The next council election is exactly 3 months away on October 12. There are already many candidates announced for Mayor, councillor and local board positions and we’re starting to see some policy emerging. With that in mind, I thought I would pull together some of the key areas those seeking to be elected should be focusing on trying to deliver. These aren’t fully formed and costed policies to be adopted, although I may try to do that at a later date,


Previous elections have been dominated by discussions about infrastructure about projects like the City Rail Link and then Light Rail. While I expect there are bound to be discussions of some level about infrastructure, perhaps for the first time it is unlikely to, and shouldn’t, play a key role. That’s because at a regional level, the agreed infrastructure plans, as identified in ATAP, are actually pretty good. If delivered, it will see significant positive change delivered to public transport infrastructure in Auckland. What’s more, from the council’s point of view, the funding is largely in place for it thanks to the regional fuel tax – any candidates promising to cancel the RFT will need to explain how they’ll pay for Auckland’s share of ATAP, and it’s extremely unlikely the government will stump up with the money, especially given some politicians desire for the focus to be on the regions.

If there is one thing to discuss about infrastructure it’s how candidates will ensure that what’s planned is actually delivered and done so on time. Auckland Council may have its funding largely sorted but it’s the government and its agencies that has been dragging their heels. The NZTA and AT have also both been very poor in some areas of delivery, most notably with cycling infrastructure and so I’d like to see how candidates would look to change that.

Turn PT up a notch

Last month Auckland celebrated reaching the milestone of 100 million PT boardings in a calendar year, having been less than 60 million a mere decade earlier. If we look back at what led us to achieve that milestone it was not one single thing but almost every year there were improvements that have combined together to create a significantly improved PT system. For example:

  • 2008 – Northern Busway opens and some more improved stations on the Western Line
  • 2010 – Western Line double tracking completed and new, significantly improved stations at Grafton, New Lynn and Newmarket.
  • 2012 – HOP rolled out to the rail network, Manukau station opened.
  • 2014 – HOP rolled out to all buses, first electric trains start
  • 2015 – Electrification completed.
  • 2016 – Integrated Fares, new bus network rolled out in South Auckland and upgraded Otahuhu Station opened
  • 2017 – New bus network in West Auckland and at end of the year in East Auckland
  • 2018 – New bus network in Central Auckland and North Shore

Thinking about the future, there will be some improvements in 2021/22 as the Northern Busway Extension and new Rosedale Station opens as well as in East Auckland when the Eastern Busway between Panmure and Pakuranga opens but other than that there doesn’t seem to be much planned until the CRL in late 2024.

Earlier this year the updated Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) was adopted. This is the document that lays out ATs plans for public transport over the coming decade including what services will be run.

The new bus network introduced the concept of a ‘frequent’ route where buses turn up at least every 15 minutes all day, every day. These routes are responsible for much of the growth of the last year or two. The proposals in the RPTP are actually pretty good with one of the key aspirational goals being to increase the quality of the frequent network by increasing the standard to a bus every 10 minutes along with having more frequent routes and longer spans of frequent service. Many routes will already achieve this level of service at peak times but it’s off-peak and on weekends where service drops. One good thing about service

Many routes will already achieve this level of service at peak times but it’s off-peak and on weekends where service drops. One good thing about increasing off-peak and weekend services is it doesn’t require any additional infrastructure and the buses that would be needed to run it are already here, it just needs drivers.

The difference between a service every 15 minutes and one every 10 might not seem like much but in my experience makes a significant difference to how people perceive the usefulness of PT. I still recall the impact it had on my commute when train frequencies were improved from 15 to 10 minutes at peak times. When the prospect of a just missed train meant a 15 minute wait I would go out of my way to make sure I made it, precisely timing when I left work or as often happened, having to run to make it. That all changed when services were improved to every 10 minutes. Suddenly the wait didn’t seen anywhere near as bad and it means now I often don’t even bother checking the time, only seeing when the next train is when I turn up at the station. I expect improving frequent buses to be every being 10 minutes to have a similar impact for many others across the region and is even easier to market to potential users.

While the proposals in the RPTP are decent, we need the changes now, not in a decade and so I’d like to see candidates pushing to bring forward the implementation of it with perhaps a goal of the current plan being achieved by 2024 when the CRL opens. This would require more funding, and ideally most of it should come from the government but Auckland will need to contribute too.

From a very brief, high-level analysis, the only services that would currently meet that enhanced definition (and I was only looking between 7am and 7pm) would be:

  • NX1
  • City Link
  • Inner Link
  • Dominion Rd (the 25 routes)
  • Botany (the 70 route)

I hope to do some more analysis on this in the coming weeks.

