TransportBlog has been going strong now for over eight years – this is post 5,515. Over those years the blog has grown both in scale and scope, and we continue to be excited about not only the changes that we’ve witnessed over that time but for the opportunities that lie ahead. We’ve also made many friends along the way and are excited to see many of the issues we’ve advocated for become a reality.

In 2015 we officially incorporated the Blog under the name Greater Auckland and we now want to take the next big step the our evolution of our advocacy. We are working towards improving the usability and attractiveness of the blog through a rebranding exercise and a website re-design, including one that works on mobile . It won’t change who we are at our core, the content and coverage will not change, the old posts will still be here, and we hope to showcase some of them for perspective. As part of this, we’ve launched a Pledge Me project to fund these changes.

But it doesn’t stop there, we also have several exciting initiatives under development that we can reveal once the Pledge Me goal is reached. Here is some detail about the effort:

We believe the timing is right to transform ‘the Blog’ into something that is more influential and more accessible and responsive to our readers.

We will be rebranding to our Greater Auckland incorporated society name which better reflects the range of our mission and activities. We are seeking funding to create a new website with the following improvements:

  • Better mobile user experience
  • Better entry-points to our campaigns and legacy posts
  • Easier access to the diversity and archive of blog posts
  • More information about events and initiatives happening in the city

We need the money to pay for the website redesign as well as hosting and other business infrastructure. We also want to build online tools to help people participate in local issues and to better connect readers and members of Greater Auckland.

Funds raised will also be used to pay people for their work. We would like to be able to reimburse contributors for their extraordinary effort, for example travel to Wellington, participation at conferences, and for specific campaign work.

We’re are asking for $20,000 to help us take this next step. Please lend your support.

Please consider supporting us at any level.

Share this

61 comments

  1. The whole Greater Auckland thing is commendable and great….. but…. what attracted myself and I’m sure many others here is the actual transport component. Many it seems (myself included) find all the other social topics etc to be a distraction from the original purpose of the transport blog.
    Might I suggest that if you go ahead with this rebranding etc that you actually have a dedicated section to transport within the website that focuses purely on transport for the many that are interested in that side of things?
    (I know the rules of the site talk about not going on about the editorial direction of the posts etc but since that is entirely what this particular post is about it is appropriate to comment on).

    Cheers

    1. Never fear, transport will remain the main focus and posts will be categorised by main theme, so you can always just read the transport sections and skip anything else.

    2. I agree. Transport blog got to where it is today by focussing on transport issues. It has been successful because it has insisted that the goal of it’s advocacy was simple, straightforward changes to transport spending priorities that affected a relatively small component of every ones lives, yet could yield huge dividends. Allowing other agendas that stray into the area of political decisions and where transportblog will be competing with other voices would be a mistake. The drop in expertise will simply dilute the authority of the site from being experts on transport to just another bunch of hipsters with an opinion on how the world should be organised (hint: how they want it to be). Arguably, transportblog already does to much straying in the political minefield of trying to set social, rather than transport, policy.

      Secondly, once you start talking policy, you inevitably start talking politics, and the site will fall into a partisan trap where it will alienate a huge number of readers who will have tribal political loyalties that ante-date and are stronger than their interest in transport issues. Even if you avoid the trap of allowing it to be usurped for partisan purpose as a potentially dangerous political variable you’ll end up be under sustained attack from all sides in attempts at harm neutralisation. My advice is stick to your non political knitting, you haven’t won yet and to stray into politics will be to risk losing everything you’ve gained.

      1. We have no plans to change our content from what it is today, merely give it a better look.

        Also we cover things other than transport as they are often deeply related. For example, as the saying goes, the best transport policy is a good land use policy. The 40,000 extra people living in the city are 40,000 we don’t have on our roads in cars or on our PT network

      2. I for one enjoy the variety of articles on this site, from technical details about the running of trains, right through to articles about the future of coal. The articles are generally thought provoking, as are the comments, which immediately puts this blog above most others on the net!

