Last week Bernard Orsman wrote a long article looking at the upcoming Auckland Council elections. The article is behind a paywall, but I have pulled out a few important parts of it. As per usual, Orsman plays up the “A team”, “B team” narrative that he’s been pushing for the past few years – giving the impression that there are two quite separate voting blocs. I’ve always found this a strange narrative, given the Council unanimously passed its 10 year budget last year – the single most important decision it makes in its three-year term. On other key issues such as the final funding approval for City Rail Link, only Greg Sayers, Mike Lee and Christine Fletcher voted against.

But anyway, back to the article. It starts by outlining some of the ‘behind the scenes’ machinations going on to make Phil Goff’s life difficult in the even that he is re-elected mayor.

Away from the mayoral contest between Phil Goff and John Tamihere, the Weekend Herald can reveal a strategy loosely co-ordinated by councillor Daniel Newman targeting several wards to win office.

The strategy has four goals. Defeat “Team Goff” councillors in Whau, Tamaki-Maungakiekie and North Shore wards. Hold Waitemata and Gulf Ward, hold both seats in Howick, and win the Papakura-Manurewa ward seat vacated by John Walker.

Success will give the B team a majority on council, making life difficult for Goff if he is re-elected and butting heads with Tamihere should he win.

Newman, who represents the Papakura-Manurewa ward in South Auckland, is the de facto leader of the B team by virtue of his political skills, deep understanding of policy and the inner workings of council and ability to build relationships with colleagues snubbed by Goff.

So what might this group push for if they have the majority of Council seats? A pretty worrying future for Auckland that could put at risk much of the progress that has been made in recent years.

Profound changes will take place at council and CCOs if the B team get a majority on council. Goff or Tamihere, with one of 21 votes on council, will have little choice but to heed the wishes of the B team.

Newman says if every member of the B team brings one policy to the table a lot will change. As someone from South Auckland, home to a lot of big families, he wants to protect weekly rubbish collections and end plans for fortnightly collections.

He wants to see a “rebalancing” of transport spending so the 80 per cent of commuters in his ward who travel by car get better roads and footpaths.

“Auckland Transport and Auckland Council is massively over-extending on this romantic delusion that life in future exists on the back of a bicycle,” Newman says.

The B team want to have councillors sitting on the board of Auckland Transport again, and withdraw support for light rail to the airport in favour of heavy rail.

There probably is merit in having the right councillors on the AT Board and the the light-rail/heavy-rail debate is a bit irrelevant as that’s a Government-led project anyway, but the cycling comment really annoyed me. There is a weird perception that most of the transport budget is going on cycling and that cycle lanes are being introduced everywhere – if only this were true!

Unfortunately the reality is that cycling makes up barely 2% of the $28 billion ATAP programme. Furthermore, Auckland Transport are struggling to even implement this pathetic level of funding. Despite this pretty shocking lack of funding and delivery, cycling continues to grow, as the latest statistics show, with really strong growth in areas where there safe networks, like the NW Cycleway.

Furthermore, cycling investment shows really strong returns that other types of projects can usually only dream about.

Overall my message is that in the upcoming election it’s the balance of the Council that matters just as much (if not more) than who happens to be the Mayor. A lot is at stake if we are to continue with the progress that has been made – and perhaps even speed it up a bit!

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  1. Thankfully due to certain recent statements of a fascist nature, the B team is getting nowhere near the levers of power.

    However, with the government all but abandoning Light Rail (and the West) for the next half-decade, wrestling control back of ATAP has to be a priority for the next Council. The signs are clear: if Auckland wants rapid transit to actually happen, it has to be us making it happen. Wellington has done what Wellington does best, which is leave Auckland high and dry (yet they are still remarkably efficient at enabling the revenue collection side of things. Funny that).

    I would also like to see Goff commit to stop diddling around with waterfront stadiums and moving sporting codes to non-existent venues before I was completely comfortable voting for him. We have bigger fish to fry and more important candidates for that funding now.

  2. “He wants to see a ‘rebalancing’ of transport spending so the 80 per cent of commuters in his ward who travel by car get better roads and footpaths.”