Electric Buses now

This one is really pretty simple, we need more electric buses now. AT’s current plan is not to require all new buses to be electric till 2025 with not all buses electric until 2040. This is too far away and not ambitious enough given the urgent need to address emissions for both climate change and health reasons. We’d like to see candidates taking a stronger stance here and requiring all buses bought from now on be electric.

Fix our Streets

While our PT networks have been improving over recent years and now get strong political support, the next goal is to get similar levels of support to fix our streets. As I said in May

Auckland’s streets need to change. They’re horrifically unsafe, they waste enormous amounts of space on incredibly inefficient uses, they destroy – rather than support – the quality of our neighbourhoods, they actively discourage people from using them in anything other than a car, and they don’t even do a particularly good job at keeping traffic moving.

There are some good proposals for the city centre with the Access 4 Everyone scheme but we need this implemented ASAP and similar ideas need to be rolled out to other centres around Auckland. We’d like to see candidates pushing this.

Note: This also includes speeding up the delivery of cycleways which have been way too slow.

Fare Free Weekends once a month

The free public transport a few weeks ago was a fantastic success and saw many people using PT to explore the city. It would be great to see this used again and tied to open streets events. It should also be made a regular thing, perhaps something like repeating it on the last Sunday of every month, or something like that.

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  1. Particularly the electric bus situation needs to be accelerated as you say. As with the government’s latest EV offering, it is not sufficiently aggressive. We know how much transport contributes to our emissions, the technology exists, and we know that the upfront price is quickly recouped through lower operational costs. For Auckland Transport and the Auckland bus companies, this cannot be that hard. And as previously cited, the health benefits must be more than attractive to the council and government. As you write, every new bus needs to be electric, at the very least.

    1. Yep it will do more for air quality in the city centre than even road pricing.
      Absurd that the current plan is still basically being accepted as is.

    2. The problem is, under the current contracting of bus services, it is the bus companies who will be buying the BEBs (battery electric bus) not AT and the bus companies are reluctant to invest in BEBs due to their high purchase costs, especially on current 10-12 years contracts.

      The other issue is, who is going to pay for the building of the battery charging infrastructure and pay the power bill – AT or the bus companies?

      The current example of this, is the fiasco of the decommissioning of Wellington’s trolleybus networks, where NZ Bus owned the trolleybuses which they paid for, the overhead infrastructure was owned by a Wellington city council own company and the GWRC paid for the power bill. Now NZ Bus is sitting on 60 fully serviceable decommissioned trolleybuses.

      The whole issue of having a fleet of BEBs is that the buses and the battery charging infrastructure at depots and key terminals, fleet maintenance and purchase of BEB’s should be under a separate AT owned entity and the BEB’s are leased to contracted bus companies.

      This should have happened to Wellington’s trolleybus network, that the buses, the overhead and power distribution infrastructure and bus maintenance facilities should have been in a GWRC owned company or entity and then leased to the contracted bus operator instead of the mickey mouse setup that was used.

      The current set up in Wellington for the small number of BEB’s in use in Wellington is some what mickey mouse. The rapid battery charging facility at Island Bay costed $1.4 million to install for Tranzit, I think it was paid for by GRWC yet NZ Bus is paying for its own battery recharging facilities from a Government grant. What GWRC hasn’t revealed, who is paying for the power bill for these battery recharging facilities – GWRC or the bus companies?

      The shambles in Wellington is a classic short term cheap planning fix to keep the ratepayers happy.

      1. Councils don’t [directly] pay for the diesel fuel used by the current fleet.
        So why shoudl GWRC or any council give away “free fuel” to bus companies running electric buses.

        Unless its used as a temporary lever to get the bus companies to roll out electric buses sooner than later?

        But I agree with your concept of councils owning the bus fleet, even if the operations are done by the existing bus operators.

        My take on that is below.

        1. No evidence that GWRC is (directly) paying for electricity supplied to bus company owned chargers.

        2. There is no evidence that they’re not either.

          And its not NZ Bus owned chargers being discussed here its the GWRC supplied chargers – for which GWRC has not disclosed who pays for the power they dispense, in to what are private operator owned electric buses.

          It maybe that GWRC as doing so as a way to prime the pump. But this should be an exeption, not a rule.

        3. “And its not NZ Bus owned chargers being discussed”
          Am aware of that.

          Fast charger was bought and installed by Tranzit/TranzUrban with some government grant assistance (i.e. not by GWRC directly). Grant money was from same EECA fund as the NZ Bus grant for depot chargers.

          ( see my post down thread for sources backing this up )

      2. You have that kinda backwards. The concern is buying electric buses on less than 10-12 year contracts.

        Electric buses now have batteries that last 10 years, and the operating costs are far cheaper. Fuel is around a quarter of the total life cost of a bus contract (labour is half, and the cost of the bus itself the other quarter), and electric power costs only 1/4 of the equivalent fuel bill.

