Last week Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown kicked off what is always the most important thing a Council does every three years – update its ‘Long term plan’. This is the budgeting process for the Council and – unlike central government – the budget has to balance in terms of income and operating expenses. There can be no deficit (aside from short term fluctuations).

It’ll take a bit longer to digest the details of the budget, with specifics yet to be fleshed out and public consultation to occur next year, but one of the things that stood out was a renewed push for a whole different relationship with central government. This builds on the ‘manifesto for Auckland‘ that the mayor released before the election.

Seeking a fundamentally different relationship with central Government

One of the points of creating a Super City was that it could have a different relationship with the Government so it could provide regional leadership and deliver for Aucklanders. This has not happened as proposed. This year, I published the Manifesto for Auckland which envisaged a new type of relationship based on partnership and mutual respect. This long-term plan builds on the manifesto and will set out our priorities for central government in an accurate and consistent way.

I think Phil Goff’s closeness with the previous Labour government actually held progress back in many ways. Goff, being a former Labour party leader, seem so concerned to not damage the government’s popularity that Auckland Council became a bystander on big issues like light-rail and the Waitemata Harbour Connections project. And when the Council did stand up to the government it was often on stupid issues where they were clearly wrong, like all the push back on the National Policy Statement for Urban Development and the Medium Density Residential Standard.

So – perhaps surprisingly – it has been quite refreshing seeing Mayor Brown really fight for Auckland to get a better deal from ‘Wellington’. But with most of the past 12 months being crisis management over floods and then central government election silly season, it’s probably really only in the new year that we will potentially see some real progress.

And this is where the other Brown – Simeon – comes in. As Transport Minister, Local Government Minister and Minister for Auckland, it is clear that the relationship between the two Browns (presumably unrelated) will be critical. The incoming government surely knows that in many respects it won the election due to dissatisfaction in Auckland with the previous government, which gives it a mandate but also creates a lot of expectations that will fall on the youthful looking shoulders of one Simeon Brown.

Some of the key transport issues that are likely to be major talking points between the two ‘Browns’ over the coming months include:

  • The future of the regional fuel tax, which funds a very large chunk of Auckland Transport’s capital programme and which National has vowed to get rid of. In particular, it’ll be fascinating to see whether the government will find some way of replacing the $150 million a year this provides Auckland Council, or whether the council will need to further slash their transport budget or increase rates at even more eye-watering levels.
  • Whether the government agrees to some pretty major proposed overhauls to roles and responsibilities for transport decision-making in Auckland, including shifting development of Regional Land Transport Plans from Auckland Transport to Auckland Council, and much more joint decision-making between the government and the council on key matters.
  • The extent to which the government and its transport agencies (especially Waka Kotahi) genuinely work with the Council on major projects, including a Northwest Busway (which they all seem to agreed on), light-rail (which presumably will disappear for a while, hopefully to be reincarnated as something more sensible again) and the Waitemata Harbour Connections project (which Waka Kotahi seem determined to push on with, despite everyone else thinking the project is an unaffordable catastrophe).
  • Whether the government is willing to take the leap in enabling congestion pricing.
  • The extent to which two politicians who don’t seem especially focused on reducing emissions and tackling climate change have to pull their heads out of the sand, probably due to pressure from the rest of Auckland Council, and cold hard numbers from the Climate Commission that will go into the next version of the Government’s emissions reduction plan.

Overall, the transport section of the ‘manifesto for Auckland’ highlights areas where there should be good alignment, but also some pretty gnarly issues that Simeon Brown in particular will need to be on top of very quickly.

Fundamentally the big question for the government will be the extent to which they are willing to devolve meaningful power to Auckland Council, and work with them in genuine partnership.

The last time there was a National government, the answer to this question was a really mixed bag. On the one hand, it was a National-led government that created Auckland Council in the first place and eventually funded things like rail electrification and the CRL. But on the other hand they got rid of a previous iteration of the regional fuel tax, fought against CRL pretty much every step of the way, changed the Land Transport Management Act to be much less about regionally-led long-term planning, and seemed to have an almost allergic dislike of anything Auckland Council did. It wasn’t until their final term from 2014-2017, when Simon Bridges was transport minister and John Key overruled Steven Joyce and Gerry Brownlee on CRL, that we saw a more constructive approach.

Simeon Brown may be feeling on top of the world right now, with a huge amount of power in his hands when it comes to how Auckland moves forwards. But this also places a great amount of pressure on him, with a lot of hard questions that have no easy answer landing on his lap in the very near future – and with the stakes being incredibly high.

He’s going to need to find his feet really fast.

Share this


  1. What does Wayne Brown mean that “every other council in NZ has the ability to decide its transport policies and funding, except Auckland”?

    1. Auckland Transport decides, not Auckland Council.
      In every other region, transport is part of council (although some still have regional councils).

      1. Wasn’t it the GreaterAuckland push all along for a separate body such as Auckland Transport? Free from political interference from Councillors? And now its here and it’s blamed for being the problem?

        1. Being free from political interference applies to both local and central government, and is about preventing meddling once policies and plans are made. That independence, unfortunately, has not been used – which is a problem of having leadership and governance that is sometimes politically-charged (and sometimes simply scruffy, lacking depth of understanding).

          What Matt is talking about is who creates the policy and plans to follow in the first place.

