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Robbie would be turning in his grave

Written By: - Date published: 11:47 am, May 16th, 2015 - 46 comments
Categories: Environment, national, same old national, transport - Tags:

Dove Myer Robinson StatuteSimon Bridges is an idiot.  He thinks that Auckland’s congestion can be solved by focussing less on the CBD and large rail projects and more on local roading projects in the outer suburbs of the city and bus infrastructure.  Of course this will solve congestion problems which occur predominately on the motorways going into the city centre.  Improved local roads will allow motorists to get to the congested areas quicker.

Ad in general comments describes the system and the implications of National’s proposals well.  Basically we already have a system where local and central Government negotiates funding for transport projects.  It is set up under the Land Transport Management Act and is designed to remove political interference from decisions concerning transport funding.  Projects are assessed according to benefit cost ratios, strategic considerations and anticipated growth patterns.  Bridges wants to rip this system up.

Here are Ad’s comments in full.

“Mayor Brown’s decision to accede to government pressure and sign some transport accord similar to the Housing Accord is dangerous.

Auckland Council – together with every other council in the country – has just gone through a statutory process over the last three months to mandate a transport programme, and put their bids up to the National Land Transport Plan. It was the largest local public consultation ever done in New Zealand. This nationwide plan will be announced on June 30th. The evaluation of priorities is set and agreed between every council and the New Zealand Transport Agency. The law detailing this massive process – the Land Transport Management Act – was only revised last year.

Central government cannot override the process that it has just asked every other elected body in the country to undergo, because all bids are in, all Council rates are set, all roading and public transport contracts are ready to go for the new financial year.

Nor can any Minister change this process without changing the law.

If central government wants to change Auckland’s transport priorities, it should have done so as the plans were being formed. In case we forget, Auckland Transport is one of the largest commercial entities in the country, commanding about $14 billion worth of assets, running a system using about 40% of the country’s transport budget and about 60% of Council’s budget. Not even the Prime Minister can hold up his hand and command this supertanker to stop.

Mayor Brown could remind the government of how it complained that Auckland Council is spending too much on the centre of the city. This government’s sole direct economic development investment is precisely in the centre of the city: the Sky City Convention Centre. The government needs to be called out on this.

Mayor Brown could also remind the government that if they don’t like heavy rail investments, they should do the decent thing and subject their motorway projects – at a fair discount rate – to the same scrutiny and be prepared to reallocate that funding if it serves Auckland’s growth needs.

I hope this is depoliticized quickly by getting officials to agree the evaluative criteria on such things as:

– benefit discount rates
– the projected growth of Auckland
– the projected housing demand of Auckland
– the value of congestion in benefit evaluation
– the role of public transport in stabilizing and decreasing road congestion
– the set of means towards highest productivity of the road corridor
– the balance between congestion and productivity
– the value of access and choice

We should not have got to this point, but since we have, we should negotiate hard.”

Well said Ad.  Allowing Bridges to make knee jerk anti rail decisions based on right wing prejudices would be a retrograde step.

46 comments on “Robbie would be turning in his grave ”

  1. Brendon Harre 1

    The politicisation of urban form is something that National has always undertaken. Usually in secret as it is not popular. They have always promoted car dependent urban development.

    National do not understand how cities work. It is not just Auckland that has difficulties. National have made a mess of Christchurch the second biggest mass of humanity in NZ.

    Follow the tweets and links for the latest on how National’s anchor project strategy for Christchurch is falling apart.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Thanks Brendan. Christchurch has given the Government something of a blank canvas which it has subsequently mad a mess of.

    • Ad 1.2

      Chris Trotter in his book No Left Turn details how hard National acts to ensure its version of car-and-house owning democracy will be implemented. They are popular because they are populist. There is currently very little sympathy within the media or within the public for Auckland Council.

      The current government has many, many cards to play that can trump Mayor Brown.

      Auckland may well be heading down the same course as Environment Canterbury, and Christchurch itself, in the sense that it’s very hard for central government to pull out once it has intervened at scale.

