On Monday it was announced that Michael Wood would be our new Minister of Transport. From what I know of Michael he’ll be a great fit for the role.

Before getting into his appointment, just a few quick comments on his predecessor, Phil Twyford. Twyford has faced substantial criticism of his handling of his portfolios over the last term, most notably with Light Rail and Kiwibuild. While there have clearly been issues with those, I do think he has a better job of delivering on other, less high-profile but more wonky and possibly more important policies that will shape our cities for years to come. A couple of those that spring to mind are the revisions of the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS), the amended Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP), including actually funding it, and the National Policy Statement on Urban Development which supercharges urban development around rapid transit stations.

Back to Wood, there was quite a bit of excitement in urbanist social media on Monday following his announcement. To start with it’s great that he’s an urban MP from Auckland, and prior to becoming an MP he was on the Puketapapa local board so has a good understanding of transport issues at local levels. Positively, he (and his family) are also regular users of public transport and he’s not afraid to get around on a bike (including in a suit). He has also long supported projects like Light Rail and Skypath, for example light rail was a key feature of his platform in the 2016 by-election to replace Phil Goff and he was Labour’s transport spokesman in 2017 to announce they would fund Skypath. His profile on Labour’s website even says:

He also has a particular interest in Auckland’s urban development and is a keen supporter of more high-quality affordable housing, and rapid public transport in his electorate and across the city.

Stuff’s Thomas Coughlan has written a piece about him.

He’s also a believer in induced demand, the idea that building more roads doesn’t always relieve congestion as it often encourages people to drive more.

The other big ticket item on Wood’s list is what to do with Auckland’s light rail system. Labour promised to have the rail line between Britomart and the Airport partly built by now. Instead, the Government hasn’t even selected what it wants to build let alone who is going to build it.

Twyford kicked the project back to the Ministry of Transport earlier this year for more work, promising the Government would get more advice after the election.

Light rail is personal for Wood. Labour first announced its commitment to light rail during the 2016 Mt Roskill by-election in which Wood won his seat. And, when completed, it will run right through the middle of his Mt Roskill electorate.

….

Despite the pressure, Wood says he’s not going to rush a decision on light rail.

“Light rail is a multi-billion dollar decision. It will be a 50-100 year piece of infrastructure in our biggest city, so we’re not going to be rushed into making a decision,” Wood said.

You can also see he understands many of the issues with tweets like this one.

And then there’s this, it sounds like that child is being raised well.

And we’re not going to see change with the GPS

Wood said he’d be making no changes to one of Twyford’s last big actions as Transport Minister – the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS).

….

“I’ve gone through the GPS in great detail and I think it’s a great piece of work that embeds the progress we’ve had in transport over the last three years,” Woods said.

As we’ve increasingly seen, the challenge is now not the policy but getting that policy delivered. That challenge is going to be added to by the fact that costs in the transport sector are increasing, especially on public transport in a post-covid world, but also that traditional transport revenue is down as fewer people travel.

On the other side of the coin, he’ll also be the Transport Minister that gets to open projects like the Puhinui Interchange, the Eastern Busway and the Northern Busway Extension.

We’re looking forward to seeing what he does with the portfolio.

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94 comments

  1. Such a relief to have a government appointing transport ministers who actually live in the city and understand it. A contrast to the previous government, whose transport ministers either hated Auckland and rubbished every attempt to improve it (Brownlee) or who lived on a lifestyle block and saw the city as a thing you drive through as fast as possible (Joyce).

  2. A big test for @michaelwoodnz will be if he can apply his multi-modal and urban development principles to NZ’s 2nd biggest city -Christchurch -which is stuck in the roads-only urban development model.

    1. I’m sorry Brendon but as long as Christchurch has such an abundance of empty lots that they allow to be used for parking, Christchurch will never be anything else. The direction was set and its baked in for a generation now. Welcome to Auckland circa 1990.

