We have had an amazingly successful 12 months here at Greater Auckland. Just over a year ago we launched our rebranded site, which still looks fantastic. We continue to be grateful to everyone who made our redesign possible, particularly Sandfield for the website and to Cornelius from Frontier for the design.

Shortly after our redesign we launched our second version of the Congestion Free Network, which has essentially now become government transport policy for Auckland. Later in the year we launched Regional Rapid Rail, which similarly has now become government policy.

This is an exciting time for us and an exciting time for Auckland. Years of hard work are now coming to fruition and there is now an unprecedented opportunity for Auckland to make rapid progress. The housing and transport investment this city most desperately needs now looks more likely to happen than ever before.

But this is no time to rest on our laurels. Change of this magnitude is scary for many people and already we are seeing signs of “bikelash” and “bus-lash” that are common overseas. This will undoubtedly continue as major projects like light-rail become a reality, as we continue to expand Auckland’s safe cycling network, and as Kiwibuild turns from a broad idea into a reality of lots more apartments and terraced houses across much of Auckland.

Clearly, we still have a lot to do and a big role to play in realising the exciting possibilities that Auckland’s future offers. We will need your help to keep doing what we do. In reality, this means two big steps for us:

  1. We want more writers, more guest posts, a greater diversity of voices and to be able to write about a greater number of topics. Over the past year we have lost some of our regular writers. Furthermore, while we rebranded from TransportBlog to Greater Auckland, arguably our content is more transport-focused than ever. We would like to get into talking more about other big issues facing Auckland, and to continue to weave together a big vision for Auckland’s future. One way we would like to do this is through providing payment to our writers – both current and future. Which means…
  2. …we want to move to a sustainable revenue model. We have never had advertisements on this site and we want to keep it that way. Past fundraising events have been incredibly successful and mean we still have a pretty decent warchest available for future campaigns, events and the like. But if we are to continue to grow and create the quantity, quality and breadth of content that we want, then we need to have a more sustainable revenue model. We will write more about this soon, but it will probably mean a combination of using Patreon (or something similar) and seeking out some form of corporate sponsorship (noting the need for content independence of course!)

In the mean while, if you would like to write for us regularly, or even as a Guest Post, please let us know. We can’t promise any form of payment yet, but we can promise that high quality posts will get viewed by tens of thousands of people – including many of Auckland and New Zealand’s most influential decision-makers.

Of course we would be nothing without our dedicated readers and we thank you for helping us continue to create a greater Auckland.

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  1. What would make this site really great would be to highlight comments that have been made since the reader’s last visit. The “Notify me of new posts via email” is a clumsy way to go about notifications.

    1. There are a lot of good posts and good comments. However as time goes, they kind of get to the bottom and eventually get lost and forgotten.

      I would prefer some kind of index pages, topic tagging, categorizations – where people can quickly search and navigate some old posts.

      It would also be good if follow up posts or related posts are cross linked to each other so people can traverse between related posts.

    2. There should be like(upvote) and unlike(downvote) button in the comments. Top liked comments should automatically promoted(pinned) to the top.

      That makes high value comment more visible.

      1. I agree but make sure there is still the option to view in chronological format as well as most liked. Similar to facebook

      2. Popular comments and valuable comments are not always the same thing. You can get a lot of idiots liking something stupid.

  2. Why no advertisements? Provided they were discrete and not offensive then why turn down the revenue?
    It’s a little bit of cutting off the nose to spite the face. With the revenue would allow GA to do more.

      1. Possibly it would be better to get a few sponsors and put their logo on the site.

        The sponsor should have no political direction and no lobbying agenda.

        You can start off with banks, internet company, power company.

    1. Because advertising will alter the content over time. Advertisers may pull out when they don’t like the content, which will become more of a story than the topic at hand. Also, the blog will be looking for click bait stories. GA is more about quality, rather than views (although it does get a lot)

      1. Yes, we need to keep it ad-free as a counter-balance to the mainstream media which is advertiser controlled.

  3. Dare I suggest the good old automatic payments from supporters model might be very effective for you. To get that started you could combine fundraising events with setting up APs and add a sustaining subscriber option to posts, in a manner similar to eg the Guardian. This form of fundraising is low key but very effective and durable. Go well, you are fantastic and much appreciated.

    1. Support this too. I use Patreon already and it’s a simple way to give a small amount to creators. It is also a fairly stable source of income whereas annual fund-raises may return a fairly random amount.

      I’d also say don’t worry too much about special content and extras for most support levels. If somebody is paying $2 or $5/month giving them anything extra of “value” is probably not going to be worth it.

  4. “” Kiwibuild turns from a broad idea into a reality of lots more apartments and terraced houses across much of Auckland””. Checked the link and there is nothing actually stating Kiwibuild will not build standalone houses.

    Given the constraints imposed by transport (a subject well covered by Greater Auckland) and irrational land prices it is almost certain we will have apartments and terraced houses. But they will be built by both Kiwibuild and by private developers. What Kiwibuild does give us hope for is a long term commitment to keep building through the economic booms and busts. So next recession will not see our experienced builders moving overseas. We might even end up with financially sound local developers rather than foreign investors who disappear leaving nothing but debts when things go bad.

  5. I think you could potentially get away with ads on this site. Given the high quality of the content, I know I’d be willing to scroll past a few ads.

