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Future Auckland Transport

Written By: - Date published: 6:15 am, March 23rd, 2011 - 78 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, public transport, transport - Tags: , ,

This post was going to be about Auckland Unleashed which is being released today, but has been somewhat, er, derailed, by the bridge vs tunnel report that’s come out.

Steven Joyce wants a bridge, to link with his beloved roads.  His shiny new report leaves the options open; but he has managed – through getting a bridge contractor to estimate tunnel costs – to push out the cost for a tunnel by $1.2-$1.6 billion, making it markedly more expensive than a bridge.  In these parsimonious times, he’ll no doubt be confident that the public will now fall behind him.

A tunnel will cost $5.3 billion according to Joyce’s new figures, where previous estimates had all put it between $3.7 and $4.1 billion.  A bridge will cost $3.9 billion.  This is intriguing as elsewhere in the world recently tunnels have been costing marginally less than bridges.

The newly approved Denmark – Germany crossing was switched from a bridge to a tunnel.  This was partly because a tunnel was cheaper, but also because of the reduced long-term environmental impact and reduced danger to shipping.

These are some of the reasons a tunnel has long been the preferred option of the NZTA and Auckland’s old local-bodies.  There are considerable difficulties as to where the bridge would go to and from as well.

Looking at a proposed new bridge route we’d have problems on the city side with the iconic Westhaven marina split in two or destroyed, and the millions that are currently going into the Victoria tunnel wasted.  If we replace the current bridge we’d not only have problems with the historic and culturally significant pa site at Stokes Point, we’d have years of traffic chaos and the North Shore essentially cut off – doing untold damage to the northern economy.

There is also no rail on the bridge.  It would be possible to put light rail on it, but this would be incompatible with the rest of Auckland and New Zealand’s network.  The only serious public transport option with a bridge is bus lanes.

A tunnel would be much faster to get approval for, would slot easily into Auckland’s rail network, would reduce fuel costs (and environmental impact) for heavy vehicles (less up-and-down), and would cause far less disruption to traffic.  It would also introduce network redundancy, leaving the current Harbour Bridge as an alternate route.  As an added bonus it could be built in stages as there would be multiple (2+) tunnels, and would allow for some pedestrian/cycle access on the current Harbour Bridge.

For all these reasons a tunnel is the much preferred option of those living north of the bridge.  Wayne Mapp and Jonathan Coleman will be nervous about the push for a bridge, and are probably the reason the rail option has been kept on the table.  Both have previously supported a tunnel.

But Steven Joyce keeps pushing for roads, and maybe the bridge is a way of locking that in.  In parliamentary debate foreshadowing today’s Auckland Unleashed, yesterday John Key and Bill English were pushing that the Christchurch earthquake wouldn’t hold up Auckland’s roads.  There was a marked lack of mention of any rail, despite the biggest project on the books, with by far the best return on investment (ROI), being the CBD rail tunnel.  Anyone who has been on an Auckland commuter train in peak time knows how necessary this is – every bit as necessary as Waterview is to linking up Auckland’s road network.

The truth is roads are far less significant than public transport in our future.  With petrol over $2/litre and rising, bus companies in Auckland are reporting a 10% increase in passengers.  Rail is growing even faster.  In fact road traffic is declining, and has been for a few years.

I expect today’s Auckland Unleashed will reflect that, with a strong focus on public transport.  What National do with that will be interesting.  Aucklanders, all 1.4 million of them, have a mayor that was elected on a strong public transport program.  Can National continue to deny them?  The leaked reports so far suggest they’ll try.

Update: I should have mentioned that this study was done because Joyce refused to accept the outcome of NZTA’s previous $1million study when he received it in 2009, and insisted on a new report that had a bridge option.  That report concluded with a $3.7-$4.1 million 4 lane tunnel, 2 motorway, 2 rail.  The $5.3 million number in the new study only refers to the 2 motorway lanes, with a suggested $1.6 billion extra to add rail at a future date.  That’s a remarkable increase in cost.

Also, The Herald’s lead today is on this.  I note that Len Brown quotes the report as saying that it is “improbable” a bridge would be able to get planning permission.  Steven Joyce makes it clear that if Auckland wants tunnels (instead of a bridge that couldn’t be approved) they’ll have to make up the $1.4 billion difference themselves – so maybe this is just a way of adding $1.4 billion to the share Aucklanders have to pay.  At any rate it’s a way of making sure that rail is no longer part of the equation.

78 comments on “Future Auckland Transport ”

  1. trucker 1

    The alternative harbour crossing has been discussed for many years, as the current bridge approaches its “use by” date.

    The bridge concept was proposed by Richard Simpson who put forward concept plans for what he termed “The Anzac Bridge”.


    Richard is a serious advocate of public transport, as demonstrated by his time on the Auckland City Council will show, when he gained his seat by opposing the Eastern Highway./

    One of the catch cries of those who oppose roads has always been that building roads is a bad thing because they fill up, therefore they should not be built. It is interesting that you suggest that road use is falling, therefore they are not filling up, therefore they should not be built. From that it is easy to draw the conclusion that your view is simply that roads are bad, and that logic is irrelevant.