      1. Yes I have written and spoken in public meetings about the gravel car parks of the CBD -12% of land compared with only 23% of land being buildings. The solution is to switch to a land value rating system for the CBD. This was suggested in the Q&A session by Axel Wilke one of speakers in the recent Supercharging Urban Development in Ōtautahi/Christchurch event. Reportedly it received spontaneous applause.

        1. I propose those fenced gravel areas are turned into green-space. If you’re not building on it anytime soon, or using it for commercial purposes, you should be required to make it a publicly accessible green space – mowed grass field, as a minimum. it would transform the city quite quickly.

  3. The big transport issues for me are the age of our motor vehicle fleet which is associated with our rapidly falling behind on the switch to EVs and the associated infrastructure rollout, the glacial time it takes for AT/NZTA to deliver on basic cycling and walking infrastructure and the need forus to urgently extend/build new busways. A light rail rollout is a nice to have compared to those.

    1. Agree.
      There’s still waaaay too much concentration on large CAPEX projects that take years to complete, and not enough concentration on the emissions coming from a rapidly ageing fleet of imported cars. The government needs to follow the Australian Federal lead an have a heavy cutoff point for bringing in vehicles older than 15 years. Or even 10 years.
      I’m totally pleased with the Government appointment of Woods, and delighted that he supports light rail.
      But it’s never going to be where most New Zealanders are. The Government needs to prioritise whole-of-NZ fleet renewal.

      1. Emissions from a a fifteen year old Mini are going to be a better than a brand new ute; the problem with arbitrary cut-offs is that they’re arbitrary.

        We do have a cut-off effectively anyway – it’s 20 years. Older than that tends to be more used by the enthusiast community to bring in the high performance modern classics – they could be governed by a revamped SIV system with a kilometre-limited license (most classic insurance policies are driven by this anyway so it would simply be aligning regulations with something that already exists in the market). The current SIV system is not really fit for purpose; from memory it requires you to own a vehicle before you have can to apply for exemptions to register it.

      2. Yes, new infrastructure doesn’t do much for emissions control. https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/121502497/why-aucklands-transport-billions-might-not-move-the-climate-change-dial and https://transport2030.org.nz/

        It makes sense: induced demand means that the new infrastructure won’t reduce emissions that much.

        I also did some back of the envelope checks on the abatement costs for the CC2M and it can run to thousands of dollar per tonne. By comparison the abatement costs for sheep and beef conversions are about $20 per tonne.

  4. The advertisement on TV has the father waiting anxiously for his young daughter to walk to the dairy to buy some milk.
    He is so lazy that he wouldn’t go with her. He is typical of those who wouldn’t support bikeways and PT.

    1. I think you’re missing the point of the ad there…. it’s about them letting their child off the leash so to speak and giving them a task to do so that they can achieve something by themself.
      I’ll agree it is a weird ad though and when I was a child it was normal to do those sorts of things.

      1. Very few students walk or bike to school. The roads are congested with parents and children.
        We need to work towards students living close to school and walking or biking with their friends and feeling safe with others

  5. One concern is that he may not be used to the kinds of opposition, name calling, harassment, etc that he is going to receive if he pushes for increased cycling, walking, PT. Its pretty easy being MP for Mt Roskill where you don’t get anti change groups opposing everything, but getting light rail down Dominion Road through Mt Eden and taking away precious car lanes will not be popular at all with a lot of people. Maybe that is why Twyford pushed for underground.
    I think a good tactic would be for Wood to be a quiet performer. You don’t hear much from him but before you know it there are diggers on Dominion Road.

    1. Under promising and over delivering is a lesson all of Ardern’s Ministers are probably thinking about… Or maybe it is the swan analogy – serene above water, furious leg work out of sight under the water – that they are thinking of applying.

    2. As someone who lives in the Mount Eden part of Dom Road, I’m super pissed it’s not even off the drawing board yet. We use busses up this end too!

      The removal of parking is a pretty dodgy claim for complaint, given the bus lanes are nearly continuous already. AT should immediately stop letting people park in them in the middle of the day, and all the fight will have gone by the time LR is ready.

