You may recall recently the consultation that took place for the piece of work AT/NZTA call Transport for Urban Growth (TFUG). Essentially over 2 Hamilton’s worth of people/homes are expected to be added to the fringes of Auckland in the North, North-west and South over the coming ~30 years. To accommodate that there will need to be significant public investment all forms of infrastructure and the two transport agencies say they are trying to work out what high level transport infrastructure will be needed now so it can be used for future planning and funding processes.

Today the Council’s Development Committee has an item on its agenda looking at the results from the initial consultations. Supposedly this has been fed into the next more detailed stage of consultation due to start tomorrow – but there are no details for that yet. Given how long it normally seems to take for AT to respond to consultation feedback, the whole process has a bit of a pre-determined feel to it.

There are over 160 pages in the consultation report so I’m only going to stick to the high level results. There is a very clear theme throughout the results of people really wanting much of the focus on public transport.

The South

In the South a lot of the focus included the level of use of the rail network and extending Mill Rd potentially all the way to Pukekohe as an alternative North/South road corridor.

TFUG Potential Projects South Auckland

From the 98 submissions there was a strong support for various improvements to PT in the area.

  • Improvements to public transport services in the area were considered highly desirable. In particular there was a call for improvements in rail services, including introduction of express services, extension of the rail network beyond Pukekohe, additional stations along the existing route (eg. at Paerata), further electrification of the network through to Pukekohe and beyond and more park and ride facilities. There was a clear preference to spend money and invest on public transport in the area and rail, rather than bus services, was seen as the key focus.
  • Support for improvements to public transport services came from both residents and businesses.
  • There was also support for improved road connections to reduce congestion on the Southern Motorway, such as by providing an alternative north-south route (eg. to the airport and the west via Weymouth and/or extension of the Mill Road corridor), or widening of the existing Southern Motorway. Reducing travel times was considered the highest priority and an alternative route was preferred as the best way to improve roads to achieve this. Others suggested that increasing rail freight services in the area would reduce the number of trucks needed to move freight by road and in the area, therefore helping to address congestion.
  • While most comments and most comments and feedback focussed on public transport and road networks, there was a small number of comments regarding improvements to walking and cycling facilities in the area, including pedestrian and cycle access and connections to railway stations.
  • Many participants were sceptical that only 20% of morning peak work trips would be further north than Manukau and the Airport trip data collected as part of the consultation suggested the Auckland CBD is a key destination for those living in the south.

One of the interesting features about the consultations was the use of a wallet that allowed people to divvy up $100 of spending across each of the proposed projects. Here are the results.

TFUG Feedback - Spend - South

The North (Silverdale,Wainui), Dairy Flat)

In the north the focus was also on North/South routes with a number suggested along with extending the busway to Silverdale and possibly beyond.

TFUG Potential Network - Dairy Flat-Millwater

Again public transport improvements received the most support from the 100 submissions received. A summary is below.

  • There was a call for improvements to public transport services the area, particularly to bus services. Many people living in the area would prefer to travel by bus and wanted to see bus that were efficient, affordable and well-connected. Specific improvements included more frequent and express services, separate busways and bus lanes, extension of the Northern Busway and local bus feeder services. Increasing at park and ride facilities was identified as a key issue There was a desire to see heavy or light rail in the area and increased ferry services.
  • There was a sense that many participants felt transport networks and infrastructure were behind housing growth and development the area, further contributing to existing traffic issues. Improvements to public transport were seen as key to alleviating some of the current congestion.
  • Recommendations for improvements to road networks focussed on improvements to routes (eg widening State Highway 1, additional on/off-ramps), as well as east-west routes such as Penlink. Safety was also highlighted as an issue on roads in the Dairy Flat area. Strong links to through roads and motorways was considered a key focus for business areas.
  • The Auckland CBD and Albany were key destinations tor people Wing in the Silverdale, Wainui and Dairy Flat areas.
  • There was notable support for improvements to walking and cycling facilities in the area, such as separate cycle lanes and widening of roads to make them safer for cyclists and footpaths in places where people are currently forced to walk along main highways

And the spending priorities:

TFUG Feedback - Spend - North

The North (Warkworth)

In Warkworth the focus of the consultation was almost exclusively on a range of roading projects.