      But that is not necessarily a bad thing, done well. Auckland is heading for being 40% of New Zealand’s people, is already tracking as over 40% of its GDP, and will grow at a rate faster than all other regions of New Zealand put together.

      It is well past time that a proper, long-lasting and commonly binding relationship between Auckland and central government was formed.

      • Tracey 1.2.1

        Are we able to ascertain where Aucklander’s work? Do you know if there has a been a geographical breakdown of where employment exists?

        In order to make a-political decisions about transport we need to see where the population goes to work, don’t we?

        • Sacha 1.2.1.1

          Transport planners in both local and central govt know that stuff, yes. And transport network design shapes where people work at least as much as vice versa.

          • Tracey 1.2.1.1.1

            I guess I don’t understand why that important piece of information is not talked about by politicians or media when discussing this issue.

            • Sacha 1.2.1.1.1.1

              This govt has long focused on work journeys as part of trying to shut down network investment that doesn’t suit their worldview. Bridges is one of a line of Ministers who have claimed that as most work is outside the CBD and most people currently drive cars, that means investment should follow (fringe arterials for Africa!)

              That’s rather than acknowledging it is future trends that should drive investment in expensive assets with lives in decades and centuries, and that strategic projects like the CRL benefit the entire network by doubling rail capacity, not just for those in the centre. They continue to believe that you fix urban congestion by building moar roads, that housing means sprawl, and that more big highways are the answer for regional economic development. They conveniently ignore that the number of kms driven has not gone up since before the GFC, that younger people would rather use public transit anyway, and that climate change will require big changes in our travel habits.

              Media has been unable or unwilling to counter these ninnies with evidence or by interviewing those who actually know the topic.

        • Melanie Scott 1.2.1.2

          That gives me an idea – it might appeal to the current national government. Encourage Auckland house speculation to the extent that all dwellings are owned by land bankers (and preferably left empty), so that no one can actually afford to live there, except for a few very, very rich people, who can then drive unimpeded around the city. No need then for public transport (or more motorways for that matter). Brilliant, no?

  2. Sacha 2

    Bridges, Brownlee, Joyce – all provincial-minded ideological dolts who just do not understand how cities work. But they do love an excuse to throw more public lolly at their road-building and financing donors.

    Unless they are talking about building separated busways like the North Shore, buses just get caught up in the same congestion as cars. They take up more space and move fewer people that trams or trains. They are last century’s solution.

    When did we vote for a future of sprawl and congestion? When Auckland has gone through a thorough planning process for the next 30 years, how dare these creeps try to impose their small-minded preferences on us instead.

  3. finbar 3

    Dovey , in his tenure of Mayor of Auckland,was pumping big time the future of the growth of Auckland, and its infrastructure,that needed serious financial support from the Government in Wellington, at that time like now was totally ignored,however,he was never told, do as your told or you know what will happen,Smith,threatening to the present Mayor, we have done it in C.H.C.H.and we can do it here also,Yes Uncle Joe,we hear you.

  4. Reddelusion 4

    we have a small minded convayency lawyer who can’t keep his pants on and fruit loop council imposing their view on us all with 9pc rate increases and a mountain of debt

    The days of amature councils made up of busy body local yokels should be ended and council appointed by central government and run by professionals

    • mickysavage 4.1

      The professional planners and transport advisers say that this build road strategy is insane. What do you say to them?

    • dukeofurl 4.2

      Where did you get the 9% rates increase from

      Revaluations- not decided by council

      Uniform rating scheme- not decided by council and some areas had large decreases

      Business share of rates being reduced and residential increasing- not decided by council

      The average rates increase is 2.5% – which means 3.7% for residential and 0.1% increase business- see above

      The uniform transport charge is per property, as is rubbish removal charge and UAG

      Nowhere is there any sort of average rates increase of 9%

      • alwyn 4.2.1

        You should run for Mayor.
        You could come up with a totally irresistible policy. All you have today is promise to completely abolish rates. That’s right abolish them.
        Instead you are going to introduce a simple wealth tax, levied on all land and buildings that people own in Auckland. There it is. The headline is “Rates will go!”
        That’s about as realistic, and honest, as claiming that the current system is only going to put average rates up by 2.5%.

