Welcome to the end of another week. Here’s some of the things that caught our attention this week.

The Week In Greater Auckland

On Monday, Matt was also quoted in this Business Desk story (full text available via Farmers’ Weekly) about National’s transport policy package; and this Spinoff story about LGWM.

Te Mahia Station Entrance Upgrade

Te Mahia Station has long been the least used on our rail network and at one point was close to being shutdown. Some of the reasons for this included that the station was in a poor state, having never been upgraded with new shelters/amenities like almost every other station had been. it was also largely hidden from public view behind car yards and houses reachable via long, unlit and unsafe accessways.

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The Manurewa Local Board want to change that and improve usage of the station. In 2017/18 Auckland Transport upgraded the station and the local board purchased the neighbouring site on Gt South Rd to demolish the building and open up the access to improve safety. Since then a traffic light controlled pedestrian crossing has been installed to make the station easier to access from the housing to the west/south.

Now that space is about to get a bit of an upgrade and Grady Connell got the renders from Auckland Transport – oddly they’re not on AT’s website. There are a couple more here.

The space looks a bit barren in this image, but looking at the previous images, it’s certainly better than it used to be, or being used for carparking. The Local Board says ridership at the station is already back to pre-COVID levels, so it will be interesting to see if this helps make a difference and encourages even more people to take the train.

Northcote Ferry Terminal to Close

We covered this in our post about the draft RPTP – consultation is open until Thursday 17 August, so don’t forget to get your submissions in – and now Stuff have picked up on the suggestion that the Northcote Ferry Terminal will close:

Auckland Transport is proposing to scrap ferry services to a wharf it recently spent $3.3million rebuilding and upgrading.

Te Onewa Northcote Point Wharf on Auckland’s North Shore closed in 2018 after structural degradation was found.

The new wharf opened after a $2.6m rebuild in February 2021. It temporarily closed again a year later – for a further $753,000 upgrade, to improve its berthing structure.

Now, only about 10 people board the service each weekday.

The ferry, which goes between Birkenhead and the CBD, only stops at the wharf when someone wishes to disembark or board there, but is regularly cancelled due to the wharf being vulnerable to poor weather conditions and crew shortages.

But after the $3.3m spend, AT is now proposing to scrap the ferry service from 2026 as part of its draft Regional Public Transport Plan.


As well as low usage, it seems the (ongoing) failure to provide access for walking and biking across the harbour is partially to blame. Time to Liberate the Lane to Save the Wharf?

AT service network development manager Pete Moth said the work on the wharf was carried out with the expectation that walking and cycling options over the Harbour Bridge would be progressed.

“This would have made the ferry a vital tourist/scenic link and would have been a catalyst for an increase in boardings from Te Onewa Northcote Point.”

Encouraging e-bikes

More and more places are starting to realise that a great way to help reduce emissions by getting people out of cars is to make it easier to get e-bikes.

In Connecticut, a scheme offering up to US $1500 towards an e-bike has had to be increased due to the level of demand:

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has increased its first-year budget for its ebike voucher program by 50% due to “exceptional demand.”

The first year of funding for the vouchers was set at $500,000.


The new incentive program was created in 2022 by the Connecticut Clean Air Act. Under the program, residents over the age of 18 can apply for a $500 voucher. They’re eligible for another $1,000 if they meet specific criteria.

Citylab covered this and other similar schemes which are all being enthusiastically used.

In April, 2022 Denver invited residents to request a voucher for $400 off a new electric bike or $900 off an e-cargo bike; the city was so inundated with applications that it paused the program in 19 days. Local and state officials elsewhere took notice, especially after the Senate dropped a proposed federal e-bike tax credit from last year’s Inflation Reduction Act. In February, for instance, Tampa received five times more applications than it could fulfill for its rebates of up to $2,000 off an e-bike. Last month the state of Connecticut launched its own program — and was oversubscribed within three days.


At first glance, these enthusiastic stampedes to score e-bike rebates seem like welcome news. In Denver, officials say that the average recipient uses their new e-bike in lieu of a car three to five times per week, with each trip doing its part to mitigate climate change, improve air quality and boost urban quality of life. But the frenzy also suggests missed opportunities. After all, how many more car trips could have been replaced if everyone who wanted an e-bike voucher was given one?