      The parking issues only really affect the shopping areas at Mount Roskill, Balmoral and Valley Road, all of which already have some parking in side streets or behind the stores. It’s not insurmountable. Countdown Mount Eden recently bought a piece of vacant land on Dom Road, and turned it into another entrance to the main supermarket carpark. It could equally have been purchased as a carpark for the local stores.

  6. I had vaguely heard of him but if you had of asked me I would have said he was in the National party. Anyway I wish him all the best and if he could clarify how the light rail will get across the harbour from Onehunga to Mangere Bridge at his earliest convenience I would be grateful. I waited for three years but no joy from his predecessor but all I got was an alphabetic soup of GPS and ATAP and NLTP etcs etcs.

    1. Why on earth did you waste a minister’s time with that question? The answer’s been available in documents for a number of years.

    2. So why are we building a walking and cycling bridge and then we have to build a separate light rail bridge when we could have had a combined bridge. Absolute genius which started when the rail wasn’t built down to Onehunga port and then continued with the removal of the Neilsen street rail overbridge what a complete ballsup of the planning process. No amount of alphabetical soup rearranging our planning process will be able to fix this. New Zealand we have to do better.

      1. There’s unlikely to be a rail bridge across the Manukau Harbour for at least another ten years, to have built them at the same time would have delayed a pedestrian and cycling bridge for years.

      2. Because a combined bridge would be hundreds of metres away, wouldn’t work well for pedestrians and wouldn’t be open for another ten years. Either that or you’d be bending the rail line sideways over to where the footbridge is then bending it back again.

        I don’t get why people think combining two different things together somehow makes it better. You just end up with a complicated expensive design that is master of none.

        There is already a combined bridge with the motorway, look how well that works for pedestrians, cyclists and fishermen.

        1. How is the existing motorway bridge working for pedestrians and cyclists? Where do they go? I’ve never seen anything other than cars, trucks and buses on that road.

        2. AH – there is a pedestrian/cycle path underneath the western lanes of the motorway bridge. It’s not the nicest path, but NZTA have actually done a pretty decent job of lighting it and making it nicer, while the old pedestrian bridge is out of action.

        1. “From 1993 to 2016, global sea-level rose at an average rate of about 3.4mm per year.”

          I really doubt that.

      1. Yes the city-central isthmus-mangere-airport corridor has 400,000 people living in it, if you include the city centre and count a broad corridor from the feeder catchment (I.e the areas closer to the proposed train line than one of the existing ones)

        1. Problem is if you walk more than 15 minutes you have probably crossed Sandringham Rd or Mt Eden Road where you would just get a bus. Counting the CBD is like claiming those people as part of the catchment of Ameti or the Silverdale extn of the Northern Busway. Clrearlt the dude was selling something.

        2. Sure, on the inner isthmus that’s true, toward the Centre st least. But once you get south of about Mt Albert road there is still a very large catchment stretching back to blockhouse bay and lynfield that have only long, slow and variable bus trips to get anywhere useful.

          City centre is fair because the corridor goes to a dozen different destinations, not least the airport area. Take a look at the counterpeak patronage on the northern busway or the western line if you disagree.

        3. Let’s also not forget that with a project of this size it would make sense to increase the allowed density nearby through changes to the zoning in the Unitary Plan.

        4. Ok so sounds like he’s leaning on the scales a bit, should probably say 200,000. Still a very large catchment of course, and in a couple of decades it could be up to 400,000.

        5. That’s still an impressive catchment, the entire former North Shore City is around 250,000 and there are plans to spend billions on a tunnel.

        6. Timmy it would be more realistic to exclude anything west of Sandringham Rd and east of Mt Eden Road and anything more than a 15min walk south of SH20. Onehunga already has a train and really it will only be useful in Mangere for a 15 min walk either side. My guess is it will max out at 100,000 and maybe fewer than 80,000.
          What tool are you using to get the SA maps?

