Last week the new Auckland Council held their first meeting and after some school-grade antics over the seating arrangements, the new (and returning) councillors gave their maiden speeches. There were some great speeches, and you can watch them all in the video below, but the focus of this post is on a small segment by new Howick Councillor and former National MP, Maurice Williamson. This segment starts at 1:00:55, just after he describes Auckland Transport as “lunatics running the asylum” and “in search of problems that don’t exist” – for their efforts to improve road safety by installing traffic-calming around schools, and lowering speed limits in line with the international evidence.

If I go back to the economic stuff I find it really really galling to come onto a council where one of the biggest biggest expenditure items, the City Rail Link, we have no idea what that number is, we have no idea. Now you would not, you simply would not do a renovation or build a new house and wait for the builder to come back and tell you that was $1.8 million. You would say to the builder, what’s it going to cost to do the following, let’s put it in writing and if there’s any variation we pay for the costings of the variation individually. And I find it galling that a number that I think is going to make your eyes water when we finally do see it. And it’s just wrong that that should be happening. So I think we need to address a whole lot of efficiencies and so on within the place.

I’m a big fan of public transport but only where it makes sense and only where it’s got the users and the numbers. But in my ward of Howick in the last census 92.8 percent of people use the private motor car or were a passenger in the private motor car or used a work vehicle for their going to and from work. 92.8 percent, and so I’m really trying to make desperately sure we represent their views along with the three percent that are either into cycling or walking or using the ferries at one percent. I’m not saying that’s wrong for them not [sic] to have their bits but 92.8 percent count as well in my view.

Where to start? Firstly, the CRL can’t really be compared to a home renovation and the reality is there have been major disruptions to the project due to the various lockdowns and other COVID measures, as well as increases in the cost of raw materials and for some items the costs have doubled in just a few years.

Of course, the project shouldn’t really be on the council’s books to begin with. The government should be paying for the whole thing, given it’s the public transport equivalent of the motorway network. But the council paying for half was the only way to get the National government that Williamson was a part of to agree to the project.

But the idea that we should only improve public transport where lots of people use it is absurd, and what drove this post.

Williamson and many others, including some within our transport agencies, seem to think that transport mode share is a pure reflection of public choice – that most people drive cars because they want to drive cars.

The reality is, after around 70 years of central and local government investing almost exclusively on more roads and designing them to making driving easier, most people now use cars for most trips – even very short ones – because for them it’s the only viable option.

For far too many people, public transport is often too slow, infrequent, unreliable or difficult for the journeys they’re making. Meanwhile, although around one in five Aucklanders ride at least monthly, and around the same number don’t cycle but are considering it, safety remains the largest barrier – in large part due to a lack of safe infrastructure. And our land use patterns and dangerous speeds in walkable areas, as well as poor pedestrian amenity in general, have made walking unattractive instead of the enjoyable component of daily life that it is in many other cities.

If anything, the areas with the highest car mode share are an indicator of the areas we need to focus on the most to give people better options.

The real question though is what else can we do. As the Better Travel Choices document, produced in partnership between the government and Auckland, states:

Auckland’s motorway network is now largely complete and there are few cost-effective options to add significant roading capacity within the Auckland urban area. Furthermore, numerous studies show that adding road capacity tends to simply induce more vehicle travel, largely negating congestion relief benefits over time.

Yet Auckland continues to grow rapidly, with the population now surpassing 1.7 million and forecast to reach 2 million within the next decade. This combination of rapid population growth and few opportunities to effectively add road capacity within existing urban areas makes it critical to increase the share of travel by public transport, walking and cycling.

Making public transport and active modes a viable option for many more people is one of the only options – and surely one of the most affordable – that we have. The only other big impact option is road pricing, which we should also do.

The good news is that people will change how they travel if we give them viable options. Both local and international evidence confirms that if we put our assets to better use, providing better alternatives to driving, many more people will use them. And more people using alternative modes means fewer cars on the roads – which in turn can provide smoother journeys for those who still need to drive.