Limits on the availability of e-bike incentives is throttling their enormous upside. No mobility innovation in recent memory offers a comparable opportunity to simultaneously boost health, protect the environment and improve urban quality of life. Rebate programs that subsidize low-carbon mobility should be a no-brainer — especially in places that already incentivize electric cars, which are vastly more polluting than e-bikes, not to mention more dangerous to other road users.

There are a number of other examples, such as in France, Scotland, and British Columbia in Canada. Closer to home, Tasmania will be launching an e-bike support scheme soon with the exact details still being worked out.

Not including e-bike rebates as part of, or alongside, the government’s Clean Car Discount scheme has been a huge missed opportunity.

Perhaps if some of the residents of this Hamilton street had e-bikes – or a chance to try using an e-bike – they’d be tearing down the fence between their street and a passing cycleway.

Neighbours are gearing up for round two of the battle of Upper Kent St.

Plans to “upgrade” the street to allow pedestrians and cyclists to enter and exit the Western Rail Trail cycle track has set off alarm bells for residents who say it would become a doorway for crime.

Hamilton City Council on the other hand says the change would make it easier and safer to move around the neighbourhood while encouraging the use of low-emission transport.


Now there’s an idea

State legislators in New York are introducing a bill to their senate offering a different way to tackle speeding, especially around schools.

Dangerous drivers with at least six speeding tickets in a single year would be forced to install speed-limiting devices in their vehicles under new state legislation.

“We are going to literally force you to slow down by requiring you to install a speed limiter on your car,” bill sponsor state Sen. Andrew Gounardes warned reckless drivers on Tuesday during a press conference at the Atlantic Avenue intersection where a speeding driver killed Katherine Harris, 31, in April.


The proposed “speed governors” would be modeled after something called an ignition interlock device, which prevents individuals with previous drunk driving arrests from starting their car without proving their sobriety, the pols said.

Under Gounardes and Gallagher’s proposal, drivers with the tech installed in their vehicles could not travel more than 5 miles per hour over the speed limit. Data shows higher speed correlates with an increased likelihood of death.

The legislation would ultimately target the top three percent of drivers in the city, Gounardes said — specifically drivers with six or more speeding tickets over a year, or with 11 or more points on their license in an 18-month period.

The extra penalty is necessary to stop speedsters for whom a $50 camera ticket isn’t enough of a deterrent, Gounardes said.

“There is a persistent cohort of drivers who are getting five, six, seven, 10, 20, speeding tickets and drive on our streets recklessly without any consequences whatsoever, and just a slap on the wrist — $50 dollars every single time,” he said.

City officials have already implemented speed governors on their own workers. “Hard stops” by municipal drivers have dropped 36 percent in the year since Mayor Adams announced the installation of such devices on a tiny percentage of the city fleet, according to Gounardes.

The bigger question is why don’t we mandate these types of devices in all cars. It’s odd that we can geofence and speed-limit a rental scooter for perceived safety reasons, but not the vehicles that cause hundreds of deaths a year.

Green-Tracking Light Rail

While the idea of any light rail in Auckland seems a long way off right now, Canberra is looking to extend its light rail line, incorporating green tracks in the process. Their government has signed a $2.5m contract to create a prototype section, and these images show how it will work:

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Have a great weekend, especially as it finally looks like we might get a few days of sun.

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  1. Great news about the Te Mahia Station Entrance Upgrade. Onehunga train station now needs its Car park to be full again – not nearly always empty of cars. This has occurred since AT & KiwiRail have reduced the Onehunga line services to a 30-minute shuttle service that doesn’t match the regular Southern line train services for transfers. Please AT & KiwiRail let’s get the Onehunga train line to regular service again.

    1. I wouldn’t say it “doesn’t match”, at least for inbound services. There is a 5 minute gap between arriving at Penrose and the next Southern train to Britomart – but it also takes 2 or 3 minutes to walk between the platforms (which is the real problem). When I have transferred, I haven’t been waiting long at Platform 1 for the next train.

      Heading back home can be a disaster though. If all runs smoothly, it is fine, but if it doesn’t (and it often doesn’t), you’re waiting 30 mins for the next train.

      They should have had the shuttle service run every 20 mins – the train sits at Penrose for 14 minutes between services, so they could easily do so.