        7. Its a connective network plan miffy, with bus feeders from south of SH20. Some people may want to stay on the bus the whole way but most will elect to save themselves 15 to 20 minutes. Likewise with Sandrigham and Mt Eden roads, a large proportion of the overlap would head to the quick and reliable rail in preference of sitting in traffic on new north road and symonds street.
          Same arguments we heard with the rail upgrade, who is going to both with the train out west and south when there are buses on all those streets already?

          Onehunga has one short train every half hour, very few people would describe that as “frequent, reliable high-capacity public transport “

        8. Just had a thought he could of conflated the figure with North West light rail too? Another thought perhaps he doubled 200,000 for daily weekday trips of a normal commute.

        9. Yes Grant I think you are probably right. If you add the Northwest in you start to get some fairly large numbers.

      2. I should have tried harder to answer that myself. Google doesn’t show any estimates of the catchment of the light rail. (Wonder why?) But the population of Auckland is about 1.6million so for him to be right a quarter of the people would have to live within 10 to 15 minutes of Dominion Road or the extended route to the airport. Clearly bullshit.

        1. You might want to look at the residential density of dominion road, Onehunga and mangere. It’s a lot higher than greenhithe.

        2. You are also deliberately ignoring the fact that there is some serious intensification going on along the north-south corridors across the isthmus. The population within walking distance to Dominion Road is going to increase massively over the next 10-15 years and will require major new transport infrastructure to cope with it.

        3. Riccardo if they have to lie about the population in the catchment served then maybe the Dominion Rd project is worse than we suspect it to be. If there was truly a 400,000 walkup population anywhere without a Rapid Transit line then there would be a problem to solve. But there isn’t.

        4. Yes so apparently the whole corridor population is 400,000, and the actual catchment is a mere 250,000 souls. As someone said, that’s still more people than the entire North Shore.

          It’s not just walkup population, rail lines aren’t based on walk up.

        5. And not much walk up to a North Shore rail line… but even the North Shore can organise great walk up to a *network*.

        6. The harbour bridge / North Shore comparison doesn’t work. The congestion delays there are already much worse but it won’t be done for at least ten years.

        7. Light rail is a walk-up catchment. Nobody is going to build a park and ride at Balmoral. Existing bus services can’t be diverted to drive up a light rail line the way they used the busway to build patronage. Nobody in their right mind is going to go past an existing bus route into town to ride on a light rail system that is only as good as buses are. The catchment is nowhere near 250,000, try 80,000 to 100,000, most of who are going somewhere else. If people have to bullshit about this thing to get it started then it is a fair bet it is a dog.

        8. Walk up and I think if it’s decently fast and provided the right facilities, a bike up catchment too. Which expands the catchments a lot.

        9. The perceived reliable speed of heavy rail (notwithstanding the current fricken rail maintenance saga) attracts people from all over – whether it’s connector bus, cycling or parking in nearby backstreets. But light rail is walk up only just because. Thanks for clearing that up your miffness

        10. It’s not a ye olde tram line miffy, its light rail. You clearly don’t understand the proposal, which indeed had a significant bus-rail interchange station designed for each of Mt Roskill, Hillsborough, Onehunga and Mangere. The network is spelled out in the light rail appendix of the Regional Public Transport Plan, it’s online. You can see exactly all the bus routes that were to be converted to feeders, and the extra bus feeders they’ve put on converging at the interchanges.

          If you are referring to the northern busway, that would be the busway with practically zero walk up catchment, and a complete network of feeder buses connecting to a trunk bus pattern that doesn’t leave the main line? The one that has exceptional growth since they pulled out the slow and unreliable direct suburban buses and focused everything on the main line?

          We’ve heard plenty of traffic engineers keep saying how nobody will every use anything based on their old-timey reckons , and yet they keep getting proved wrong.

        11. Is there any accessible summary of which parts of the catchment would have their buses fed onto the light rail and which would retain a direct service into the city? if the catchment did actually take in most of the isthmus there would be a lot of travel time delays with bus diversions and transfers.