This is known as the Downs-Thompson paradox. It states that “the equilibrium speed of car traffic on a road network is determined by the average door-to-door speed of equivalent journeys taken by public transport“.  In other words, people will keep driving until the alternatives are faster (or comparable and more reliable and enjoyable). This video is a good explainer:

Looking locally, we can see that change is happening, even if it’s often not as fast as we’d like.

I took a look at the census data for journey to work by local board area from 2001, as it’s the oldest available that allows us to break the data down. I’ve then compared that to the 2018 census to see how mode share changed over 17 years.

The change in methodology in 2018 means we can’t compare direct numbers but the mode share percentages should be comparable enough, and are generally in line with trends seen in the 2006 and 2013 censuses.

The eagle/eyed among you might note that the percentages don’t add up to 100. That’s because I’ve excluded Ferry, which only appeared in 2018, Motorcycle which disappeared in 2018, and the Other category.

What we can see is that car use, as a percentage, has declined over time in most urban local board areas – though perhaps not as fast as many of us would like to see. The largest drops have occurred in the local boards closest to the city centre, where public transport and active mode options are the strongest.

You might also notice that car share in Howick is not 92.8% as Williamson stated. Even if Work from Home is excluded, that still only brings thenumber up to 90.2% for 2018. However, using that method it was 92.8%…in 2001. Was he using two-decades-old data to make his point?

Local board areas can be quite broad, though, and often don’t reflect change that js driven by specific projects, like the upgrade of the rail network, the building of the Northern Busway, or the various improvements and extensions to the NW Cycleway. So I also looked at some more specific examples close to those projects –  and noted stronger uptake of alternative modes compared to the wider local board area.

The effects of both the busway and parts of the rail network can be seen at a this more detailed level

It’s not just the census data that can highlight change. Last year, I put together this video to highlight how improvements and extensions to the NW Cycleway, along with better local connections to it, had driven increases since before the pandemic struck. A case of “what we feed, grows.”

And if we really want to focus on making it easier for those Aucklanders who really want to or need to drive, the one neat trick, the best thing we can do is to get all the people off the road who’d be prepared to use another mode if it was viable. In other words: continuing to solve problems that do, indeed, exist.

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  1. The only reason Auckland “continues to grow rapidly” is international immigration. The past few years have highlighted this fact. Therefore the rate of population growth could be easily dialled back just by capping annual immigration.

    1. Oh, and that will make our transport problems disappear, right?

      Also, if Auckland stops growing while other cities in Australasia do NOT stop growing, that would indicate that we are stagnating. I am not a fan of growth-for-growth’s sake. But if Auckland is to become the city of Status Quo, then our young professionals will leave and not come back. It will be (for a time) a great city for retirees railing against change.

      1. London didn’t grow for decades and it’s still seen as an alpha city/desirable place to live for younger adults in particular.

        This rapid growth we have had has been the major driver of the infrastructure issues we face (that and various governments of both stripes playing austerity with infrastructure funding – particularly in times of higher unemployment and capacity).
        A bigger Auckland has many advantages, but it should have been done in a more manageable way (and reckless immigration is the big driver of that).

        1. I’ll risk to disagree. Infrastructure is built for people and it is built because people pay their taxes. Nobody will build a tram in a village with three residents. Also huge part of infrastructure such as sewage, stormwater, wiring and asphalt were introduced to Auckland when it already was quite a big city.

          My opinion is that artificially restricting growth of population because infrastructure is not being built fast enough is a nonsense for city with such low population density.

        2. There is literally no capability or political will to actually build anything though. Yes, we have low density, no we can’t service what we have. What sudden overnight thing is going to change to make that something we can actually make happen?

          It’s the ‘definition of insanity’ thing. How many million people do you add without the proper rapid transit before you accept you can’t do it, and what sort of hit in living standards do we all take waiting for the people we already pay to make this stuff happen to suddenly become competent?