      1. Patrick, I don’t see a problem with car ads. Many blog readers drive cars even if it is to a limited extent.Surely our beliefs are robust enough to survive some persuasion and if it pays the bills.

        1. I’d kind of like the redemption of them paying for your work… Would definitely click them so you get the $1 not the fraction of cent.

        2. Advertising is a way of generating funding that costs the readers far more than the advertisers pay for. That’s because each dollar of advertising corresponds to a far larger induced consumer spend. It wouldn’t make financial sense to the advertisers, otherwise.

          Advertising is a wasteful, inefficient funding stream that uses the latest psychological research to generate dissatisfaction and induce wasteful over-consumption.

          Even if enough people reading this site don’t end up buying cars advertised here, they’ll still end up spending far more money on other stuff than the advertisers spent ‘supporting’ the site.

          I’m happy to pay a monthly sub or whatever.

  6. Oner of the great things that Greater Auckland has done, is to enable some degree of transparency and discussion over matters about transport. For too long it has been a question of “experts say” vs “local nimbys want” (or don’t want). The thing that I really enjoy about GA is that you can have a topic that both sides can contribute to, in a mainly non-adversarial manner, without being afraid of getting shot down in flames (some exceptions, of course), but most of all, without the sort of full-nutcase xenophobic sexist ranting that you get every single day on Stuff (that sort of stuff just makes my eyes bleed and I worry about the future of our country with the nutters so evidently on display). So – long may your independent and good nature prevail.

    Re Advertisers? I’ve never yet clicked on a single advert in my online life. Can’t see the point of them really. Can’t understand how anyone except Mr Google makes any money out of them. The site owner gets next to nothing from it. The advertiser pays through the roof for it. Google makes a zillion dollars profit every year. Zuckerberg, Page and Brin track our every movement, even if you don’t click, and then sells that info to the Russians via Cambridge. Its all just too awful for words. I’d rather Patreon.

  7. I’d prefer a pile of click bait links to articles about bikini clad models in fast sport cars & Mike Hosking articles and such all around the side and the bottom of each web page. 🙂

  8. More seriously, great blog and content, agree with Guy M, but also good old automatic payments pay be better or as well as. Would Patreon create two classes of readers though?

  9. Patron could be used for what some Youtube channels (like Star Wars Explained (yeah okay I am a SW geek) do):

    You standard blog posts free
    Patreon for the premium stuff like say in-depth studies on how transit opens up better equity for South and West Auckland. It could also be set at certain levels to access other stuff that might occur on a regular basis like movie nights.

  10. Suggest widening it to an NZ based transport blog rather than Greater Auckland. That is likely to widen the number of readers and writers.

    1. Many blog posts (well maybe not many, but a few) have been posted up about Tauranga, Hamilton, Wellington, and Christchurch, but it’s a bit of a catch 22 you think? Without a potentially local source, it’d be a bit strange for someone in Auckland, that has only visited, say Napier, to write a blog post about how buses could operate better. Need readers from the regions to contribute guests posts and see how much interest they gather?

      1. Coming a bit late to the party (as we’re recruiting flat out): Talk Wellington is the Wellington Region cousin to GA. We share the same general kaupapa and mission so if you’ve got insights, questions or perspectives about the Head of the Fish drop us a line http://www.talkwellington.org.nz !

  11. How about having an ‘open page’ where people can comment daily on the good things/bad things that
    happened to them (or they saw) that day on the public transport system ?

    This could be similar to the “Snafu” page on the now largely moribund Better Transport site.

    I have given up using Auckland Transport’s complaints/ comments system (nothing seems to ever happen)
    but a greater number of complaints, comments on this site may have some effect.

    1. +1 The lack of enforcement around parking on verges and in bus and cycle lanes might be properly exposed like this.

      1. How much do people use FixMyStreet up in Ak? It’s great to see bad things clustering in space (well, it’s illuminating and useful)

        1. Thanks. I hadn’t used it or heard about it, and see lots of great suggestions near me. Nothing recent, though, all 2011 – 2013. Is it still being used near you?

  12. No ads please.
    Use Patreon, but just have a few price points but no difference in offering. No point in offering extra stuff to people who want to support you more.
    Stick to Auckland stuff and mainly transport stuff. Too broad otherwise and you lose the focus on the vision.

  13. I’d happily write some volunteer content. It probably won’t be anything remotely academic though.

  14. …or how about getting thespinoff and newsroom to pay for all the story ideas they get from here?

    The Auckland-specific naming gives this site focus, but it also fosters fragmentation in a small country that just doesn’t generate enough content. TalkWellington appears to be the next biggest blog but it looks like they put up 1-2 articles a week, that’s not really viable and suggests that Wellington should be a tag instead of a blog.

    1. “TalkWellington appears to be the next biggest blog but it looks like they put up 1-2 articles a week” …. correct – til now! We are scaling up like billyoh and are seeking contributors. So come on over – we would be honoured to have our site providing wellington content for Greater Auckland as we currently draw it from GA (like Harriet’s excellent train pieces).

      Would you like to write stuff? Kiaora@TalkWellington.org.nz !

  15. One thing you could do would be to bring back the ‘search’ option for Chrome users. I’d like to be able to look up posts related to, say, ‘Active Modes’ but there is nowhere to do it in Chrome.

  16. I’d happily pay via Presspatron for this – it’s such a great thing. Would be sad to see it made paywall or something though – I believe in public good media and supporting it. Newsroom is a great example – regularly donate to that

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