2

        From the Herald linked article:

        Traffic chaos after cycling protesters close two lanes of Auckland Harbour Bridge

        30 May, 2021 09:02 AM

        Traffic chaos after cycling protesters close two lanes of Auckland Harbour Bridge – NZ Herald

        And it's only a Sunday?!?

        …..cyclists made their way down to the bridge but were met by a row of police officers. After 15 minutes, the group of cyclists grew and chanting could be heard.

        After some time, the police wall broke and over 100 riders made their way across the bridge.

        Try a stunt like that on a week day – the police would be forced to bring out the teargas and batons. to clear the lane.

        The "Liberate the Lane" group held a rally at Point Erin Park this morning, calling for a three-month cycle lane trial on the harbour bridge.

        Like that's ever gonna happen.

        (The ‘Liberate the Lane’ protesters have thoroughly proved better than any words can,, that a bike lane creates 'chaos' even on a non working day)

        It's not just the far right that live in an alternative universe.

        Auckland Harbour Bridge fact sheet

        …..The daily average number of cars crossing the bridge is presently around 154,000, with more than 200,000 vehicle crossings some days [Northern Busway has had impact on car numbers as people switch to public transport]

        Microsoft Word – AHB – Facts.doc (nzta.govt.nz)

        • William

          "(The ‘Liberate the Lane’ protesters have thoroughly proved better than any words can,, that a bike lane creates 'chaos' even on a non working day)"

          Alternatively, Waka Kotahi could have minimised the disruption by moving the lane barriers to provide three lanes in each direction. Instead they apparently left four lanes for south bound traffic and only two for northbound. A cynic could suggest they wanted to maximise the congestion!

        • Incognito

          Oh dear, a protest that causes some disruption to innocent law-abiding citizens who pay their taxes & rates duly on time and just want to do some Sunday shopping and have some avocado squashed into toast at the Viaduct with their double shots of hot trim-soja milk with coffee flavour added on the side. Deport the crims to a deserted island without bike lanes, I’d say. Life isn't fair 🙁

          • Hi Inconito, I think your intemperate rant against motorists as self centred squashed avocado eating recreational Sunday shoppers may have a little bit of truth in it on a Sunday.

            But during the working week most of the people crossing the Bridge are hard out serious commuters, needing to get from their homes to their workplaces in the mornings and back again in the evenings.

            I don't know how many of the bike riding protesters are serious commuters, or self entitled lycra clad joy riders, who want to cycle the Bridge for the views, and to keep fit, full of outrage that they can't cycle to Takapuna for a latte by the beach on a Sunday.

            Don't get me wrong I think 'Cycling politics is winnable politics' and I am in the market for an E-bike myself.

            But if we are thinking of getting 20 thousand serious commuters out of their cars and onto bicycles we are dreaming.

            There are serious bike riding commuters. Not many, but you can spot them in South Auckland. Factory workers in battered work clothes bringing their bikes onto the train.

            And there's your clue, to be 'winnable politics' cycling must be mated with public transport.

            No good asking for a bike lane across the Auckland Harbour Bridge, it is never gonna happen. Twenty thousand commuters are not going to get on their bikes.

            But the Northern Busway has proven that given the right incentive tens of thousands of commuters will swap their private car for the bus.

            What I would like to see is every inner city bus have a cargo tray underneath like the overlander buses do, where cyclists who want to cross the Bridge can put their bikes for that part of the journey.

            A lot of the commuters who cross the Harbour Bridge come from a lot further away from the city centre than Takapuna or Birkenhead. If you really want more people to ride bikes to work. I think it is unreasonable to expect commuters from Albany or even Sunnynook to cycle all the way from their homes and across the bridge to get to work. But they might cycle from their home to the nearest park and ride and put their bike in the cargo bay, for the motorway leg of their journey and across the Bridge and from there continue the final leg to the workplace on their bike.

            Currently the Northern Busway suffers a bottleneck at the Harbour Bridge, For the Busway to meet its full potential it needs to be continued across the Bridge and all the way into the city. (And even further down the Southern Motorway).

            And the buses need to cater to cyclists. Especially cycling commuters.
            Then we might have the revoltution that Ad is talking about.

