The two current main contenders for the Auckland mayoralty are still yet to release any policy but they are starting to make more noise. At a business association meeting in East Tamaki yesterday they talked transport with both leaving a lot to be desired.

Phil Goff

He repeated his vision for light rail in parts of the city.

“The City Rail Link will double heavy rail capacity, but that only benefits the south and west, while other parts of Auckland don’t get that,” he says.

Goff says he wants to explore public-private partnerships and city bonds as a means to fund large infrastructure projects.

He says rates alone should not be relied on to fund projects, which would mean an opportunity for public-private partnerships and an element of “user pays”.

“There’s no money put aside [for light rail]…but the cost of not doing anything is more,” he says.

He says up to $3 billion in productivity is being lost in the city’s congestion.

On funding, Goff says city bonds would be an option to share the cost over generations.

He’d also ensure the council would be unified and prepared when presenting a plan to Government for support on projects.

The biggest issue with Goff’s statements are his claims about cost of congestion are rising faster than rail patronage, having doubled in the last month or so from the more frequently quoted $1-1.5 billion. But even that isn’t correct as highlighted by this research a few years ago which showed those upper limits of congestion are based on assuming roads should operate in complete free flow conditions 24/7 – which in reality would mean a massive overbuilding of capacity. Using a more relevant metric that focuses on network utilisation results in a cost of just $250 million.

We also know that congestion hasn’t actually got much worse in recent years. The recent ATAP foundation report showed that travel time delay has been fairly stable and has even declined in the AM peak.

ATAP - Travel Time Delay

Victoria Crone

Crone favoured an “aligned” approach to her transport plan – that includes investing in all transport modes across the entire region.

She would follow other international cities in investigating innovations like driverless vehicles.

During her speaking period, Crone questioned why the AMETI project isn’t more of a priority for completion.

She also questioned why more park and ride facilities aren’t in use across the city alongside buses, trains and ferries.

“Without park and rides you’re capping the number of people that will use that service,” she says.

However, Crone says the challenge would be on funding the projects.

She is intent on bringing Auckland Council spending under control, including promising to open the books to shed light on how it is spending money.

“The private partnerships [for transport projects] and the Government – the taxpayer – shouldn’t be putting money into a system that’s wasted,” she says.

Crone hit out at the CBD cycleways being constructed when other areas like Rodney are still waiting on sealed footpaths.

I agree with Crone that AMETI should be a higher priority. AT need to hurry up and get on with it but many of her other comments show a lack of understanding of transport issues and seem more aligned with common over the barbecue type generalisations or contradictions.

AMETI Buslane - Pakuranga Rd
AT need to get on with the AMETI busway

One is the assumption that a lot more park n ride is needed to get more people using PT. Research has shown that adding P&R will often see many existing users change how they get to a station so the actual parking capacity gained much less what is built. It’s also not cheap, even simple P&Rs like the new one at Swanson can cost as much as $18,000 per carpark and if they’re buildings or underground the cost goes up even more. Spending $100 million might add as few as 5,000 carparks and assuming they were all new users it would be equivalent of around 2.5 million trips per year which is around 3% of current patronage. Also if driverless cars do become common soon like she hopes then P&R probably won’t be needed at all.

But it’s the last comment that’s the strangest and shows a lack of understanding of even how transport is funded. Already thousands of people per day are using the new cycleways being built in the city and those are being funded by the council, NZTA and the government through its urban cycleway fund. The NZTA and UCF funding isn’t something that can be diverted to other projects – and if council didn’t put up their share it would go somewhere else. Even if the funding could be diverted likely the last place it would go would be to rural footpaths

At the end of the day it might not matter who the mayor is and what their personal transport vision is. The ATAP process currently under way and due to wrap up in August has been about creating alignment in transport between Auckland and the Government – at least at a broad level. This is likely to limit any

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  1. Im regulalarly struck by the low quality of Auckland’s conservative and/or right-wing politicians, with the notable exception of Chris Fletcher.

    I mean the UCF is not only a central governmemt initiative, but one that originated with a National Government (to their credit). Crone is – albeit indirectly and unintentionally – criticising National for this initiative. Weird.

    Also notable how central governmemt agencies and ministries have been supportive of intensification while the local right-wing pollies have been running around drumming up nimby fear.

    I can see why the National Party doesnt want to associated too closely with their local government kin-folk: the latter appear to be rather unhinged.

