Politicians love the fanfare of announcing big projects and so were likely somewhat taken aback at the lack of enthusiasm from the announcement on Friday of a record $31.4 billion, decade long package of transport funding for Auckland.

The package is the latest iteration of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) and just three years ago we were celebrating the previous version as a huge step forward for transport planning in Auckland. So why is this version considered a failure, put simply, it remains a 2018 plan but in a 2021 world.

For a bit of background, ATAP first emerged in 2016 when Len Brown was mayor as a way of getting the Government and Auckland Council on the same page when it came to the long-term transport strategy for Auckland. Prior to that, the council and government were effectively speaking different languages and couldn’t even agree on basic assumptions, like the level of population growth the city would experience, let alone what to actually build to address that. This had led to the council clashing with the government time and again on transport issues and resulted in much needed projects such as the City Rail Link (CRL) being delayed for years.

Through the first ATAP process the government and council agreed on the assumptions and challenges Auckland faced, investigated various options for addressing those and finally came up with a ‘Recommended Strategic Approach‘, including a high-level, 30-year investment package over time. Perhaps most significantly it publicly confirmed for the first time that we couldn’t build our way out of congestion with more roads with then Transport Minister Simon Bridges saying “we can’t just build our way out of this problem in the long run….. it’s not possible to just keep on adding lanes to the motorways, it becomes more and more expensive for less and less gain“.

There was minor update to ATAP in 2017 to account for higher than originally forecast population growth and the need for ‘mass transit’ (light rail) on Dominion Rd. However, both the original ATAP and this update contained a key flaw in the form of a ‘funding gap’ between what it said was needed and how much funding was expected to be available.

In 2018, with a new Government now in place, ATAP was updated again. This new version was much more detailed than before and focused on just the first 10 years. Most critically it agreed on funding for it rather than just leaving a ‘funding gap’. It also suggested where any additional funding that might arise should be focused. You can see from the high-level investment split that there was a huge focus on rapid transit, as well as decent investment into other key areas:

We were pretty happy with this plan at the time, especially considering where things had been only a few years earlier with endless arguments over City Rail Link timing and funding. This new plan outlined an aggressive plan to improve Auckland’s transport system over the next decade.

Unfortunately, over the past three years key progress has not exactly been as planned with ATAP being undermined through terrible delivery and inconsistent investment decisions.

  • The abysmal lack of progress on light-rail has eaten away at a centrepiece of ATAP 2018, not only delaying any progress on the City Centre to Mangere corridor but also delaying the critically required northwest rapid transit corridor. Relatively minor bus improvements are little more than a consolation prize for the northwest.
  • Auckland Transport has been utterly hopeless when it comes to delivering cycleways, not yet even completing the Urban Cycleways Programme that was meant to be done by mid-2018, let alone getting on with implementing any of their excellent 2017 cycling programme business case, which they’re now revising.
  • Government investment decisions on the NZ Upgrade Programme weren’t consistent with ATAP at all. Instead of bringing forward investment from later in the 10-year period, such as providing extra funding for light-rail or northwest rapid transit – like ATAP had suggested was essential, less important parts of Mill Road were brought forward from later decades and the amount of funding allocated to Penlink was doubled from what was in ATAP.

That brings us to Friday’s announcement at the beautiful Manukau Bus Station. As noted earlier, this new version sees funding over the coming decade increase significantly up to $31.4 billion. A new version of the table above breaks that down.

You’ll see the funding for many of the categories here have increased, which is mainly to deal with the increased costs of projects. The one exception to this is public transport projects (rapid transit as well as bus and ferry), which collectively have reduced by $360 million, almost identical to the $367 million of increased road funding. Though this is apparently somewhat coincidental with the drop mainly due to the phasing of the CRL. Next month the government will make a decision on the way forward for light rail. That will almost certainly require a lot more funding than ATAP currently allocates for it so that figure will go up. Though it does beg the question of why you’d announce a 10-year funding package that excludes one of the most critical projects that will occur during that time.

Below is a map of the projects in the ATAP package.