        12. Right so they are expecting people from all over to get off their bus, stand around waiting for light rail and transfer just for the privilege of riding along Dominion Road at an average speed of what? Round 30 to 35km/h. Who of sound mind would get off a bus they were already on to ride at bus lane speeds on another mode? I mean the Dominion Rd bit is hardly RTN. The North Shore busway works by going faster than an on-street buslane.

        13. Yes. Given the average speed of buses on the isthmus bus lanes are 15 to 20 kmh, it will be up to twice as fast on the rail and save people ten or fifteen minutes off their overall journey.

          Same reason people “stand around waiting for the busway” at Constellation and Smales Farm rather than catching their local bus down east coast road and Forrest Hill Rd into town like they used to.

        14. Not a hope in Hades you can make a longer trip at the lower speed to get to the light rail, then wait for the transfer and get a 10 to 15min saving in overall journey. Not to mention the perceived penalty of the having to transfer that needs to be added to the actual transfer time. The Dominion Rd section is nothing but a walkup facility with a bunch of poor suckers from the RTN part suffering along for the ride.

        15. Are you so sure? The sandringham Road bus takes 48 minutes to get from stoddard road to queen street in the morning. That’s the timetable on a good day.

          You don’t think you can shave ten mins off with a rail line connection?

        16. I assume that apart from clearing the CBD bus snake, any travel time advantage would really only apply if it was a grade-separated line.

          Maybe the reason why the grade-separated line is being proposed is because the original at-grade proposal didn’t provide much or any time saving relative to the status quo once you factored in the feeder bus diversions and transfers. All the extra billions are a high price to pay for the advantages of a grade-separated service though.

        17. As a slight aside, the current branch ends of the Blockhouse Bay & Lynfield bus services that meet to go up Dominion Rd could just become a service in itself with these people catching the LRT from the Mt Roskill termination/station.

          The other cross town bus routes & (revised) Outerlink I could imagine would stay much the same. Probably would drop the 64 (Valley Rd) post CRL or LRT opening.

        18. Nope, the ground level LRT would be much faster due to to the dedicated corridor, signal priority and direct route.

          Actually if you account for the time it takes to climb

          Mount Roskill shops to the Civic is 6.5km, at ‘only’ 30 to 35km/h average that makes 12 to 13 minutes from mount roskill interchange to the middle of the CBD.

          Grade separated was picked by Twyford because Canadian money lenders somehow convinced him to borrow three times as much money.

        19. Nope, the ground level LRT would be much faster due to to the dedicated corridor, signal priority and direct route.

          Actually if you account for the time it takes to climb in and out of the underground stations, grade separated is no faster than dedicated ground level overall.

          Mount Roskill shops to the Civic is 6.5km, at ‘only’ 30 to 35km/h average that makes 12 to 13 minutes from mount roskill interchange to the middle of the CBD.

          Grade separated was picked by Twyford because Canadian money lenders somehow convinced him to borrow three times as much money.

        20. Yes re the speed advantage (I see our comments posted at same time. I see you are replying to miffy and/or Riccardo). Also people will walk for a longer distance to catch a more quality ride/service (eg right of way or somewhat right of way line, I know I would).

        21. Yes, bar the less often weekday peak express 252/253 services, the current Dominion Rd buses battle through the View Rd/Mt Eden Rd dog leg eventually to Symonds St with University stops etc.

          Lightrail is/was planned to zip along Ian McKinnon & straight down Queen St, likely giving you a K’Rd & Civic Stop.

        22. So, the easiest way to solve the Symonds / Wellesley bus snake would just be to send more Dominion Rd buses down Ian McKinnon Drive.

          I would be interested to see what the design for the at-grade proposal would have looked like to maintain the exclusive right-of-way to deliver 30 to 35 km/h.

        23. Either way you have to turn a pile of buses around to start the return trip. Not sure what the 252/253 currently do once they arrive in the city, do some other route or a return standard 25L or 25B out of the city I guess, but you would have to turn them around or lay them over somewhere. Even with the bus priority getting added to Wellesley etc you will eventually get a problem with patronage increase use they are planning for/expecting. Symonds St will have the Eastern Busway/AMETI 70 etc buses increasing big time once that’s on stream.