        The operator pays the power bill, same way they pay the fuel bill. But the power bill will be much smaller.

        Over ten years electric buses are now cheaper overall than new diesel buses. This hold back is the capital up front for the power charging infrastructure at the depot and the buses themselves. A 10 to 12 year contract gives the operator the confidence to invest in new kit, and short term one doesn’t.

        The only real issue is that Auckland is only a few years into a huge proportion of new 10 year contracts that came in with the New Network. Effectively the operators have only just bought new buses to run on these routes, so it won’t be until around 2025 onwards that they will start to replace the fleet again.

        That’s the nub of the AT electric bus policy, next time the main contracts come up they will require electric only but in the meantime they can keep using the practically brand new fleet. And yes the very last bus might not be electric until 2040 (e.g. a new diesel bought in the next few years that does ten years service then gets grandfathered to school runs or backup), but from the mid 2020s onwards that will only be a small nice of the fleet that stays diesel.

        If we want to accelerate the electrification process it would take a cash injection from government to effectively subsidise operators to replace new diesel buses with brand new electric ones. Not saying that’s necessarily a bad idea, but just requiring the operators to dump their diesel fleet and buy all electric in advance of the normal life cycle would bankrupt the lot of them.

        1. Nick – Simple. Don’t fret about 10-12 year contracts with private operators, bring all bus ownership back under council ownership. The current model does nothing but add considerable cost to ratepayers and taxpayers.
          The ARA successfully owned the bus fleet for decades (and the Auckland Transport Board prior to that).

          End the love affair with costly neoliberal principles.

        2. Do you know how much it would cost the ratepayers to buy out two hundred odd 10-year service contracts? About ten times the annual operating cost of the network!

          Or are you proposing we pull some tin pot dictator shit and nationalise everything. We could call Banana Republic Buslines, brought to you by the peoples republic of Auckistan… until next time we need new buses and find nobody will sign any contract with us again.

        3. Umm, nothing simple about that! Quite apart from the legislation required to ditch PTOM.

        4. We wouldn’t even need to ditch PTOM. Auckland would just have to set up a CCO to operate buses.

        5. The fleet is not necessarily “brand new”, the buses used need to be 10 years old or less.

          So thats a lot of leeway for existing contracts to be using clapped out 8 or 9 year old buses – provided they once ticked the relevant Euro X “compliant” box. No matter whether they actually do so still now.

          In theory thats a hope that the clever operators will introduce electric buses sooner and farm out the older buses to bus runs and other outside PTOM duties. But it is just that a hope.

          as for
          “That’s the nub of the AT electric bus policy, next time the main contracts come up they will require electric only”

          Well we don’t know that AT will require electric only buses next time PTOM or whatever its called them comes up for renegotiation.

          Again it appears that ia hope that that is and will remain AT’s intention.

          I think we deserve better than such an aspirational goal.

          Part of the problem is that the PTOM contracts were all let en-masse for 10 years, so that means we have a huge lag effect.

          But it is clear now, if it wasn’t before that 10 year long contracts don’t do the PT using public, nor the ratepayers of Tax payers of the country much good in terms of having ability to actively direct such fleet modernisation to take place.

          As long as the bus is less than 10 years old and meets some other criteria its basically assumed to be “good to go”.

        6. Nick – There is no guarantee that a bus company who invests in a BSB fleet will have their contract renewed.

          If their contract is not renewed, then what happens to the their BEB fleet and the respective battery charging infrastructure as in the case of NZ Bus with there 60 decommissioned trolleybuses?

          If I was a bus operator, I wouldn’t be happy about investing millions in BSB fleet and battery charging infrastructure for a 10-12 year service contract unless there was some ‘Buy Back’ by the contract issuer. A BEB/Battery Charging infrastructure ‘Buy Back’ facility would be a required by the loan provider.

          There is no guarantee that Trazit/Tranzurban will have their service contracts renewed unless there has been a secret deal by Tranzit the GWRC that their contracts will be ‘automatically’ renewed.

          If AT, GWRC, ECan, etc being contract issuers want to BEB operations, then the contract issuers would need to have either a ‘Buy Back’ scheme or invest in a BEB fleet in the respective battery charging infrastructure that can be leased to potential bus companies.

        7. Exactly Kris, bus companies won’t invest in any new buses without a long contract to run them on, battery or otherwise. That’s why they don’t buy buses then go looking for contracts, they secure contracts then procure the buses to run them.

          This is why they have 8, 10, 12 year contracts, the contract life is aligned with the lifespan of a bus. This gives the operator the certainty that they can raise capital to go out and buy (or lease) new fleet and set up depots accordingly.