The main problem lies in that ATAP is an merely evolution of the 2018 version. Meanwhile, the world has changed a lot in three years. We’ve had a global pandemic, new technologies like e-scooters caught everyone by surprise and, at long last, there’s widespread agreement that we actually need to take climate change seriously and dramatically reduce our emissions.

The politicians put a lot of emphasis on reducing emissions using that favourite NZ measure, ‘per capita’.

“For the first time we’re turning around transport emissions rising in Auckland. The ATAP 2021-31 package alone would result of around 13 per cent decrease in emissions per capita when compared with the previous package, and is projected to increase public transport trips by 91 per cent.

“Alongside our recently announced policies to reduce transport emissions, ATAP could help prevent up to 3.3 million tonnes of carbon emissions in Auckland over the next decade. This is a good first step, but we know we have to do more.

But in the detail of the report it notes:

Significant population increase means that while there is a decrease per person, overall emissions increase slightly by 6% when the package is viewed in isolation of other Government and Council policies.

In 2021, with both the council and government having declared a climate emergency, every policy should be actively contributing to reducing our emissions. It’s simply not good enough for ATAP to rely on other policy interventions to do its job for it, especially when the solutions exist and are proven to work, such as reallocating road space to prioritise walking, cycling and public transport.

It’s not hard to see why emissions will continue to increase. Phil Goff praised ATAP, saying:

“ATAP gives a strong boost to public transport. Public transport, walking and cycling will increase over the next decade from 23 per cent to 29 per cent of morning peak trips, which is good news for addressing the problems of traffic congestion and carbon emissions.

Yet the Auckland Climate Plan, unanimously supported by the Mayor and councillors, calls for, by 2030, the following targets:

  • Public Transport mode share from to increase from 7.8% to 24.5%
  • Cycling mode share to increase from 0.9% to 7%
  • Walking mode share to increase from 4.1% to 6%

So 37.5% and that’s across the day, not just during the morning peak like the ATAP figures. Furthermore, the 91% increase in PT trips mentioned appears to be based on a figure impacted heavily by COVID, not what we were achieving prior to March last year. Perhaps one of the reasons PT mode share doesn’t come close to those targets is doesn’t appear to provide enough funding for Auckland Transport’s ‘aspirational’ network and service frequencies, which would see it delivering more frequent and reliable PT services..

In Auckland our agencies so consistently disregard their existing transport plans, policies and strategies you have to wonder why they bother creating them in the first place.

Not everything about ATAP is bad though. One positive to emerge is a trial called the Community Connect programme. This will give those on low incomes a 50% discount on public transport trips. This is great though I hope there is also going to be work to help destigmatise the use of PT by those on lower incomes as far too often the car is seen as a sign of success meaning PT use is lower in the communities that measures like this could help the most. It brings to mind the quote:

“A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation’ – Gustavo Petro, Mayor of Bogotá

Overall, ATAP is simply not aspirational enough and appears to have fallen into the “business as usual” trap at time we need it to be transformational.

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  1. Basically the only positive is the CSC discount. Any reduction in fares in the future should be focussed on the monthly pass amount, rather than individual fares, in order to get people signed up for all you can eat public transport. Otherwise, all the news is depressing as expected

    1. I disagree. Monthly passes make off peak PT free for commuters, they are effectively a subsidy for the rich. We need cheap off peak trips for everyone, not just commuters. Half price off peak for all would be a better policy IMO.

      1. Ok, but we also want people to use PT at weekends, if the marginal cost to so that is zero, you’re far more likely to do so to the point you don’t need 1 car per person

    2. The problem with monthly passes is this:

      “The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

      Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

      But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

      This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”

      HOP used to be worse by the Boots Theory as well because it used to have a top up fee… the more you need to top up, the more top up fees you paid, but it’s the least able to pay more who need to top up more.

      A weekly pass might be more functional.

      Of course, anything to do with fares ultimately comes back to the farebox recovery nonsense.