    • Brendon Harre 4.3

      Red delusion it is National that is delusional if it thinks it can repeat the CERA/Ecan experiment on Auckland. The Canterbury solution has not worked in Canterbury and would not be accepted in Auckland.

      Basically National has run out of ideas and is completely reliant on john Key distracting the punters for another 3 years of ‘loveable’ John.

      I can’t see it working, the public are beginning to see this is a cover for his elitist do nothing policies. The metaphor -‘PM for Parnell’ is very apt.

    • The Murphey 4.4

      Q. How has the ‘mountain of debt’ eventuated ?

      Q. Do you understand the structure of Auckland Council ?

      Q. Do you understand what a CCO is and can you name those who are in charge of the CCO’s as well as name the industry the CEO’s / Heads have come from ?

      Make a decent effort with those simple questions and we can move to something a little more thought provoking

    • Lloyd 4.5

      Reddelusion, as;
      – the Council can’t get money out of government for essential rail projects that are required to service the expansion of the City at the edges (Yes, one of the main benefit of the Central Rail Loop is that it makes the green field city edge developments so loved by Nick Smith and Bill English, more practical, by diverting peak commuter flows off the motorway network and allowing outer city dwellers to get to the jobs in the Isthmus); and,
      – you don’t like that increasing “mountain of debt”.

      it is clear that you must be advocating for a greater increase in rates, consistent with many other large cities in the world (and especially USA cites).

  5. Reddelusion 5

    Fallacy of the expert arguement, and expert said it so it must be right , there not all saying that any way

    • adam 5.1

      How about you change your handle to disingenuousauthoritarian, Reddelusion – it would be more apt. Or antidemoccratichater or any such – that reflect your lack of engagement with a fulsom argument.

    • Colonial Rawshark 5.2

      LOL and 23 minutes ago you were pushing for the whole game to be run by expert “professionals” now you are already changing your tune. Weak mate, very weak.

    • dukeofurl 5.3

      When John Banks was running for super city mayor against Brown , he supported CRL, he even supported it when running for MP for Epsom

      There hasnt been a credible candidate for mayor who is against the city rail loop. What does that tell you?

      Banks couldnt keep his promises when in his last term of mayor of Auckland City for keeping rates down, the spending went up plus the borrowing went through the roof as well.

      • alwyn 5.3.1

        “credible candidate for mayor who is against the city rail loop”
        What does that tell me?
        Mostly that all the candidates for Mayor in Auckland are idiots.
        There. Simple, accurate answer isn’t it?

        • dukeofurl 5.3.1.1

          Except you ?

          Theres your answer , everyone else is an idiot except you !

  6. Ad 6

    Next few weeks are important on this.

    – this Thursday Council will consider the detailed transport programme

    – May 21 is budget and we will probably see new Ak-Gov’t negotiation mechanisms foreshadowed, also Gov’t being developer more directly

    – Major East-West arterial route for Onehunga out mid-June

    – 30 June full National Land Transport programme and bids announced

    Lots of serious horse-trading which is going to get noisy throughout.

    • dukeofurl 6.1

      Which is being considered by Auckland Council or its bastard stepchild Auckland Transport ?

  7. linda 7

    i don’t think the government wants anything done this is no rock star economy
    and bridges job is to make sure there is no progress and no spending just like there will be be no affordable housing the mess cannot be fixed there is only denial and bluster as a solution

  8. keyman 8

    bridges is the minister and he the represents john key on transport matters there is no need for a council the john key government should take executive control of Auckland his views are paramount there can be no descent from the key plan.

  9. Penny Bright 9

    There is simply no such thing as ‘public transport’ in Auckland.

    It is privately-owned, operated and managed ‘passenger transport”.

    There are 10 private bus companies, 4 private ferry companies and Auckland rail services are operated and managed by the largest private transport multi-national in the world.