          A couple of important points in this discussion: firstly the bus standards are set in the contract by AT. This is how we have double deckers now. Where AT wanted double deckers they let new contracts that specified new double deckers. They’ll do this with electrics pretty much from now on, within five years they’ll only specify electric buses on all contracts.

          The life of a bus and charging infrastructure is only around ten, maybe fifteen years at a stretch. Same as diesel buses and most other equipment in industry. Bus operators know this and they will depreciate the value of the bus over that lifetime. Basically they plan on all the useful value of the bus being used up on the one contract. A bus company would be perfectly happy on investing in the first generation of eBuses and charging systems on a 12 year contract because those things only last 12 years before being replaced. Under a buy back scheme there would be nothing to buy back after a decade or so, the residual value would be practically nothing at that point.

          Well sometimes they’ll take a shorter term and gamble they’ll be able to redeploy them on the next contract, but often they won’t buy new fleet unless they have a long contract to depreciate them over. This is no different to any other business buying equipment and plant for their production line or fleet.

        8. And that’s another thing that has changed dramatically for the better in Auckland. In the 90s, it was common to encounter 20+ year old buses in appalling condition, especially the noise/vibration.

        9. Nick R – A bus company wouldn’t have the money to pay upfront costs of buying a BEB fleet and the necessary battery charging infrastructure which is not necessary restricted to depots and also at possible key terminal location/s, like Island Bay in Wellington for Tranzit/Tranzurban. A bus company will have to borrow the money, as BEB’s are more expensive than diesels plus the cost of buying and installing the battery charging infrastructure. Loan repayments will be more expensive as the amount borrowed will have to be paid off over the term of the service contract. With diesel buses they are usually leased at low repayments plus the buses can be sold to other bus companies within NZ but BEB’s especially double deck BEB’s will have a much smaller resale market if any. Also there is an unknown resale market for BSB battery recharge facilities in NZ.

          At the moment, AT, GWRC, ECan, etc are obligated to accept the most affordable bid/s hence the decommissioning of Wellington trolleybus network. Unless the POTM is changed or dropped, bus companies will drag the feet about introducing BSB’s in their fleets unless AT, GWRC, ECan, etc or central government provides the funding or financial guarantees for BEB operations.

        10. As the contracts come up for renewal move them to a council owned and operated bus company. You don’t need to buy them all out at the same time.

        11. That’s probably a good approach. It solves one of the two issues here, which is that private ownership is preventing the city from being flexible to changing needs. There will be more changes we will face and want to have control over, so setting up a better model as soon as we can is important.

          The other issue – replacing diesel with electric – also needs solving. Council / AT seem to avoid renegotiating contracts at all cost. We’ve seen this with the continuation of the street maintenance contracts which are no longer fit for purpose, and will cost us more in the long run by keeping them as they are.

          I wonder if they would be able to produce evidence of an analysis of whether to renegotiate the contracts, and whether the public health, water pollution, climate change, and hindered modeshift costs were part of that analysis.

      3. “The rapid battery charging facility at Island Bay costed $1.4 million to install for Tranzit, I think it was paid for by GRWC yet NZ Bus is paying for its own battery recharging facilities from a Government grant.”

        Not true: Island Bay fast charger was installed by Tranzit with some government funding (via EECA grant).

        NZ Bus appear to have done nothing since receiving a $763,668 EECA grant for fast chargers to charge converted trolleys that were to have been operational from Jan 2019.

        Assume NZ Bus is still mired in the sale process…

    3. The Council should lobby Government to remove the restriction on council owned bus operations that National made them sell them off in the 90’s.

      Then, in the interim, while that change works it way through parliament into law, team up with another council that already runs buses (Christchurch council with its RedBus operation springs to mind).

      And seriously start targeting bus operations in Auckland using an electric bus fleet. The Link buses being the obvious ones to target first.
      Renegotiating the contracts as needed to force the operators to move to electric buses for the routes down Queen St and other populous places.

      This will soon tilt the playing field towards electric buses, on operational costs.

      Especially as electric heavy trucks and buses are exempt RUCs. so will have a much lower operational cost. Without the usual tricks of reducing driver pay packets or conditions.

      Soon the existing operators like Go Bus, NZ Bus, Ritchies etc will all be scrambling over themselves to get electric buses on their routes.

      Case in point for how this plays out:

      Remember how Auckland Taxis were all Ford Fairlanes and large petrol powered dungers, who used to run on whatever was the cheapest fuel they thought was cheapest at the time, so they went to diesel, then LPG, then once the Hybrid Toyota Prius came along, suddenly (seemingly overnight) the Taxi fleet changed almost en-masse to be largely Prius’.