    Being an evil trucker causes my conscience no grief at all. Think of me when you eat your corn flakes, pick up your shopping, take your medicine, drink an energy drink, wash your dishes, use your computer, twitter on your phone, plant a tree, dig the garden, ride a bike, sit on a bus etc. All things not possible without a truck delivery in the process.

    • lprent 1.1

      You were doing so well and on topic, being reasoned, providing links, until you wrote that irrelevant paragraph at the end. Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean you don’t have reason to be so. But I suspect that it has more to with diversion tactics.

      Comments about truckers will tend to get diverted to OpenMike.

    • The Economic Illiteracy Support Group 1.2

      Being an evil trucker causes my conscience no grief at all.

      ….. which I guess is why you’re prepared to simply pay your lobbyists to give money to the National Party who will then dutifully do your bidding, rather than – say – convince Auckland that a bridge is a better idea than a tunnel through rational argument. After all, why should truckies behave ethically when you can simply write a cheque instead, hmm?

      [lprent: Agreed that this looks like a spinner astro-turfing badly with a dual message – trucks being diversionary. Don’t assist him. Just concentrate on the topic and take irrelevances to OpenMike. ]

    • Ben Clark 1.3

      Hi trucker,

      Not all roads are bad – I definitely think Waterview needs building to complete the network, although I preferred the more tunnel option that Labour was suggested as this would cause less grief for residents.

      Rather I think that in general we should be focussing on public transport for our future investment. Not only has it been neglected in the past, but if we get more people on public transport that will free up our existing roads for you to get us our cornflakes in the morning.

      In the main thing I was discussing – bridge vs tunnel – it is in fact an option between 2 roads. I would have thought you’d appreciate your lower fuel bills from the tunnel option, no?

      • Trucker 1.3.1

        In operational terms I do not think that there is any significant difference between a tunnel and a bridge. They both have hills in them, and the gains and losses from weather are insignificant.

        Personally I was an advocate of the tunnel until I saw all the data on the bridge option, which is quite impressive, not to mention more cost effective.

        Likewise I don’t have an issue with public transport, and appreciate that everyone off the roads aids congestion.

        The tempering factor though is that PT cannot deliver what people want the same way that cars can, and the principle reason for that is that we do not have enough people to generate any kind of return financially or frequency operationally. This fundamental is overlooked by the PT advocates who do not consider the costs as “the taxpayer” will meet them.

        That tax payer Ben is you and me, and I pay enough tax now.

        • lprent

          The problem is that the grades on all the bridge designs I have seen so far for Auckland preclude heavy rail. That is the primary difference between the two. If you drop the need to let vessels under the bridge then the grade can probably be dropped down to something that Auckland’s rail system can handle.

          But by the time that is designed we are even more years down the line. But the costing for the bridge look more than a little suspect. I suspect it was a outcome that Joyce desired for some reason so got it with some very dodgy assumptions. He has been known for doing that before. I’ll have a look after independent people like Auckland Transport Blog have a look at it before I decide if it is valid.

          But basically the lack of a heavy rail option means that I already regard it as being too costly for Auckland over the longer term.

          • Trucker


            The last time I spoke with Steven Joyce he was in favour of the tunnel option.

            I suspect that there has been a lot of lobbying by the “Anzac Bridge” proponents which may have changed his mind. They changed mine. I am not sure whether this is the favoured option.

            In political terms, and I fail to see why you have to be left or right with this, the Anzac Bridge lobby group is very left, and present a logical case.

            I would have thought any minister being presented a logical case and accepting it would be a good thing.

            We certainly appreciated many of Annette King’s actions and approachability as Transport Minister.

            • lprent

              Look I really don’t care if it is a bridge or a tunnel.

              I do care if the option precludes heavy rail for public transport. Currently the anzac bridge plans do because of the grade issue. They cannot go over a high bridge. So as far as I (and damn near every Aucklander I know) am concerned the current bridge options aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

              The reason is that we are increasingly using public transport for our routine commuting, and keeping the cars for doing the weekend stuff. The costs of running a private car keep rising very rapidly. So the taxpayer ‘cost’ is a bit irrelevant. It is my total transport costs as a Aucklander that I am concerned with. If I don’t have effective public transport, I spend way too much in petrol prices, parking, extra car maintenance and replacement, and for new roads to relieve congestion. If there is effective public transport, I use that for the bulk of my commuting needs, and use the car on the weekends.

              Because I now have better PT available, like many Aucklanders, I drive a lot less (about 10% of what I did 5 years ago because of the cost of fuel). The PT has meant that my direct transport costs including maintenance and replacement have dropped to a fraction of what they were 5 years ago. I don’t pay for parking.

              I’m also paying less for indirect transport through taxes on trucks, because the congestion growth has been diminishing and we need less roading upgrades. Hell I can see the bridge from the last couple of places that I work and the jams have reduced massively just because of the number of passengers on the busway.

              So the Anzac bridge is just not useful to me as an Aucklander, because it means that I have less choice between private vs public transport if I want to work on the North Shore again. Public transport over the harbour is only going to increase – for instance a lot of the work I do is at Albany. But even the busway means that it is too slow getting there (even if it almost twice as fast as by car) and it simply can’t move people as fast as trains (the trains were wonderful to Penrose a few jobs back).