  2. For the record: my view is that the Regional Land Transport Strategy 2010-2040 is, and should continue to be, the guiding document for transport planning and development in Auckland.
    I would prioritise the Rapid Transit Network, as set out in that document. The RTN solves Auckland’s key transport problem, which is a need to move people on, off, across and around the Auckland isthmus. In particular by increasing mass transit capacity across the bridge points between the isthmus and surrounding areas.
    That solution cannot and will not be achieved with cars on roads (without defying the laws of physics).

    1. Have to agree. Crone just gets worse and worse the more I hear from her. Just spouting drivel that that dimwits want to hear.

  3. This mayoral race is quickly turning into our own version of “No Talent Time”. Congratulations on getting some policy out of the candidates. You’re doing better than most.

    On the whole the comments made by Goff make more sense to me. Unfortunately he has quoted a fantasy figure with regards to congestion and fallen into the trap of recommending light rail but apart from that he makes some sense. But his thoughts behind how to fund projects make a lot of sense. Our current council has taken a myopic approach to funding which has resulted in sub-optimal outcomes. Goff’s options make more sense though I’d like to see a mixed model ownership for the Port on the table. Would be good to know exactly what projects Goff supports….

    In general I agree with Crone’s comment regarding investing in all transport modes. Hopefully that would include the Southern Motorway which is crying out for a more even lane layout. I also agree with her thoughts on Rodney and sealed footpaths. Our current council can’t see past the CBD in terms of investment which is a shame. But that’s about as good as it gets for Crone. I don’t know what she is going on about with driverless cars. Does Crone realise she is running for Mayor? WTF does the development of driverless cars have to do with a Mayor? Again what projects does she support going forward?

    In what is a crucial time for Auckland we need better candidates than this.

    1. Wasn’t us that got the policy out, forgot to put link in and have update that now.

      As for the Southern motorway, I’ve been told by senior NZTA figures that other than the widening currently happening south of Manukau, that SH1 is now a fixed constraint and won’t be able to be changed much any more – at least not without considerable cost. Hell it just cost them about $30 million to add ~700m of additional lane at Ellerslie.

      1. Also the Southern motorway is outside the remit of the council and mayors, so I doubt any view they take on any ‘fixing’ motorways would have any impact.

    2. I needed to travel out to Waiuku yesterday and on the return trip I spent approx 45 mins getting from Mt Wellington to Kyber Pass on the Sth motorway. What a hell-hole. Watching the trains whizzing past full of people I wished it was a option for my trip. There must have been a few people sitting in their cars wishing they were able to use rail.

  4. Congestion hasn’t increased? Ask anyone who travels from the south each day, travel from Drury is impossible and from Papakura you are now looking at an hour and a half most mornings to get to the CBD. Your stats do not match reality. Ask around.

      1. Papakura has been a complete nightmare since the new expensive on-ramp came online, is it normal for a new onramp to cause such choas? The Manukau onramp has also caused congestion – but at least with Papakura there was an excisting on-ramp

    1. The congestion figures are from the ATAP foundation report. The figure is based on Auckland as a whole so yes some areas may be experiencing more congestion but others are experiencing less.

      1. To be fair this report (if that graphic is the latest we have on it?) is roughly 2 years out of date. People tend to be looking through the eyes of “March Madness” at the moment too.

    2. Am I more likely to believe scientifically gathered data or the idle musings of a disgruntled highway engineer??

  5. You should probably ask Palino too. He may have some ideas that are different. Much as he got tarred in the Len Brown bonking saga, he did poll 2nd best and his ideas at the time were clearly popular with a large number of voters. The guy is no fool, has real world experience and is worth a look and a chat I suspect. He may even be your silver bullet.

    1. What was he proposing last time in the way of transport?

      I’m surprised he’s putting his hat into the ring again after it all blew up in his face last time.

      Brave? Poor insight?

      1. I got the impression that his kick off press conference involved his hat flying back out through the ropes on the other side of the ring…

      2. I am not impressed by Crone and think that Palino will be the main candidate against Goff.
        “John believes Auckland is far more than the CBD, and we need a council that understands this. Council cannot be wedded to spending only on public transport and the CBD when most Aucklanders do not use either. John believes in a pragmatic spending program that does not consider roads and the people that choose to use them a problem.”
        “Auckland is much bigger than the central city, and many Aucklanders live and work a long way from the CBD. The current council has focused spending almost entirely on the CBD, and on trains, when most Aucklanders do not want to use public transport. John will be releasing sensible transport policies that reflect the choices Aucklanders make, rather than telling people how they must travel.”
        This sounds a bit misinformed. It will be interesting to hear what his transport policies are given his main pledge of reducing rates by 10%

        1. “…Aucklanders don’t want to use public transport'”
          Where has the growth in public transport usage come from over the past few years? That is more than just a little uninformed.
          “…reflect choices that Aucklanders make”
          What about choices that Aucklanders want to make but can’t because they aren’t properly funded. John wouldn’t run a restaurant this way… he wouldn’t put nothing on the menu except soup and then go on to conclude that all his patrons want to eat is soup because that is the only thing they order.