            • Incognito

              You, like so many others, have it back to front; revolutions rise and fall with a few and then many dreaming of something better and then embodying and enacting that dream. It starts with people who use their imagination and boldness. A Killer of all revolutions is nay-sayers, negative pessimistic and cynical ‘critics’ who can’t or don’t want to see change, whose mantra is TINA, who never offer a practical solution, just slogans and bumper stickers (AKA ‘common sense’). The worst ones are the ones who claim and pretend to be ‘progressive’ but kill off any initiative and any initiator at the grassroots thereby ensuring that not much actually happens and changes, ever.

              How’s that for an “intemperate rant” on a rainy Monday morning?

              • Jenny How to get there

                A Killer of all revolutions is nay-sayers, negative pessimistic and cynical ‘critics’ who can’t or don’t want to see change, whose mantra is TINA, who never offer a practical solution

                I offered a practical solution, at minimum cost, of getting bikes across the Bridge. You may have just not noticed it.

                The Auckland Harbour Bridge was specifically constructed for a vehicle only carriageway. Retrofitting a cycleway or even pedestrian pathway onto the Harbour Bridge after the fact, presents a major and expensive engineering challenge.

                Taking one lane away from 20,000 vehicles will see them crowded into the other remaining lanes.

                The barrier machine breakdown this morning shows that this is just not feasible.

                38% of commuters crossing the bridge already commute using the bus, hows-a-bout the bikers use the bus for that part of their journey.

                On a personal note;
                I recently took an Intercity bus trip down the east coast. At Gisbourne the bus was boarded by a number of cyclists who stowed their bikes in the copious luggage compartment.

                It occurs to me that every bus should have these luggage compartments, for stowing buses prams etc.

                There could be specialised bike loading bus stops on either side of the Bridge.

                Surely it can't be too much ask, even of the most hardened of cyclists, to sit in a bus for 15 minutes?

                • Incognito

                  Surely it can’t be too much ask, even of the most hardened of car drivers, to sit in traffic for 15 minutes?


                  • Jenny How to get there


                    1 June 2021 at 4:17 pm

                    Surely it can’t be too much ask, even of the most hardened of car drivers, to sit in traffic for 15 minutes?

                    On a Sunday, you're right, it is probably not a big issue.

                    During a working day 15 minutes late for work might be a different story.

                    One of the reasons, the protesters demand for a three month trial of a bike lane on the carriageway of the Auckland Harbout Bridge will never be realised, (no matter how many protests like this are held).

                    • Incognito

                      On a Sunday, you’re right, it is probably not a big issue.

                      During a working day 15 minutes late for work might be a different story.

                      I’d like to think it is the other way round, but in any case, people can leave 15 min earlier if they have to be on time for that all-important meeting. When I went to school the joke was using the excuse for being late was that the bridge was open.

                    • Incognito

                      1 June 2021 at 10:39 pm

                      ….in any case, people can leave 15 min earlier if they have to be on time for that all-important meeting.

                      I don't know about getting to that 'all-important meeting'.
                      Maybe that is true for salaried professionals, and/or managers. (And I would hope that having more autonomy than wage workers such people would schedule that 'all-important meeting' for outside of peak times).

                      For the average wage slave, who has to be at their factory or public facing job in a bank or retail outlet, by 8 or 9am, they have no choice but to join the morning rush.

                      You are demanding that they should all add an extra 15 minutes to their commute to be at their workplace on time?

                      Assuming that the vast majority of the 40,000 commuters that cross the bridge every day are wage workers with set starting and finishing times – that is a combined extra 10,000 hours of idling in stop start traffic, on the way to work and back again.

                      I will leave it up to others to work out how many extra tons of CO2 that is.

                      You can tell working people to leave for work earlier, I have even known of some arrogant employers who have said to their workers, "It is your choice to live on the Shore".

                      I will take a leap here. I could be wrong, but I am guessing that the majority of the cyclists who are agitating for a cycle lane on the Harbour Bridge are not regular commuters, hailing from Sunnynook, or Browns Bay, or Albany, or Silverdale or Whangaparoa, or any of the other North Shore dormitory suburbs.