              I’m not interested in commuting by car. It just increases my costs. Buses are just a fudge. A train system is the best long term PT and building bridge that precludes it is outright stupid and ultimately more expensive to me as a payer of transport taxes. I’d oppose any plan to build a new harbour crossing without rail and I’m willing as a taxpayer to build one with it – it gives me more flexibility about where I can work to pay those taxes and it costs me less in taxes overall.

              • Lanthanide

                “I’m not interested in commuting by car. It just increases my costs”
                You’re a businessman! Pass it on to your customers!

                • lprent

                  I’m not (unless I can’t get away from it). Running a business simply interferes with the pleasures of writing code and making things run without having a employee or telephone yammering in my ear. If I can, I always try to find a smurk who thinks that running a business is a good idea and ‘help’ them. But I mostly write code and snarl when others come in flesh and interrupt too often.

                  I used to do management until I did an MBA. That convinced me that I really wasn’t interested in it and I was interested in playing with code. So after a few years I talked my way into programming jobs. At various times since I have been reluctantly forced into management and ownership roles. I usually manage to change them somewhat. In the most extreme example I ran a moderate sized programming team and the support crew that successfully turned out a profitable project and business while we mostly worked from home using e-mail, instant messaging, VPN, and version control. I only turned up to work once a month by taxi on the company credit card because I didn’t have a car.

                  Traditional business models tend to be somewhat (ummm) inefficient.

                  Does this sound familiar to you? I use a lot of the same techniques here.

        • Bunji

          As far as I understand, with the current options the bridge will have more up-and-down than the tunnel. You have to go higher to get over a tall-masted yacht than to go under it. And Chelsea will want those big ships still able to get through…

          PT advocates are all too aware of the cost – not only do users pay part of it directly, but there is constant screeching about subsidies from the Right. To make it more efficient, we do need to look at density of housing vs urban sprawl as the Auckland Plan will today. What is in fact more often overlooked is the cost of building and maintaining our road network – through our taxes.

        • The Economic Illiteracy Support Group

          That tax payer Ben is you and me, and I pay enough tax now.

          Oh no you don’t.

          According to the Surface Transport Costs and Charges (PDF) assessment from the Ministry of Transport in 2005, the trucking industry only pays 55% of its direct costs – the rest is a subsidy from general taxation, covering the disproportionate damage to roads from heavy vehicles, the higher impact of diesel particulate pollution and the higher likelihood of death and injury in crashes involving heavy vehicles. In comparison, car drivers pay 68% of their costs and rail pays close to 90%.

          So this idea that the trucking industry is some kind of free-market icon is simply an urban myth. And it would be nice if your industry did actually pay its way, rather than perpetually having its hand out for new roads – the rest of us taxpayers might be a bit more sympathetic to your position.

          • Trucker

            This study has been discredited, and is not accepted by the Ministry.

            My point was I pay enough taxpersonally, as a tax payer.

            You can increase road charges if you wish, and that will only increase transport costs, which you will then pay for. That is a separate argument, but your basic point of reference is flawed, and is therefore irrelevant.

            • The Economic Illiteracy Support Group

              This study has been discredited, and is not accepted by the Ministry.

              The replacement for the STCC study is the UTCC study – Understanding Transport Costs and Charges, which as the FAQ on the Ministry of Transport website notes:

              he predecessor of the UTCC study, the Surface Transport Costs and Charges (STCC) (2005) study provided some snapshot estimates of the total, average and marginal costs and charges for 2001-02 for the road and rail networks.

              However, as there have been substantial changes in these sectors since 2001-02, the STCC estimates and the comparisons between modes are largely out of date.

              This is a very long way from your claim that the “study has been discredited”, for which I notice you haven’t bothered to post any supporting links or corroboration. So working on the assumption that you might just be a bit lazy rather than actively disingenuous, I called Joanne Leung at the Ministry of Transport (04 439 9000, in case you’re interested) and asked her whether the STCC study was “discredited”. She’s the lead researcher on the UTCC study, so she’d presumably know the state of play.

              She’s a very nice and very helpful person, and she confirmed that the Ministry stood behind both the data and the methodology from the 2005 study – the exact opposite of what you said.

              It’s hard to avoid the conclusion, my friend, that you’re an utter bullshit artist. However in the spirit of constructive criticism, can I suggest that when you make statements on The Interwebs, you take the time to make that phone call and check that data and post that link, because in the future you’ll look much less like a total dick.

              • Trucker


                You obviously have a strange relationship with friends, when you claim them on one hand and the insult them with another. On that base I coinsider it somewhat presumptive of you to claim friendship.

                I may have been guilty of being too direct for you, and therefore will rephrase what I said in another language.

                The STC study data has been analised by a number of organisations and reports submitted to the Ministry, who paid exceptionally good money for the report. The Ministry has acknowledged that there were areas of the STCC report that needed firther addressing, and have been in the process of preparing another report, the UTCC report for a number of years. The report was originally due for publication at the end of 2010, in a partial format, with other studies due to be completed in the future.