      No doubt once larger 4 door Sedan style electric cars become more common, we will see a trickle then a rush of electric taxis.

      Same can happen with buses. Just need councils with a vision, and a will, to then use the existing levers to get there.

      But while councils current goals may be fully electric by 2040, it will happen far far sooner than 2040. As once the electric buses start rolling out and the operational savings and the “range anxiety” over electric buses running out of juice is seen as a non issue. Then the old diesel dinosaurs will become very extinct very quickly.

      But we just need to prime that pump, not with a couple of electric buses on some out in the wops routes.
      No you put them on highly visible routes with lots of demand. Once people see and experience them they won’t want to continue to use the old diesel shakers.

      1. “The Link buses being the obvious ones to target first.”

        Electric buses are already being trialled on Link bus routes, plus the 380 and other routes in Auckland

  2. Its depressing to see projects designed 15 or 20 years ago still waiting on funding and years away from completion. Also the resistance to PT some elected officials like to whip up against PT especially in East Auckland where use of PT is very low.

  3. Have we unofficially given up on Light Rail?

    I’m sure Phil Twyford meant well when he announced it, backing up Labours election pledge, but I guess he didn’t really know what he was doing.

    1. Not at all but it’s out of the council’s hands so it’s not like candidates can promise it.
      The issue with it is the government needs to make a decision on the superfund proposal, which all indications suggest is a bad deal.

      1. Light rail is dead in Auckland. Look AT can’t even try to operate and extend the Wynard Trams 1km to Britomart. If they cannot do that there’s no hope in hell of 25kms of LRT to the airport, or whatever to out west (now effectively canned).

        Next years election could be interesting as Labour/Greens have failed West Auckland commuters. National could be the benefactor of Twyfords Failarmy.

        1. Light rail has been taken of AT’s hands and given to NZTA, for better or worse.

          Extending the tourist tram toy loop wouldn’t be Auckland Transport’s project, or NZTAs. They do transport, not tourism.

          If you want the downtown Motat branch of a museum tram, then perhaps ATEED would be the ones to do that project?

        2. I thought you were open minded Nick. Appears not to be the case. You also don’t even mention modern LRT can run from Britomart, Ferry Building through to Wynard Quarter. Serves the ferry commuters and train commuters.

          Be open minded NIck, not closed. Look at what Sydney is doing, delivering people to the waterfront at Circular Quay – by LRT. They have banned vehicles so it’s peds, cycling and LRT to the ferry terminal. Wait a second! We have a ferry building, a train station and the waterfront for peds and cycling, plus the massive expanding Wynard Qtr!

        3. Indeed, and I am a huge advocate of modern light rail, exactly like sydney is doing, from downtown to Wynyard and beyond.

          But that’s hardly extending the tourist tram loop is it?! Light rail trains like Sydney’s can’t run on that tram loop, the corners are too tight and the funny offset kerb stops aren’t long enough.

        4. “Wynard Trams”
          What has the Wynyard Heritage Loopy Boondoggle Tramway got to do with actual serious PT? Send all the old stuff to MOTAT where it belongs…

        5. It’s a boondoggle because it doesn’t connect to any major transport hubs, but we can’t suggest it be made more useful by joining it to a transport hub because it’s a boondoggle?

        6. It is an old fashioned street tramway in mixed traffic running old heritage trams from Melbourne. I understand extensive work would be required to run modern low floor LRVs/trams of the type proposed for Auckland. So, if a lot of money is required, the question is: Is the existing route useful? Or is it better to design a modern LR style route from scratch?

          Personally I want modern quality PT, not museum pieces from Aus clanking about in mixed traffic. If I want a trip on old trams I’ll go to Western Springs

  4. We are voting for the wrong people. We should be voting for the heads of the various departments in the NZTA and AT. Even then the really innovative stuff is probably be being done by some one in the back room.

  5. Of the mayoral candidates, I only really know of Phil Gough and John Tamihere, and JT has finally cooked his goose, I think, wanting to flog off half of Watercare. Like privatising public assets is ever a good thing for the public let alone water. And if that’s his mindset then she’s all up for grabs with Team Tamihere. And I loath politics laced with threats of court action, a personal fave and go to for Tamihere.

    As for voting for local board members, if they had some control and responsibility for something I would but if they all were abducted by aliens tomorrow and flown back to Mars none of us earthlings could ever tell the difference. Either give them control over the CCO’s or do away with charade please and save ratepayers their salaries, lunches, transport etc.

    1. +1

      Of course the lack of influence local politicians have over the CCO’s won’t stop them making big, unrealistic promises that they don’t have the power to keep. In order to do their jobs properly the media should be fact checking such claims whenever they’re made during the election campaign. The media don’t have a great track record of this recently though so I’m not optimistic.