                      Now correct me if I am wrong, but I am guessing that the majority of these committed cyclist activists are not regular North Shore commuters but instead are individuals who have made a lifestyle choice to ride bicycles either for fitness or leisure.

                      (It would have been interesting to count how many SUVs with bike racks were parked around Pt Erin while their owners were pushing past the police?)

                      In effect these cycle activists are demanding that 20,000 serious commuters crowd into the remainding seven motorway lanes, while they have one to themselves. Despite the cost to the environment and climate, despite the extra travel times to work for thousands of commuters.

                      All I ask is that if the cycling activists really want to get their bikes across the harbour, that they think of agitating to be able to take their bikes on the bus instead.

                      Maybe if these cycle activists are really concerned about the environment and want to get commuters out of their cars, they give their support to the fare free movement.


                    • Incognito []

                      Can you please point out where I made demands, thanks?

                      Your assumptions for estimating the extra CO2 output are way off.

                      You make many more wild & weird assumptions, but I’m sure the feel realistic to you.

                      You’re trying extremely hard to prove that cycling across the HB is just about the worst thing that can happen to poor (!) wage slave commuters with “arrogant” bosses who were forced to live in the North Shore and work across the Harbour and to the climate and the environment as well.

                      You’re also working extremely hard to paint those cyclists as selfish entitled SUV drivers who enjoy too much of a good life in lycra with no consideration of the fellow humans.

                      I get the impression from all your comments (16 so far) just under this post alone that you’re dogmatically opposed to a trial period of three months and that you’re desperately seeking justification and arguments to justify your rigid position. Ironically, the title of the post includes the words “winnable politics”, which is the exact opposite of your stand here.

                      Finally, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no point in continuing this convo with you any longer as it would increase my CO2 output beyond safe limits.


                    • Sacha

                      Living on the North Shore is "a lifestyle choice".

                  • Incognito

                    2 June 2021 at 11:00 pm

                    Can you please point out where I made demands, thanks?

                    No probs.


                    1 June 2021 at 4:17 pm

                    Surely it can’t be too much ask, even of the most hardened of car drivers, to sit in traffic for 15 minutes?

                    Asking drivers to give up a lane on the Bridge is demanding that they sit in traffic for an extra 15 minutes.

            • Sacha

              No good asking for a bike lane across the Auckland Harbour Bridge, it is never gonna happen.

              The original design included cycling and walking access – like Sydney and other bridges across the planet. We are not special.

              • Unlike the Sydney Harbour Bridge, (In spite of what its orginal design may have included), the Auckland Harbour Bridge was constructed for motor vehicles only.

                This cannot be changed easily, or cheaply.

                In essence the Auckland Harbour Bridge is an eight lane motorway, like most motorways, it defies retrofitting for bikes and pedestrians.

                As we all know there is a design for a hugely expensive skypath extension to be retrofitted to the side or underneath of the carriageway, but there is no political will or budget for it.

                Who knows? That may change.

                But there will never be a bike lane on the main carriageway.

                You might as well demand to be allowed to cycle in the left lane of the Sothern Motorway while you are at it..

                Protest for a bike lane on the carriageway all you like.
                Because such a demand flies in the face of reality, the authorities have no choice, but to match any escalation in protest, with an escalation in counter measures.

                Riot police, mass arrests.

                Do you really want that?

                Do you really think that will change the reality that the Auckland Harbour Bridge is an eight lane motorway?

                • Incognito

                  Because such a demand flies in the face of reality, the authorities have no choice, but to match any escalation in protest, with an escalation in counter measures.

                  Riot police, mass arrests.

                  It’s not our fault, we was brainwashed by the media and JAG!!

                • Sacha

                  This cannot be changed easily, or cheaply.

                  Not a good angle I'm afraid – is very simple to barrier off a lane.

                  I do agree that bus priority is a better investment if the purpose is narrowly defined as getting people across the bridge during peak hours. If it wasn't for the existing busway, those periods would have clogged with cars years ago.

              • Sacha

                2 June 2021 at 2:17 pm

                Living on the North Shore is "a lifestyle choice".

