It’s Auckland versus Steven Joyce again.
And indeed, not just Auckland, Steven Joyce knows better than Treasury or any government department, or indeed anybody else. Just ask Steven.
So he convinced his cabinet colleagues to get rid of regional fuel taxes. Otherwise Aucklanders would have their own pot of money and be able to set up their own transport projects. Which would of course be terrible. Because Aucklanders know nothing about Auckland’s traffic needs. Not like Steven does.
Treasury wanted to keep the tax on the books to “send an important signal to the regions about being accountable for funding their transport decisions”. That and there was no other proposal for how to meet Auckland’s traffic needs. Steven knows better.
In fact he knows so much better that he has got approval to reduce the size of regional transport committees and transfer the transport planning duties of Auckland Council’s elected members to the largely appointed directors of Auckland Transport.
Aucklanders apparently will have enough say because the Council get to appoint 2 of the 7 directors of Auckland transport. That’s Auckland Transport which is the single biggest spender of Aucklanders’ rates. And we get to vote for people who get to appoint 2 out of 7 of the people running it. That’s democracy in action I tell you!
So Joyce rejected advice from the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry for the Environment that the council should retain a direct transport planning role. Because Steven knows best.