TFUG Potential Network - Warkworth

Warkworth bucked the trend of the other consultations and was the only one where people wanted the biggest focus to be on road improvements. Given the town is much more disconnected from Auckland than say Pukekohe, this isn’t all that surprising. A summary of the findings from the 169 submissions received.

  • For this part of north, improvements to roads in the area was the highest priority, In particular. participants wanted to see improvements to the Hill Street and reduced congestion generally, particularly in Warkworth itself and on Matakana Road. Addressing particularly around the Hill Street intersection. was considered a matter of urgency and one of the main ways to make the area a great place to live. This was considered a priority by both residents and businesses. East-west were considered a lower priority.
  • Recommendations to address in the area Western Collector bypass, the Matakana Link to access to Elizabeth Street, changes to traffic light phasing and/or the intersection a roundabout instead. A Matakana Link Road extension in particular had a hotel level of support from locals in this part of the north.
  • Public transport improvements were considered a priority, but secondary to improvements to road networks. Primarily, residents called tor improvements to bus services (such as regular bus services, new bus stations and bus service connections to the Northern Busway) and adequate park and facilities.
  • Good walking and connections were also desired by participants. This included provision of footpaths in areas not currently served by them, wider and better quality footpaths and cycle paths.
  • The Auckland CBD is a key destination for those living in the Warkworth area, followed by local trips within Warkworth and Abany. There was a preference for making journeys by car or bus.

And the spending priorities:

TFUG Feedback - Spend - Warkworth

The North-West

The Northwest was different to the others in that it presented quite a few potential PT options and of course some road upgrades too to SH16 beyond Westgate.

TFUG Potential Network - Northwest

Like in the South and around Silverdale, the biggest response from the 254 submitters was for better PT as the highest priority. That trains to Huapai came out as the top request doesn’t surprise me as it’s something that sounds good as a soundbite.

  • Public transport improvements are considered the key priority in the north west. In particular, participants called for re-introduction of a commuter train service from Kumeu/Huapai (and potentially as far as Waimauku and Helensville) to the CBD. Participants wanted to see a train service that was frequent, reliable and fast, with a timetable that met resident needs (eg. at convenient times tor commuters to the CBD). There was also considerable support for improved bus services, including express bus services and shorter journey times, separate busways and bus lanes, extension of the Northwestern busway to Kumeu/Huapai and bus services to locations such as Riverhead. Re-introduction of rail and improvements to public transport generally received support from both residents and businesses.
  • Alongside public transport improvements, participants wanted to see accompanying park and ride facilities with sufficient capacity.
  • Secondary to public transport improvements, improvements to road networks in the area was considered a priority to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow.
    Recommendations included extending the North Western Motorway, widening the motorway and/or State Highway 16, bypassing Kumeu/Huapai, a direct connection between State Highway 16 and State 18 and improvements to intersections (eg. at the Coatseville-Riverhead Highway) to reduce congestion and improve safety.
  • Many participants mentioned that improvements to in the area needed to happen urgently, given that infrastructure is already to cope and the population the area is to grow
  • Improvements to walking and cycling facilities, particularly in the Whenuapai area.
  • The Auckland CBD was the key in the area, followed by Albany and Westgate/North West Mall. There was a preference for wanting to make journeys by train or bus

And the spending priorities:

TFUG Feedback - Spend - North-west

It’ll be interesting to see what the next stage of consultation includes.

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  1. The high altitude conclusion is simply that where there is no existing fixed rapid transit route nor the physical presence of one that could become one; especially a rail line, people can’t imagine that there could ever be one. So no one or few people called for a rail service to the North, but were extremely enthusiastic for them South and North-West. And because there is relatively less enthusiasm in surveys [but not so much in practice: Northern Busway], for bus systems over rail ones, people in the north seem to be less interested in PT than those in south and north-west.