    This comment makes it sound like the footpath investment is to allow those drivers to park on them.

    1. I’m still shocked Mike Lee voted against the final funding approval for CRL. That guy used to be Auckland’s rail hero…. sad.

      1. I understand he was also responsible for the localization of the Parnell Train Station. I am not of sufficient age to remember anything good he may have done.

        1. Yes, he went against all technical advice and bullied everyone until they moved it from the preferred location (next to all the jobs, apartments and the students) to one halfway up the gully in the bush, on the stupid idea that it would somehow work as a museum station (and that a museum is more important that being close to apartments, offices and the university).

  3. The argument involving light rail anything is now for all intents and purposes, dead as a dodo. It ain’t happening, ever!

    .https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/115885818/nzta-backs-down-from-light-rail-looks-at-spending-millions-elsewhere

    As reported in Stuff today the funding set aside for LR is now going into roads and the start date (lol) has been pushed out even further to 2021. And let’s be honest, Twyford wouldn’t have a clue anyway so 2021 is just a bullshit throwaway date made up by a fool scrambling in the mire of his incompetence.
    And if National get back in, it’s all over, definitely

    Another trademark failure by Minister Twyford who, if he were in charge of a brewery, could not organize piss up. In fact we just have to accept LR was a empty promise to get votes with no credibility from the outset.

    I am confident the way forward (or backwards) will be a replay of the 80’s, pre rail upgrades, more roads, tinkering with bus time tables and car priority, because there will have to be. And with that ever more gridlock by the looks.

    1. I think AT had three branches in the works before handing it over to NZTA, mostly running through the central isthmus. Time to dust off that report and see what we can do with the regional fuel tax if we started digging tomorrow.

      1. Sadly that ain’t going to happen.

        And yet I thought the regional fuel tax was for things like light rail. Since that is no longer happening (the harbour bridge crossing will be the next promise to fall), the government has to scrap it forthwith.

        Bullshit promises like LR made to Trojan horse in more taxation so we can build more failed roads is outrageous!

        1. This is a common misconception, the RfT was never intended to fund light rail or rapid transit. Probably due to National propaganda framing a plan that is mostly about funding unfunded roads, as “stealing money from motorists to waste on unneeded pet projects”

          WIth only $1.5b gathered over ten years it wouldn’t even come close to funding new rail lines.

          It’s for the business as usual programme, ie. bus improvements, park and ride, the downtown ferry terminal, and of course penlink and mill road. See here:

          https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/have-your-say/topics-you-can-have-your-say-on/transport-consultation/Pages/regional-fuel-tax-proposal-information.aspx

        2. Well truth is Nick it was not ever really justified, but left to ones imagination. So the LR promise of a different way of moving Auckland to finally think outside the roading failure madness we’ve been on kind of annoys me.

          I for one cannot agree to more fuel tax but nothing but the same old same old in return

        3. ‘I for one cannot agree to more fuel tax but nothing but the same old same old in return’.

          The Eastern Busway has finally started construction as a direct result of the RFT funding, I’m not sure I’d call that ‘same old same old’.

        4. Jezza, that was happening regardless and was planned well before this port got in.

          But otherwise the future is buses or private cars, the same as it ever been. And that is not a reason for 11 cents per litre!

        5. The Eastern Busway had been planned for years but was definitely not going ahead anytime soon prior to the implementation of the regional fuel tax. It had been sitting in the funding never-never for a number of years prior to the change of government. It was quite literally funded from the RFT.

        6. From the PT activity class, too. For all those lanes and intersections.

          Nice little set up at NZTA, isn’t there? I guess a road by any other name would smell as sweet.

  4. Those comments by Newman show the value in keeping AT at an arms length from elected members. The idea is that evidenced policy enacted region wide is way preferable to indulging the whims, prejudices, or populism of randoms who can get themselves elected. Let alone a cabal of disaffected and embittered alsorans each bringing one hobbyhorse to trot around on at the public’s expense… though of course they’d likely fall out with each other anyway, each wanting some big project to stop or go to suit their re-election focus.