                No One from the MOT is going to come out and say that they disagree with a report that they paid for. The fact that they have commissioned another should tell you enough, but as I am an “utter bullshit artist” and a “total dick” I can assume that not only have I have ceased a very short term friendship (About 2 hours), but that you wont be bothered to consider an alternative viewpoint.

                • The Economic Illiteracy Support Group

                  See, there you go again.

                  The STC study data has been analised by a number of organisations and reports submitted to the Ministry

                  Really? Where’s the link, or the copy of the document? If those reports were actually submitted by these putative organisations, they would be readily available (a) on the MoT website, or (b) accessible via the OIA, or (c) available from the organisations that allegedly prepared them. So you should be able to support your position with some actual facts.

                  All we can take from your comment is that some mythical organisations have raised some mythical (but unquantified) objections to STCC, which somehow invalidate the whole study … for which you can apparently provide no proof. Your credibility is not strong.

                  No One from the MOT is going to come out and say that they disagree with a report that they paid for.

                  You’re implying that there is someone in the MoT who does disagree with the report, but when I called and asked the Ministry if they stood behind the report’s methodology and data, they said they did. The only effect of your comment, therefore, is to attempt to slur the integrity of the people involved, by implying (without any proof) that there were significant disagreements within the Ministry that were ignored or whitewashed. Again, produce some evidence to support your statement.

                  And just a final thought, courtesy of The Guardian:

                  But more than anything, because linking to sources is such an easy thing to do and the motivations for avoiding links are so dubious, I’ve detected myself using a new rule of thumb: if you don’t link to primary sources, I just don’t trust you.

                  It seems like a very good rule of thumb.

              • Swampy

                However, as you have quoted the STCC data is out of date and therefore irrelevant to quote in this context.

            • Draco T Bastard

              You can increase road charges if you wish, and that will only increase transport costs, which you will then pay for. That is a separate argument, but your basic point of reference is flawed, and is therefore irrelevant.

              No, it’s not a separate argument. Trucks are being subsidised but if they weren’t the costs would still be the same it’s just that they would appear in the prices of the products rather than in peoples taxes which would give people the choice that they presently don’t have.

              • KJT

                If you subsidised coastal shipping similarly the total cost to the consumer would be much less as would the burden on overseas payments for fuel supplies. Simply because a ship is hundred off times more energy efficient than trucks.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  But if you just got rid of the trucking subsidy more transportation should go by ship as it would be cheaper – in theory.

                • higherstandard

                  Yeah because ships can deliver straight to the factory/supermarket door.

                  • Draco T Bastard


                    A ship may not be able to deliver it direct to the front door as a truck can but it can transport it from one end of the country to the other a hell of a lot cheaper than a truck can. Get rid of the massive subsidies that trucks presently have and the ships and trains will become the mode of such long range transport.

          • Kevyn Miller

            Whilst the summary report of the STCC gives the impression that the 45% shortfall is due to the reasons you site the full STCC report reveals that most of the 45% shortfall is due to the simple fact that roads do not provide the government with a market rate of return on the capital invested in them, in fact neither did rail at that time. Since rail is no longer required to provide a commercial rate of return on capital there is no longer the same logical justification for expecting roads to return a commercial profit to the government. However, since the last Labour government hypothecated the petrol tax without a corresponding increase in RUCs one can argue both that Labour was in the pocket of the RTF and that trucks are paying less of their fair share than when the STCC study was done, down from 90% to maybe as low as 80%.

            • The Economic Illiteracy Support Group

              I thought the STCC study was a bit more nuanced than simply looking at the return on capital equation – it also nodded in the direction of the health and environmental impacts of roading usage, which is a useful thing to do. But you’re right – changes in the policy settings since 2001/02 make some of the conclusions rather out of date.

              The most rational way to approach this would be to view all the built infrastructure – roads, railways, ports – as fully-amortised assets that don’t require any form of economic return, then set up the fair allocation of costs across the different user groups and modes. At least we’d then be comparing apples with apples, and we can make sure there aren’t any implicit subsidies in the cost allocation models, as there clearly seem to be at the moment.

          • Swampy

            This report is now out of date, therefore the assumptions you make are probably wrong as well.

    • Ben Clark 1.4

      Oh, and as far as roads filling up if you build them – that has historically been the case. The last few years as fuel prices rise (and I note they’ve now matched record highs and are still expected to rise), this seems to have changed the paradigm.

      While fuel was cheap more roads = more cars, this may no longer be true.

      • The Economic Illiteracy Support Group 1.4.1

        If you look at the published literature, VKT (vehicle kilometres travelled, the most accurate measure of road demand) peaked in 2003 in both Europe and the US:

        Schipper is a researcher at Global Metro Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and at the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center at Stanford University. He was joined in the research by Adam Millard-Ball, a doctoral candidate at Stanford. They analyzed travel trends between 1970 and 2008 in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Sweden, France, Germany, Japan, and Australia. In each case they plotted the distance traveled per capita per year by car, pickup, bus, airplane, train, light rail, streetcar, and subway. Then they compared the data to the country’s gross domestic product per capita.