    States-quo bias. What is there forms people’s view of what is possible; the public tend not to innovative or imaginative in these kind of consultations. Though perhaps the north ‘something else’ and ‘new PT routes’ could be a sign of more interesting thinking around options.

    As an aside, sad that people think by getting a parallel highway to an existing one will improve their drive. It won’t. It will just induce more traffic, cause switching between, and intensify congestion.

    1. I submitted feedback to the North practically begging for rail. The problem is there was practically no mention of rail in the consultation itself, except for mentions of future proofing. I get the sense there is plenty of desire for rail up North, but the consultation didn’t really offer it as an option. That’s why I gave a strongly worded telling off to them in my submission about not including it

  2. “20 Hamiltons”? Hamilton has ~150,000 people. I don’t think we’re talking about adding ~3 million people to Auckland’s fringes. Did you mean 2 Hamiltons?

        1. I made a special trip to Trondheim just to try that thing… and found its closed during winter (which is very often in the north of Norway!)

  3. *** Editors’ note: This comment originates from the IP address of a person (let’s refer to them as Mr Reece Longjohn) who has actively/publicly campaigned for rail services to be extended to Huapai. It appears that Mr Reece Longjohn chose to comment under a false name (“Rachel Ling”) so to give the impression of greater support for rail services to be extended to Huapai. The editors of Transport Blog are disappointed by such behaviour, which effectively seeks to subvert this forum to serve an ulterior motive. We have, however, decided to leave this comment here to serve as a warning to the person involved (who we have contacted via email), and to discourage such behaviour in general. ***

    Great to see so many residents clearly want commuter trains from Huapai. That would be way better than battling all the traffic (I drive daily to Newmarket). Were you guys behind the public meeting about Huapai trains last year? I wanted to go but had too much on at Uni.

    I never will take the bus, too uncomfortable and unreliable but would definitely catch the train.

    1. ” too uncomfortable and unreliable ”

      Those are corridor features, not mode features. As an example, the Northern Busway is significantly faster than the Western line due to having a better corridor.

      From Huapai to Newmarket the NW busway (if complete) will definitely be faster.

      1. Hi, don’t really care. Never get out of my car for a cramped bus which stops and starts in all the jams. Bus from Huapai is shocking, tried it last year for a week and gave up. So positive to see everyone wanting a train service.

        Will transportblog hold another meeting in Huapai so we can get the train running asap?

      1. I live in Hobsonville and my wife often takes the Northern Busway to get to her job in town. The PT to get to town from the Shore (Constellation) is astronomically better than PT from Westgate. A NW busway would flip that around.

        1. The ferry doesn’t run on the weekend so my wife can’t use it.
          I use the ferry once a week – I find it brilliant. Additional frequency (and capacity for that matter) would be helpful.

  4. Great to see that the South supports better freight access to Central Auckland. None of the other areas did.
    When you consider Central Auckland’s food supply plus freight to and from Ports of Auckland, this is a significant factor to have no congestion in the network.
    Central Auckland cannot become great without good freight access and at the moment it is bound up on congested roads.

  5. Essentially over 2 Hamilton’s worth of people/homes are expected to be added to the fringes of Auckland in the North, North-west and South over the coming ~30 years.

    Fringes of Auckland, implies some connection to Auckland itself. The sort of thing you would expect to find in a normal growing city, to allow public transport to be contiguous across the existing and growing suburbs.

    However normality is not the mode of development chosen by Auckland Council, instead there are these exurban developments. Living unnecessary miles away the exurban resident gets a longer, more polluting, more carbon intensive, more car centric commute.

  6. Gosh 98 people didn’t understand that submitting on the south is a waste of time. 100 people suckered into responding in the north and 254 naive folks in the North West. And the winner is….whatever the hell the Council was going to do anyway!

    1. Surely the opinion of consultation not having ANY impact on the council isn’t what you are implying? Yes Council will ultimately go ahead with what they believe is best, but even these small contributions via consultation at least make the ‘thinking’ around what to do a little broader than the four walls of the council meeting room.