        Not sure about your policy argument, as the transport side of things is very closely linked to views on policy. That in no way suggests the blog is aligned to a particular political movement, although there will inevitably be political parties that align more closely with the blogs views.

        In my mind one of the real successes of the blog is that it has an audience of people who are quite capable of making up their own minds, which is more than could be said for a couple of others – Whale Oil and The Standard.

        1. I agree.
          People should be free to say what they want.
          Some people will always get off the subject.
          I am not for censorship.

    3. Keep politics out of it? Yeah right. Everything is political – everything.
      The decision to spend money on roads versus PT – political.

  2. Transport is our focus because that is what is most wrong and most easily fixed in AKL’s urban form, along with dwelling supply. But, remember, transport systems and changes are simply a means to an end, like a transport journey itself. And that end is a better, more properous, fairer, and happier city.

    We will inevitably mainly cover transport, but that has never been sufficient in itself, and has never been our main purpose.

  3. I also was attracted to to this blog by the transport aspect. Well actually by googling (north shore rail) that was a couple years ago now. But i would say you Google anything to do with transport in Auckland this blog will be there.
    But i agree having a blog dedicated to more Auckland topics will attract more people.

  4. Pledged.

    I agree with some of the comments being made. Just try and keep stuff focused on topics related to Auckland transport issues and try and remain apolitical and fact focused as you have in the past and all will be well. You can’t really avoid it, but if you start spending too much time in subjective areas of social policy you head into dangerous territory because it often ends up “their opinion vs my opinion”. We all lose if some people stop reading the blog and stop taking part in the conversation. We just end up being an echo chamber.

  5. As a planner with a particular focus on transport I appreciate the variety, especially when talking about planning issues, but my main love is definitely transport. I feel the blog gets the balance mostly right! I will pledge when I get home from work

  6. “But it doesn’t stop there, we also have several exciting initiatives under development that we can reveal once the Pledge Me goal is reached.”

    I have a great deal of difficulty convincing myself to pledge when the outcomes are uncertain. Why is there some secrecy about this? It’s a bit like dealing with Auckland Council, you pay your rates and you’re not too sure exactly what the council is going to do with your rates payment!

    If this blog could transform itself into a true multi-modal advocate then I would also be more inclined to pledge. But the current jihad against drivers on here makes that a little difficult.

    1. We’re still finalising details so it would be a bit premature to announce what we’re working on yet.

      As for whether you should pledge any money, that’s entirely a decision for you but you must like us on some level for you to keep coming back

    2. LOL at the jihad against drivers – no matter how you think, the facts ie; government (local and central) spending on transport shows that public and ‘other’ transport is certainly the underfunded underdog, and one of the main reasons I enjoy reading transport blog is that it provokes thought and questions a lot of the ‘just build them’ road projects we seem to get in Auckland and NZ.

      So this blog is a refreshing view on what is so many peoples reality of purely driving and purely wanting to ‘solve congestion’.

    3. “I have a great deal of difficulty convincing myself to pledge when the outcomes are uncertain. Why is there some secrecy about this? It’s a bit like dealing with Auckland Council, you pay your rates and you’re not too sure exactly what the council is going to do with your rates payment!”
      If you are not sure what your rates are going to be spent on then it is purely for a lack of interest on your part. Budgets are freely available online.

      “If this blog could transform itself into a true multi-modal advocate then I would also be more inclined to pledge. But the current jihad against drivers on here makes that a little difficult.”
      This blog cannot transform itself into something that it already is, that’s not how transformation works.

    4. Jihad against drivers…..zzzzzzzzzz

      Most people here are drivers themselves. Which makes that comment look even more idiotic, if that is possible.

    5. Have you ever read the Auckland Council Annual Report?

      There you will see exactly what they’ve done with your rates payment. They already break it down to key themes, but if you want you can take out a calculator and work out how many $$$ from your rates have gone towards sports parks, or stormwater management.

      1. They also send you a brochure with your annual rates notification (as opposed to the bills which you can have emailed to you) explaining where the money goes. You do directly paid rates don’t you RM?