      1. LB
        I too am standing for my local board. I agree that it is difficult at this level to effect change, but it is possible to start conversations about change. Often change can come from smaller beginnings such as the change that GA has been able to influence.
        I will be talking about aspirational targets about climate change, PT and environmental concerns. It will of course be up to the voters whether they see that any of this will make for a better local area.

        1. Well good luck John, I hope you get erected even though you realise the LBs are not very effective at getting things done.
          As others have said, it’s the transport decision makers at AT and NZTA we should be electing. The local board and even AC elected councillors are just about completely powerless to achieve any change or have transport policy implemented. It’s laughable but tragic that AC can only write to AT stating what they want yet AT can choose to ignore AC and go off in their own direction. Is NZTA any different? Light rail deferred into non existence.

        2. Good on you, John! And I heartily agree that there’s a conversation-starting role in the local boards. (I’d go so far as to say it’s part of public education. 🙂 )

          I also believe that local boards have a big input into some things that have a big local effect.

        3. Heidi;

          This is but a couple of many examples of how little control we as voters have over this council

          When the CCO Panuku flogged off the old Auckland City Council building and land very recently for a massively cheap, firesale price, basically in secret, how as a ratepayer could anything be done to a) review this and b) stop it.

          How do I vote this organisations members out of a job?
          Where was the local board members?
          Why did they not stop it? I for one will hold Goff responsible for that appalling decision to sell that land and building like they did!

          And when its CCO predecessors decided to buy the leaking ASB Building with a raft of seriously bad decisions that went into it costing to this day ratepayers dearly where was our elected representatives then?

          There is no point voting and paying for a bunch of impotent people for “the vibe of it” to pointlessly offer up platitudes because is exactly like allowing the real decision makers in Auckland Council to operate on pure self regulation with virtually no accountability and we all know how pointless that is.

        4. When funds have been allocated to the Local Boards to use, it’s better to have those funds allocated by engaged, progressive LB members. They can do a lot of good or harm with these funds and I’m really not sure whether or not they should have control over them.

          Similarly, when big local projects are progressed with huge input from the LB members about what local priorities are, it’s better to have engaged, progressive LB members making those recommendations. Again, these big projects can also be enhanced or ruined by this local input; the LB members are not usually qualified to be making decisions that direct Council away from following its stated objectives and commitments.

          Please vote for the local board members, Waspman, if only because the wrong people can really set things back.

        5. Waspman, did you read anything about how much remediating the asbestos in the old council building contributed to its sale value?

          Or did you take your understanding only from Orsman, Hosking, right-wing council candidates and similar excitable ninnies?

        6. Honestly we’ve been all over this, it’s a heritage protected building, full of asbestos and in need of strengthening. It was a fair deal for the city.

        7. Honestly Zippo we have never been over anything. There’s the narrative that we’ve been fed about the building been riddled with asbestos and that’s it, leave the brain in neutral and carry on.

          There is plenty to suggest this secretive deal for a paltry $3 million is appalling and given the land it sits on any fool can see that and the asbestos problem hugely overblown.

          But leaving that scandal to one side, what is so good about the fuck up that is the ASB Tower purchase? Poor due diligence, a warranty waived, endless costs.

          And back to my original point, we are all spectators to these idiots wasting our money with nothing we can do to stop it!

  6. Great post Matt, I am standing for the Waitemata local board and I agree completely with what you are saying. New buses should be electric, open streets and free transit each month would be equitable and very fun. I would also argue for better info on hop cards and lower barriers to usage so people are reminded what good value they are and how to get through the process. I have been out door knocking and AT gets a bashing because of the expense of cash fares. Better communication would be fantastic.

    1. +1 – if they’re going to have such a huge difference between cash and HOP, they need to be consistently explaining the benefits of HOP, and making them easier to buy.

  7. Another point is pedestrian safety. The city centre safer speeds has been delayed by a whole year. How are candidates standing up on this? Even the mayor abdicated. Needs more pressure.

    1. Felix, having just spent the past week working in the central city it wasn’t cars that was my worry, it was E scooters racing through footpaths, some quite narrow and busy with foot traffic and when on the road through pedestrian crossings regardless of the lights

      1. Wasp, living here 24/7 with 57,000 others , the footpaths are narrow and cramped because of the current spatial inequity serving a few cars before the many people.

        I’m not saying scooters fanging on the sidewalk are ka pai – but getting buzzed by one is nothing like a ute swinging at you when you’re halfway across a side road, or hesitating to step out because you’re wondering if the bus is going to run the red.

      2. “A car driver, scooter rider and a pedestrian are sitting around a table, which has a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The car driver takes eleven of the cookies, then turns to the pedestrian and says “Watch out! That scooter rider wants to steal your cookie.”