    3. I really hope they don’t further stigmatise PT use by making the HOP card beep twice for people with a community services card. IIRC that’s what it does if you have a Gold Card and it screams “I’m poor”. Hopefully, they are thoughtful about how this gets implemented.

      1. It doesn’t actually, a millionaire can have a gold card, it screams I am getting a free ride courtesy of the “rich” working commuters.

      2. The point of the double beep and extra light is to let you know, at the time of tag on, what type of fare you’re getting. It has to have lights and noise so that its disability compliant. Would you rather just not know what type of fare you were getting? Make it interesting, like a lottery to see afterwards if your concession was being applied for the last week.

        The student concession for example, expires fairly regularly, so I have personally been alerted to that by the beeping and prevented myself from burning money.

        The double beep applies to all concessions; gold card, student concession, youth concession, and soon to be community services card.

    4. I hope they provide a free hop card to those on CSC -currently the cost of buying and having money sitting on the HOP instead of feeding kids is a barrier

  2. Local authorities throughout New Zealand are currently putting in place transport plans that come no where near the changes needed to decarbonise transport. It is such a wasted effort as they will shortly need to rewrite them all if we are to have any hope of even meeting the weak Climate Change Commission budgets let alone something more ambitious.

    1. I think plans are supposed to prepare for likely changes to legislative and other requirements so I suppose the plans all need to be challenged too.

      Our increasing ability to discuss this hasn’t kept pace with the urgency of the action required.

  3. So, compared to ATAP 2018, overall spend on PT goes down by over $300m and spending on roads goes up by a similar amount. After the Council and the Government have declared a climate emergency.

    ATAP has got worse, not better. What a joke.

  4. Thanks for the analysis, I must say I was hoodwinked on Friday and got excited. Now I’m just frustrated with the spin and mediocrity. So many billions for such little gain.

  5. I drive and bike around Flat Bush, Otahuhu, Mangere, Papatoetoe on main roads and secondary roads. I know the area well.
    There are no potholes and the roads are very high quality. Last night I drove 17km home from Ponsonby on the highway and then on 6 km of secondary roads. There was hardly a bump on those perfect roads all the way.
    Auckland spends too much on roads.

    1. And AT have announced big cuts to their footpath renewal programme (which is really just long overdue maintenance) for footpaths that are in terrible condition but as far as I know no decrease in road maintenance for roads that are almost flawless. A tiny percentage drop in road maintenance would easily pay for the footpath renewals.
      The bullshit meters are really going off aren’t they.
      It actually feel like the most effective transport minister we have had is Simon Bridges!

      1. ouch making simon bridges look good…that hurts. Transmission gully was his ppp baby – $1B asset government will make payments of $3.2B for over 25 years.

  6. The other interesting part of the announcement was a bucket for Kainga Ora to do their Auckland Housing Programme (who’s areas are even included on the map) and the random mention of Middlemore station upgrade !?!

    1. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the Kainga Ora work.

      If that $400 million is intended for “intersection upgrades” then it’s just more of the same emissions-inducing rubbish.

      1. LTNs, bus priority at congested intersections, safe crossings, bike facilities. Future Connect will set priorities.

  7. The funding gap wasn’t a key flaw in ATAP it was the key purpose of ATAP. The funding gap was designed in as a means of chiselling people and telling them they would need to pay more or they would miss out etc. The funding gap was a key purpose of ATAP.

  8. Most of the forecast population growth in Auckland is due to international migration. Simply reduce immigration to the point that population growth does not counteract the per capita reduction in emissions.

    1. And then the economy recesses at the nation’s birthrate is not high enough.

      NZ should be able to handle its levels of immigration. NZ failing to do that handling is the problem, not the immigration.

      1. Besides, those folk will still exist, just overseas and still emmit carbon warming up the same planet from a different country.

        1. Exactly.

          At least in NZ; they’ll have access to contraception and family planning

      2. Using immigration to increase GDP is fool’s gold. Increasing the population doesn’t increase GDP per person, it tends to reduce it due to dilution of capital ie the same physical capital divided by more people.