    Of course ‘arms length is also problematic, the technocrats will never be perfect either, and the elected members should run on and steer broader strategy… getting that balance right is tricky as. Especially when so much is run from Welly anyway…

    1. Evidenced policy? By AT? For a moment I thought you were serious, then I realised you are just a much better troll than I am. Well done!

    2. Yes, we have very short memories about how transport in Auckland was (dis)organised before AT was established, and how key decisions were made on political whims that usually worked strongly to the disadvantage of any mode but cars. What we’re seeing now is the car lobby seeking to wrest back control. To be resisted at all costs.

      1. Davidbyrne….Clearly you have a very short memory. Who got Britomart built? How saved rail? Who got funding for the SA/SD carriages? Who led the charge for the Onehunga line to be reopened? Who convinced Labour to get in behind and support project DART? Who convinced Len Brown to champion the CRL and electrification? Not AT, not Goff, certainly “the unlucky charm” Twyford

    1. Scrapped the Busway to make way for LR in Northwest. Now even the LR is gone. There are thousands of houses coming up in the NW and there is no proper public transport system. Such a shame for the labor govt. May not be the correct things but at least National was doing something , This govt has become the working group govt.

      1. Actually National wasn’t doing anything, just widening roads. They refused to add a busway when the NW motorway causeway was raised and widened which is probably the most myopic, irresponsible transport decision of the last 15 years.

        1. Heidi: If you want a real gas, check out the reporting on the benefits of the Waterview connection. It’s only ever reported in AM peak time-savings to the airport. I wonder if the PM peak in the other direction is measured, and why we never hear that particular statistic. Could be a fun OIA.

        2. Sorry, that comment is not correct. The decision to use heavy rail as the rapid transit link to the west was made by ARTA. They saw the existing rail link , not a busway, as the best way to provide rapid transit. All other planning has followed that lead, given the very long lead times required.

        3. But Brent, the SH16 widening was an opportunity to provide a busway. Decisions aren’t made once, and that’s it. Decisions are made every step of the way. And in this case, despite the people and local politicians asking for it, they decided not to provide a busway. And used projections of traffic volumes and travel times based on incompetent modelling to say that the buses would be fast enough without it.

        4. Brent – I think you are confusing the west with the north-west. ARTA did decide to go with HR for the Western line and that has been in place for a number of years now.

          The north-west is a more recent plan, that started with a busway, moved to light-rail and may well move back to a busway again.

        5. Actually the decision not to build a busway on the Northwest does go back to the ARC days. They were so focussed on getting the western rail upgraded that they actively blocked the NW busway concept. Thought it would detract from their ‘proper’ project for the west. You can guess who was in charge of the ARC at the time.

        6. So essentially, advocates for the sustainable modes can work together for a balanced, complementary network, or they can poison the ground for any underfunded mode other than their preferred one, producing an ideal environment for road expansion.

  5. Year of delivery. LOL.

    What has the CoL delivered? Not much apart from numerous working groups.

    The money spent on them could easily have funded the third main or electrification to Pukekohe.

    1. For once, I agree with you. There are plenty of other PT projects, especially on the rail network, that could use the $400-500 million now supposedly going into more roads. Twyford needs to front up and explain exactly what is going on with light rail and why it is being delayed into the never never. Or take it off NZTA and give AT the green light. AT have a track record now of getting things going. NZTA just seems to want endless business cases.

      1. National just do not need smear campaigns.

        They don’t need Simon predicting the end of civilization for every initiative the government bring.

        They definitely do not need the repulsive Paula Bennett.

        They don’t need to do anything because they’ve been gifted the terminally hapless, utterly useless Phil Twyford and he will single handedly sink his own government, and his fellow colleagues dont seem to know it!

  6. Phil Twyford has a good grasp of the issues but has struggled to find a way to enable the solutions. This is due in no small part to him struggling to get things past Treasury and the middle managers in NZTA who are still actively fighting against any form of mass transit solution in favour of building roads. These people should lose their jobs and be replaced with “doers” who understand why roads don’t work to solve congestion, or indeed reduce our carbon footprint.