  7. To all of those wanting more discussion of transport. Please don’t forget we’re all volunteers here and ‘donate’ considerable amounts of our free time to keep the blog going with new content. You’re always welcome send us a guest post covering the topics you think we don’t give enough attention to.

  8. Is there a way to make a pledge without signing up to anything? I absolutely hate giving out my email address and inventing a password for a one-time thing.

  9. Thanks to the many people who have written so many excellent, thought-provoking things here over the years. From dissecting the problems with our city of cars, the tireless explanation of what the City Rail Link was and why it was needed, to the ideas for how our buses and trains and streets might be made safer and friendlier and more equitable and more effective. The less transport-related but still relevant issues like intensification or the cost of housing, and a million other topics, big and small.

    Redesigning and coming under the name Greater Auckland seems like a logical next step. The blog is a little more than just transport, but more importantly it’s also now more than a blog. From the earliest days with Josh wondering what a real Auckland rail network might look like, good as that was, it’s expanded to the rest of social media, to print, and even the real world. It’s now a whole network of people sharing their ideas to, as Patrick put it, “unfuck Auckland”.

    ¡Viva Greater Auckland!

  10. Yes thanks everyone so far, I found the blog 2-3 years back probably Googling something about AMETI or the new Panmure station or the electric trains after seeing new articles, can’t really remember. Anyway never looked back, finding lots of interesting discussions and posts. I like the transport focus but have come to understand the fuller picture of how other things relate to transport and visa versa.

  11. Will this rule out occasional tales from Wellington? Or do we just have to rebrand as “South Auckland” to qualify? 🙂

  12. Still be very keen to host content on other cities; it’s more about being honest about where our primary focus, and insight, is.

    Especially keen on contributions from locals such as you Guy!

  13. The reason I regularly read Transport Blog is twofold:
    Firstly because of the mainly evidenced based discussion regarding the most beneficial transport solution for New Zealand’s only city of scale, which in my view, has to date been strategically mis-managed by government policy.
    Secondly, I am concerned that Auckland maintains and improves its quality of place. Ever widening motorways do nothing for quality of place and are not sustainable but we still spend too big a proportion of the transport budget on them.

    And I do enjoy comment and input from both Wellington and Christchurch.

    No matter what generation you are from, it has always been hard to get a first house so I don’t spend too much time with the generational comparisons as I am not sure it is productive. Circumstances in the last eighty years have been varied and different.

    My special thanks to the editorial team for an amazingly sustained effort.

    1. “The reason I regularly read Transport Blog is twofold:
      Firstly because of the mainly evidenced based discussion … No matter what generation you are from, it has always been hard to get a first house…”.

      Never mind that the blog presented evidence based discussion that one generation has tipped the table heavily in their favour, deliberately or otherwise.

      1. It’s always been hard to get a first house.

        But it used to just be hard. Now it’s well beyond impossible.

      2. “evidence based discussion that one generation has tipped the table heavily in their favour”

        Really? The effect may have been demonstrated but the causal link to the majority of a specific generation? I think not.

  14. Pledged. I’ve been reading this blog since the days of jarbury. Love it. Think I’ve probably read every one of those 5515 posts!!
    Keep up the excellent work guys. Great advocacy. Great evidence based, thoughtful discussions. So informative and authoritative.
    I remember trying to scrounge around for info in the early/mid 2000s for tid bits of information about the nascent CRL planning. It was almost impossible to find anything. I love having it at my fingertips so easily now!

  15. I agree with many of the comments on here, it is the transport focus that has attracted me.Since the increase in social posts my interest has waned along with the creep of American “English” and I tend to visit every few days now rather than every day, and comment far less. Keep the name and focus as you did originally as otherwise your very effective lobbying for transport issues may get diluted as you will be competing with the mass.

  16. A few key feature are:
    – Email subscribe to new post and discussion replies
    – followup post that link older post
    – Post shows related posts by powerful key-wording algorithm

  17. You own your space, and are acknowledged for being evidence based and centered. Please consider staying Transport branded and focused.
    Very happy to donate to the cause.