    Why should the public subsidise that which we no longer own, operate or manage?

    How many hundreds of million$ of corporate welfare are being paid to these private passenger transport providers in Auckland?

    I’ve done that OIA to Auckland Transport and am awaiting their response …

    Penny Bright

    http://www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz

    • alwyn 9.1

      Don’t subsidise them Penny.
      Make people pay the full cost of providing these transport services.
      When people realised what the fares would be on a full cost recovery system they certainly wouldn’t want Len’s Loopy idea of a train loop, would they?
      Are you contributing to the subsidies, and all the other services paid for by the ratepayers, yet or are you still a conscientious objector to such things?

      • Brendon Harre 9.1.1

        Sure but then you would have to get rid of transport taxes + grants from the consolidated fund (25% for Auckland and Wellington) and implement road charges for every metre of the road network to have a complete subsidyless transport network.

      • mickysavage 9.1.2

        Len’s Loopy idea of a train loop, would they?

        This “loopy idea” has the support of pretty well every transport professional you can think of, politicians from across the spectrum (just ask Christine Fletcher) and mimics the sort of thing that happens in every civilised city in the Western World. Apart from Los Angeles (which is legendary for its problems) all cities are pouring resources into PT non road networks.

        Apart from Hong Kong they all need subsidies.

        Within a very short time Auckland’s rail network reaches capacity. It will not be able to have any more train trips and after a short while at current growth rates no more passengers will be able to use the network.

        In 20 years time when the world realises that petroleum fuelled transport is causing too much trouble it will hope that transport systems use sustainable energy. Constructing more roads is the most ludicrous stupid weird response possible.

        • dukeofurl 9.1.2.1

          Los Angleles has been building a metro train system for some time now.
          It has six lines , two of those are underground and 4 are light rail. 5 parts have extensions under construction and more in the planning pipeline

          As well there is the long standing metrolink above ground system, which is generally longer distance with 2 level carriages

      • millsy 9.1.3

        And what about people that cannot afford a car?

        Why are you so anti public transport alwyn?

        You seem to be all about tearing things up, not building things up.

        • alwyn 9.1.3.1

          I’m not anti public transport actually.

          I am against the idea that train services make any sense in Auckland, or that “light rail”, read trams, make any sense in Wellington, but I am in favour of buses and bus lanes in both cities. Trains on the Porirua and Hutt lines make sense in Wellington because of the peculiar topography of the area. Going past those points doesn’t make much sense to me.
          I was merely trying to point out the stupidity of Penny’s argument that
          ‘”Why should the public subsidise that which we no longer own, operate or manage”
          If the public transport wasn’t subsidised by the ratepayer or taxpayer then the companies that provide the services would either have to charge the full cost, and in the case of the trains in Auckland that would be enormous, or close down completely. The companies wouldn’t be able to continue to operate while making enormous losses would they?
          Penny doesn’t seem too realise the results of what she is demanding

  10. finbar 10

    And you wonder why Labour are not drifting left.

  11. finbar 11

    Thats better.Old school understanding,if we all wish a fair share of the cake we have to share it equally,not hog it to one direction,yet we have allowed it to be directed to one direction by governments friends influence corporations.See the cost of infrastructure neglect by the over all governance of our parliament controlled Auckland,give it away they hoped with the new bigger advance of the supper city,look at the monster that now is going to brandish its breath of ah what can we do.The share of the cake for a country like ours with our population should have government control that designates industry to its city centers with incentives taxation and others that are not corporation rules of this is the closets to our markets customers and there fore more financially profitable to us.Lets have a government that dares say come here, come to our towns and cities
    .

  12. finbar 12

    Remember years ago,cant recall who it was a National plank Minister,sending live sheep off to one of the Eastern sand lands,the farmers where kicking up a stink about live sheep being sent to them,they will breed them and compete with us on the world market.Our corporation P.m.has just come back from Saudi Arabia,did you talk about their human rights well we had discussions
    No,what he did do was promise to send our sheep to them,for so called “breeding purposes”.Hear the farm fence whistle,no.

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