          I don’t blame Aucklanders for being extremely distrustful of people who advocate this approach. “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

      2. I think a lot of people don’t appreciate just how extreme the immigration inflow of the last few years was in world terms. Top of the OECD per capita apart from Luxembourg and 50 % more than Australia relative to population. Just off the scale. It needs to be subject to some type of population plan not just give a visa to anyone with pulse.

        1. I looked into this (admittedly 10 years ago) and 2/3rds of the growth of Auckland was from locals having kids, and Kiwis from other parts of the country moving here. Because Auckland was a happening place compared to a sleepy rest of a country.

          As for London being desirable… really? Still? Maybe. I don’t know London well enough. But whether or not a city is desirable does – as I note above – depend on a lot of things. Which then tends to result in movement to or from. My point is that *aiming* for stasis of any kind is usually a very bad move.

          Also – and sorry if this will make some people turn me out immediately: Climate change. For the next couple decades, maybe centuries, NZ will get a lot of immigration (unless we adopt a gunboats-at-the-shoreline policy) as the Pacific and Northern Australia become less and less habitable. We *have* to plan for growth – or order lots of barbed wire for our beaches.

          But then our current crop of “we don’t like to think of any future unless it looks like V2 of what we grew up with” won’t help us through that. They are more likely to slowly morph into NZ’s version of UKIP.

        2. Auckland has has had net negative internal migration since the 1990s ie more people leave the region than arrive from other parts of NZ. But to refer to 10 years ago is ridiculous considering the massive increase in international migration until Covid stopped it.
          From Stats NZ
          “Auckland reached a population of 1 million in the early 1990s. Recent growth was driven by high net migration in the seven years before COVID-19.”

        3. Completely agree that we need to think about what we are actually trying to achieve with immigration.

          Most of the last 40 years, policy seems to have been driven by a really strong desire to inflate property prices and reduce incomes. Who does that actually benefit?

          There are really good reasons to allow immigration:
          – Finding staff for highly skilled roles where local training has too great of a lag time
          – Humanitarian immigration (i.e. refugees)
          – Allowing historic immigration and travel to continue (i.e. allowing residents of the pacific islands to travel to New Zealand as they have for centuries).

          However much immigration we allow, we need to plan for. We need to be building homes and infrastructure.

        4. lol, tell me you’ve never had to deal with Immigration NZ without telling me you’ve never had to deal with immigration NZ. I’ve watched friends on working holiday visas realise there’s no pathway for them. They’re not a valuable enough human to be allowed to stay. Terrible, and you’d see to it that even more people are told the same.

          The problem isn’t population growth alone. We could import just as many people as we need to cater to housing / infra growth, builders, engineers, tunnellers. A larger tax base also allows greater sustainable borrowing. Immigration could be the solution to any problems that it presents.

          It is simply incompetent leadership. Using the increased borrowing capacity to build rural highways. Letting the cities crush housing intensification. Expanding urban highways which fill up 5 minutes after they’re finished. Valuing parking or miniscule car capacity over bus lanes. Not mandating decent water standards.

        5. I just want to clarify that I am not against allowing a lot of people to immigrate to New Zealand (especially given that I am an immigrant). I am simply stating that the reasons we have historically allowed a lot of immigration are poor reasons and that we have not had the plan to deal with the increased population.

        6. Thanks Zippo for calling me “ridiculous” for citing statements that I read on the Auckland Regional Council at the time (late 2000s).

          Here’s what it said
          “As it stands, migrants only contribute to a fraction of the region’s growth. Most of our growth (around two thirds) comes from natural population growth (births less deaths).”

          Maybe it was getting untrue even at the time in the 2000s, but I doubt it was “net negative” since the 1990s. Or if it was, maybe cite some sources that ARC missed at the time?

        7. Oh, and yeah, re-reading this, I DO see that maybe I misremembered the internal (within NZ) migration aspect. Fair enough. But it still does seem to put the lie to the “immigration is the key issue” claim. Certainly at the time, we were growing massively naturally alone already. Of course with this city becoming less and less attractive for young people (with kids), maybe it has already turned. Hooray for an old, greying city?