  18. I think it will be very difficult (impossible, even) to remain apolitical if you broaden your scope to “urban issues.”

    Arguments for PT can be made from pretty simple “technocratic” considerations, but when you get to “Greater Auckland” you are unwrapping a whole bunch of issues: greater for who? Greater why?

    So, my plea is: continue doing what you are brilliant at – pointing out dwell time idiocy – and avoid political issues such as the use of waterfront land, or what to do with parks.

    My 2c

  19. Donated. Love your work (and don’t know how you find the time to do it all). I’d also suggest staying transport branded and focused.

  20. To all those commenting about the name and content. As we’ve said, the content won’t change and we have never had any thoughts about making it different from what it is today.

    As for the name, it reflects better what we talk about. There are other reasons too such as we’ve found some organisations less willing to engage with and/or support us simply because of the word ‘blog’, a casualty of the dirty politics saga.

    1. The comments are a violation of point #4 in the user guidelines http://greaterakl.wpengine.com/about/user-guidelines/

      I appreciate this post is not what we regularly see at Transportblog and some extra discussion is perhaps permitted. However several of the comments go beyond what I believe should be permitted and comments repeating what has already been said are rather pointless. In the interest of establishing where the line is I’d like to see some editorial action on these comments in line with previous editorial action on comments that have disagreed with posts (a minority of which didn’t appear to violate user guidelines).

        1. You missed a bit Conan

          “I appreciate this post is not what we regularly see at Transportblog and some extra discussion is perhaps permitted”

  21. Why not call it Greater Auckland Transport – then you have the mandate to include highways and railways outside the Auckland region but which feed into it.

  22. Why can’t Greater Auckland website be on issues relating to Auckland catering for those people who are interested in Auckland issues and be independent from the TransportBlog website?

    TransportBlog should be about transport issues in New Zealand with input from the regions (including Auckland), as it is the only major blog website in NZ, that is well know has guest contributors, as the other major transport related issues website seems to be dying a natural death.

  23. Meh. Currently we have the word transport in our title, but always discussed other topics too, soon we won’t have the word transport in our title, but will continue to mainly discuss transport…

    plus ça change

      1. Yes. And we do appreciate those with a particular passion for some aspects of the city’s kit, and we do want to hear their expertise, but still it is, in the end, the whole rich mad mess of urban life that we are ultimately interested in improving….

      2. As a self-confessed beer devotee I point out that one of the best aspects of modern NZ life is the move from quantity to quality. I have supped beer in many countries over the years and what we have here is remarkably good.

          1. A crime? Maybe. If so we were probably accessories after the fact…and yes, we have some great hops. Still hard to beat a good APA with American Cascade and Willamette hops though.

  24. One thought for your new upgrade. It would be great to have a place to easily go to reference some of the great graphs and tables you have in your posts, for example the one Peter used a couple of weeks ago that compared house prices, interest rates and CPI inflation. Also being able to easily compare historic patronage data and station data would be great.

  25. Great news. Love your work.

    “We also want to build online tools to help people participate in local issues and to better connect readers and members of Greater Auckland.”

    Please consider using existing local tools like Loomio and OurActionStation rather than developing duplicates. Rather see the energy go into content, events, etc.

  26. My thoughts are that a number of right-of-centre voters here who enjoy the rational analysis on transport solutions, will be turned off by an explicitly “progressive”/socialist bent to the website.

    1. This is a website re-design and re-brand. We have no plans to change the content, nor our approach. We will always hold the government, Council, and our institutions, esp AT, NZTA, MoT, to account in our areas of interest no matter who they are.

      We do not see good policy in these areas as a left right thing, and will always praise or damn policies and projects on their merits. Our view is that there are not the right politicians, only the right actions, anyway we are a disparate group with disparate views on wider political issues.

      One thing we do agree on is to view urban policy through a party political lens is almost always counterproductive, muddies issues, and obscures opportunities. We prefer evidence.

  27. After Auckland airports disgusting behaviour in murdering Grizz I hope if they offer financial support it will be refused.

Leave a Reply