    1. Twyford was sunk because he is part of the soft pink neoliberal government of Jacinda Ardern and the rest of the middle class managerialists and careerists of her cabinet, not the hard nosed socialists his rhetoric demanded.

      Twyford’s failure is a cautionary tale for anyone who talks a big game, gets into power and faces massive institutional inertia, truculence and downright obstructionism from the politicised feifdoms that nominally “public” departments like NZTA have become. They’ve called his bluff and basically humiliated him by showing that they, and not the minister, call the shots if they want to. And the shots they’ve called is to hunker down and wait in the hope Labour gets turfed out and the nice, cosy arrangement where the National party takes “donations” from the roading lobby to build the roads that NZTA thinks it should be is restored.

      1. I agree with your second paragraph, not the first as it doesn’t take a socialist government to realise that mass transit and housing for the poor are beneficial to the whole of society and the economy. It just takes a government with some vision and understanding that the way things have been done is precisely the way they should not be done going forward.
        National, as you point out, exist solely for the benefit of themselves and their lobbyist donor mates and have proven themselves time and again to have no vision beyond the next election cycle.

      2. It’s a high risk game they are playing. Labour are still odds on to form the next government and Twyford has already opened up the option of completely bypassing the NZTA for light rail by going direct to the super fund.

        1. I’m pretty sure that nobody believes the NZ Super proposal will go anywhere. What’s been publicly announced is absolutely nuts and fails to address millions of dollars worth of studies advising on surface running LR.

          I think that Mr Twyford was goaded/suckered into entertaining it and in doing so played into the hands of the retrograde NZTA senior managers and their anti-rail proclivities.

          At this point Mr Twyford needs to have a private chat to Jacinda, get her approval to do so, then go ball-breaking at NZTA. Find who is the manager in charge of failing to deliver LR and very publicly fire him for whatever reason works. He then needs to say very publicly that this is a high priority task for the govt and that they’ll be watching the successor to Mr/Ms/Mrs X very closely.

          Basically, he’s too nice and is being steamrolled. Time to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and be all out of bubble gum.

        2. Not sure I agree. Maybe there just isn’t much general enthusiasm for the proposal. It sinks billions into areas that mostly already have nearby rail transport, while completely missing those areas that don’t. If it were an all-of-Auckland proposal then maybe there would be wider general support for it, but it isn’t.

        3. The only areas near the airport light rail that already have rail are onehunga (one train every half hour) and Mt Eden (Which isn’t really Mt Eden it’s almost a city stop).

        4. That’s nonsense, the areas the LRT will traverse are almost completely devoid of rail transport. Compare this with Sydney where LR is being built alongside an existing heavy rail network Auckland can only dream about.

        5. To clarify I don’t think the NZ superfund proposal will be successful but it is a pretty clear signal to the NZTA to get things in place by a certain date.

          Tonight’s announcement about the NZTA board confirms Twyford has his eyes on the organisation and doesn’t back up your claim that he is too nice and being steamrolled.

        6. Yes the new board members look like just the people to get a mass transit solution advanced. At the very least Victoria Carter and Patrick Reynolds understand the issues.

        7. @ Jezza – Yeah, in light of the announcement I have to agree.

          I’m still disappointed that it’s taken so long and can’t help but feel betrayed by the postponement of the LRT plans.

        8. I’m all for the postponement, as it provides an opportunity for this project to be reassessed so that light rail goes to a lot more places and serves a lot more people. For too long we have tolerated a city of public transport haves and have-nots.

        9. David – I don’t see why the existing proposal would need to be postponed to develop a larger network. The need a for a wider motorway network didn’t stop the first bit of motorway in Auckland being built in 1950.

          The last thing we need is another reason to delay the beginning of what will hopefully be a much larger LR network in the future.

        10. Exactly Jezza, get the spine built now. Then we have a Bus, LRT and Heavy Rail network which other branches etc can be plugged into.

        11. Good point jezza; however what you describe is already happening. Light rail as part of a larger project that covers all parts of Auckland has been postponed in favour of the current proposal that serves only a few. I see this as an opportunity to fix that and finally show some resolve when it comes to reducing our carbon emissions.