  2. GPS speed limiting.
    Need to ensure sufficient drainage from green areas between tracks. This appears to be a big problem for the track I’ve seen overseas.
    $3.3M for 10ppl per day is pretty bad – cheaper to by them a Tesla each. I’d wonder what sort of patronage projections the council had when approving this?

    1. Lets recognise and applaud the amazing job GA does in regularly producing such high-quality content. Unpaid and in their spare time. Perhaps you’d like to offer some of your time?

    2. Too depressing when you realise you’re posting on the same topic as ten years ago and nothing has improved (and in some cases has worsened).

  3. Does not help that the ferry service to/from Birkenhead sucks now.
    Departures at 7.15, 8.30 or 9.45

    Wow that is really useful for the morning commute – used to be on 30/40 min frequencies and before COVID there was very good patronage.

    AT least the Onewa road buses are quick and frequent as the alternative – most areas probably do not have the same luxury.

    AT seem to shoot themselves in the foot.

  4. That woman at the bottom centre of the picture is a time traveler from the 24th century. That is clearly a Starfleet uniform.

  5. Te Mahia entrance looks like a great place to squeeze in a little skate park. up in that northeast corner.

    Great place for rangitahi to catch up, protected by passive and station surveillance.

    Surrounding land uses aren’t going to be bothered by skate-noise.

    Any other ideas?

      1. Great!

        That’ll reduce severance for Ferguson St. And Greenmeadows Ave.

        Nice to see such forward thinking.

  6. The batteries to move one person around diagram is important. If your bike catches fire you might be able to throw it out of your garage. But if some prick charges an EV underneath your apartment or by the fire exit you are relying on then you could be stuffed. I wouldn’t live in an apartment and I would build a separate garage if I buy an EV.

      1. But where do they happen Heidi and what is the result. Car fires are usually when the engine is hot and there is a fuel line issue due to maintenance or a crash. So you get out and walk away while the flames are contained behind a fire wall. Battery thermal runaway seem to be more likely when you are charging it in your garage so it takes you house with it. Then add in the Hydrogen Sulfide, Hydrofluoric Acid and Cobalt in the smoke and you will need a hazmat suit to go back home. Petrol is dangerous, but we have plenty of safeguards so it isn’t very common to have a problem if you follow the rules.

        1. Well, given this was an issue in the 1930s, maybe we should give modern EVs a few decades to catch-up.


          (SSBs will in theory significantly improve vehicle safety by removing the flammable liquids from battery packs and may give BMS systems more time to detect a fault before absolute failure. But they’ve been five years away now for about eight years)

        2. Thing is, Buttwizard, we can definitely expect to see technology improvements over the next decade and more. So that has implications for how to plan. The more we attempt to reduce our emissions now with electrification, the more of the fleet in, say 2030, or 2035, will be considered ‘old technology’.

      2. A useful stat for sure, but how many ICE cars catch fire in the middle of the night under a house full of people who are asleep?

  7. I could go on a personal rant about lots of this stuff – however I will instead post a link to this youtube video instead.Could be titled “This is NZ”! ….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMed1qceJ_Q&ab_channel=NotJustBikes
    Re “Northcote Ferry Terminal to Close”….in particular; ”

    “AT service network development manager Pete Moth said the work on the wharf was carried out with the expectation that walking and cycling options over the Harbour Bridge would be progressed….This would have made the ferry a vital tourist/scenic link and would have been a catalyst for an increase in boardings from Te Onewa Northcote Point.”
    It is a continued frustration that the routes you can travel easily on “new” bike ready infrastructure, are also the only the routes where there is a alternative provided in this instance; the ferry, where cyclists can travel with their machines. The aforementioned is an example.
    Why is it a “reason” that because Northcote Ferry operators “do not/will not” provide transport for cyclists and their bikes, that because the only proposed alternative, which is a cycle route across the harbor bridge, was not going ahead, that the only other alternative to this, which to be specific, was to catch the ferry at the Northcote warf was also a reason to cancel that service?
    Likewise on just about every “nice” cycle route constructed there a PT “carry and ride” alternative provided, usually rail. However in order to ride to this “nice” infrastructure ,you have to pass through some of the worst pedestrian and cyclist’s infrastructure the city council works can throw at you! You couldn’t make this stuff up!!! …..How many people with alphabet soup after their names came up with this lunacy? LOL!!!!!

  8. And now our great Mayor Brown has in his mine [if he has one] has decided that the North Harbour Stadium will be bulldozed next year as he see it it is a white elephant .