    2. Palino is even more unlikeable this time around with the likes of Simon Lusk and Cameron Slater backing his campaign. His transport policies would put back Auckland about 40 years.

  6. Bring back Len.

    In terms of funding, how about using some of the tax dollars we generate in Auckland for our infrastructure needs? We provide a fair proportion of it.

  7. None of these visions are “visions”. What I mean is a vision should be something like this
    (from a PT advocate) “You’ll be able to catch a bus every 10/15 minutes, which will get you to work within 45 minutes, anywhere in Auckland”
    (from a car advocate) “You’ll be able to drive to work in less than 45 minutes, even in rush hour, anywhere in Auckland”

    Those are visions, not solutions… just like JFK saying “we will land a man on a moon”… he didn’t go on about which boosters and which modules

    1. So the PT avocate vision should be “just implement what AT are planning and keep at it into the future”. Not very exciting I guess, but the best vision is the one that will work.

  8. Good to see the Herald’s reading the blog still;

    Good quotes from Barney Irving at the AA and even better ones from AT’s Mark Hannan:

    “Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said cycleways and bus services would help alleviate traffic.

    There had already been a 500 per cent increase in the number of cycle journeys, with close to 900 trips taking place each day on Nelson St since a new cycleway opened in December last year.

    Meanwhile, about 35,000 seats have been added to the public transport network since last April and another 18,000 were planned over the next four months.

    “Day to day we will bring in extra buses if available to assist with the peak,” said Mr Hannan.”

  9. Here’s how it should be going politically:

    ‘Happily, the government and the opposition are trying to outbid each other on the ambitiousness of their cities policies.’


    ‘As the prominent economist Professor Ian Harper has said, the economic benefits of getting cities right is “many multiples” greater than those of tax reform.’

    Read more:

    Very good article.

    1. Getting Cities right means Tax Reform as well, it means changing from our current taxation system which taxes & punishes real wealth creation, development, productivity increases (Like Agglomeration & R&D), savings & labour which are not always broad based, are not simple at all which the international companies know how to avoid, to a system that is simple, impossible to hide in Switzerland, broad based that punishes land speculation & inefficient land use the Land Value Tax. Switching our economy from one that artificially inflates & directs investment into property bubbles to one that directs savings into R&D, small businesses, start ups, training which create real jobs and wealth not paper value. If housing is $200,000 overvalued than market levels then that is $200,000 less the bank can invest in the next start up. Germany does it, we should try it.

      1. Penny Bright doesn’t believe in global warming and hooked up with Stephen Berry from ACT. She’s about as left as Donald Trump, and in her extreme aggression towards people who don’t agree with her is also quite similar.

  10. Who ever becomes mayor has to have some political savvy. All these business people lining up don’t have a clue. Running the council is not like being a CEO. A CEO gives orders on what has to be done and the employees have to do it. The mayor has one vote and must get the support of councilors. The last time we had a business mayor was Dick Hubbard, and it was a disaster, the pollies ran rings around him.

  11. Im dubious about the $250m figure for congestion. They dont appear to have considered the extra capacity and therefore trips thst can be taken under the maximum flow rate condition. Similarly they would need to understand how consumer surplus varies to get a good estimate of the optimal flow rate. Also the make up of trips will change under congestion free conditions.

    If it really is only $250m, I am struggling to see how PT subsidies could be justified in that basis.

    Given Goff cares so much about congestion, did he mention road pricing?

    As for Crone – all modes, everywhere? So no policy at all then.

    1. Actually he mentioned earlier he wanted to work with the government to introduce road pricing to help pay for the LRT. The land value capture & PPP’s is he second choice.

  12. Crone sounds awful. Her “aligned” euphemism sounds like a thinly veiled ‘all-roads, all-the-time’. More Park & Rides? OK…but you need a huge number of smallish ones because big Park & Rides are almost impossible to get in and out of at peak times. I doubt she’s ever seen one.

    No doubt people who know as little about everything as she clearly does will be happy to vote for her. It’s depressing hearing major candidates talk like this. It’s like some people can’t get past the world not being flat.