        They found a correlation between rising prosperity and passenger travel from 1970 to 2003. But passenger travel stopped growing after 2003 even as GDP per capita continued to rise. Motorized travel has plateaued at about 16,155 miles per year per person in the United States, 6,213 miles in Japan and between 8,077 and 10,563 miles in the other countries.

        “Since 2003, motorized travel demand has leveled out or even declined in most of the countries studied, and travel in private vehicles has declined,” the authors wrote in their study. “Car ownership has continued to rise, but these cars are being driven less.”

        However this is based on solid empirical research, which – let’s face it – is not exactly Steven Joyce’s strong suit. He will proceed with his pointless roads and put in a bridge when Auckland needs a tunnel only because he’s the kind of political dinosaur that puts the well-being of lobbyists ahead of the well-being of the country.

        • Kevyn Miller

          Did they find this plateau for all modes of travel or just motorized travel? The plateau from the mid-1970s to mid-1980s occurred for cars and PT. Since all energy costs rise on the coat-tails of rising oil prices the impact of the cost of home/office heating needs to be considered along with the direct impact on transport costs. Either way, I can’t see energy prices falling dramaticly within a decade as they did in the 1980s but energy costs should fall if high prices lead to significant implementation of high BCR efficiency measures.

          • The Economic Illiteracy Support Group

            As I read it the study was solely about motorised transport – specifically, whether the projected trend of ~1.5% annual growth in vkt/vmt was actually continuing in the developed world, as it relates to private cars. The answer: no it isn’t.

            My personal view is that oil prices will follow a cycle – oil price inflation -> oil-induced recession -> oil price decline -> partial economic recovery -> oil price inflation …. lather, rinse, repeat. It’s hard to see how big roading projects that are already showing a negative cost/benefit are going to be a good investment in that kind of climate.

      • Trucker 1.4.2

        The “filling up” argument is an interesting one.

        To me the acceptance of a new facility by people using it is a measure of success, not failure.

        More people using buses or trains when a new service is introduced is good, but more people using a new road is bad. I don’t understand why one is bad when they are both the same..

        I can only drive one car at a time, and if I choose to use a new road, then I am not using an old road. The car use has not changed, but the use is now on a new facility which frees up the old area, or in congestion terms removes the congestion from the road that the new road was meant to decongest. I can’t see that as a failure.

        The other reason roads fill up is that our population is growing. As it does it requires more infrastructure to support the growth. Roads do not fill all by themselves, they need people , and that is a consequence of growth. The same growth means mores schols, hospitals, shops etc, and the roads are merely the conduits of access to these services. If there was no growth, then nothing would be needed. People then want to eat, play etc and they need access to do these things.

        A PT zealot addressed the then Auckland City Council and told us that in his wildest dreams a perfect PT system in Auckland could cope with 20% of the population, and then only if the system was perfect. He ten defined a perfect system, and pointed out that no city anywhere has a 100% perfect system. Gievn that 20% is the maximum in his view it seems logical to cater for the majority as well as the minority, and to find space for us truckers to deliver what people consume.

        • Ben Clark

          20% seems a low aim for a ‘zealot’. It might be a realistic aim for Auckland in the near-ish future though.

          I guess the reasons roads filling up is often not looked at as ‘success’ is that it might be because it is enabling people to make ‘unnecessary’ journeys, burning unnecessary fuel. So people live a lot further from their work, go shopping on the other side of town etc etc, instead of having these things in their local communities. There is a balance of personal freedom vs cost I suppose. And as those roads fill up, you keep needing to build new ones, when perhaps we might need to change our lifestyles instead?

          We do need more infrastructure as population grows. Which then leads us to want to plan for where we can afford to have those people live, and how we are going to get them about. Ultimately PT is a lot more efficient at getting people around if we can manage it. 50 people in bus or train carriage makes more economic sense than 50 cars all burning fuel and taking up a lot more space that could be used for other things. There is quite a large opportunity cost to all that road land.

    • vto 1.5

      Sheesh trucker you sound like the bleating ‘you’re doomed without us’ farmers with your last paragraph.

      Following your dopey logic you too (and everyone else) is doomed without the education sector (how would you be able to read the road signs?) and without the health sector (say no more) and without the housing sector (you would die without a roof over your head at night) and without the… oh well hopefully you get the message.

      Or maybe trucker you could look at it in this way – without people eating their cornflakes, washing their dishes, planting their trees there would be no truckers! Not needed. You owe your existence to the people, not the other way around. Fool.

      When people say ‘you would not be here without us’ I just shake my head at the shallowness and dopeyness. Wake up and take your place alongside everyone else.

      • Trucker 1.5.1


        I never doubt or ingnore the importance of our customers.

        I agree with you absolutely that without people there would be no demand for our services.

        We are here because of our customers, and we serve them accordingly.

        Logistically I can not yet see a way to delete the transport industry, but it may come over time. Email has significantly reduced the movement of mail as an example.

        Society works around lots of components that are interlinked, and while none would fail without one of the other components, life would be difficult for a time, and often the solution would be the same as the removed component.