    “The future of the North Harbour Stadium in Albany was thrown into doubt by Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown today.

    Brown told an Auckland Council meeting the stadium was “a white elephant” and “we’re probably going to pull down next year because nobody uses it”.

    This is not council policy and has not been agreed by any council meeting. The stadium is a council-owned facility but the mayor does not have the authority to decide on its future by himself.”


      1. I’d settle for either Liverpool or Blackpool myself- both are great waterfronts – the Albert Docks are boss!

        1. And the way he wants to look is he going to buy gallons of sand coloured paint to make all that concrete look like a beach n? .

    1. Poor Wayne has probably just been briefed about the history of Stadiums over the last 20 years and has decided to cut the gordian knot.

      Sadly with so many competing vested interests it won’t be so easy. As far as I can tell the unofficial council policy is to just underfund everybody until they are desperate enough to come to an agreement.

    2. I live on the shore and would like to see it gone, replace it with apartments.
      Albany in general is a planning disaster, I think we all know it’s only a place you would visit in a car, I would often ride through Albany on my e scooter and would dread Albany.
      I often think it would be nice if someone went in there and turned it into a proper town centre, with housing and street side shops, and replace the current Westfield mall with something more like Westfield Newmarket.
      I’m sure there would still be a place for all the big box stores, but parking needs to be underneath or on the roof of these shops.

    3. The Mayor is talking out of school, of course. But he is not wrong:


      It only had 8 events a year prior to the Tuatara, before they were liquidated. Presumably it will just be North Harbour rugby games and even then, with a pointless open stand.

      Its $180m that could plug the budget gap. Take some of that and upgrade Onewa, but leave the suburban-ground feel that is so popular in the NRL. Property developers can provide some housing on the old site with good access to SH1 and the Expressway.

      If we don’t need much of an upgrade to Onewa then you could just clear the land, make it an open public park, and sit on it for 20-30yrs until the population up that way really needs a new 15k-20k seat stdium. Start again.

      1. I think the best bet is to sell it. Keep $100m for the budget hole. Use the rest of a basic upgrade of Onewa and then the rest into Mt Smart.

        The latter has its detractors and its been on the chopping block, on and off, for years. But its the spiritual home of the Warriors and 25k people each week don’t seem to mind it. Plus, Auckland is getting an A-League franchise from 2024 and so in the absence of another smaller rectangular venue, its Mt Smart, even though a venue would be better downtown. It just needs a bit of a plan around upgrading the area. Eventually the light industrial and commercial eyesores will give way to gentrification.

        1. Wasn’t the original A-League Football [Soccer] team based at North Harbour Stadium ? , as NZ Footballs stadium at Newmarket/Parnell got swallowed by a massive landslide and never repaired . The Stadium would be Ideal for the 3rd code which after what has happened over the last few weeks would help . Western Springs may be Ideal during the Day but come night games have to come with the locals that don’t want the noise or lights .

        2. Being based at Albany was one of the reasons the previous A-League franchises failed. Its just too far away from most of the supporters base.

          The new Franchise won’t make that mistake again. In the absence of other options, it will be Mt Smart.

      2. Flog it off and use the money to either rebuild from the ground up Mount Smart stadium (a football and track and field stadium long before the Warriors got there) or show some real initiative and flog off Eden Park too and build Auckland the rectangular stadium the whole country needs, along the lines of Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

        A retractable roof covered national stadium that can be used for football, rugby, league, concerts etc with high quality public transport access and no noise curfews.

        1. With Eden Park with every rebuild why-o-why have they never put a roof over it as it’s they only stadium in Auckland that has PT close by with out having to walk great distances .

  9. Coming soon to Birkenhead – new electric ferry with good bike capacity – new boat, (possibly) enough trained crew, just ask AC for enough money and provide feedback to AT on the austerity RPTP plan. Don’t just pick on Pete, although I would have thought the only road with safe bike access to a ferry terminal might be what is needed if Harbour Bridge cycleway isn’t in existence.

  10. National announce plan to 4-lane Penlink. Absolutely right. Modelling “proves” the current 2-lane design will experience congestion. In 2078. If we carry on using cars. (Polite Note: a little sarcasm intended.)

  11. The “news” about Upper Kent Street in Hamilton is such nonsense. The next street along is called Islington Street and it has (drum roll please…) a connection to the Western Rail Trail!

