Stuff have released the results of a poll they’ve conducted asking about transport funding.
Auckland has sent a clear message to the Government over its transport priorities: Give us better public transport rather than better roads.
The latest Stuff.co.nz-Ipsos poll found that nationally people wanted a government focus on better public transport over roads by a margin of 30 per cent to 24 per cent.
Another 40 per cent wanted a focus on both.
In Auckland there was much stronger backing for public transport spending, which got the nod by a four to one margin over roads among those who had a preference.
Almost 43 per cent said the focus should be on both.
For Auckland in particular the results suggest a strong support for more being spent on PT with some quick calculations suggesting 46% of respondents wanted more PT spending, followed by 43% who wanted both with just 11% wanting more spent on roads alone. Understandably the support for PT isn’t quite as strong outside of Auckland but still saw a significant number of people supporting the call for more spending on PT. I’ve put together these graphs based on the results highlight the result
Additionally when asked if the government was doing enough to address congestion once again Aucklanders voted differently to the rest of the country with the majority saying no – although to be fair I’m not sure if Aucklanders will ever think enough is being done.
There was a similar, but less pronounced, division between Auckland and the rest of the country when it came to traffic congestion.
Across the nation 57 per cent felt the Government was doing enough to ease traffic jams in their region.
Even in urban areas there was still a majority at 51 per cent backing the Government’s efforts with 42 per cent saying it was not doing enough.
But in Auckland a clear majority – 54 per cent – said the Government was falling short against 43 per cent who thought it was doing enough.
Perhaps unsurprisingly Brownlee has shrugged off the results suggesting that respondents are confused
But Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee called the result a “confused” message, saying Aucklanders did not use public transport to an extent that made it truly economic.
His response shows two things:
- That he fails to grasp the difference between peoples aspirations and the reality they live in – we know that many people will only catch PT if it is rational for them to do. You could have a bus stop outside your front door but it isn’t likely to used if the buses that stop there take long convoluted and slow routes. My guess is most people probably want more investment in PT so that it becomes viable for them to use rather than the only realistic option being to drive.
- That he is confused about the economic and financial viability of transport systems. Both roads and PT provide economic benefits to the country by allowing for the movement of people and goods. Neither roads nor PT are currently financially viable and both require subsidies. PT subsidies are well known and often pointed out by those opposing investing in it however roads also require subsidies. About $1 billion a year is invested in them by local councils – which comes primarily from property rates – and the government themselves are spending additional money from outside of the transport budget on many of their flagship roading projects like the recently announced Accelerated Regional Roads Package.
As the Stuff article says
The poll will be a blow to the Government’s transport policy which has emphasised road building, and in particular its flagship Roads of National Significance, and has rebuffed calls from Auckland Mayor Len Brown for an early start to the city rail link.
National also made its roading policy the centrepiece of Prime Minister John Key’s speech to National’s annual conference, with a promise to spend $212 million from the sale of state-owned assets to upgrade 14 roads across the country.
“Team Key has always been very focused on roads,” Key said at the time.