        8. No jack. There is nothing inherently better about more people. It’s just more people.
          The opposite is actually true given there are only finite resources.

    2. Yeah, nah. Auckland’s population shrank 0.5% and during Covid our immigration dropped to near zero. You don’t need to look too far to see what effect that had on our hospitality, aged care, construction and agricultural sectors.

      And we still had traffic.

      Immigration is not the problem.

      1. Forced hospitality to pay fair wages and reasonable conditions? Record construction with cranes everywhere? Forced the mean old cockie to treat their staff like humans instead of animals? And we were constantly told immigration has no effect on wages, what a laugh!

  2. Ask Councillor Maurice Williamson what he did during his many years as Transport Minister to upgrade the Auckland rail network so future generations didn’t face year long closures. He was a dinosaur in the 90s and nothing has changed since.

  3. I don’t mind this sort of reasoning being aired,it at least puts it in the public discussion, and allows all sides to express their views. Maurice
    may finally understand that for traffic to “flow”,you have to have less of it, it is obviously a concept, he hasn’t been able to fully comprehend yet. His election to the council will assist in rounding out his education, proving the old adage,”never to old to learn”.

    1. Well that’s the thing isn’t it.

      Surely, there should be some sort of qualification required if you are to talk about and make policy on certain things? For instance, Simeon Brown should as per his role be required to sit through various seminars on 21st Centruty transport, demonstrate that he understands data before being qualified to discuss a subject. Same applies to all MPs, elected members. We can’t just throw reckons around in 2022 hoping they stick.

      1. “We can’t just throw reckons around in 2022 hoping they stick.”

        I reckon reckons win elections in the social media age, tho.

        Politicians not having any competence in the area of their governance is sadly a very human problem throughout history.

      2. We can’t just throw reckons around in 2022″

        My observation is exactly that what happens; politicians including Brown (Simeon and Wayne) are quite happy to put out ‘reckons’ which are lapped up by media commentators like Hosking.

        Days later on sites like this you will see people including experts looking at the evidence and taking a much more nuanced view, but by then conversation has moved on

        I might be biased and don’t really want to take a political left vs right view, but these hot-takes/reckons seem to come almost exclusively from right wing conservative viewpoints.

        I don’t think these people are idiots, and quite capable of learning about and understanding things like induced demand, emissions and mode shift. I am just unsure if they knowingly ignore the evidence in order to cater to their public for votes or they are genuinely unaware?

        Would Maurice modify his thinking if he looking at shift in mode share or observation that doing what he says will increase emissions?

      3. I watched Simeon Brown on a select committee last week. I thought it must have been Good Friday as JAG crucified him over really simple stuff. He was trying to argue that road users paid the complete cost of motoring. She took him apart piece by piece as she pointed out to him the areas where roads were subsidised such as by rates, parking etc. Just transport 101 stuff. It is so unfortunate that NZ is lumped with political decisions rather than those that recognise economic and environmental reality.

  4. Cllr Williamson’s comment explain why the Eastern Busway is happening – currently there is very limited alternative to the car in his part of Auckland. It presents a massive opportunity to create a viable alternative for a lot of East Auckland dwellers. It’s just a shame it’s taking such a long time to deliver. If Airport to Botany was added to the full EB, then finally this part of town would have some decent PT (any cycling) options.

    1. It was stalled for years by the last National goverment, on the books but not funded because they abolished the fuel tax. That’s why it’s taking so long.

      1. And now Luxon and Brown keep demanding it be sped up, all while campaigning for the fuel tax which pays for it to be abolished and that cars are the preference for the good voters of East Auckland.

        These people should not be let near any transport decisions.

  5. This is the problem with the “super city”, we all get lumbered with the ideology of councillors from other areas. Clearly the east like roads, I mean why would you live there if you didn’t, yet AT are spending big amounts of money there on things they don’t want like AMETI and speed bumps and lower speed limits. Why not let the local boards set the transport priority for their areas as their people voted, with AT of course having the overall strategic vote. I am sick of living in a very left leaning area where people want PT / walking / cycling but we get almost nothing while all the money is spent in areas where they just complain about it!

