The election result on the weekend was obviously not particularly conducive to achieving where I think the country’s transport policy should be heading, but I wasn’t quite expecting things to go bad quite so quickly. First, here’s new North Shore MP Maggie Barry talking about the City Rail Link and a duplicate harbour crossing (road based, one assumes):

Maggie Barry hit the ground running as the North Shore electorate’s first woman MP.

The morning after National’s resounding victory she sent a strong message to Auckland mayor Len Brown, saying there would be a CBD rail link before a second harbour crossing “over our dead bodies”.

And the former broadcaster also affirmed her support for the Puhoi-Wellsford motorway extension.

She attacked those who have labelled it the “holiday highway.

“I refuse to use the `H’ word. It will be an umbilical cord for the far north and its economy.

“It is an arrogance for the critics to take money already set aside for this purpose and use it for something else.”

It’s a bit difficult to know how much thought she has put into these matters before sounding off on them. Does she realise that the cost of a road-based tunnel is around $5 billion, or does she support a bridge option? Does she understand how pointless the additional crossing is in the next decade or so, because traffic across the harbour bridge is falling? One suspects not.

Second, we have the two councillors who continue to oppose the City Rail Link – George Wood and Cameron Brewer – using the election result to continue to push their argument (not shared by the rest of the council) against the project:

The returning National Government is unwilling to commit to Auckland’s city rail link and the project should be put on the backburner before the expensive plans topple the council’s credit rating, two city councillors say.

The proposed 3.5km underground loop would include stations at Karangahape Rd, Aotea Square and Newton at a cost of $2.4 billion and, according to council, unlock the economic potential of the inner city and transform Auckland’s rail network.

But uncertainty about how the project will be funded, and a lack of support from the National-led Government, is putting Auckland Council at risk of a credit downgrade.

Earlier this month Standard & Poor’s put the council on a 90-day credit watch due to projected levels of debt needed to fund major transport infrastructure.

Councillors George Wood and Cameron Brewer say as a result the council needs to consider reprioritising the ambitious project which the Government is yet to commit funding for.

The council has indicated it expects the Government to contribute 50 per cent to costs but incumbent Transport Minister Steven Joyce has previously said he is not convinced by the council’s business case for the project.

The details of the credit-rating downgrade show that its impact on borrowing cost is relatively minor. Most of the former councils have the same rating as Auckland Council now does.

I feel it’s going to be a long three years as we try to push forward with this project.

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  1. Yeah Maggie Barry has shown that she is either woefully ignorant of transport issues in Auckland or in search of more pork for her electorate.

    1. When you’re a new cab on the rank you do the “right” thing and follow the party line to the letter. It may not be what she really thinks which could be career-limiting. I hope she is listening to those who elected her as well as parroting the party script.

  2. They are obviously the Anti PT brigade the type of people that look up to Key, and do what ever he says. “Oh I support Holiday Highway because John Key told me too”. What a load of crap it will be a long 3 years, councillors with short sighted visions should be dumped of the panel soon as we don’t need people like that holding Auckland back for the next 20 years or so!!!!!!!

  3. Stephen Joyce is not convinced by the projects business case then, what about all the RoNS that he proposes I’m not convinced by them either and they don’t even have a business case but still Joycie wants to push ahead with these stupid projects. This just comes to show it doesn’t matter whether the business case stacks up or not its just that National are a biased government and don’t even want to put a single cent into any major PT improvements.

  4. These politicians have no ideas of their own, they just jump on band wagons. If Maggie Barry felt so strong about transport in the shore she should have stood for Mayor, but in all honesty she probably didn’t know what the CBL was before then and she probably wouldn’t have known about any plans for a second harbour crossing. Secondly Len Brown has never opposed the holiday highway. So surmising the situation I have to say Maggie Barry is just a attention seeker and easily swayed by the media labelling Len Brown when he actually has a balanced view of transport.

  5. I dont think the downgrade has actually happened yet. Brewer and Wood are exactly wrong: The presence of National reduces the probability the council will need to raise $1.2b. There is no way the project will go ahead without government support.

  6. Hi admin I think that’s “not shared by rest of council,” not “note shared by rest of council.” Changes the meaning completely.

    As for Maggie – Makes you despair. One thought is, how much extra traffic can the current approach roads to the Bridge take? The old NSCC voted for a rail tunnel only at one point in the 2000s because they feared the stuffing-up of the southern half of North Shore City. That was under George Wood – Andrew Williams MP as he is now might have an opinion on this too. Maybe Maggie doesn’t know about this.