        12. But light rail should never have being a large project it should have being stage one of something which in the distant future would possible be a large project. In hind sight Twyford should have given Auckland transport enough money to build a modest tram from Wynard quarter to K road to replace the bus which currently runs. See how that worked out then plan the next section. That is why I am very critical of Twyford and Goff. They have just made it super political and we have achieved absolutely nothing. Keep the final outcome in minds so that nothing is done to make the long term plan impossible or difficult. An example of that would be the removal of the rail over bridge ove Neilsen street in
          Onehunga.

        13. David – Dominion Road was always likely to be the first section of a light rail network that was built, there is nothing in any announcements or work done in the last couple of years that has changed that.

        14. Dominion Rd is absolutely not a priority – people in that vicinity enjoy the cheapest and the most frequent public transport in Auckland. Give the rest of Auckland the same frequency and the same fares first. I genuinely believe that equity must count for something, and that we can do better than to say that certain favoured suburbs must always come first.

        15. David – Dominion Road residents have the same fares and similar frequencies to those on Onewa Road. Dominion Road is however much cheaper as it doesn’t require an expensive tunnel or bridge to make it viable. So yes it is higher priority.

          Which part of the LR network would you build before Dominion Rd?

    2. He has a terrible grasp of the issues. The dude wants to make Hamilton a suburb of Auckland. Not a commuter town (which would be bad enough) but an actual suburb with a contiguous built form with Auckland.

      If it was remarkable that his career recovered from Chinese Sounding names, it was odd that he didn’t get the boot after the aeroplane scandal, down right bizarre that he was kept around in anything after KiwiBuild and a damning indictment of the current government that he’s still got as much power as has now.

      These failures are entirely predictable. They were evident at least as far back as April last year where I originally said he’s “got to go” in the comments here. And if I hadn’t seen the problems coming before then? Well, I’ve already got pretty strong prescription for myopia… what’s everyone else’s excuse?

      1. Lol. So many points of failure throughout the entire sector, we all spot different things, and find it hard to pin the blame on any one organisation, team or individual. In different circumstances (eg imagine if predatory delay wasn’t the M.O. for particular teams) many of the people who’ve not succeeded might have been fine.

        1. Consider soccer, for a minute. It’s a great example because it’s a reasonably complex system whilst ultimately being simple enough to be comprehensible without extensive study.

          Obviously one of the key issues is that managers get sacked all the time for what appears to be issues created by the players (there was an infamous example with Chlesea a few seasons back). And in this context we might profitably compare Wenger’s last season with Arsenal and Zidane at Real Madrid now.

          In principle, neither Wenger nor Zidane were/are in “sack him” territory based on results. A large part of their then/current troubles are rooted in expectations rather than realities. However, Wenger had given absolutely no signs that he had some kind of response to those conditions. People felt that “the game” had passed him by and he was predictable (if not tactically naive). There were a lot of other issues going on, but Wenger looked to have evolved into an institution. With Zidane things are early enough that it’s not clear if there are structural factors affiliated with the person.

          Twyford is much more Wenger than Zidane. Not only does he have no store of credibility from the recent past, but the very way he thinks and acts appear ill-suited for the challenges in front of him.

          I’ve said elsewhere that the way he thinks about sprawl is the same paradigm that caused him to back house buyers. He has a very, very simplistic model of supply and demand in his head that is quite simply unsuitable for the roles. Location is one of the biggest things he doesn’t think about.

          Of course, I loathe Twyford as a human being which surely has to have something to do with the negativity of my expectations but everything that’s happened with him (perhaps not the aeroplane scandal) has always looked like a logical consequence of the way he thinks. It’s very different to people who fail due to averse structural patterns or too complex systems.

        2. Two comments = obsession does it?

          Two comments every couple of months = obsession?

          Get some perspective, Grant

          Either comment in the ideas or don’t post. Pretty sure that’s the logic of the user guidelines…

        3. ‘Get some perspective, Grant’

          From the guy that just wrote an essay on a person he ‘loathes as a human being’

        4. When you say that you ‘loathe someone as a human being’ it is hard to take any specific criticisms you make of him seriously.