        24. That would help in the short term, but doesn’t really solve the snake issue as the same number of buses still end up on the same stops and intersections in the city. The Light Rail works by cutting the number of vehicles significantly.

          The at-grade proposal that achieves 35km/h average looks like this: https://www.interest.co.nz/sites/default/files/feature_images/Light-rail-4_0.jpg

          Despite what the miffys of this world say, this is perfectly common and achievable. You only need to look at Australia. Very similar to Gold Coast and Canberra light rail: continuous dedicated lanes physically separated from traffic by high kerbs, driving on on the tracks banned except for emergency services, cars turning across or crossing the tracks only possible at signalised intersections, where the trains get pre-emptive signal priority like a level crossing.

        25. Yes Take a look at Canberra because it perfectly illustrates the point. Flemington Road ranges in width from 30m to 60m. Northbourne Ave is about 55m wide. At no time does the Canberra light rail traverse a 20m wide road used as a street. Their system crosses a few very large intersections. The only time their system goes anywhere close to a street as narrow as Dominion Road, they have closed all traffic lanes and made it a transit mall.
          The simple fact is a Dominion Road light rail system is slightly better than an old tram system, but only slightly. It would be ideal as a replacement for buses on Dominion Road, but is is totally sub-standard for use as an RTN line serving anything else. Even the previous Minister could see that which is why he was drawn towards the Canadian nonsense.

        26. Sure, I don’t think Canberra has a single road under 30m wide.. but Gold Coast LRT sure does. Look at Nerang Street (22m wide, far narrower than Ian McKinnon) and Queen Street in the north and the central parts of Surfers Paradise Boulevard (Both 20m wide, same as Dominion) on the Gold Coast, just illustrates how Light Rail can work in a range of contexts.

          Transit malls are great, I’d be very keen to see them in three or four places along the line like Gold Coast has.

          I’m not sure why you think a 35km/h average speed is ‘substandard’ for an RTN line. That’s faster than the Western Line, which happens to be New Zealand’s highest patronage rapid transit route.

        27. I thought Narang was 25m to 30m wide. I think the only time they use a narrower street than 25m is when the push the rails to one side. I can’t think of a single example anywhere in the world where they have dual tracks in the centre of a 20m road that is open to traffic and used for shopping where they try to use it as Rapid Transit. In that context it is a local system or distributor. This is the flaw with the AT plan. It made sense as a Dominion Rd system. It never made any sense as a service to Mangere.

        28. I’m not saying I agree with his decisions, but I don’t think Twyford was a complete idiot. I think it is likely he was getting advice that there was some downside or risks with the at-grade proposal.

          If the Ian McKinnon diversion works for a while why not do it and save the cost of the light rail in the meantime.

        29. Riccardo https://goldcoast.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=e22412158dfc4688a1deea1468aeb6a3

          Search 198 Queen Street ( the site you linked to) and use the measurement tool and you will see it is 26.8m wide boundary to boundary. And that is the narrow bit. Go a few metres west to 200 Queen St and the road reserve widened to 32.5 m. Nobody tries to do a light rail in a 20m road reserve unless it is somewhere they want it very low speed or all traffic removed. You simply don’t do that in the ‘rapid transit’ part of your route. This is why there is already a designation to widen Dominion Rd for light rail, the old Auckland City went through that process for a good reason.

      3. Possibly true if you include the whole CBD away from Britomart and all the population out to the airport about 3km either side of the route. Certainly not if you are just counting Dom Rd catchment only.

    1. He’s started fro the right place.
      But that’s not where the argument with public transport is.
      It lies deep within NZTA and MoT. And AT and AC. And NZSuper and Treasury. And the key constructor companies.

      The question for Woods is certainly not whether public transport needs to be done, rather, how to do it. Failure to execute could still cripple this government this term. He needs to show he can deliver, and fast.

      There won’t be any patience this term for yet another ‘fail to execute’ Minister.