    1. I don’t agree with building things in areas people want/don’t want, its about building carbon free options for future generations. /Government/AT/Council need to lead from the front on this.

      Agree with the frustration of living in a left leaning City (vote wise) but for some reason it feels super regressive and conservative..

      1. “but for some reason it feels super regressive and conservative..”

        Because when nothing progressive (seems to) get achieved, left-leaning and younger and less affluent voters don’t vote. They are too busy earning enough to pay rent, and/or have given up on things changing. You need charismatic – and effective – politicians to turn this around. You sometimes also get a backlash against particularly bad politicians (bad from the perspective of those more lefty / progressive / younger voters), which is how I hope we will eventually get rid of Brown again. But I am pretty resigned to a couple of lost years.

    2. AT receives loads of requests from new residents of Flatbush for better public transport. Yes, you could say that they went into buying a new house in a car-centric neighbourhood with their eyes shut, but there is clearly a desire not to have to be car-based / have multiple cars per household just because there are no decent alternatives. They do live in a city after all and should expect better.

      1. ” Yes, you could say that they went into buying a new house in a car-centric neighbourhood, the only affordable kind they could find, with their eyes shut”

        Fixed it for you.

      2. “Don’t buy/rent in a car-dependent neighbourhood” seems like good advice, but it doesn’t solve any problem.

        Ask the question: what if everybody did this?

        There are many existing areas in Auckland that are car dependent. Should we leave them empty?

    3. The trouble with the piecemeal approach is that the consequences are shared by all.

      PT benefits car-centric suburbs by freeing road space across the city.

      Speed limits and road humps help limit the harm they do when they pass through a neighborhood.

      Why should they get a free ride from other areas’ investment and other people’s personal risk of injury?

      1. “Why should they get a free ride from other areas’ investment and other people’s personal risk of injury?”

        Oh, you were talking of transport policy? For a moment there I thought you were talking of capitalism.

    4. “I am sick of living in a very left leaning area where people want PT / walking / cycling but we get almost nothing while all the money is spent in areas where they just complain about it!”


      I had to read that several times to understand your point. I think you want transport funds money to be allocated more on a local board level wants rather than by need across Auckland?

      TBH, I think most Aucklanders do want more/better PT and active mode share, even if some politicians are still stuck in their ways

      I also think good leadership is to take ‘a build it and they will come’. If you asked the north shore people what they wanted before the northern busway was built, pretty sure they would have preferred another lane of general traffic rather than the bus-lane. But they were proven wrong.

      1. You must admit that a lot of the investment seems to be going into the suburbs full of right wing complainers: Devonport, St Helliers, Pakuranga, Mt Eden, Takapuna, Mt Albert, Grey Lynn, etc. And even worse a lot of those places are supposedly so “historic” that no growth is allowed.

        1. Devfonport has the highest cycle mode share in Auckland plus one of the highest usage of public transport (ferries).

      2. Investment mostly goes to rich areas. This is comically obvious if you ever walk around in different areas in the city centre. Whereas new growth mostly does not go to rich areas.

        If you look at the lower part of the North Shore there is one area with a large amount of townhouses and apartments. It is not Takapuna. It is Northcote.

        If you look at a NZiDep map from a few years ago, there is one blob of higher deprivation index that stands out from the surrounding area. Can you guess where that is?

        Can you also guess which town centre on the North Shore has no frequent bus service at all?

    5. “This is the problem with the “super city”, we all get lumbered with the ideology of councillors from other areas. ”

      Considering we work (and drive) all over the city, the transport policies of, say, Manukau City Council never existed in a vacuum from, say, those of Auckland City Council. If all of, say, Waitakere, drives cars, then New North Road and Great North Road and SH16 will be chokker full, with people complaining about it, and both local drivers and “through” drivers asking for more road space for cars. Even if the local Council was all-in for reducing road space and more buses and bikes.