        I value education, health and housing highly, and have some of each.

        Sorry about my shallowness and dopeyness, I will try and do better 🙂

  2. Joyce has a history of being a magician with construction costs of major projects.

    Hes the Ken Ring of roading

  3. lprent 3

    Quite simply my view is much the same as Ben’s. It appears that Joyce has gotten the report that he wanted by the simple expedient of demanding a biased report to fit his biases. This was the tactic that he used on SH20 to change the route and the build technique. After that happened, the cheaper cost suddenly disappeared into vapour as the costs escalated back to where they were originally.

    Auckland should simply ignore this report because it does nothing to help with our long term transport needs. It is obvious to every Aucklander who uses public transport that we need to be able to extend the long run public transport out to the North Shore. Many of us have worked in quite different parts of the city, people from the North Shore working in Manakau and the like.

    With the shortages and price increases in fuel, and all other forms of private transport looking increasingly expensive (have people looked at the price of changing batteries in a all-electric car – it isn’t going to be cheap), Auckland is going to need a good fast public transport system that covers distance throughout the urban area. We cannot at present when the North Shore is without rail.

    The biggest issue with public transport is with the variable times caused by traffic including buses. Buses are subject to that, and trains are much less so (once the signaling is working correctly). With a train it’d be feasible to work more flexibly over the long distances that Aucklanders currently commute.

    With Joyces idiocy the North Shore will remain cut off.

    • Carol 3.1

      Yes an improved public transport, especially rail, is a priority for Auckland. Travelling by car (and sometimes by bus) in Auckland at peak times is a very frustrating activity. We also need more cycleways. Expecting cycles to use the same space as lethal motorised vehicles is crazy. I want to be able to use my bicycle for relatively short suburban (and maybe urban) journeys. How hard and expensive is it to make more cycleways?

      • Lanthanide 3.1.1

        “How hard and expensive is it to make more cycleways?”
        Easy and cheap, and they provides thousands of jobs too. You just need to name them The John Key Memorial Cycleway and it Will Be Done.

  4. higherstandard 4

    Whatever the option is it must have road, rail and cycle as mandatory elements of either a bridge or tunnel.

    • lprent 4.1

      Agreed. Everyone living here seems to understand that these days. It probably helps Joyce in his myopia that he spends most of his time in Wellington these days.

      But it has to be a particular type of rail, one capable of taking the trains being used on the rest of the Auckland rail network. It is of no use putting light rail on a funicular to get over the bridge if that involves extra changes to get off a bus to get on light rail to get on a train. Unfortunately we never managed to get the agreement between local and central politicians so we aren’t going to be able to have a light rail system within the required time frames.

      Of course there is an alternate bridge take would take heavy rail. Cut off the whole of the upper harbour to vessels and build a low bridge with very little grade. I’m sure the ensuing screaming from the Chelsea sugar works and many boaties wouldn’t matter 😈

  5. MrSmith 5

    It will all boil down to how much profit there mates can make out of the project and the bridge has more fat in it, thats my guess.
    Joyce has no vision for public transport lets face it the Nacts just don’t like the public!

    • The Economic Illiteracy Support Group 5.1

      It’s more likely that Joyce wants a bridge because the restrictions on the trucking industry – hazardous loads, over-size loads – are much more relaxed on a bridge compared with a tunnel. I have no doubt that Tony Friedlander from the Road Transport Forum has his hand up Joyce’s ass and is making his lips move.

  6. vto 6

    What about adding some more nippon clip-ons? Above or below. Or strip the bridge back and reapply lanes and buses and maybe even choo choo train tracks.

    Or perhaps it is not necessary to cater for more traffic. If crossing the harbour is more difficult then perhaps it will assist in developing the north more.

    Good luck though – glad I aint having to use Auckland roads. Bleeaargh, puts me right off.

  7. Afewknowthetruth 7

    The whole debate is absurd.

    Peak Oil conventional was in 2005/6, and we are now falling off the bumpy plateau of oil extraction, as unconventional oil fails to deliver. The best estimate is for a fall in global extraction of 3% per annum from 2012 on: it could be a lot more. Internationally traded oil will fall off even faster because of increased domestic demand in currently exporting nations.

    Just 5 years ago petrol was bouncing around between $1.35 and $1.65: now $2.15 is the new norm. By 2015 fuel will be almost certainly unaffordable for most people in NZ, and most current economic arrangements will be in tatters. By 2030 there probably won’t be any liquid fuel to speak of.

    Of course the idiots in power and those who support them would not dare to have a proper public debate about Peak Oil that is based on hard data. That would shatter their delusions and mess up the various rorts they have going at the moment.

    So dream on folks … squander the last of our cheap energy and resources building ‘statues to insanity’, just as the Easter Islanders did before their population crashed via cannibalism.

    By the way, the REAL future of Auckland transport will be cycling until rubber tyres can no longer be obtained, and then walking and canoes, just as it was before the very short term abberation of industrialism disturbed normality -that’s right, cars (and trucks and buses) are a very short term abberration in the grand scheme of things and will soon be gone.