  7. I was at a community meeting on East West Link just before the 2017 elections when he showed pretty good understanding of the issue and strongly opposed the project. I really *really* hope that he can axe it once for all, however complicated it is, with the BoI having approved it.

    1. Still the area needs tidying up as long as the don’t disrupt the cycleways along and across the harbour and leave space for the light rail then some redesign of roads need to happen. The northbound 380 bus boxes the compass twice getting from Mangere bridge to Onehunga bus stop.

      1. Redesign of roads is quite different than plonking a huge motorway along the northern Manukau Harbour. Lots can be done with Nielson Street.

        1. That’s the problem, they don’t want to fix the area, they want to build an new motorway.

          Linking Onehunga harbour road to Victoria Street and marking Neilson Street as four lanes the whole way would fix the freight issue overnight. I mean they are talking about a ‘desperate’ need for a motorway for freight when they still have parking up both sides .

  8. The reporting suggests that Phil Twyford became quite enamoured of a grade-separated light metro style solution, as originally proposed by the Canadian pension fund / Super fund proposal. It will be interesting to see what option Michael Wood favours. In the Radio New Zealand interview, he didn’t promise shovels in the ground this term, but if construction has actually started on light rail and Skypath, it makes it much more difficult for a National government to cancel the projects.

      1. Presumably Robertson doesn’t want a project that costs three times and much and takes three times as long to achieve practically the same outcome.

      2. That’s true.
        I personally think that Grant Robertson is turning into one of greatest politicians ever. He’s very capable, knows his stuff, doesn’t get flustered, and did the heavy lifting on the Labour side of things during their first term. Megan Woods is also doing very well I think.

        1. Funny how he was never chosen as leader before Jacinda despite always having those attributes. I think it had something to do with him being gay, how times have changed in the last decade, that wouldn’t be an issue these days.

        2. Didn’t even realize (not that it matters of course). Yes that potentially has held him back slightly one would imagine. Although he doesn’t really ooze that ‘I want to be the leader’ attitude either. In many ways he is a more likeable Michael Cullen.

  9. The other thing is he also holds workplace relations portfolio, hope he delivers some fairy pay agreements to improve pay and better working conditions for bus and train drivers.

  10. Met Michael a few years ago (before he was even an MP!). He was a really nice guy and came across as someone who genuinely wanted to improve Auckland and our country. I think he will achieve much in the next three years. Congratulations to him.

  11. Shame he’s not as pro light rail for Wellington. At least not from that Stuff article which seemed to leave the door wide open for bringing forward the second Mt vic car tunnel.

  12. I’ve followed Michael Wood on Twitter from when he was opposition Transport Spokesperson (IIRC) and yes I agree he seems to know what he is talking about. Certainly would know the local area better than others and combined with Julie (who I didn’t realise this was his wife until the other day) on the local board, this is a great team. I can definitely see light rail, probably surface running, through the isthmus happening now.

  13. Could our new minister reintroduce the feebate scheme so that we start to change the characteristics of the fleet as soon as possible.

    Could he also introduce an emissions test for all vehicles at WOF time that influenced the registration cost of the vehicle. The aim being to reduce the carbon and particulate emissions.

    It is possible that the trams to the airport is not as good a slogan to describe the goal of increasing the availability of public transport however it certainly got things going on public transport to start with. There is nothing wrong with having to change modes along the way between your home and destination but we do need to think in terms of shelter at the transitions. So please try and think about that when implementing these schemes that it is most desirable to manage to get to work dry in the morning even if you get wet on the last leg of the journey home, the shelter for that last leg can come later.
    The transition from bus to train needs consideration especially at stations like Takanini.

    Don’t be distracted by the proponents of free public transport but consider the lowering of fairs or doing away with the mandatory 50% fare recovery especially when it comes to servicing green fields, cos once people start using their cars or feel the need of a second car to live and work then it is hard to wean them from them. cos the use of the HOP card gives very valuable information and a greater measure of control. It also gives a greater information planners. By all means minimize the fares but get the students using HOP cards at an early age.

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