        Rapid population growth is why we have people sleeping in cars, it is why we have 3rd world illnesses increasing and it is why Sudden Infant deaths have increased in some sectors of the population.

        1. By that theory those gold mining towns that used to have loads of people and now only have a handful must be a great place to live.

        2. “Rapid population growth is why we have people sleeping in cars, it is why we have 3rd world illnesses increasing and it is why Sudden Infant deaths have increased in some sectors of the population.”
          NZ’s poor governmental leadership is why NZ has people sleeping in cars, illnesses associated with developing nations increasing (the term “3rd world” became obsolete 30 years ago) and it is why there have been increases in sudden Infant deaths.

          NZ’s population is low and doesn’t even get that many immigrants, not even in proportion to its existing population size. NZ has just forgotten how to plan and handle considerable numbers of immigrants, probably because unlike most other developed nations; NZ has not seen much other large-scale immigration for about 50 years.
          Development had been left almost entirely in the hand of the private sector (real estate developers), and government sectors & public servants working within them in the past has retracted, and the tax base has remained low so there’s not as much government money as there would be in most other developed nations to pay for it.
          Immigrants are just an easy scapegoat for people who lack the maturity & self-security to concede the problem is with New Zealand and how it’s run.

          And I’ve never heard any economist ever claim that economic growth is easy with a stagnating or declining population. Every nation I’ve ever heard of that saw a declining population also saw a shrinking in its economy, and on a per-capita basis.

        3. Read any Development Economics book you like and you will see that one of the stylised facts is a larger population correlates with lower GDP/person. Japan has seen an increase in GDP/person https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.KD?end=2019&locations=JP&start=1990 despite a steady or declining population. They are getting richer. Who cares about GDP so long as GDP/pp goes up. Yes it is called the developing world now but the term third world diseases is still used for poverty illnesses like rheumatic fever and SIDS. The NZ government spent more than ever on SIDS yet the number among Maori went up due to people having to sleep in cars. They sleep in cars because the population grew faster than housing and richer new NZers bid the price up. Immigration policy is the cause. If it were up to me I would say refugees only until housing is sorted. that would force employers to train people and invest in capital goods rather than go for the cheap option.

        4. “Read any Development Economics book you like and you will see that one of the stylised facts is a larger population correlates with lower GDP/person”
          And which development economics books would those be? Let’s see some titles and authors.

          “Japan has seen an increase in GDP/person https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.KD?end=2019&locations=JP&start=1990 despite a steady or declining population. They are getting richer. Who cares about GDP so long as GDP/pp goes up.”
          And yet when I look at GDP (nominal) per capita; I see a more sorry story:
          Hmm, it seems to begin shrinking within 5 years of their population peaking. And if you read-up about the state of the Japanese economy you’d see stories galore like this:
          The actual fact is that Japan’s Economic future is not looking so rosy, and as a direct consequence of a shrinking population, and there’s a ton of debate amongst the Japanese about changing their immigration laws to avert this.

          “Yes it is called the developing world now but the term third world diseases is still used for poverty illnesses like rheumatic fever and SIDS.”
          I only ever hear certain journalists and politicians using the term “3rd world diseases” and never anyone from the healthcare industry nor from any economics institute. It’s a pretty stupid term considering that Switzerland was a “3rd world country” when the term was relevant.

          “The NZ government spent more than ever on SIDS yet the number among Maori went up due to people having to sleep in cars. They sleep in cars because the population grew faster than housing and richer new NZers bid the price up.”
          Yeah… …thus the NZ government didn’t also spend nearly enough on housing. And what they did spend was wasted on Nick Smith’s dopey scheme (copied from a failure in Sydney) of more cul-de-sac’s of detached housing, with the state houses dispersed amongst private homes that depended on private developments going ahead or them rebuilding some state housing areas with ridiculously LOWER capacity housing like what happened in Pomare Lower Hutt:
          Oh, and other schemes to try and protect the grossly inflated value of housing across New Zelaland.
          Even if nobody still wanted to move to NZ: Chances are that the ridiculous property market in NZ would be forcing people to live from cars and suffer its negative health effects anyway.

