Here are the key points from my submissions to Auckland Council’s Long Term Plan (LTP) and Auckland Transport’s Regional Land Transport Programme (RLTP). The LTP sets out everything that Auckland Council intends to spend its money on over the next decade – including what it will spend on transport matters. The RLTP is an Auckland Transport document, setting out general funding requirements over the next 10 years but with greatest specificity about the next three years. Remember that submissions close tomorrow at 4pm and you can do your own easy submission here

Long-Term Plan:

I support the proposed funding split in operational expenditure between public transport and roading of approximately 50/50 however I note the following:

That the proposed funding for PT subsidies doesn’t match the RLTP which predicts operational costs to stay largely the same over the same time period. It appears that the council have largely just carried forward the current operational costs based on predicted patronage numbers. This indicates that we aren’t expecting to see any increase in efficiency of our public transport network which is one of the aims of both Auckland transport, the NZTA and the central government

These costs also don’t match the wording on page 42 of volume one and page 87 of volume 2 of the LTP which says that the operational subsidy for public transport will increase by $73.5m over 10 years.

I think that these numbers need to be clarified and matched to what is in the RLTP. This is likely to cause the proposed operational expenditure on public transport to decrease significantly. It also means the split between spending on roads vs public transport will no longer be balanced. I would like to see the funding level and split to stay the same which would allow for Auckland transport to invest in additional services which would further help to increase patronage in the region.

  1. The LTP needs to take account of the patronage targets that have been agreed to by the council of reaching 121 million trips by 2022.
  2. The LTP will need to take into account the changes in the priorities of projects as a result of the various changes that have been made to the Auckland Plan, specifically:
    1. The bringing forward of the completion of the AMETI project
    2. There is no mention of how the East West link will be funded
    3. Potential investigation into a NW Busway
  3. I recognise that a number of projects that have been listed as roading projects will contain a significant public transport components in them. More work needs to be done to split these costs out so the public are accurately informed of the costs.
  4. I support that the LTP has provided funding for the City Rail Link however I am concerned by how it is being addressed in the LTP.
    1. It is noted that the funding for the CRL is dependent on the government contributing 50% of the costs and if that doesn’t eventuate then the project will be reassessed in the 2015-2025 LTP. I feel that as the council has confirmed the project as the top transport priority for the region that it needs to have more certainty around it. In the event of the government not contributing to the project then the council be looking to fund it solely and do so by delaying or cancelling or scaling back other, less important projects first.
    2. The council is giving the impression that much of the funding pressure that will be placed on ratepayers is a result of the CRL when there is a considerable amount more money being planned to be spent on roads.  The language in the document needs to be clear to the public where the majority of the money is planned to be spent
  5. There are a number of projects that I feel the timing or scope of should be adjusted:
    1. The Auckland Plan proposes considerable greenfield development in the south, this will likely to make electrification to Pukekohe necessary before 2022.
    2. There is likely to be a requirement for further bus priority along Wellesley St which would require available funding.
    3. Integrated ticketing will likely mean a lot more transfers between public transport services. I feel that some money should be budgeted at key interchanges for infrastructure upgrades to make the process quick and easy for passengers.
    4. There is likely to be strong growth on the rail network to stations other than Britomart or Newmarket. To help avoid fare evasion funding should be made available to install fare gates at other key stations e.g. Henderson, New Lynn, Panmure, Manukau, Papakura.
    5. I also support funding being made available to progress the development of walking and cycling across the harbour bridge.
Alternate funding Options

I believe that the need for alternative funding has been driven largely by the council not being willing to prioritise and cut projects which has led to it having an ever increasing ‘wish list’. I feel that the council needs to do more to work within the existing and not inconsiderable level of funding that is planned to be spent on transport in the region over the next 30 years. I feel there is a problem with how these options have portrayed, particularly that the public impression is that the funding is to pay for a large amount public transport projects.