                Hi Sacha, I guess you are trying to be funny or facetious with this comment.

                Leading on from that comment, I suppose your next facetious comment will be to tell them to 'go back to where you came from'.

                Try telling that to the 300,000 people, many who would have been born and grew up and went to school on The Shore.

                North Shore, New Zealand

                From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

                The North Shore was formerly North Shore City….

                The city had an estimated population of 229,000 at 30 June 2010, making it the fourth most populous city in New Zealand ….

                Living on the North Shore is "a lifestyle choice".

                By the same twisted logic you could say that living in Auckland is a lifestyle choice, or even living in New Zealand is a life style choice.

                Where we wind up in life is not always a choice.

                But even if others do choose to go and live here, or there, or wherever. Who are we to tell them they shouldn't?




                treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humour; flippant.
                "a facetious remark"
                flippant, glib, frivolous, tongue-in-cheek, waggish, whimsical, joking, jesting, roguish, impish, teasing, mischievous....

                All I can add, is this;

                If you have turned to facetiousness you have run out of serious defence for your position.

        • Ad

          There are going to be a lot more protests like this until NZTA folds.

          It's what a revolution looks like at the beginning.

          • Jenny How to get there

            The NZTA won't fold.

            The majority of commuters are not bicycle riders and never will be.

            For a revolution to succeed, you need a sizable majority of the population with you.

            Thor: Ragnarok (2017) – "Korg & Miek" | Movie Clip – YouTube


          • Ad

            30 May 2021 at 2:01 pm

            There are going to be a lot more protests like this until NZTA folds…..


            How about this Ad: Next Sunday, try the same stunt again, let's see if the police are not better prepared to repel protesters, and not just with "a few police officers" and a "rickety gate", but in bigger numbers and riot shields.

            Why I support the biking advocates who forced the Harbour Bridge lane closures

            Duncan Garner

            …..Auckland's new "anarchists", who didn't let the law, a rickety gate and a few police officers stop them from riding over the Harbour Bridge at the weekend.

            Why I support the biking advocates who forced the Harbour Bridge lane closures (msn.com)

            Talk is cheap. Duncan Garner has made it clear that his "support" does not extend to being on the front line trying to push past police with riot shieds.

            • Ad

              No the protesters have made the overt point. Now the bigger battles are now inside the Council, NZTA, and in the Minister's office, while they finalise the RLTP. The media are quite immaterial now.

              What the elected officials saw over that bridge and in tv was voters, really well motivated voters.

              All the elected officials know now that they have a proper political game on their hands. That game is now that's bigger than the stoush over the Onewa Road T3 lanes, or the Bridgeway cycleway, and at least as big as the 2001 North Shore Busway proposals.

              This one has already forced Brett Gliddon to actively support public transport and cycling over the bridge, because otherwise the Minister is going to have his ass, and he knows it.

    • mark II 8.3

      i was there there well over 2000 thousand the media are under stateing the numbers

      [You’ve been asked before, please use a different user name because you don’t want to be confused with another Mark who used to comment here. In addition, you’re now using a new e-mail address, which I’ve approved this time, but please stick to this one from now on, thanks – Incognito]

  9. Ad 10

    The general ignorance on display from several commenters here about how local government and transport budgets are formed and prioritised is something to behold.

    In related news where the same people concerned about more Wellington cycleways can double down on their fear, the Climate Change Commission is going to hand over their final recommendations to Minister Shaw tomorrow.

    This is going to make the cycleway fight look like a bowl of ripe cherries.


    Right up there will be the need to eliminate all combustion engine vehicles, starting with a full ban on their imports ASAP. And tonnes and tonnes of public transport, and cycleways. Lots of them.

    Thankfully Wellington's Councillors get that discomfort and that necessity, one budget at a time. Tamatha Paul in the TV1 interview today said:

    "What I’ve found is that when the rubber hits the road, sometimes literally, people are not willing to make that change.”

    And the point of my post is pretty simple:

    You know why I believe that a small group of smart, dedicated citizens can change anything?

    Because I've seen the evidence.

    • alwyn 10.1

      I wonder whether one of the heavies in the Prime Minister's Office will remove the report from Shaw's possession and hide it away the way the Te Puapua report disappeared from sight in 2019?