          “Immigration policy is the cause. If it were up to me I would say refugees only until housing is sorted. that would force employers to train people and invest in capital goods rather than go for the cheap option.”
          Well it’s not up to you.
          Compared to other developed nations in Europe, North America, East Asia and Australia; New Zealand actually gets bugger-all immigrants! Funny how they manage to cope with their larger numbers and yet maintain high living standards.
          You can scapegoats immigrants all you want; but the shortcomings in NZ and how it’s run will remain.

        5. Well I am glad you are not in charge. You would have the Govt building houses so you could let more people into the country. The Try Todaro and Smith it was the text when I did Stage 3 economics. Why would you care about nominal GDP? It means nothing at all. Wealth is measured by deflated real GDP per person or better still purchasing power parity. Nominal does tell you if people are better off or worse off so be careful trying to mine statistics that suit your purpose. Our goal should be to lift the wellbeing of our population. Using immigration as crack cocaine for the economy isn’t going to do that. The evidence is it creates a housing crisis that leads to misery for the least well off. The winners are business people who don’t have to pay for training. It increases returns to capital at the expense of returns to labour. Oh the definitions of third world changed somewhat during the cold war as you well know. https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/third-world-countries

        6. See N Gregory Mankiw, Macroeconomics, my copy is 5th ed page 203. Reduction in capital per worker due to population increase causes reduction in GDP/person.
          Also see the second table. Japan had a population decline in the period and GDP declined but GDP/person increased faster than the USA which had a population increase. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_consequences_of_population_decline
          The old Solow model also predicts the same effect. A country has fixed levels of farm land, gold mines, fisheries etc. If that country has an increase in population then the capital per person reduces and can only increase through high savings or large capital inflows.
          As I said population growth is fools gold.

    2. ‘Most of the forecast population growth in Auckland is due to international migration. Simply reduce immigration to the point that population growth does not counteract the per capita reduction in emissions.’

      I know right? So obvious but the slaves to exponential growth in all things refuse to accept it.
      It’s funny though. They never seem to tell us what the end game is.

  9. Is a Decade One priority in 2018 now on a 7 year timeline in ATAP 2021?

    Or have we just pushed everything out by another three years while paying a fuel tax and let the Government get away with it, during a climate emergency no less?

    Where are the consequences, where is the urgency, where is the redress?

    1. Oh, there’s my answer, in the table talking about ATAP 2021 – 2031. We’re back at the start of another ten year cycle, not 2021 – 2028.

      So you can delay literally anything by three years and just keep including it in the next tranche of Decade One projects and literally never build anything.

      We’re being swindled by Wellington again.

      1. You seem surprised. This is a three participant game, Govt, Auckland Council and AT. They can each either be devious or above board. There is conflict when one differs from the others. That leaves two stable outcomes: all above board, or all devious. Unfortunately all devious is the Nash equilibrium. Hence ATAP.

        1. I am legitimately surprised. I thought the projects and decades would move with the age of ATAP, and not be on forever-sliding +10 year timeframes. I mistakenly thought that was the point.

          I can’t wait until 2040 until we get our Decade One priority projects delivered on time. I’m guessing they’ll be the same projects that we have now but just rolled over in ATAPs 2021 – 2033.

        2. Would be interesting to look back at the original and see how many of the 1st decade projects are actually going to be delivered on time (or at all). My guess is none.

      2. “We’re being swindled by Wellington again”
        So shots called by MP’s from Auckland, elected by Aucklanders and working for Auckland’s interests are somehow “Wellington”…

        1. No, “Wellington” is the unelected mess of civil servants who have managed to strangle progress in Auckland despite all those things you mentioned.

        2. “Unelected civil servants”… …who hail from all over the country (including Auckland) with expertise and who’re struggling to do their jobs after having their numbers reduced by a previous government who pandered to voters who think that they’d get better service with less servants. And who still ultimately have to take orders from those elected MP’s from Auckland.

          A nice convenient scapegoat instead of taking responsibility for Auckland’s own balls-ups.