      1. Sorry I am too cynical about Councils to believe they consult because they genuinely want to know what people think. I mean it is possible but I think extremely unlikely. They put forward a map of potential options they wanted and left out those they didn’t and concluded that one of the ones they wanted was popular. Why not get John Shewan to review it and declare it is all fine at the same time he reports nothing wrong with the tax system.

      2. There is nothing in there that has even a glimmer of being visionary. It’s simply an NZTA/AT wish list. ‘hey, we consulted’

        1. Do you really think the general public have time or inclination to engage in blank paper consultations?

          Far more sense for peopke who are QUALIFIED to put forward a scheme for feedback. That doesnt stop people submitting with left field alternatives.

    2. I think mwfic’s comments belies an important point: 200-300 odd people (at most) is not a particularly large sample and is easily influenced by small groups with particular views. While I have no issue with groups getting together to coordinate submissions on these kinds of consultations, the results do need to be treated with caution when you’re dealing with small numbers.

      Two other things to keep in mind:
      1. We’re consulting existing residents about what transport services/infrastructure is need to cater for future development. It may be that existing residents don’t really understand what this growth will look like, nor will their preferences necessarily be the same as the new residents; and
      2. For a variety of economic and psychological reasons there can be a big difference between what people *say* and what they subsequently *do*. For example, many people will *say* they want a big house at the beach, but subsequently don’t go out and buy one once the trade-offs involved have become clear.

      As such, I’m looking forward to seeing more detailed proposals, e.g. benefits and costs of a NW busway versus, say, heavy rail (either on existing alignment or a new corridor. Or potentially other transport technologies, such as LRT and light metro. All good stuff, but I don’t get a strong sense that the community has spoken in a convincing way on these issues … possibly because many people don’t have the necessary information to make an informed judgment.

      1. Heavy rail from the CBD to the northwest is 90% complete, vs a busway which is 0% complete and has no available corridor without taking quite a bit of land that has only just been reconfigured for the motorway widening. So, a few million to extend rail, vs $1.5-2b for the busway – any cost benefit analysis is going to show rail massively supierior over a busway if you treat them as alternate options of the same thing, but then comparing the two is a bit daft, as they are completely separate corridors with completely different catchments.

        Perhaps its time for transportblog to recognise that extending rail to Huapai is not a threat to the busway proposal, because they are two very different things? And because of the relatively short timeframe and low cost in which it can be implemented, is a great way to alleviate the traffic congestion that exists right now in the northwest, and will ensure decent PT is available sooner rather than later to be concurrent with the growth of the district.

        Rail has significant (and still growing) support in the northwest. Something you didn’t mention was that the northwest has traditionally been very quiet about its PT desires, because the people out there feel very disenfranchised by planners, and have done so for a very long time. So to suddenly have so many submitters from this area, far more than from any other area, is a coup for PT lobbyists, and it’s certainly got AT’s attention. It indicates a significant groundswell for PT in an area where there’s usually very little interest, which is a change transportblog should be embracing and encouraging. It’s a success for any and all who lobby for better PT.

        I fear that by continuing to downplay, ignore, and even sometimes ridicule the people of the northwest suring that groundswell, instead of showing support for them, you face the very real risk of losing face publicly, which would be a great shame.

        1. Not correct on a few things Geoff.

          Yes a full busway might be 0% but there are currently bus lanes from city to Pt Chev and from next year they will go all the way to Lincoln Rd (except at the interchanges). That will be a big improvement on what we have now. From ~2018 those will extend to Westgate.

          It’s interesting you raise the issue of catchment. One serves Huapai and only for the handful of people who might be going somewhere along the western line, the other opens up decent PT for tens of thousands of existing residents in Massey, Te Atatu, Westgate, Westharbour etc.

