Auckland's Transport Eleciton Debate

The Campaign for Better Transport, in association with TransportBlog and Generation Zero, is counting down to Auckland’s Transport Election Debate, on the 27th August.

The meeting will be a chance for the public to find out from each party in the coming general election what they are promising to do for Auckland’s transport problems and options.

“We are hoping for some solid transport policy for Auckland from each of the parties attending,” said Cameron Pitches, Convenor of the Campaign for Better Transport.

Each speaker has been allocated ten minutes to speak, to be followed by questions from the floor from the general public.

“We’ve outlined a number of areas that we expect each speaker to cover. These include their party’s positions on the timing of the City Rail Link, and how transport projects across the different modes should be prioritised and funded in Auckland.”

TransportBlog contributor Patrick Reynolds will also be on hand to talk about the Congestion Free Network, a public transport focussed initiative that focusses on moving people effectively around Auckland at peak times.

Sudhvir Singh, a medical doctor and a leader of Generation Zero, is looking forward to the event.

“Young people are demanding that we learn from past mistakes when it comes to transport funding. A liveable low-carbon city is entirely possible if we are smarter about transport and give people choices,” said Dr Singh.

Representatives from Labour, the Greens, NZ First and ACT will be attending. National’s transport spokesperson and current Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee is unable to attend due to prior diary commitments. Organisers are hopeful that National will be able to put forward an alternative spokesperson.

“Nationwide, more than $2.5bn is collected in fuel and road taxes every year, and these taxes are increasing year on year. The public needs assurance that the Government after the 20th September will be spending our tax dollars on the right projects,” concludes Mr Pitches.

Auckland’s Transport Election Debate
Pioneer Women’s and Ellen Melville Hall, Freyberg Square, Auckland Central.
Wednesday 27th August, 7:30pm sharp. Building access from 6:00pm.

Confirmed speakers:

Labour – Phil Twyford
Greens – Julie Anne Genter
NZ First – Denis O’Rourke
ACT – David Seymour

Help spread the word about our election debate and download theΒ Election Debate Flyer.

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  1. It looks like it will be a very “colourful” debate! I refer, of course, both to the many colours in the flyer, and the likelihood that there will be passionate and interesting debate, with humour being created as a result of the double meaning!

  2. Will you be leaving an empty chair for National?

    Matt – it will be worth teasing apart the differences between three of the four, given that they agree on much.

    1. Where in Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye? Where is Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse? Surely National have someone available who is in a credible position to talk about transport?

      And +1 to George D’s comment that we need to work out the differences between the policies of the parties who will attend. The detailed differences may be significant come post-election coalition negotiation time…

  3. The Hon Gerry Brownlee was unable to be present at today’s debate. Citing precedent, the organisers have replaced him with a tub of lard (‘Have I got news for you’, BBC2, 4 June 1993).

    1. Given that he lives near where the new Parnell Station is going in, you would think he’s interested in PT issues…

      or maybe not πŸ™

  4. Will there be any mainstream media coverage? Web streaming? I’m sure the organisers are working on it, but the more MSM coverage in particular, the more people the debate can reach…

    In any case, I’ll be there, am really looking forward to it πŸ™‚

    1. Good question Glen. Transport discussion doesn’t seem to come high on media priorities. If the CRL is to become an election issue, I think it is really essential to have both TV channels in attendance and if National don’t come, to indicate to voters that they are not willing to engage!

  5. Of course National will attend. John Key said that they just want to debate the policies, but that those evil opposition people are scared of that, hence the oppostions’ Hager left wing conspiracy theory thing. And John Key, we know, is true to his word.

    1. hi Jon, looking forward to those debates with Judith Collins? And don’t be afraid, she can’t leak your name as a political opponent, given that your blog user name reveals all. Sunshine is the best disinfectant as they say …

      While NZ First is not my cup of tea, I must confess that in my opinion Winston had the best one-liner on the “Dirty Politics” saga thus far: “The problem for National is that Nicky Hager didn’t write this book; they did.” Or something to that effect. Gold.

  6. I can’t believe I am saying this but Nicholas Mayne from the Green Party came to my door on Saturday and now I think I will vote for them.

      1. The bit I like is a 40% top tax rate. It probably wont cost me anything as I will simply pay it to the government instead of my monthly donation to KidsCan. The greens do have some weird ideas and some of them seem to think the answer to all our woes is poverty but on social issues they are now well ahead of Labour. Maybe I need to join up so I cant shout down the twits who think it is a good idea to let fallen trees in westland rot.

    1. mfwic, not you too!!! Stop drinking the Kool-aid! LOL. I like some Green policies such as transport. But if they had their way they would send the country to economic ruin. Have any of them ever tried running a business and actually employ people with their own money?

      If National isn’t there, the debate could be rather boring. It will just be Green/Red/Black all saying the same thing and ganging up on the Yellow guy. I feel very sorry for poor David. I think I’ll attend just to see him debate.

      1. Ari, serious question: given the proposed overall policy the Greens are proposing, how will that result in economic ruin? I think it’s an important question for people here, as no point voting for a party that has a great transport policy but will be an overall disaster. However, the assertion you made is the standard response to the Greens, and you should at least afford them the dignity of backing up the assertion, as they have been far better than most at carefully costing what they propose.

        1. A very good point NCD. I think you’ll find that the Greens’ policies have been very thoroughly costed (they have the MPs and thus the Parliamentary resources to do it) as they know they will face close scrutiny from the media and the Government about them. And even without numbers, the logic of their costings is clear, transport is of course being the classic example: so much can be paid for by simply canceling the inefficient RoNS National is planning and going with lower-cost but still almost as effective alternatives.

          Another pertinent question that the media never asks is, are the Greens’ policies (such as in transport) more or less thoroughly costed than National and Labour’s? It wouldn’t take too much surveying work to find out.