    1. My comment on the candidates earlier this year

      Victoria Crone has a Marketing background which explains how she says so much with so little substance. She is like the pizza that looks ok in the ad & then when you order has a complete lack of toppings, sorry I mean campaign without a policy looks nothing like the advert. Look at her website its all empty words & basically the part of the essay where you restate the question in your paragraph from NCEA Level 2 History.

      “Many Aucklanders experience difficulty in getting around Auckland — issues with both public transport and major traffic congestion. While there are some very good transport options coming our way, I am concerned we are taking old-world thinking to the impending problems that population growth will pose.”

      That’s a question, not a policy Ms Crone. She couldn’t even answer a direct question on whether she supports the CRL, so I doubt how she will answer how she will cut back on the CCO’s that were deliberately put out of the reach.

      Mark Thomas site is basically fancy solipsism which behind the figures he puts is basically Len Brown sucks vote moi Mark Thomas (Auckland 1960, Sorry 2040 Party)

      Phil Geoff is wish washy but he will basically say what he needs to during the news cycle to win massively then not give a toss about the “Leafy Suburbs Zoning” because he wont have to make the platitudes any more with the Unitary Plan complete + Bill English’s & Phil Twyford backing which is a good thing tbh.

      Penny Bright at least we know what she stand for though not sure what she would actually do if she actually won, maybe legalise tax evasion socialism which would be counter intuitive really, would she have to seize her own house maybe Penny (Ratepayer) v. Penny (Mayor) would be a great movie?

      Steven Berry, not great on PT, but also wouldn’t support the roads either so balances himself out, but then if he had his way would rip up all the planning regs returning to simple Common Law Nuisance & have a fire sale on Council Workers so not all bad.

      If you want Len Brown 2.0 vote Phil
      If you want to tear up the whole rulebook vote Steven Berry
      If you want Auckland 1960 sorry 2040 vote Mark Thomas
      If you want AC to become a Marketing Firm that sells us driver less up in the “cloud” (just like her ideas) accounting software vote Victoria Crone.
      If you want the man who gave us dragon baybees last election then vote Palino
      If you want to protest vote Penny or not vote like 80% Auckland
      wont 😀

    2. The concept of park and rides is a good one, but ideally what we need is a better bus network where buses act as a feeder to train stations and various areas of interest as well as peoples homes

  13. what is coming out from Victoria Crone and now John Palino (funny, I was trying to remember his name a few weeks ago, but could only remember Luigi Wedgie) about “I’m a successful business person, of course I can run a city” was illuminated by this article which popped up on around the same time Paul Henry tried to interview Crone

    key statement: “It is dangerous and naïve, however, to reduce politics and public policy to the relatively straightforward calculus of commerce. To believe that there is an easy transference of competence in business management to public administration reveals historical ignorance on a profound and poisonous scale.”

    I think the core points are valid to our situation, politics and business are different

    forgive me if I’ve posted this before, I think it is sufficiently important

    1. Your comment is incorrect, it should say “Why having reality tv stars run for president is incredibility funny & actually shows Presidential Elections for the corrupt petty personality cult politics they have become. Also coming up on MTV DC Shore, if you though people in fake tan drinking to much was funny just wait until you meet the idiots in the District of Criminals Shore who run things.”

    1. I would have voted for Len brown again, given the present crop, if Phil Goff weren’t running.

      I thought Bill Ralston was going to run for Mayor? I wouldn’t vote for him, either. He’s in the same general category as Mike Hoskings and Paul Henry.

    1. Rapid Transit needs feeding. I was studying in Berlin a few years ago and I could go up to the corner of the road and catch a feeder bus. If I wanted the U-bahn I got it one way, or the S-Bahn, I caught it the opposite way. The bus system supported the rail, it did not compete with it.

      1. Yes and those buses likely did a lot of other useful things as well connecting to rapid transit. And im also sure they operated at relatively high frequencies and for long spans, hence were something you could rely on to be there pretty much all the time. That at least was my experience in berlin …

        1. Yes, they zigzaged around the housing areas and fed the shopping centres as well. They were absolutely on time. If the timetable said 9.10 am, at 9.09 am the Berliners would stand up from the seats in the shelter and walk to the kerb because they knew that the bus was coming around the corner. They seemed to get to the U-Bahn stations about 5 mins before the trains left . Just enough time for you to buy a pastry and a copy of the Herald-Tribune at the station kiosk.

          1. We can’t even achieve decent connections on the trains. The number of times I’ve gone to get off the Eastern line at Puhinui to watch the Southern line train closing the doors (and vice versa) is ridiculous.

    2. Unless we change ‘Park and Ride’ to: Park your car at home and Ride the bus/train/ferry to work. We won’t have to spend a cent on building new carparks!