  8. It is stupid to allow people to use major roads for free. It creates congestion. It is just as stupid to allow people to use the public transport system for free, it will create congestion.
    So rather than free PT once a month, what about road pricing once a month?

    1. You do realise that for every litre of fuel motorist purchase, they pay tax of 73.78c in tax…… Road pricing would be an additional tax on top of this, one that is disproportionately paid for by the low wage earner.

      1. The real inequity, Matthew, is that the people who don’t drive, or who drive very little, are still part of the pool of people having to pay all the externalised costs of driving that the fuel tax and RUC’s don’t cover.

        There are plenty of ways to help people in poverty without having to continue this subsidy to drivers.

        1. If you drive ‘a little bit’ you still use the road like everyone else. By the way, total revenue raised from road user charges, excise tax and motor vehicle registrations exceeds the NZTA budget by a factor of almost 2:1. So to suggest that ‘drivers are being subsidised’ is misguided.

        2. Sorry but that is complete and utter bullshit. The three road user fees only cover about 70% of the NZTA budget, no way near 200%.

          Revenue from RUC, excise tax and registrations combined is $12.4 billion for the next three years. A further $3.38b revenue comes from a direct ratepayer subsidy, and the remainder from crown accounts (i.e. subsidy from income tax, business tax and GST).

          The total NZTA budget is $16.95 billion. Of this $4.31b is spent on public transport, rail, walking and cycling, and $12.64b on roading. So all the road user fees combined don’t even cover the direct road expenditure, let alone anything else. For example the 14,000 people a year that are treated in hospital every year from traffic crashes. That cost of the road system comes straight out of the taxpayers pocket.

          See here for the three year budget:

        3. Yes, right on the money Heidi.
          Let’s not ignore our rates money either where 33% of it goes to transport spending. Much of this historically has been spent on roads, road renewal and parking that many just don’t use.
          I say historically because although I think I am reasonably clever I just can’t work out how it is apportioned currently. Maybe I am starting to regret never having passed English after the fifth form?

  9. This is off topic, but it is transport, and it’s worth sharing.

    On Youtube, search for ‘Electric Water Bike’ ( great for ferry users) and then follow
    on to ’15 Personal Transports’. Some amazing stuff, and the Water Bike is Kiwi !

  10. I really don’t understand the hype about City Rail Link. I cannot think of worst way to spend taxpayers money. It’s not needed. Britomart to Mt Eden train connection already exist. Aotea Square st is literally less than 10 min walk from Britomart station. K Road station may be good idea. But to spend that much money on CRL while there are more pressing needs is beyond me. When will we get train to the North Shore. That should be the top priority to connect it to the city. And it’s the logical thing to do. There are also other parts of the city that would benefit way more from having train connection. CBD has way better transport options than any of the suburbs. Who needs connection from Aotea Sq to Britomart?! How many buses could you add for that money to serve people that really need them outside of CBD ? I get that it will allow people in CBD to save 10 min but maybe it’s worth to consider the people outside of CBD who wait 30-60 min for the connecting bus (or buy a car to avoid that).

    2017 and 2018 New bus networks? Is this serious? Anyone noticed any improvement in bus services? I barely noticed any changes but overall I wait longer for the bus. Tweaks in the timetable cannot be called a ‘New Bus Network’. Truth is PT is terrible in Auckland and terribly overpriced. It needs a serious projects and investment not a free weekend, which will see many people travel around and making artificial crowd because they are bored at home and will ride a bus just for sake of it. I will gladly pay for better service. Free is great. But it’s not much help when you wait 1h at the bus stop.

    1. “I really don’t understand the hype about City Rail Link”

      Should read, “I really don’t know anything about the City Rail Link”. Because its largely not about the CBD.

      1. No room for more buses in CBD, so allowing for bus-train transfers outside the CBD and train in. Bring suburbs (esp. on the Western line) much closer to the CBD by reducing times by 20-30mins. Doubling the capacity of the entire rail network by allowing Britomart to be a through station – as a dead-end it limits capacity…

        That’s just off the top of my head…

        1. I know it will bring some benefits to the city. I’m aware of that. I’m saying it’s not worth the cost, while there are other ways to spend that money so the whole city can benefit more from it.

          It would be also good and convenient to have a train stations next to the Civic, TVNZ, Victoria Park, UoA, Wynyard Quarter. You can throw billions at it and build it too. The thing is at the current situation it’s not worth building those (and CRL). There are more sensible ways to spend money.