        2. Fair comment NCD. The current finance spokesperson is an Australian a lifetime academic and a (ex)communist who wanted to print money to fix our problems. Nothing wrong with communists, but history shows they arent that great in running a business or a country. As communists their answer is to hike taxes on productive people and then spend the money on helping unproductive people. Nothing wrong with this approach in the short term, but in the long term you end up with economic problems.

          Have any of the Green MP’s actually started and run their own successful business? While it is a simple analogy, NZ is a business and you need leaders with an understanding of work needed to succeed business. Granted, John Key didn’t start a business and Helen Clark was an academic, but they both have ok track records. We don’t really know anything about how the Greens would perform and frankly I am not willing to take that risk.

          Accurate policy costing is not possible because there is no way to predict the unintended impacts of policy.

          For the record, Muldoon’s decision provide super for everyone has been a total disaster both now and in the future. Every other political policy ever pales in comparison.

          JK about the Australian comment. Some of my best friends are Australian.

          1. Not a Greens member, but I’d politely request that you quit the personal attacks. The fact that Russel Norman is “Australian” has absolutely nothing to do with the debate.

          2. “and a (ex)communist who wanted to print money to fix our problems.”

            Just like those communists running the federal reserve did at the time. Wonder if they had ever started and ran a business?

          3. Ari, with all due respect your question “have any Green MPs actually run a business” smells like a pile of logical poo.

            Reasons being:
            1. You could ask the same of many of the small parties in parliament and the answer would be “no”. Because they’re small parties. That does not mean they don’t represent valid constituencies, even if they don’t represent ones you value.
            2. What is the proportion of small business owners in National/Labour? Don’t ask the question without providing an answer. If the issue is that important to you then do the research and figure it out yourself (and tell us what it is!).
            3. I believe at least two Green MPs have worked for and partly owned small businesses, i.e. circa 20%. You can read more about their MPs/candidates here:

            Most of the other points you make are equally smelly:
            1. Someone’s nationality is irrelevant; please don’t raise it again.
            2. Your opinions on who has an “OK track record” are entirely subjective, which is acceptable, but don’t present them as facts. Personally, I think many Green candidates have strong track records, such as Kevin Hague (ex CEO of a DHB).
            3. Accurate costings of any policy is difficult. But not impossible, and the Greens have one of the best records on giving it a go – even taking independent advice from Treasury and consultants.

            Agree with you however on the National super front: Muldoon’s initial decision is almost as poor as John Key’s decision to steadfastly hold the line on the age of entitlement. In the long run that’ll cost the country dearly.

            P.s. Like Louis, I’m also not a Greens member and would instead describe myself as “passionately moderate”.

          4. I did say I was joking about the Australian comment. I couldn’t care less what country someone comes from.

            I’m more concerned about the leaders of the party, ie the ones that end up ministers and who direct policy, no the ones who sit there and warm seats. Russel Norman is the Green finance spokesperson and doesnt seem to even understand the concept of inflation. This is extremely worrying if the Greens end up in power. This is not an attack on Russel as a person. I’m sure he’s a great guy. It is a attack on the things he has said as an example of his understanding of basic economics.

      2. Ok a serious response is asked for so I will give it. The economy is not just the total spending in GDP, it is the total collective welfare or utility of our country. A top marginal tax of 40% takes money from people like me who have it sweet and feeds, clothes, houses and provides medical treatment for kids who have no resources of their own. (Even classical economists understood a lack of money was a form of market failure). I am not bothered by Mauis dolphins, drilling, swimming in every river or most of the other stuff but I will vote for a higher tax bracket and tax on trusts, a capital gains tax, restrictions on foreign ownership, improved public transport and less spending on roads that have no B/C ratio.

        1. “The economy is not just the total spending in GDP, it is the total collective welfare or utility of our country.” +1

          “A top marginal tax of 40% takes money from people like me who have it sweet and feeds, clothes, houses and provides medical treatment for kids who have no resources of their own. (Even classical economists understood a lack of money was a form of market failure).” – I tend to agree, with the caveat that dynamics are relevant. A top tax rate up to 40% may be a barrier when it comes to attracting labour/capital, even if it’s warranted on a purely static utility grounds. As someone who has run a small business, I can say it’s easier for NZ to attract skilled employees because our upper level income tax rates are lower. And having a lower company tax rate than Australia does support investment here.

          “I will vote for a … tax on trusts, a capital gains tax, … improved public transport and less spending on roads that have no B/C ratio.” +1

        2. I totally agree and I am in favour of the 40% tax. After all, the post War period of high taxes (91% top tax rate in the US under that notorious communist, Dwight Eisenhower) was one of the most equal and prosperous periods in world history.

          Lower taxes in NZ don’t seem to have improved the lot of 90% of the population – and we have low taxes by OECD standards.

          I also agree that the Greens get too distracted by minor environmental and social issues, though I suspect that is a small radical part of the party.

          I would say, as someone who spends a large part of their career trying to find ways to help clients avoid tax, that the 40% tax rate will only be effective if it is quite broad. For example that needs to apply to trust income as well as personal income.

      3. The old “have they ever run a company’ line.
        I’ll tell you who never ran a company but has managed to amass a $50mil+ personal fortune, our beloved PM John Key.
        Ask yourself this, how do you feel about corporate bankers? Are they a benefit or a detriment to society in general?
        If overall you have a negative impression of them, perhaps like me you’re baffled as to why JK has such an overwhelming level of support amongst New Zealanders.
        Sorry, off topic but I am genuinely perplexed about our PMs popularity.

        1. Jedi training is clearly the only reason. His ‘Most New Zealanders don’t care about [insert issue]’ is the same as ‘these aren’t the droids you are looking for’.

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