I note that the majority of the funding is actually destined to pay for roading projects and I feel that this should be made clear before any final decision is made. In saying this I do believe there is a place for some of the alternative funding options that the council has proposed which could both help to raise additional funds and change behaviours which could significantly change the use of alternative transport options. I believe that of the options presented the following are what should be developed further by the council:

  1. Tolling New Roads – This should be a requirement for any new road built in the region and analysis of the impact tolling should be required to take place as part of the development of the business case for these roads.
  2. Road pricing on existing roads – Serious consideration needs to be given as to how this would be properly implemented. I note it has the ability to provide a high level of income for the council by spreading the charges out over a large base of users.
  3. Additional Car parking charges – I support this but believe it would also need a change to the current policy around minimum parking requirements as it would be unfair to charge people a fee when they haven’t had the option to remove the number of car parks that they have.
  4. Visitor taxes –  Visitor taxes could be useful but I feel it would have to be clear what the funds were being used for and should be ring fenced to pay for infrastructure that will improve the visitor experience e.g. rail to the airport
  5. Airport departure tax – As with visitor taxes it needs to clear what the funds are for and should be ring fenced to help pay for infrastructure that visitors will be highly likely to use like rail to the airport


Giving effect to the Auckland Plan:
–   Implementing the patronage targets of the Auckland Plan’s transport chapter
– Achieving the ‘transformational change’ for transport envisaged by the Auckland Plan
–   Prioritising projects in a way that implements the Auckland Plan (generally, not just its transport chapter)

Alignment with Auckland Council’s Long Term Plan:

–   Resolving inconsistencies with the LTP over public transport services funding
–   Resolving inconsistencies in the funding split between public transport and roads compared to the LTP

Project Specific: –   Investigating a busway along SH16 between Waterview and Westgate

–   Ensuring that infrastructure to support the reorganisation of Auckland’s bus network is funded
–   Funding the full integration of public transport fares
–   Removal of a number of projects from the RLTP that actively undermine the goals of the Auckland Plan and of the programme generally

2.     Giving Effect to the Auckland Plan

Page 5 of the Draft RLTP notes that the Draft Auckland Plan was given consideration in the preparation of the document. Since the publication of the Draft Auckland Plan, a number of amendments have been made to it that are relevant to the RLTP. The wording of the Auckland Plan seeks a “transformational shift” in public transport most particularly, but also has a number of targets that relate to reducing Auckland’s automobile dependency. These include:

  • Public Transport patronage of 121 million trips by 2022
  • Public Transport patronage per capita of 100 by 2040
  • 70% of vehicular trips to the city centre by public transport in 2040
  • Increasing the proportion of people living within walking distance of frequent public transport from 14% to 32% by 2040
  • Increasing proportion of non-car AM peak trips from 23% to 45% by 2040

While most of these targets have a 2040 implementation, I consider that some progress towards achieving them will need to occur over the period covered by the RLTP. Currently the RLTP does not clearly highlight how these targets will be achieved (understandable as many of the targets were not on the Draft Auckland Plan and therefore not able to be incorporated into the draft RLTP) or even worked towards.

The ‘transformational shift’ in transport the Auckland Plan seeks to create is also not carried through into the RLTP to the extent that is necessary. The wording of the Auckland Plan highlights that Auckland’s population growth over the next 30 years will mean that a fundamental shift in the way Aucklanders get around is required – quite simply, it is impossible (and increasingly undesirable and expensive) to continue to build additional road-space to cope with traffic growth. Therefore, a much greater use of public transport as well as the optimisation of the existing transport network, is necessary.

The RLTP, while focused on projects in the next three years in particular, should prioritise those projects based on which ones best contribute to achieving the ‘transformational shift’ envisaged by the Auckland Plan. The prioritisation of project must also complement other goals of the Auckland Plan (not just transport). In particular:

  • Providing a transport network and making transport decisions that encourage intensification in places identified as suitable for such development
  • Undertaking high-level investigation in proposed Greenfield suburban areas to ensure a different outcome to the ‘car dependent urban sprawl’ that has typically resulted from previous urban expansion

As well as the Auckland Plan, the RLTP must by law give effect to the Regional Land Transport Strategy. The 2010 RLTS proposed a 50/50 funding split between roads and other forms of transport – a funding split that should be given effect to by the RLTP.

3.     Alignment with Auckland Council’s “Long Term Plan”

There are a number of areas where the Draft RLTP does not align with Auckland Council’s Long Term Plan. This misalignment causes confusion around “what will actually happen”, particularly in relation to the funding available for public transport services and the funding split between roads and public transport. The proposed public transport subsidies in the RLTP stay relatively flat over the decade while in the LTP funding almost doubles and it appears that the LTP has just increased current costs in line with patronage increases which is not likely to reflect what will really happen.

4.     Project Specific Comments

I believe that a number of changes should be made to the RLTP’s project list, to better align with a more sensible strategic direction for transport, and to better give effect to high-level documents such as the Auckland Plan and the RLTS.