    Of course walking and canoeing will only be for the remanant of Auckland population who have not starved to death because ‘the authroities’ -who have been repeatedly warned about the looming liquid fuel crisis and food crisis- have falied miserably to do any planning for the ‘elephant in the room’, prefering to ignore it.

    The situation gets more and more ‘interesting’ by the week, as the gulf between reality and so-called planning gets ever wider.

    • johnm 7.1

      Re afktt’s comment
      We all know a big earthquake will hit Wellington some time but as people we don’t think it’ll happen on our watch! Petrocollapse is the same: we know it’ll happen but human defence mechanisms against highly unpleasant realities ensure dispite facts and logic:”It Can’t happen during my time mate it’s scaremongering!” Visceral experience overules logic and facts everytime!

      • Bored 7.1.1

        True Johnm, as Daoists say “people like what is not true more than what is true…” And we like as Trucker said eating our truck delivered cornflakes. AFKTT is completely correct in his prognosis that the debate is absurd.

        The real issue is actually making the change. As individuals most of us need to earn razoos to buy the milk and cornflakes, so we go to work and stasis sets in, the doomed system along with us as passengers careers toward the cliff.

        This is why a critical mass of awareness is needed, we cannot wait for “authorities” and the “leaders” of the status quo to act (because they are too comfortable on the back seat of the doomed bus).

  8. Dan 8

    The Eastern Highway was important, just thoughtless. It should have been dug in and included a rail link, and should not have gone through a god damn cemetery. In fact, if they’d spent as much time on planning it as the Waterview Connection, we might have got a usable PT link out to East Auckland that doesn’t require users to change bus companies.

  9. The report.

    One more thought: the report states ‘Visual dis-benefits of bridge could be significant for about 950 existing residential properties…..noise dis-benefits of a bridge affect about 130 more residential properties’ – this fails to mention the thousands soon to be living in the Wynyard Quarter development.

    • Lanthanide 9.1

      Surely english must have a better word than “dis-benefit”, which isn’t even a word so much as a prefix cobbled onto an existing word.

  10. Rich 10

    I reckon the best way forward would be to introduce a congestion charge to encourage commuters to take the bus and trucks to go round the west.

    Then build light rail and cycle ways onto the existing bridge so that people can easily get from the shore to the city without cars. Also, put an absolute stop to all city edge developments so you haven’t got an ever increasing number of people commuting in from Albany.

    Once that’s done, we can go a while on the existing bridge before a new rail link becomes useful (I’d suggest that an (electric) rail tunnel would be a lot cheaper than road, because there’s a minimal ventilation requirement).

  11. Zaphod Beeblebrox 11

    Its pretty obvious someone with large land holdings north of Auckland would stand to benefit from most of the NZ land transport budget being diverted to getting people more quickly from Warkworth to the city. Given the numbers of people who live up there, you’d have to say the emphasis is pretty suspect.

  12. Zaphod Beeblebrox 12

    Would have thought you would be all for getting all those single person vehicles off the road during peak hour.

    As you point out freight movement is a critical part of the economy, so shouldn’t we be trying to help you get from A to B faster. The best way to decongest Auckland would surely be to give people more options.

    • Carol 12.1

      And what about the ways rail can sometimes efficiently move freight?

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 12.1.1

        In NZ coastal shipping is very efficient too.

        The point is however, at some point you do have to transport goods to the end user. We will always need trucks of some sort. To have them stuck in commuter traffic is a major economic depressant.

        • Rich

          One option is not to truck goods to a distribution centre hundreds of km away and then back into the city. That sort of thing goes on a lot, and it’s encouraged by having subsidised road freight (which is what we have, in effect).

          • The Economic Illiteracy Support Group

            IIRC, Fonterra were trucking milk from farms in the Nelson area down to Christchurch for processing, then trucking the finished product back up to Nelson to the retailers. I’m not sure if this is still the case given the fuel prices and the disruption in Christchurch, but it does underline the fallacy of equating improvements to the road network with economic benefit to the country as a whole.

            • Carol

              I know my brother in Queensland found, a few years back, when transport policies changed there, that in fact, his company saved money by relocating to being near a train line & freighting their products by rail, leaving trucks for the final stage of delivery to the retailer.

              • Lanthanide

                This actually shows that actually companies generally just make decisions on what is cheapest, not what is most desirable for society (for whatever it is you find ‘desirable’, be it employment or the environmental sustainability etc). They don’t really care if they’re using trucks or trains, just whatever gets their stuff where it needs to be, on time, for the cheapest price.

                The best way to handle this is simply to make the most socially desirable option also the cheapest.

            • Lanthanide

              “but it does underline the fallacy of equating improvements to the road network with economic benefit to the country as a whole.”

              I’m not sure that it does. Without the nice road network, they would’ve had to make a plant up in Nelson to process the milk. This would require large capital investment on the part of Fonterra, and so all else being equal, they’d need to raise prices on their milk to help cover it. With a national company such as Fonterra, they could easily raise the price of milk on everyone to help subsidise the cost of their new plant in Nelson.

              Obviously they did the cost-benefit analysis and found that shipping to CHCH and back was cheaper (not sure over what time-frame, though).