      Will the Labour members of the Government adopt a "It hasn't been put forward to Cabinet so it's not Government policy and I've never read it and I don't know anything about it".

      • Ad 10.1.1

        All Ministers are committed to it from the PM down. She needs all those young voters that got her in there.


        But if the political heat really gets too tough, it's a Green Party policy to load on the Good Ship Shaw to bail as hard as he can.

        • alwyn

          "Green Party policy". True. The Green Party doesn't have to worry as there are certainly 5% of the population who will cheer for it.

          I'm not sure it was the "young voters" that got her (the PM) in there. I think it was a massive surge of former National, elderly, ladies who believe that "Jacinda saved our lives". I am still surprised at how many there are.

          Meanwhile, if it really turned bad with the general public the Labour Party will readily be able to say it has nothing to do with them. I will watch with interest whether the Labour Party leaders talk it up tomorrow. Common sense would say to welcome the fact that there is a discussion document but to refuse to comment on any details until they have a first chance to see what their support party has come up with. In other words, as of now "We know nothing".

    • RedBaronCV 10.2

      As opposed to all the other smart poor young citizens whose rents are going to go up to fund this. If we are green serious then we push all the transport money into mass free transit rather than cycles moving slowly up a hill holding up the buses.

      Small electric vehicles are likely to win the day.

  10. Jenny How to get there 11

    Uh, Oh

    Chaotic morning on Auckland roads as Harbour Bridge barrier machine fault creates major backlog

    Lana Andelane 1 hour ago

    "Due to a barrier machine fault, the Harbour Bridge remains in a four-by-four lane layout currently, but is expected to be opened to the usual five-by-three lane configuration shortly," the Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) said in a tweet shortly after 6am.

    The bridge's eight lanes – four northbound, four southbound – are reconfigured overnight, with a moveable barrier creating a fifth southbound lane in time for rush-hour morning traffic into Auckland's CBD and central suburbs.

    But a fault with the barrier machine shortly after 6am brought traffic to a standstill, with citybound vehicles bumper-to-bumper as far back as the Northcote Road off-ramp by 6:30am as they waited to cross the bridge…..

    Chaotic morning on Auckland roads as Harbour Bridge barrier machine fault creates major backlog (msn.com)

    The barrier machine couldn’t get one lane open for the morning rush.

    And some people want to remove one lane permanently for a bike lane?

    I mean, Really?

    • Sacha 11.1

      Oh noes, it would be 5 + 2 for cars.

    • Ad 11.2

      Don't be surprised if NZTA dedicate lanes for the Northern Express buses, and actively manage for decreases in private vehicle traffic to intentionally make the traffic queues longer, and so actively push people onto public transport because it's cheaper and faster.

      This is where policy is really hitting actual operations very hard.

      The next step is road pricing starting at peak times, which is just going to need one more term of this government to implement.

      • Ad

        2 June 2021 at 9:20 pm

        Don't be surprised if NZTA dedicate lanes for the Northern Express buses, and actively manage for decreases in private vehicle traffic to intentionally make the traffic queues longer, and so actively push people onto public transport because it's cheaper and faster…..

        This makes much more sense than giving over a traffic lane to cyclists.

        In fact I think it is inevitable.

        I would add a couple of tweaks.

        1/ Fulfil the cycling community's long thwarted dream of crossing the harbour, All buses on the Northern Busway come with cargo bays for bikes and specialised bike loading bus stops either side of the bridge.

        2/ Rather than just force motorists onto public transport by increasing congestion on the Bridge with a bus lane, also make motorists want to take public transport by making buses on the Northern Busway fare free.


        • Ad

          This government is much more likely to make schoolchildren travel free. Auckland Council aren't going for it.

          There's an opportunity for some cycle storage as the double decker fleet transfers to electric. But it will close soon as orders go in.

          • Jenny How to get there


            3 June 2021 at 5:50 am

            This government is much more likely to make schoolchildren travel free….

            Another sensible measure to reduce traffic congestion and pollution.