        3. “A nice convenient scapegoat instead of taking responsibility for Auckland’s own balls-ups.”

          Apologies to all those Government departments who have definitely not made any mistakes at all during the Light Rail planning or procurement process, because this guy says so.

        4. “Apologies to all those Government departments who have definitely not made any mistakes at all”
          “Mistakes” that exist… …on the basis that this guy says so.

    2. Any item not in year 1 or 2 of a 10 year plan are not ever going to get done – new passion projects come up and get put to the top of the pile of the next 10 year plan. 10 Year plans are supposed to be… 10 year plans, but are in reality just ‘short term plans for stuff we care about and some filler that would be good but we don’t ever actually intend to deliver’.

  10. I think per captia isn’t a bad way to measure it.
    Because our population is growing from immigration we are taking emissions from elsewhere in the world, and adding it to ours. If we decrease our per capita emissions to at least be lower than wherever they were coming from then its a net win for the world and global warming, which is after all the goal.

    But if we measure our emissions as per capita then we need to compare it to per capita emissions for other countries too. None of this apples to oranges.

  11. Did I have this correct, they have the $$$ for roads but not for the cycleway, walkway and PT? Then the priority is clearly wrong.

  12. Nice smooth newly Bitumen roads means traffic uses less fuel and less pedal power. They have just relayed Station Road Papatoetoe so I expect to see many bikers taking advantage of the smoothness.
    The map of projects is useful maybe Matt.L can pin it to the front page of Greater Auckland so its easy to refer to and chart if progress is being made.
    As well as the light rail not being on the list neither is the East West link. I suppose they go hand in hand at least in the thinking of the Ministry of Transport and the Waka Kotahi. I wonder who actually owns the land that cycleway from Onehunga Port to Hugo Johnston Drive is located on. You know I happened to be passing the entrance to the Metroport the other days there were container trucks stacked back both ways on Neilson Street and also trying to get back out. Apparently there were 400,000 container movements between the Port of Tauranga and Metroport in the past year and then there’s all the other traffic that moves on other rail services . I suppose something will have to be done sooner rather than later. Could we have a truck only East West link.

    1. Please no more roads. Kiwi rail is very busy at Westfield and is taking an increasing number of trucks off the road.
      An E-W link is not needed and would be very destructive to Onehunga, the environment and the Inlet. Build busways and bikeways. The court hearings to seek approval were secret and wrong.
      That E-W link, if National had their way, would have been the worlds most expensive road per km.

  13. This is what you get with a strategic plan but no strategy. Lots of money and time developing a plan that doesn’t achieve much.

  14. I don’t know what some of you are complaining about.
    There’s still plenty to be happy about. The Eastern Busway, steps towards the north-Western busway, cycleway in Grey Lynn, the third main between Quay park & Wiri, net stations between Papakura & Pukekohe.

    1. I guess the complaints are that a supposedly transformational government don’t seem to be transforming much at all in terms of transport. This ATAP document is pretty much just the old one with all the dates pushed back another 3 years.

      1. No I feel like the sinking cruise liner analogy is still apt here. Only boomers can really afford it, it’s really miserable but no one wants to admit it and the people in charge are basically just hopping from one outbreak of norovirus to the next outbreak of Covid with little real ability to influence the chances of either one happening. Sounds like an appropriate analogy for life in Auckland in 2021.

  15. What about the other 3.3 million who live in the remaining 15 regions of NZ?

    Why can’t they have an integrated bus, ferry and rail public transport system covering there regions. Its not about the city ‘state’ of Auckland.

      1. Honest question:
        Did you really expect anyone to built a light rail line to Massey? When there isn’t even a busway yet?

        Or is this just a convenient moaning point?

        1. Actually, yes. Because NZTA chose to build over the entire corridor when rebuilding the NW motorway, the narrow footprint that LRT allows is a really important note.

        2. +1, you can get an LRT line in about 7.5m including the safety barriers on either side. You need about 12m for a busway. This means that LRT could be built without further reclamation in midblock sections.