    Talk about a tiny storm in an even-tinier teacup. Just build it and let everyone get on with their lives.

    You can see it yourself on Google Maps: https://www.google.com/maps/@-37.7901041,175.268575,3a,79.2y,322.49h,84.33t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1soH3YMN-fWMH_vKuOnInNyA!2e0!6shttps:%2F%2Fstreetviewpixels-pa.googleapis.com%2Fv1%2Fthumbnail%3Fpanoid%3DoH3YMN-fWMH_vKuOnInNyA%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D275.33472%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

  12. And 2 bits of Rail out of Hamilton the Te Huia is coming back to The Strand on Monday with free travel for the Week . And the new Inland Port has now opened at Ruakura within the last few days ;-

  13. And it looks like work has started at Te Mahia. When I went through yesterday
    a couple of glass panels had been smashed.

  14. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300944071/live-pm-reveals-plans-for-twin-tunnels-for-second-auckland-harbour-crossing

    The Labour Government needed to overhaul how transport planning is done. Instead, they’ve become the problem. This decision will suck all the oxygen and funding from planning Auckland’s transport system for years, even if it doesn’t get built. If it does get built, it will involve so much embedded carbon, and will induce so much traffic, that both responsible climate planning and responsible transport planning are thrown out the window.

    When I think about all the sensible planning that’s deemed “unrealistic” simply because it doesn’t play to the tune of the road-builders, and we have to put up with this level of complete stupidity and incompetence. Labour have joined National as unethical climate deniers. What did we ever do to deserve such weak and disastrous lack of leadership?

    1. i am reeling from this latest $45B announcement – just heard it. Its a political suicide note, no one will back that much spend from Labour and oh the wasted effort. What about another bridge next to existing which has light rail, bus and HT and w&C. Why is the obvious not an option. Thats it, just build that and existing harbour bridge will last for decades.
      I am starting to pin my hopes on Wayne Brown to call bullshit…maybe a national government would be best to get rid of labour. yes sign of my desperation. Thanks for your ongoing efforts Heidi 🙂

      1. Thanks, Flim Flam. This is so dispiriting, isn’t it? How not to let anger take over. If Wayne Brown manages to stop these excessive climate bomb projects that would be a better legacy than many would have expected.

        National are more upfront about their climate denial – but this doesn’t make them a better choice. Labour are letting the country down by fooling themselves that they are being responsible on climate. The question is how to shake Labour up. Having good intentions is actually better than not… but it’s not enough.

  15. Even the designation of the LRT is ludicrous.

    Why a 21km tunnel?

    Why such an indirect route no doubt adding billions to the cost? The Devonport peninsula and Takapuna can be linked easier to the busway, allowing this new line to be more direct and, crucially, much cheaper.

    If we want to service the central/western part of the lower North shore (which we should) why not a different alignment which links with, say, Aotea and the NW busway?

    1. Why a 21km tunnel? Because it’s in a tunnel under the harbour so easier to just continue that on, especially considering that there is zero corridor set aside for a surface line.
      Bowling 1000 or more houses is not only going to be a huge negative but will cost a fortune ($1.4B just in land purchases alone at todays prices) and with the terrain on the shore you’re going to have to do tunneling or big trenching anyway, that of put the whole thing on elevated pylons which cost a fair bit.
      Having a RT line through half the Devonport peninsula allows that land to finally be upzoned and redeveloped (land close to the city). It also solves Glenfield’s disconnection issues to both the city but also to Takapuna and Albany.
      My main concern is that for the money they’re still pushing this worst of both worlds light rail option. You can put in light of full metro for pretty much the same price once you’re doing the tunneling option (see Sydney’s new metro).

      1. Tunnelling is never easy. Their cost estimate is around $1.3 billion dollars per kilometre, it costs so much because tunnelling is so hard.

        This is pretend play-planning. They think they can make any problem go away by magicking it underground, but of course if you spend eleventy bajillion made up dollars on each mile then it’s fine.

        Unfortunately back in the real world we need to spend real dollars, so playtime crayon drawings of tunnel lines aren’t going to go anywhere.

        1. I’ll add, this is clearly a ploy by NZTA to make the rail thing look too expensive and hard and far far away, so they can get on with their real goal of building a (comparitively good looking) motorway tunnel.

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