              Because the roads are a public asset, you can (and do) effectively end up with magnified benefits that outweigh the cost: 10 companies could build plants costing $100m in total, or we could build a $10m road and those 10 companies could spend their $100m on something else.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Because the roads are a public asset, you can (and do) effectively end up with magnified benefits that outweigh the cost: 10 companies could build plants costing $100m in total, or we could build a $10m road and those 10 companies could spend their $100m on something else.

                Incorrect. The $100m would still need to be spent on a single plant that could do the processing of 10. Also, 1 plant that does 10x the processing may be cheaper than 10 plants but is it cheaper once you’ve accounted for road and other added transport costs?

                • Lanthanide

                  In my example, I am assuming that the plants to do the processing already exist elsewhere in the country (in EISG’s example, this was in CHCH), and by using the roads they avoid having to duplicate plant in different areas of the country, in exchange for considerably lower, but ongoing, transportation costs.

        • Bunji

          Coastal shipping doesn’t get enough attention. National have been quietly overseeing its demise after a revival pre-2008. It is a very good way of getting our freight about, but unfortunately it competes with trucks and the road lobby…

          • KJT

            Unfortunately coastal shipping competes with a level of subsidy to the roading lobby roughly equivalent to shipping getting both the port infrastructure and wharf charges for free.

            National have been actively causing its demise in the grand tradition of NZ Governments since the 70’s of destroying as much NZ jobs and local industry as possible.

            The measly 30 mill Labour allocated to coastal shipping was canned by National.

            Transit NZ funding available for transport options which saved on road use has also gone.

            On a level field coastal shipping is viable, but most of us interested gave up, or went bust, trying to compete with subsidies to road and rail.

            It would be impossible to get enough qualified people to run ships now anyway. The whole sector has almost gone since cabotage was removed in the 80’s. There are almost no qualified seafarers between the ages of 25 and 50. The average age of those left is over 55.

            They have all left for higher wage countries like Singapore, Bahrain, India, Australia or Columbia.

    • Trucker 12.2

      I agree that getting single person vehicles off the road would assist congestion.

      The issue is with the deliverability and the cost of those options. The fare box price is not the cost of PT as I am sure you are aware.

  13. felix 13

    Trucker my arse.

    • The Economic Illiteracy Support Group 13.1

      It’s a better name than “lobbyist”, which is what I suspect he is.

    • Trucker 13.2

      should there be punctuation here?

      Is it
      Trucker, my arse- as an instruction, in which case I decline
      Trucker. My Arse- in which case I fail to see the connection and will ensure that there is not one

      or is it just an insult, in which case I accept it as being from the level you delivered it from.

      • felix 13.2.1

        None of the above, genius. The remark was colloquialism intended to imply that you’re probably not a trucker, but as TEISG suggests more likely a lobbyist, and as lprent noted earlier, a fairly transparent and not particularly clever one.

        Hope that helps. Say hi to Joyce for me.

        • trucker

          @ felix

          Money where your mouth is Felix.

          $100 says I am what what my nom de plume says.

          Red Cross can be the beneficiary. Lprent can adjudciate and receive your money if you are a person of substance. If not I’ll understand.

          I didn’t read Lprent’s comments as anything other than debate. I wish I was transparent as I could do to lose the weight, and as to cleverness, I’ll let others judge.

          I don’t know a Joyce, and have met Steven Joyce on two occasions only, and certainly don’t count myself as being close to him, or any other minister.

          • felix

            Fuck off Trucker, your word on a bet is about as valid as big bruv’s was.

            Keep your eyes on the road Rubber Duck.

            • trucker

              I see your mouth is where your vocabulary is, and based on that neither are worth much.

              • felix

                A rather tortured sentence, especially considering the intended meaning. If you’re going to poke fun at someone’s vocabulary you might want to make sure you’re a bit more skilled at writing English (and I don’t mean what you do when you send a letter to your mate Bill.)

                Keep on truckin, Pig Pen.

  14. The Economic Illiteracy Support Group 14

    $100 says I am what what my nom de plume says

    …. and you’re typing this on your iPhone as you navigate your big rig across the Waikato Plains. It’s a Tui moment, Trucker.

    • trucker 14.1


      Your status is not at issue.

      Felix called me on mine.

      The Red Cross can do with the money, but will Felix front?

      Android actually

  15. Afewknowthetruth 15


    It’s good to know there are at least two other people on this forum who are awake!

    I don’t particulalry like the ‘Wellington earthquake’ analogy because that is a possible future event which may occur next week or not for another 100 years. Peak Oil is a past event, though its effects won’t be fully felt for a few more years (or months, if geopolitics determine the immediate future rather than depletion of 40-year-old oil wells).

    I liken the debate about the future of transporet that ignores Peak Oil to a bunch of ice skaters on the melting ice of a lake. There is already a large hole in the ice, but they think that they will be safe if they skate around it and pretend it’s not there.

    It’s quite bizarre really.

    • Bored 15.1

      Theres going to be a whole lot of people falling off the cliff who will need first aid: metaphorically. Curiously the denial today is going to be dwarfed by the denial and blame when the s**t hits the fan.

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