        3. What has this claim (allegation) about the NZTA building over an entire “corridor” or whether LRT could be built got to do with any of you believing Phil Twyford & the Labour party’s pledges to get one built?!
          There are plenty of things that “could” happen, and none of that possibility is relevant to people believing political spin and promises.

        4. You made this statement and I was replying to it with the reason why I believed we’d be getting on with LRT rather than waiting for the busway first. I’m looking at it purely from a logical POV, not political. What more, I’ve been pretty scathing of Twyford in the past but at the end of the day, he wasn’t the transport minister when the decision was made to rebuild the NW motorway without a busway. I was at most of those CLG meetings back in 2012 and questioned NZTA staff about this very point. “The bus shoulder lanes will be sufficient”.

          “Did you really expect anyone to built a light rail line to Massey? When there isn’t even a busway yet?”

        5. Well I really can’t see your logic in expecting anyone to build a light rail to Massey on the basis of a former corridor and some cheap pork-barrel promises.

          Building an LRT, and skipping a busway first, would take considerable funding and time from the studies to its completion, about 4-5 years.

          To be honest with you; it shocks me that anyone sincerely took Twyford’s promises seriously.
          When I first heard them my immediate thought was “this is nonsense”.

        6. Are you suggesting every City in the world that has Light Rail only built this because they built it on the top of a previous busway.

          I’m a bit lost at your thoughts on Light Rail or just Transport in general Daniel. It seems your theory is that nobody should believe anything that a Government says if its transport related and people should just kinda be happy and content if something/anything that is built or rolled out.

        7. Yeah WTF? As far as I know there is only one city in the world that has actually directly converted a busway to light rail, Ottawa. And hundreds of cities that have build various forms of light rail.

          Sure those mostly supplanted or replaced bus or tram lines, but the northwestern motorway already has 40 buses an hour on it at peak times.

        8. Building an LRT system on this corridor is likely to be *cheaper* than building a busway. Busway lite, on the other hand, is possible with a few stations and the bus shoulders.

    1. “Why can’t they have an integrated bus, ferry and rail public transport system covering there regions.”

      Their elected officials have opposed it. Wellington could have had HOP 9 years ago but refused. Several DCs around Waikato and the RC in Canterbury have repeatedly opposed any start up of rail services.

      At least some of the regions have finally adopted integrated ticketing.

      1. Sailor Boy – I was referring to urban, semi rural, rural, regional and inter-regional ‘turn & travel’ bus, train and ferry services not a national ‘tap & travel’ payment/ticketing system.

    2. Kris, over 60% of projected population growth in the whole of NZ over coming decades is in the Auckland region alone.

      If the rest of the country gets more than 40% of infrastructure investment then we are not fairly building to meet actual need, are we?

      1. And a lot of that Auckland growth is planned for the NW, hence the proposal for LRT on SH16.

        With a bus every 90secs, there isn’t much point in just doing BRT. That would only address current need.

      2. Sacha – There is going to be a point that Auckland will not be able to maintain its ongoing population growth. Already Auckland housing whether its buying or renting is out of reach for increasing number of people, so they are fleeing to the regions.

        Auckland population is approximately a third of the country ‘s population, with the remaining two thirds living in the remaining 15 regions. That means the city state of Auckland should receive a third of passenger transport infrastructure funding not 60%.

        Since two thirds of the population live outside the Auckland region, then why can’t NZ have an integrated national urban, semi rural, rural, regional and inter-regional ‘turn & travel’ bus, train and ferry public transport network that connects small communities, towns, provincial cities, main centres and tourism destinations all regions in NZ?

  16. And how about what’s wrong with AT?
    Their service is a joke. Consistent misalignment of online timetables with real world departures. And don’t get me started on their often dysfunctional onboard announcements.

  17. Thanks for the post, Matt. Let’s hope this can a moving feast and we get some responsible cuts to the programme.

  18. Sure sounds like this reworked ATAP is yet another piece of rubbish for the business as usual machinery to ignore. Great post pointing out it’s faults.

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