            Anyone who drives for a living in Auckland will tell you the almost miraculous loosening of traffic congestion during school holidays.
            I could be wrong but I put this down to the cars of parents dropping their children to school removed from the morning rush.

            Here in Papakura my partner related to me witnessing an early morning police crackdown on warrant of fitness and car registration outside the local primary school. Distressed mothers and their children were being ordered out of their cars at the side of the road for non-compliance.

            If parents cannot afford to keep their old wreck of a car up to scratch, they are unlikely to afford the school bus fares.

            And so take the risk of getting to work or school in unregistered and unwarranted wrecks.

            (I also recall a news report from some years ago of a similar early morning police crackdowns in South Auckland of factory workers being pulled over on their way to work for warrants and registration breaches. So many low paid factory workers were late for work that the factory owners were complaining to the police and media. I haven't heard of traffic violation dawn raids lately so maybe they have been quietly dropped).

            What this all points to is that public transport is woefully inadequate and overpriced.

            When we have traffic and public transport problems like this in South Auckland, I find it hard to have too much sympathy for middle class cyclists prevented from enjoying riding their bikes across the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

  11. Is Auckland City Councilor Efeso Collins preparing the public for a more violent response to bike protesters?

    South Auckland community leaders question police response to Harbour Bridge cycle protest

    MON, MAY 31 • SOURCE: 1 NEWS

    ……with just one arrest Auckland Councillor Efeso Collins is asking whether the group was shown leniency not shown to others.

    “When you're handling poorer people out south you're treated one way by the police and when you're managing people who are wealthy and in lycra you've got a completely different approach by the police," he told 1 NEWS.


    Media reports like this, convince me that any future protests similar to this last – will be dealt with much more forcibly.

    Where I believe Cycle politics is winnable politics. a demand for a bike lane, or even a trial of a bike lane, across the Auckland Harbour Bridge, is a losing strategy.

    Short of a skypath, or a second harbour crossing, the only other option is buses with cargo space for bikes.

    • Ad 12.1

      No, he's not.

      But top work for encouraging road rage against cyclists with your standard passive-aggressive bullshit.

      Wednesday's Climate policy framework is just going to leave you recalcitrant retrograde renegade roadsters gasping along with the oldies at AA.

  12. Jenny How to get there 13

    Cycling politics is winning politics

    Cycling the bridge is losing politics

    Auckland harbour cycle and pedestrian bridge facing criticism from both sides

    "I think we're underestimating the fact that people will use it just for the joy of being able to walk over the water, to stop in the middle of the bridge, take photos, to go over on a jog in the morning, walk their dog, take their kids over… I think people are underestimating how popular a bridge like that would be."

    Cyclist and urban designer Emma McInnes

    Auckland harbour cycle and pedestrian bridge facing criticism from both sides (msn.com)

    A $760 million dollar tourist attraction?


    And before anyone says that this is only the opinion of one person.

    I think that Emma McInnes's views are well representative of the majority of the protesters on the Bridge last Sunday. (correct me if I am wrong).

    The amount of serious commuters who need to get across the bridge and might choose to do so by bicycle can only come from a very small catchment area centred around Onewa Road, Barrys Point Road, Lake Road etc.. The vast majority of commuters that cross the bridge every day as part of their daily grind come from much further afield, suburbs that it would be impractical to commute from on bicycles on a daily basis, Whangaparoa, Albany, Silverdale, Browns Bay, Sunnynook, etc.

    (If these commuters were really wanting to commute to the CBD, and beyond, by bike they would already be doing it down the existing bikeway down the North Western Motorway).

    Instead of catering to day trippers and sightseers. If Emma McInnes and her supporters and followers were serious in getting people to ride bikes to work they would be supporting allowing bikes to be taken onto buses, so that people from these far flung North Shore suburbs only need to cycle to their nearest park and ride to get across the harbour, and from there continue to their places of work. From a soul destroying slog for only the most hardened cycling enthusiast to a much more user friendly experience, a combined cycle bus commute may be the best way to cross the harbour.

    Just saying.

    • Ad 13.1

      You can already take your bikes on trains and ferries. Auckland and Wellington.

      Whereas bus routes often parallel main bus routes.

      Just said it.

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