      I’d be quite okay with different councillors from all across the city making the decisions. What I really dislike is AT Leadership ignoring the councillors when they say “Bus!” but jumping like pavlovian dogs when the mayor says “Cars!”.

  6. The CRL is Aucklands largest transport project and deserves scrutiny regardless of funding. While National agreed to pay 50% of costs in 2016, Labour did not agree to pay any more when costs when up by $1B in 2019 with inclusion of lengthened platforms, Beresford entrance, inflation, etc.
    At this time the cost was $4.419B and there has been no update for over 3.5 years, a time when we’ve experienced unprecedented covid disruption, and the highest inflation for 40 years.
    The public are paying for this and should expect to be kept informed of current costs and risk of any further future variations. I was hoping Wayne Brown would spill the beans on week 1.
    Beyond this, I’d have hoped Maurice would stay retired. What happened to making it safe for kids to cycle to school?

    1. +1, total benefit fraud is about 0.4% of tax fraud. There are several companies that probably commit more tax fraud than all benefit fraud combined.

      1. But these are respectable people on the boards of these organisations, earning hundreds of thousands a year. They wear suits, unlike those odd few bludgers getting a couple grand who barely know what a Koru Lounge is!

        1. I think it was Paula Bennett that once said benefit fraud was not really an issue at the lower end of society, not at least compared with what was going on with Working For Families.

          But that’s a big voter group…

  7. Any argument against public transport is rooted in areas of Auckland that have lacked investment worse than the isthmus in terms of trains and trams. Howick is a long way off the rail network, it would be ideally served, like most of the greater city, by a light rail line connecting back to Panmure. This city theoretically is an easy fix, with heavy rail the backbone, light rail in multiple straight line directions, and an electric bus fleet to fill in the gaps, perhaps some mini buses as compared to the fleet today also. Bogota in Colombia set up an excellent rapid rail network, in a city that was and still is rather chaotic, so Tamaki Makaurau must have a chance. Unfortunately with the “Silver Tsunami” still clinging to power, we cannot give up the fight for our tamariki, mokopuna, rangitahi; and certainly not for Ngati Tamaki Makaurau!

    1. “Bogota in Colombia set up an excellent rapid rail network. . .” This is not correct.
      After earlier plans for rapid rail got bogged down by funding crises in the 1990s, Bogota opted instead for its Transmilenio bus rapid transit network and this commenced operation in 2000. This has since become a victim of its own success, leading once more to plans for metro rail. Metro Line 1 is now under construction but not due to open till 2028. So it is not true to state that Bogota currently has a rapid rail network.

  8. I used to live in Howick, and PT is so poor no wonder most people drive.

    I would get on a bus at 7am and would still often miss half my 9am lecture.

  9. Re Sailor Boy’s comments way back at the start…. “London didn’t grow for decades and was seen as an undesirable place to live. Then, London was seen as a desirable place to live and grew again.”

    I know he hates to be corrected, but I think there is a different view on this, that also applies to Auckland. I’d say that London, and Auckland, have always been naturally desirable places to live. The problem has always been a shortage of housing, holding back the natural movement of people. Not enough houses, prices go up sky high as demand exceeds supply. London has been having a massive building boom – down in Docklands, where another 200,000 homes have been built in the last 20 years. Similarly, Auckland is currently undergoing a massive boom in townhouses and so is also growing very quickly.

    Its a chicken and egg situation – what comes first? Build the houses and then immigrants flock to them (natural population increase from kiwis is almost zero, or below natural replacement value). Or increase the supply of people, via Key and English loosening the immigration net for more Asians (Chinese and Indians being the two largest growth areas in NZ), and then build more houses later under Labour.

    Key and English engineered this so that NZ has more workers contributing tax to the IRD pool, so that older retirees do not have to work till they are 70. Bill English, lauded by Key as clever, was dumb enough to try and reduce the amount of housing by selling it off, at the same time as increasing the amount of people needing accommodation. The problem will only get worse again if Nats get in with ACT, and they stop all the money going into housing. Or, the Nats may decide to just stay at being Labour-Light, and keep Kainga Ora going. We are a long way off from having a surplus of housing yet!