          Yes a few million might not seem all that much but it’s not like it’s sitting there waiting to be used. The money to pay for a train to Huapai would need to come from somewhere and at the moment that would mean reducing services somewhere else. But lest say that AT magically got a wad of cash to spend on more PT services. Should they spend it on trains to Huapai or improving services in areas where it will get greater use. For example we still have major corridors where people are waiting for 5-10 buses to go past before one turns up that they can squeeze on. Addressing issues like that is likely to have far greater overall impact. If the money was available I would like to see the residents of the Northwest given a fair comparison e.g. do you want 1 train an hour all day or 4/6 buses an hour all day (or whatever a realistic comparison is).

        2. “The money to pay for a train to Huapai would need to come from somewhere and at the moment that would mean reducing services somewhere else.”

          No, that’s not how it works at all.

          What services were cancelled to enable weekend trains to Pukekohe? What services will be cancelled next month to enable ten minute frequencies on the Western Line? What services will be cancelled to enable the expected big increase in network-wide services post-CRL?

          Even the Northwestern Busway will have new services – and new funding to match.

          If you’re really concerned about financial prudence, perhaps you may want to look at the relatively recent $200m spent buying new trains, and the borrowing of a further $30m as recently as 2011 to get the last of those trains into service, only to then place the entire $230m fleet into storage four years later with a plan to sell them all off for $5m. TBH, there should be heads rolling for that one.

        3. No Geoff, you seem to be confused.

          Matt is right: All PT improvements compete for funding from a fixed budget. The fact that this PT budget increases over time doesn’t change the fact that it’s fixed in any given year. By extension, service improvements compete with each other for funding, and funding one necessarily means that other service improvements will not be funded.

          To use your examples, if AT had decided to fund some other things, like rail to Huapai, then improvements to Pukekohe and Western services might not have happened this year but instead been delayed to a future year. So AT will, I imagine, weigh the merits of investing in rail to Huapai (or wherever) against the merits of other potential service improvements.

          So the case for (any) service improvement can’t be considered in isolation; it should be considered in relation to the other potential service improvements that may be made.

          The key point is that funding service improvements is as much about “when” as it is about “yes/no”. Many people on this blog, myself included, consider than funding heavy rail to Huapai is a bad idea right now because there seems to be many more deserving service improvements, which deliver greater benefits. Hence our answer is “no, not now”.

        4. Geoff, there is no $230m fleet in storage. The fact the city bought second hand trains M years ago for whatever sum has nothing to do with the value today. They depreciate! Anyone making claims to fiscal prudence should understand depreciation.

          It’s like me claiming I have a $30k car in the driveway. My car might have cost $30k fifteen years ago, but right now it’s a dunger worth $2k if I’m lucky. Actually, because it’s now such a liability for repairs and maintenance I’ll probably end up paying someone to take it away.

          See any parallels there?

        5. Nick, the price of the second hand trains was only a few million. The $200m or so price tag was for new work on them designed with a 20 to 25 year life span. Comparing to a car depreciation is a bit of a stretch. Those carriages are worth a lot more than what AT are reportedly flogging them off for. Would you buy a $50,000 car and then sell it for $1,000 five years later? No.

          It was only five years ago we had to borrow a further $30m just to put the last 12 carriages into service. Now we’re selling the entire fleet of 104 carriages for around $5m? That makes a complete mockery of financial responsibilty. To so easily disregard and write-off such recent large scale spending of our money is the very kind of thing we don’t need in local governance.

          If they are going to give them away for such a low price, they should gift them to Christchurch instead.

        6. “By extension, service improvements compete with each other for funding”

          That doesn’t mean that choosing the cheapest option is best. If it did, Pukekohe would be served by diesel buses instead of diesel trains.

        7. The price of the trains was whatever was required to buy them, fix them up and keep them in service for several years. Buying trains isn’t really capital expenditure, it’s just opex spread over the life of the vehicle. Toward the end of their life it’s basically pure opex. Anyone looking at infrastructure or fleet considers the full cost, the initial purchase price is arbitrary if they need piles of work to keep them running.