        5. To Heidi’s point… possibly. But one really should bother checking. Regardless this is by far the most anti-Twyford comments section in GA I can recall… which might lead to a confusion of how many critics he has if someone isn’t as critical. Everyone usually thinks they’re in a majority except when they’re extremely clearly not.

          (Does Grant support Twyford though?)

          As to the other two… I’m sorry the notions of being honest, giving readers /all/ the relevant information they should have and generally bothering to go beyond the top-line conclusion are so alien you think them points of criticism.

          It’s when people hide what they’re /really/ saying that you shouldn’t take them seriously. After all they’re /not/ being serious. Manipulative and likely to succeed in those manipulations, yes, serious, no.

          (And they succeed because precisely because people think signs of seriousness are points of criticism.)

          But enough of this… like Grant we’re all walking miles away from the point. I’m really not that interesting guys.

        6. “Could be Grant mistook you for another W– name who has commented many times on the subject?”

          Whoops apologies Whirlsler, yes was a late cranky night comment directed more at Waspman…scrolling up to the first “W” commenter on his bad form. A number of people seem to be blaming the one person Phil Twyford, when it’s more complex than that. After all, we are all human. Let see what happens with the new NZTA board members appointed now given time.

      2. I totally agree. He doesn’t have a clue. He gets swayed by international examples of urban form and transport where the context is so different to NZ. For e ample, his daft idea of a continuous urban area between Auckland and Hamilton is modelled on a sub-regional area of Germany.
        He’s a neo-liberal is socialist drag.

  7. Concerning notes about Mr Newman – Big shame he seems to want to maintain the status quo for the south rather than aspire for change.

    The NW cycle way or city based infrastructure is too far away from any potential users in the South, and there is no existing piece of infrastructure to use as an example of how good / safe cycle facilities promote use.

        1. A good reminder to those lambasting Twyford for his various failings and seeming inaction, the National Party alternative is and was very, very much worse. Even obvious no brainer projects like Ameti were stuck in limbo under the previous regime. Let’s not get too over the top in our criticism lest we inadvertently bring back that previous regime.

        2. Ah yes, the illusion something *may* happen is infinitely better somehow than nothing good happening at all for sure.

    1. “Patrick Reynolds brings a strong knowledge of the integration of transport into urban development and a well-developed understanding of transport systems.” (Beehive Press release).

      “Farcical” (Simon Bridges).

      I dunno, Simon. Selecting someone with an obvious keen knowledge and understanding of transport and urban issues sounds like a good selection idea to me.

      The current (outgoing) board includes:
      Nick Rogers (Auckland) “a geotechnical specialist with expertise in land stability”

      Mark Darrow (Auckland) “is an experienced businessperson and director, specialising in corporate governance…. …He is currently Chairman for…. Armstrong Motor Group and Signum Holdings, and a director for Counties Manukau District Health Board….”

      Sheridan Broadbent (Auckland) “…has been working in executive and governance roles in the infrastructure, technology and energy sectors in New Zealand and Oceania for over 20 years.”

      Leo Lonergan (Wellington) “…Leo is a retired senior executive from the energy industry… …a 36-year career with Caltex and Chevron Corporations…

      Vanessa van Uden (Queenstown) “…Vanessa completed one term as a Councillor on the Queenstown Lakes District Council before becoming Mayor”

      David Smol (Wellington) “…David has over 35 years of experience in New Zealand and the UK in both the public and private sectors. He has worked in the energy sector…”

      Nobody on the current board really seems to have much knowledge of traffic or urban issues, except for Lonergan, who is clearly into selling vast quantities of petrol and diesel….

      1. With all these former board members going on the dole que my question is how much in donations did they deposit into the nats coffers so they could get a cushy job ? .

      2. Another example of stuffing New Zealand boards with people who have no experience in the areas the organisation is involved with? Not quite true, I would expect projects that increase consumption of fuel and the sale of vehicles. Could also explain the Autobahn to nowhere south of Hamilton. Surely it should have been clear that this was the wrong board to deliver a public transport focused program from the start. Possibly explains inertia in getting Labour policy enacted in other government entities too if their boards are populated in the same way.

