In this fourth post reviewing the 2014 I’ll look at the topics not already covered.

Central Government Election

2014 was dominated – either directly or indirectly by the central government elections which is not surprising considering how much impact the government has on transport and urban policy. In the end National had a fairly comfortable win which means not much change from a political point of view although as mentioned in Tuesdays post, they have now committed more money to cycling which is helpful.

New Transport Minister

Related to the election, Prime Minister John Key reshuffled his cabinet around and we now have a new Minister of Transport in Simon Bridges. We are hoping to be able to meet Simon and will keep trying in 2015. So far there seems little sign of a change in position between him and his predecessor Gerry Brownlee, although he has taken a notable liking to the idea of self-driving cars.

Government Policy Statement

The Government Policy Statement – which dominates transport planning and spending in the country – was released and showed little change on its predecessors. It will still see the majority of money for transport spend on new and improved state highways of which most of that is earmarked for the hand-picked RoNS projects.

GPS 2015-2025 Funding Graph

Council Long Term Plan

Next year the council must sign off a new 10 year budget – the Long Term Plan – and the mayor’s proposal emerged this year. It’s had a few minor changes by the council but effectively sees rates increases capped at 3.5%. One of the hardest hit areas from this has been transport which has had funding slashed. This has left us in a sticky mess where the funding available enables means many key projects – such as interchanges that are fundamental to enable key changes such as the new bus network are unfunded.

Tied in with this has been a separate stream of work looking at alternative funding methods to plug a funding gap previously identified and looking closely at options of tolling motorways or additional rates. The utterly terrible situation with the basic transport package very much seems like a way to force Aucklander’s to agree to additional funding rather than addressing the elephant in the room of the insane state highway spending by the government. The LTP goes out to consultation in a few weeks and it will likely dominate a lot of discussion in the first half of this year.

Great International Visitors

  • This year we’ve had some great visitors as part of the council’s Auckland Conversations talks. This includes
  • Janette Sadik Kahn
  • The Brunrlett’s
  • Brent Toderian (again)
  • Professor Peter Newman
  • Gordon Price (again)
  • and many others.

Special Housing Areas

During 2014 two new tranches of Special Housing Areas were announced considerably increasing the number across Auckland. These are the areas where the Unitary Plan rules come into effect immediately and the council uses a fast tracked consenting process. Despite them all there has been little progress on actually building houses in most of them and it seems a lot of developers who pushed to receive SHA status did so just for some capital gains.

Special Housing Areas 1 2 3 4

Auckland Construction Boom

In 2014 it seems like the Auckland construction scene burst back to life after a few quiet years with a huge number of projects announced. These were primarily residential projects such as apartments. The biggest of the lot is likely to be the NDG Auckland Centre for which a 209m high tower is proposed on the empty site bordering Albert St/Victoria St/Elliot St. The tower and retail podium will link directly into the Aotea station on the CRL

NDG Centre 1

Stuart’s 100

Earlier this year our friend and urban designer Stuart Houghton set himself a personal project of coming up with 100 ideas for improving Auckland at the rate of one a day. We have been running these throughout the second half of the year – with some still to go. There have been some fantastic ideas and conversations that have resulted from this work. Thanks Stuart for your contributions to making Auckland better.



Lastly it’s been another fantastic year for the blog with more and more people reading it, something we really appreciate. I’d also like to thanks my fellow bloggers and everyone else who has helped contribute this year. All up including this post there we’ve published 908 posts, had over 33,100 comments. According to Google Analytics we’ve had over 900,000 visitors and have serve up over 1.7 million page views which is up about 20% on 2013. In total 65% of our readers are from Auckland and 82% are from NZ.

I hope you all have a great 2015.

Tomorrow I’ll look at what we can expect for 2015 plus a few predictions

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  1. So how far does the transportblog trail behind those animal named (and animal behaviour-like) blogs that were number 1 and 2 last year in terms of popularity?

    And 908 posts equals 2.5 posts a day on average. its a wonder you guys have any time for your day jobs.

  2. On the subject of SHAs, which as we all know have not yet resulted in more than a handful of actual homes for anyone to live in yet being built, despite SHAs being in existence for well over a year now.