  7. Sigh. I was hoping Barry might provide a breath of fresh air into National. Nope, same old pro-roads, anti-rail nonsense as before. Gonna be a looooong 3 years

    1. Are there any new National MPs or even old ones with any fresh ideas? Or are they as I suspect, and as Maggie Barry shows, a hopeless bunch of mediocre dregs way out of their depth? I hope they’re not all dreadful.

  8. Brewer and Woods are nothing if not consistant. Everyone knows their opinions and at least they’ve been around for more than five minutes.

    Which brings us to Maggie Barry. The thing about Maggie Barry that taken my breath away is the massive sense of entitlement she clearly has. She was selected on the basis of being on the telly for a gardening show in an electorate that would have elected a hydrangea if it was wearing a National party rosette. And two days – two days! – after that she thinks she is fully entitled to lecture the mayor and all the transport experts on the basis of nothing whatsoever except her own miserably ignorant opinion.

    The absolute worst kind of born to rule Tory.

  9. Maggie Barry is just political toilet paper. Waste of time with those ill thought out comments. Yeah, North Shore voted in an old half wit! Best place for her is planting cabbages in the garden, though to a passer by she may be confused with a cabbage.

      1. In defense of the North Shore (though not necessarily its politicians), apparently Maggie Barry lives in Pt Chev. Although moving over soon apparently.

    1. Like Sanctuary said North Shore vote for the National candidate, whoever that may be.

      Pretty daft for her to advocate a second harbour crossing for five billion bucks (lets be real, a cheaper bridge isn’t going to happen) when the traffic on the existing one is declining. Even if we want to get partisan on cross harbour politics what is more worthwile, a five bil project that benefits less than a quarter of the city or a two bil one that benefits over three quarters?

  10. So apparently Maggie Barry wants a new harbour crossing. Nikki Kaye wants a tram for reasons that escape me (I wish I’d known when she came doorknocking – I could tormented a new audience with my advocacy for PRT). John Banks seems to be in favour of the CRL, but whether he will spend any of Act’s limited remaining political capital to lobby for it (as Brian Rudman suggests remains to be seen).

    The difference to me between the CRL and the other big ticket projects like the Holiday Highway or a second road crossing to the North Shore, is that there doesn’t seem to be any feasible alternative to the CRL for increasing the frequency of trains of the Auckland rail network. There are definitely alternative options to a full blown second road bridge to the North Sheore that would probably be cheaper by billions. For instance, you could adopt Nick’s driverless metro, and build a dedicated rail-only bridge like Vancouver did with the SkyTrain crossings over the Fraser River. Or you could follow my suggestion and stick a couple of PRT guideways on the existing bridge (I’m assuming by the time a harbour crossing goes from consideration to detailed planning, PRT would be at a more advanced stage of “proven-ness”). Either way, you could take the money you saved from building a smaller bridge (or no bridge at all) and put more rapid transit infrastructure on the North Shore itself.

    The current speculation is that Stephen Joyce will be given a larger role in the new cabinet. If he gets replaced on transport, it will be interesting to see if the new incumbent is just as road-focused.

  11. Your advocacy for Provisionally Registered Teachers?

    Teaching graduates around the country will keep you in their hearts, just as you are in theirs Iceman.

    PRT guideways across the Waitemata – now I’ve heard it all. Personally I’m taking my jetpack.

  12. The most tragic indicator of her ignorance on this issue is her assumption that another road crossing is in her constituents’ best interests and there is nothing for them to gain from the CRL. As well as of course, that a re-atomising of Auckland battle lines around transport is productive. Perhaps, regrettably, it may be for her; for her popularity with her people. But then the election is over for now or is this all she is?, an ego on another stage. Being on television isn’t good for people is it?

    Any further road crossing as envisaged by NZTA [look on their website] would clearly be hell on earth for the traffic loads and land use in AK city, and in direct opposition to the aims of the new plans. But also, it is my view, would be counter productive to business and development on the shore. The restriction that the Sydney Harbour Bridge caused for decades facilitated the growth of the North Shore there as a thriving centre in its own right. If she really had half a brain, and if NatPat goons could ever think more subtly about congestion, its effects as well as causes, she and they may well realise that for a growing local economy and regional identity, helping everything to flow easily across the Harbour may not be all it is cracked up to be.

    1. How about we pitch both the city rail link plus a North Shore rail tunnel, those two together would still come in cheaper than just the duplicate motorway crossing and would obviously have much more desirable effects and a greater capacity to boot.

  13. ‘saying there would be a CBD rail link before a second harbour crossing “over our dead bodies”.’

    So if I read this right the path is clear for her support of the CRL. Or is she not aware of the Upper Harbour Dr bridges?

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