Projects to be added:

  • Investigation and design of a busway along State Highway 16 between Westgate and Waterview, to support the significant urban development proposed for the northwest part of Auckland. This work needs to occur as soon as possible, so that it can inform NZTA’s proposed upgrade to the motorway.
  • I understand (from AT Board Papers) that significant changes to the operational structure of Auckland’s public transport network are likely to occur over the next three years. There will be infrastructure requirements arising from these changes, such as bus priority measures, relocation of bus stops, road widening to eliminate bottlenecks for buses, key interchanges (both between bus and rail, and bus to bus). To ensure the success of the changes to the PT network, funding needs to be set aside for necessary infrastructure improvements.
  • To properly take advantage of integrated ticketing, implementation of a zone-based fare system is necessary. This may require some funding in the short-term to cover any revenue loss while the system is being fine-tuned.

Projects to be removed:

  • The Hayman Park carpark. This project undermines general policies in the Auckland Plan to encourage alternative transport options to metropolitan centres and also undermines investment in the Manukau Railway Station.
  • Poorly located park and ride proposals. In inner areas (such as Sylvia Park and Avondale) extensive areas of parking can seriously undermine efforts to align land-use and transport outcomes, while adding relatively few passengers to the PT network.

5.     Conclusions:

Some changes to the draft RLTP are necessary to ensure that it aligns more clearly with the ‘transformational shift’ for transport articulated in the Auckland Plan. In particular, targets in the Auckland Plan relating to reducing Auckland’s car dependency need to be embedded in the RLTP and form part of the project prioritisation process – projects contributing to achieving these targets should be ranked higher, projects undermining the targets should be ranked lower. Auckland has traditionally suffered from having a disconnect between the strategies, policies and goals of its transport documents, and where the money is actually spent. The draft RLTP continues this unfortunate trend, by ignoring the transformational targets it has been set and continuing to spend the bulk of its money on road-based projects.

This submission suggests changes to the RLTP that would ensure it better meets its requirements to give effect to strategic documents like the Auckland Plan and the 2010 Regional Land Transport Strategy. Overall, I note that factors influencing transport patterns are changing at a relatively rapid rate. Rising fuel prices, changing demographics, the need to reduce carbon emissions and the Council’s desire for a compact city mean that our future transport demands may be very different to what has happened historically. The Auckland Plan must be robust and resilient to these changes.

These are really important documents relating to the funding of transport activities in Auckland over the next three years in particular. So make sure your voice is heard.

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  1. Preparing submissions is a tedious process, but you’ve done a great job here Matt. For the official CBT submission I’ve added a few projects and also asked what happened to the projects in the previous RLTP, specifically AIFS which should have been finished by now. Weirdly I can’t see any further capital expenditure for AIFS in the new programme, despite the fact that is being implemented this year in theory.

  2. Very nice submission Matt.

    Got mine in yesterday with a few hours to spare – although not too happy with it per-se as I thought it was a bit light weight compared to my Submission to the Draft Auckland Plan.

    Scary thought to some here that could consider me a person of the Centre-Right (where I am a Social Liberal) but reading through Matt’s submission three times it was similar in a general regard to my own.

    With Park and Rides – not a fan of them in the “Inner Circuit” of the rail network (So anywhere from Westfield to Britomart, Avondale to Britomart) with Otahuhu and Onehunga being exceptions. Feeder buses could do the job adequately there to get people to the rail links.

    As for the outer stations, I can see Park and Rides work except at Manukau (bit pointless) as a supplement or compliment to feeder buses (mind you a fee should be charged at PnR’s at a rate 10% higher than a 1 stage bus fare). Oh and I did call for feeder buses to rail stations and any bus RTN in my submission – so I am not all pro-tar!

    But this piece caught my attention:

    Quoting: I support that the LTP has provided funding for the City Rail Link however I am concerned by how it is being addressed in the LTP.
    It is noted that the funding for the CRL is dependent on the government contributing 50% of the costs and if that doesn’t eventuate then the project will be reassessed in the 2015-2025 LTP. I feel that as the council has confirmed the project as the top transport priority for the region that it needs to have more certainty around it. In the event of the government not contributing to the project then the council be looking to fund it solely and do so by delaying or cancelling or scaling back other, less important projects first.

    The Centre-Right are harping on about the Council Debt Line which could catch on with voters next year and install a Centre Right backed Council that will be rather fiscally conservative and on a one way mission to “reduce-costs.” I have a gut feeling that come 2013, Council is going to push the CRL out to around the 2022-2032 mark and if so we need to be ready for it.

    Any case I am really going off topic here

    Again great work Matt and Cameron (just read yours) – looking forward to the presentations at the Hearing Panels.

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