    1. This is the textbook definition of [citation needed]. I’m not sure if any part of the last bit that is correct, but for their sins, National still did more for zoning, housing regeneration and public transport than Labour has managed, despite the sweeping promises they made to get elected.

      Which, you know, is quite something, given the relentless attacks from Labour at the time, based on a platform of “Look at all this totally doable stuff we’re proposing that we can definitely execute, National is a do-nothing government!”. Quite an achievement to then get into power and manage to achieve even less – but people are more interested in holding John Key’s government to account than the one they’ve got currently that’s striking out on basically all policy fronts.

      I think some people need to decide whether actually solving these problems is more important to them than having the moral high ground or a monopoly on just talking about them as a convenient platform to say “National bad”. If you legitimately care about this stuff, you should be furious at this government, not trying to revise history to avoid talking about what could actually be done today to fix it.

    2. I’m not sure how you are disagreeing with me there: my entire point was that “Its a chicken and egg situation – what comes first?”. I deliberately used “and” instead of “because” or “therefore”.

      London has always had features that make it attractive, but still had massive population decline after WWII, which was likely driven by decrepit infrastructure (including housing). London’s new increase in population was likely driven by infrastructure such as the jubilee line and housing in Docklands (there were many similar but smaller ones too).

      In Auckland, the infrastructure development has historically been driven by increasing population putting huge stress on the existing infrastructure, with a few exceptions (Harbour Bridge).

      1. I think you’ll find as someone who has lived and worked in London for 16 years that it’s work that brings people to London. Young skilled Brits and antipodeans come here in their 20s to study and play but then move away in their 30s as it’s near impossible to own property in London unless they’ve managed to land a cushy government or banking job.
        Most immigrants (antipodeans but moreso Polish, Romanians, Albanians, South Africans, other Africans, Carribbeans, Indians, Nepalese, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Philippinos) come for poorly paid work and struggle big time. Yes there is plenty of apartments being built but the majority is buy to let or council housing and this is only going to get worse with the terrible management of the British economy by the Tory party. Many of the people that I work with at LHR are on minimum wage and live in housing bordering on slums with up to 20 people in the same property. The government is having to to up their wages even though they are working 40+ hours a week.

        Away from transport London is not a good place to live if your not rich and that’s why the population stagnated in the 1980s. It’s only been the open immigration from Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia that’s kept the city’s population growing and it’s often not led to a better life for them, with many, especially Eastern Europeans, now heading home in droves.

        1. Martin, I completely agree that employment opportunities are a major driver of immigration to London. I think that for a lot of younger immigrants from wealthier countries, it is the culture and access to Europe.

  10. I just watched the introductory speeches from the newbies.
    abandon all hope – Maurice Williams channeling Bill Birch does not bode well.

  11. I still have bitter memories of Maurice Williamson not doing anything about Telecom abusing its near monopoly to resist the growth of the early internet. A conservative do-as-little-as-possible unimaginative politician.

  12. Williamson is so proud of his 60km/hr Pakuranga Highway. He tries to use scientific proof on things but is very selective in where or how he does. Not very holistic in thinking. Case in point with apposing the the safety improvements outside a local school.

  13. Did nobody else notice the .1% increase in Walking / Cycling mode share in that 17 years????

    If it wasn’t for Waitemata having 13.1% increase in mode share for Walking / Cycling the delta would have been negative…

    Beyond disappointed : /

  14. Liked Maurice Williamson’s descriptive comments on AT as “lunatics running an asylum”.
    I would like to propose a prescriptive comment – AT needs “lobotomy at the senior levels”.

  15. Mode share ins’t set in stone and it isn’t particularly useful either. Who gives a rat’s arse what proportion of people use a particular mode? All that matters is the numbers of people using each mode.

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