        2. The Civic and the TVNZ building will be less tahn 200m from Aotea station….

          I’d like to know what your ideas are to soend the money better. You mentioned north sore rail; with the budget for the CRL you could probably build a surface line to Wynyard, a bridge, and convert part of the busway. Is that really a better use of money than tripling the capacity of the rail network?#

        3. Well the train to North Shore can start from Britomart as an extension of an existing line.

        4. Ok, sorry, didn’t realise that you meant heavy rail. For the cost of the CRL you could have tunnelled from Britomart to Akoranga, converted the busway to Smales and then run out of money. You wouldn’t have the money to tunnel from Sunnynook to Albany!

        5. The usual blubbing from someone who lives on the Shore. You have no industry or usage case for heavy rail. Stop sooking, enjoy the busway you got years before anyone else in Auckland got one and maybe reflect on that.

        6. You need to read up on it more to understand it better then, time savings for those between west to city is huge. More trains can run due to through routing & not the dead end Britomart. Can access central Auckland properly at Aotea. The list goes on on:

    2. So yeah, you obviously know nothing about the CRL and it’s benefits…added to that, you advocate rail to the Shore when they are currently spending millions to extend the very successful busway.

      Feel like you are either trolling or have literally never been on this blog before or read an article on Transport in Auckland..

      Also feel like you leave out in the middle of nowwhere and assume you should get the same level of service as those that choose to live in more densely populated areas..

      1. Well you feel wrong then. I don’t live far from the CBD and I don’t live in the North but it’s not a rocket science (or so I thought) to see some basic things the city needs if you live in it and know other people who live in different areas as well. Try to look at things from other people perspective sometimes. Not only your own. Maybe you’re gonna surprise yourself one day.

        1. Matt,
          I think that you are probably right that the North Shore should have light rail within 10 years, but not at the expense of a north west solution or a Mangere solution. If we are going to build PT ridership as much as Heidi says we need to, to reduce carbon emissions (and I agree with her figures), then the city probably won’t cope with the extra buses although by then hopefully many cars will have been removed from the city.

        2. I didn’t say to do it at the expense of Northwest and Manger solutions. I actually think those are good ideas.

    3. Matt – The CRL is a major infrastructure project besides the Auckland Harbour bridge for Auckland. Once completed, the CRL will increase rail frequencies than currently experience. Like with the harbour bridge, the CRL should have years ago.

      I do agree with you about the bus network. The company that advised on the current Auckland bus network also advised on Wellington shambolic multi hub so called rapid network.

      1. Bus ridership is up 28% because of the New Network, so clearly it is working very very well in Auckland.

        According to the review, the difference between Auckland’s success and Wellington’s ‘failure’ was the way the roll out and implementation was handled by the respective local governments, not the network advice they received:–report

        1. Yes, all credit to AT for the new network. I am often very critical of AT for their failure to ease congestion and reduce emissions, but this change has been a great success.

    4. “Anyone noticed any improvement in bus services?”

      Yes. Try to keep up, Buses on frequent routes now operate every 15 mins from 7.00am to 7.00pm, and until midnight on some routes. There are now more Night Buses on Friday and Saturday nights until 3.00am. Auckland now has 120+ new double decker buses. NX1 and NX2 buses run every 3 or 4 minutes during the peak.

    5. “I really don’t understand the hype about City Rail Link.’

      Try doing some research before posting such an ill-informed comment. Google is a good place to start,

  11. Do yourself a favour Matt. Check the links at the top of the page. Some very detailed work on the benefits of the CRL and why it benefits the entire region.

  12. From a C40 city report. These are exactly the things that I will be advancing in my local board campaign.
    “The Bus Rapid Transit and Bus Services Programme is shown to be the most effective programme in emissions reduction terms, delivering just over a third of all potential savings from in-city action. Actions within this programme include improving public transport infrastructure, services to attract users, as well
    as fuel switching to low carbon energy sources. The emissions reduction is particularly affected by driving a modal shift from private vehicle use to more carbon efficient public transport.
    Travel Demand Management is the next most successful in reducing emissions across C40 cities, with emissions reductions of 17%. This programme involves a range of initiatives such as car sharing, congestioncharging zones, parking restrictions and cycle hire programmes which together can reduce energy
    consumption for transport.”

  13. Going by the news at 6am this morning John [I love roads] Banks is thinking about throwing his hat into the ring and running for Mayor again Why ? so he can build the motorway’s that were put on hold ? .

  14. Good news. Looks like John Banks will be standing for Mayor and will likely romp in. So you can expect some big changes including a very strong hold on Auckland Transport. Banksie absolutely loves cars and loathes interfering leftist bloggers and know all unqualified narcissistic board observers.

    Watch out Reynolds.

    1. “John Banks will be standing for Mayor and will likely romp in.”

      Incorrect . Banks has already admitted defeat and withdrawn.

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