          Anyway it’s a sunk cost Geoff, a classic fallacy. You don’t hang on to something bad or inefficient just because you’ve already spent money on it. Perhaps the better analogy is buying an old Corolla for two grand, spending ten grand to repaint it and recover the seats. The car isn’t worth ten grand, and it’s not worth spending another ten grand on a new engine and drivetrain because you’ve already wasted ten grand on the paint and interior. Economically, the best thing to do is drive off a cliff and go spend your next ten grand on a new car. If someone gives you even $500 for it you are better to sell and buy new.

          Interesting, so $30m for twelve carriages over five years. So half a million per carriage per year. Compare that to the EMUs, $500m for 171 carriages over thirty years, works out to about $100k per carriage per year. One fifth the cost of the old carriages. To me that just illustrates that patching up obsolete trains is, as we know already, an economically inefficient idea.

        8. “You don’t hang on to something bad or inefficient just because you’ve already spent money on it.”

          There’s nothing bad or inefficient about the SA carriages. They are very modern, and actually more comfortable than the EMU’s, and have decades of service left in them. There’s no reason why they can’t operate with electric locomotives pre-CRL, and on the proposed Henderson-Otahuhu trains post-CRL.

          They are a valuable asset worth keeping, and indeed the money made available to buy them was granted on that expectation that they would be used for 20 years. They would not have committed so much money if they knew they would be sidelined so prematurely.

      2. The timing and period of the 1st consultation was completely abysmal. I think it was a 2 week period and was very poorly advertised. Almost like a low level of interest was hoped for.

        1. Yes I think, more joined the “feedback movement” of these as time went on & shows in the numbers (at least some of it could be explained by this).

      3. You touch on an interesting point: people are being asked about the transport needs of future growth areas where, at present, they don’t live (by definition, they are no subdivisions in these future growth areas, and nobody knows what they might be like, or if they will even exist at all).

        How can anyone make an informed choice about the details of something unknown; something that doesn’t exist, and might not exist at all?

  7. Extra parallel routes north of Albany? Unless my memory is failing, I’m certain 2 routes, other than SH1 already exist. I mean, I drove on one the other day. Dairy Flat Hwy (old SH1) is still there, right? And I’m certain I saw cars on East Coast Rd.

  8. ‘The consultation includes a series of information days in the key areas… and an online feedback form.’ (P1)
    This sort of exercise is useful public relations and for eliciting the range of issues involved, but you can’t stress too strongly that it has no value at all in showing what the people as whole want, because of the biased sample (self-chosen participants).
    If a public authority wants to know what the people as a whole think of some issue, as an input to deciding public policy, it has to do properly randomised, statistically valid sampling of the whole population.

      1. It appears that 1,000 is a common sample for a political opinion poll. The increase in accuracy from sampling more people falls off rapidly (
        The main issue isn’t the number, it’s the bias. A quite small sample can give a valid result *providing* it’s typical of the whole population in every respect other than the one you’re investigating. You approximate that by random sampling: everyone has an equal chance of being chosen as part of the sample.

        Self-chosen respondents are the worst sort of biased sample. This came up in a recent post about community meetings on rezoning plans: people with the time and energy to attend community meetings are likely to include a disproportionate number of well-to-do retirees with reactionary views, who certainly don’t represent the views of the community as a whole.

    1. Extremely good point. And I’m confused as to why more local authorities don’t do this kind of sampling on important issues, such as the Unitary Plan, rather than relying solely on self-selected feedback.

  9. I think the busway extension to Silverdale should be futureproofed for heavy rail, not light rail. I think the long term goal should be heavy rail under the harbour, up the busway and up to Silverdale, before heding in a north-west direction to join the North Auckland line creating a massive shortcut on the existing North Auckland line

    1. A new North Shore/North Harbour Line could quite easily join the existing NAL in the vicinity of the Tahekeroa tunnel, at least as an interim measure, and then a continuation of the new line on a more easterly alignment could serve the major population/growth areas of Orewa, Warkworth, the Kowhai Coast, Mangawhai, Waipu, Ruakaka, Marsden Point and rejoin the NAL in the vicinity of Portland to continue to Whangarei with the NAL. This would be a much more direct route which would be much more competitive with any road transport (and hence save the planet for future generations, which we’re supposedly signing-up for tomorrow).

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