        1. The same board stuffing has just happened again, this new tranche of nzta board members are obviously political appointments with few, if any, of them with practical experience in transport matters.
          Remember Patrick is a professional photographer and transport blogger and likely a labour supporter.
          AFAIK he has never been employed in a professional capacity in any transport organisation.
          Just as this GA blog leans into Labour (remember MattL supporting the Labour Party West Auckland transport public meeting earlier this year) he is a transport enthusiast with opinions and suggestions. Many support his views but equally many do not.
          Hopefully his appointment will achieve something but I suspect immediate removal if Nats return to govt.
          Does this now mean GA sees Twyford as a rehabilitated decisive transport minister and with one of GA’s own on the board that vitriol toward nzta will be diluted to polite suggestions. Or will future nzta bashing simply move down to employed management level with accusations of tenured managers deliberately stymieing the board and transport minister’s plans?

        2. Patrick Reynolds knows a truckload more about transport that virtually the entire board of Auckland Transport and most of the outgoing board of NZTA. They are lucky to have him.
          The only shame about his appointment is that he could probably do more good if he was appointed to the board of AT. But knowing about transport seems to automatically disqualify people for that position.

        3. Christine R, I suspect the answer to your question regarding criticism of NZTA lies in the very real possibility that we might finally see some change coming out of the organisation with a fresh new board in place. Patrick’s a great appointment, but if the end result is more of the same then they won’t be immune to further scrutiny.

        4. ‘Just as this GA blog leans into Labour’

          Pretty sure it leans to whoever supplies adequate Transport of all modes to the people of Auckland..but if the shoe fits..

        5. Christine for the record. I have never been a Labour party member or member of any party for that matter. I have also spoken at events organised by parties across the political spectrum including those by ACT. We support good policy not party ideology.
          Of course it is notable that some of those who criticise us the most (including making up conspiracies involving us) have very close ties to political parties and politicians.

          As for the minister, only time will tell. We’re certainly not impressed by his indulgence of the silly superfund proposal.

        6. Matt, thanks for reaffirming your apolitical stance.
          I look forward to your posts and appreciate this blog does call out failure and silliness with transport issues in Auckland.

  8. What a nonsense comment from Christine R. The fact that Patrick Reynolds has been a professional photographer is entirely irrelevant. Furthermore he does not belong to any political party.
    He has made himself an expert on urban issues through extraordinary application and has lectured at the University of Auckland Architectural School. His father was an architect in a prominent firm and the family were involved in urban and design issues on a daily basis throughout his lifetime. He has been on transport panels at numerous appropriate seminars and has always performed most creditably. Above all he understands urban issues which past NZTA Boards have failed to understand.
    NZTA need to be involved in NZ’s national transport policies in all modes, not just as road builders.
    I have high hopes that Patrick will bring important new thinking to the Board.
    As a conservative I find that Simon Bridges comment of “farcical” shows a lack of understanding of the properly needed function of the NZTA Board which for a former Transport Minister, is to say the least, most unfortunate.

  9. If you look above to GuyM comment you can see that each of current board members have their experience and position/employment outlined.
    Not so in the beehive press release concerning Patrick Reynolds. No employment info or previous positions held.
    I was merely filling out the facts that he is a professional photographer and a transport enthusiast. What is wrong with the truth?
    I leave it to others to determine if this is relevant for an nzta board member. Clearly Simon Bridges does not.

    1. Christine R. In stating that Patrick Reynolds was a professional photographer you also inferred he was an unsuitable appointment. You also inferred that he is likely to be a lefty.
      It doesn’t really matter what party people belong to so long as the best decisions are made with regard to urban design and transport matters and many people clearly believe that there needs to be considerable change of direction from the past as evidenced by the continuing responses to posts in this blog.

      Simon Bridges had his chance to change transport emphasis and clearly didn’t do so.

      1. To be fair much of Simon’s transport policy was consistent – I remember that he wanted to put EVs (which largely we don’t have) onto bus lanes which largely we don’t have.
        I wonder if they will run a transport policy into the next election that takes no account of climate change?

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