  14. Whilst she makes her point coming from the wrong place (blaming the Govt’s UCF for new cycleways), Crone raises a valid point about the lack of funding in regards to “other areas like Rodney are still waiting on sealed footpaths.”

    The situation is desperate in the Warkworth area. Our communities are fundraising to build the missing paths and using volunteer labour/machinery. It takes a lot of effort to get AT or NZTA to even look at the situation, let alone assist.

    1. Yes but is simply doesn’t follow that one is connected to the other. The massive overbuild of good-plated traffic inducing highways is where the budget has all gone; the UCF is not competing with ordinary projects that should be done under ordinary budgets… [as you do say parenthetically].

      1. For myself Bryce yes it was. AT seem almost entirely ignorant when it comes to maintaining a road like this.
        It is astounding that RDC was able to manage what AC can’t but there ya go.

      2. From my experience it was the same before SuperCity, RDC and ARTA were disinterested just like AT is now. AT’s cycling network map for the Auckland region indicates the northern boundary to the SuperCity must be at Orewa.

        1. Pretty sure they promote the Matakana one etc elsewhere. It’s all proportionate, less people live further out and $ runs out when u sprawl a city out. The dense efficiency is lost.

          1. Re: “Matakana one etc.” We built that ourselves (ie: local fundraisers, volunteer labour and donated gear & materials). It’s nice that AY now promotes it but it’s not on their regional cycling network plan.

            I don’t think there is a shortage of money, instead it’s just that the money is spent on the wrong things – such as roading projects that induce more traffic. Eg: have a look at the grandiose Hudson Rd/SH1 intersection. Millions of dollars spent widening and signalising a quiet intersection, which instead could have delivered all the paths we need.

            And check out the recently “upgraded” Hill Street/SH1 intersection… as you approach look at how many times the traffic lights are duplicated in your direction (increased to 5 sets all showing the same colour). But are there signal phases for pedestrians to cross the intersection from town to the suburb on the northern side? (Nope) And did they remove the slip lane in front of Warkworth Primary School which we know is so dangerous for the childen and encourages parents to drive their kids to school instead? (Nope).

            So in my opinion, it’s rarely a question of having enough budget, it’s about the priorities of those tasked with spending the budget.

          2. I agree money spent to much on roads. Is that AT work on those ones or NZTA? “Funnily enough” I just came back through those intersections the other day from holiday, after school home time, and saw 3 young boys nearly get run over not waiting for a crossing signal presumably (the first set going south I think). The new looking shared paths look nice. In terms of $ anyway I think AT seem to have spread it over areas pretty fairly.

  15. “We also know that congestion hasn’t actually got much worse in recent years”

    That graph is out of date and also covers which parts of Auckland? Because out where I live (NW) it is noticeably worse. The motorway is at a standstill by around 6.05am, which was not the case a few years ago. Why is it worse? Because lots of new houses are being built and some of those people travel. I guess if you add in the NW traffic congestion to all of Auckland it kinda gets swallowed up – but it’s too reductionist to claim congestion hasn’t got worse: *worse for whom and where*

    1. Does the massive amount of roadworks out west have anything to do with it? When you say noticeably worse, since when? It’s about same for me in North, but we don’t have motorway roadworks ongoing like West does.

  16. Whats with candidates and elections in 2016? Not only does the USA have stupid one so does the Philippines and Auckland

  17. All those wistful for Len Brown might remember how many metres of new bus lanes went in during his first term

    hint: it’s a number <1

  18. Not too sure about the statement that “congestion hasn’t actually got much worse in recent years”. The AM and PM peaks are almost 4 hours long each and are starting at much earlier times. The length of Aucklands AM and PM congestion does not seem to be KPI in measuring motorway performance. Which is concerning as it is not much use measuring the speed of traffic if Auckland motorways are congested all day.

  19. Re the claim “congestion hasn’t actually got much worse in recent years”
    scottgamblenz – noticeably worse each year compared to the previous one. 2016 is very much more congested than 2014. The NW used to have the shortest rush hour and I could avoid it by leaving home at 6.45am or 8.30 – both times are now a recipe for disaster. It’s not just road works – these have been on-going since 2010 – there are more people entering the roading system at each entry point (Kumeu, Riverhead, West Harbour, Massey etc).
    Agree with Toa Greening that the AM and PM peaks don’t measure the length of time that is congested. This does matter – if congestion is just for one hour each morning, I can easily work around this. Once it gets to 3 hours, I no longer can. And by definition congestion is worse the motorway is clogged for a longer period of the day, surely?

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