    But seems, Housing NZ is pushing ahead with small pocket SHAs such as the one in Meadowbank which they aim to have redeveloped and finished by end of next year.

    But looks though that the consultation they’ve done consists of limited engagement with immediate neighbours only as per the council rules (some of which may actually be HNZ properties as well), meaning very limited notification has taken place ahead of time.

    Herald had a beat up on that story before Xmas:

    Still in under 2 years time once the UP comes into force, HNZ (and anyone else) can do the same thing without a SHA and again with limited consultation occurring,
    So its really small potatoes in the scheme of things. But I am sure a lot of these type of skirmishes will happen next year and in 2016 as well around SHAs.

    This story does basically sum up the two sides of the SHA argument.

    I don’t know whats worse in these neighbours eyes:

    HNZ flogging off the sections holus bolus as they’re doing in GI and letting private enterprise redevelop, take the money to be had, and running, or HNZ doing it themselves owning the resulting properties and at least keeping skin in the game (which means they can toss bad tenants out).

    I’m just sure that these neighbours are complaining mainly because they believe the tone of their increasingly up-market neighbourhood risks being lowered by yet more HNZ tenants.

    Either way you are going to get 14 new houses there sooner or later. I just hope the actual built design of the resulting houses lives up to the promise that SHAs are supposed to deliver and isn’t yet more cheap and nasty rubbish like we’ve had in the past with car parking for Africa.

    But at least HNZ doing it means HNZ gets 10 more houses for HNZ to rent out to those who need it, and right near a (electrified) rail line, with train station at end of street, with 6 trains per hour peak and starting next year construction of a cycleway right past your door, and a easy/flat 800m walk along the boardwalk to Orakei Point – all of which means fantastic transit links to be had.

    And its sad to realise that those 10 extra houses will represent about 20% of the total number of additional houses added to the housing pot collectively by all those 80+ SHAs since the SHAs first came into being.

  3. Great job on the blog this year contributors and mods. Really appreciate your efforts shining a light on these issues. Here’s to keeping up the good work and seeing positive change result. Along the lines of the following: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” – Margaret Mead.

  4. Hi Matt,
    It may be useful to have sections on Parking and Land Use development.
    The refocusing of the Auckland Transport owned car parking buildings towards short term car parking with the removal of the early bird parking in the City Centre is worthwhile acknowledging. Hopefully next year Auckland Transport will lift the daily cap so that an all day public transport pass is cheaper than all day parking in the City Centre.
    In respect to land use development there is a need to sing the praise of the developers who have started providing more intensity and activities around the train station (e.g. at New Lynn) and along the main bus corridors (e.g. the redevelopment of the former car sales yard along Great North Road in Grey Lynn area). Hopefully we will see more developers in the future providing more and better choices for people to live, work and play near good quality public transport.
    It should also be acknowledge that there has been some quality public investment in facilities such as Te Uru in Titirangi.
    One last thing is to thank all the team who look after the transport blog for all the well researched blog post throughout the year.

  5. The state highway spend on car mode is more than the elephant in the room. All other modes appear to be a token gesture. Road maintenance look at the size of that commitment it is bigger than texas but hang on let’s make that bigger with minimal return. Rail,bus and bike the networks that will actually turn things in a sustainable direction still getting peanuts on equal footing with roading other what is that road signs.

  6. Well done to Stuart, indeed, great ideas! Personally, the one thing I’d like to see happen in 2015 transportwise is a lot of new bus lanes on arterials in the suburbs (with the aim to get bus lanes on all arterials), at the expense of either carparks or existing car lanes. Also, the reinstatement of the bus lanes on the NW motorway. Why wait for work on the motorway to be finished to get the bus lane back?

  7. I was surprised the Wellington rail tender announcement on Christmas eve has not been given any publicity probably because of the timing.
    It has been given to Keolis Downer known to some of us as running Melbourne’s trams and the very well run G Link on the Gold Coast. It’s a joint venture with KiwiRail.
    Missing out from those short listed were Auckland’s train operators Transdev Australasia Pty Ltd in a venture with Hyundai Rotem and Serco.
    Be fascinating to see if Transdev gets dumped here next time around.

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