      2. @jimbo as you say in many/all regions TAs need to work with regional councils and are significantly constrained by the government. So it just seems like rubbish from Brown.

        1. JR where is your quote from?
          How is it rubbish? You got the answer.
          AC doesn’t control the roads, AT does. All AC does is pay the bill. And Mayor Brown doesn’t like that.
          When he was Mayor up north he could just boss the engineers around to do whatever he wanted.

        2. @Ari I guess my interpretation of what Brown is says is that Auckland has much less control of transport policies and funding than other places. I get that in Auckland this is through a CCO (AT) rather than direct; but in Wellington, WCC similarly has limited control in that it has to work with central government and GWRC. So my point is that almost all councils have limits on them. As a unitary council AC’s role is probably easier in some ways, but maybe harder in others if the CCO is not sufficiently under council control. Anyway Brown’s rants always make it seem like he’s the only one who’s every faced bureaucratic barriers.

        3. “So my point is that almost all councils have limits on them” not really, maybe Wellington to some extent. In most cases the city council controls the city roads and the regional council controls the roads in and out. In Auckland’s case the city council has no control of anything, they can just ask AT nicely and AT largely ignore them.

  2. “the budget has to balance in terms of income and operating expenses” – wouldn’t that mean that AC has no debt?
    As far as I knew the main difference is that the councils have a debt ceiling but the government do not. I think that debt ceiling is very much needed, AC are in a bad enough situation as it is.

  3. So you’d have to wonder what AT is doing deciding to pause on the speed management plan until they get “clear direction” from the government on speeds for local roads. The current legislation allows them to proceed with it now. AT’s professional responsibility requires them to do so; if Simeon Brown suggests higher speeds, this would not “contribute to a safe, effective or efficient transport system”.

    Kimpton’s bizarre and misguided ‘advice’ to council on Thursday was: “you might want to change clause d from ‘support finalisation’ to ‘note finalisation’. But nothing will change until we have got feedback from the new government on what their intentions are around the law. I don’t know whether I can be any more specific. We’re not looking for approval, and we’re not looking for any further recommendations.”

    As Councillor Shane Henderson said: “Waiting for the government? We’re the governors of the city. These are our roads. And in fact I’d remind everyone of the mayoral direction, which is that Auckland’s standing up for itself this term. We’re not waiting for Wellington.”

    Nice work by the councillors, especially Fairey, on getting the resolutions improved.

    Council needs to ask the AT Board some hard questions about political independence and professional conduct.

      1. On local roads, Jimbo? The FAQ on AT website’s about Katoa Ka Ora says:

        “Why is AT continuing with speed limit changes when the Government has changed the approach to speed management?
        The central government announced recently that the State Highway speed management plan has been narrowed in scope. Auckland Transport does not manage state highways and this change does not affect AT’s legal obligation to complete a regional speed management plan for Auckland.
        Under the Government’s Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2022 (the Rule), all road controlling authorities across New Zealand, including Auckland Transport, are required to develop speed management plans. Katoa, Ka Ora is the name of the draft speed management plan being developed for Auckland.”

        There are no evidence grounds for “undoing changes” that save lives; AT should contribute to and rely on the professionalism of the sector preventing such stupid direction.

        1. Heidi just saw this

          The key parts for this discussion seem to be

          “The new Rule will also implement variable speed limits on roads approaching schools during pick up and drop off times, rather than permanent reductions, to keep young New Zealanders safe when they are arriving at or leaving school.

          “I am writing to Road Controlling Authorities throughout the country to notify them of the changes and to advise them that work has begun on the new Rule. This allows them to stop work on current speed management plans until the Rule is put in place.”

          Yes this was only issued about today (I think an hour or two ago) but IMO it follows what the coalition government has been publicly saying since pretty much they were formed along with the two largest parties in it. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there were private signals that something like this were coming from very early on.

          My knowledge of all the aspects of AT, Auckland Council and central government and all the various interactions of directions, directives, orders, rules, and the law is very limited. However it seems clear that central government is telling AT (and other road controlling authorities i.e. councils etc), that there is going to be a change in direction where they need to take into account “economic impacts” when setting speed limits etc. So rather than continuing down their current path they should stop until the central government has given them the new rules.

          And I do know enough to know that parliamentary sovereignty in NZ means that parliament and so effectively any majority government (assuming no revolts or breakups which aren’t realistic over this) can do whatever they want and can force AT to change what they’re doing or even take over them without AT or Auckland Council being able to do anything about it. So I’m not sure I agree with you that AT is getting ahead of themselves.

          While I understand a lot of unused consultation, plans etc need to happen as part of an efficient democratic government, I just don’t see the purpose of going ahead with something when the central government has clearly said, don’t do that, we’re going to make you to do something else instead. And these rules are almost bound to be in place before any construction will start on anything only being planned now.

          The one thing I might agree with you is I do feel AT should proceed with any works already in progress, that just makes sense, even if it’s possible to stop it half way safely that isn’t likely to be cost effective etc since you’re probably going to either have to pull it up or finish it in the end. And I assume any future “economic impact” assessment will need to consider the cost of ripping up something already constructed.

          I’d even go as far as to say they should proceed with any already timetabled for now especially if these have already gone out to a successful tender. Again cancelling these will come at a cost, and in any case, I can see a decent case to continue with current construction plans under the old rules until there are actual new rules.

          (To be clear, I’m mostly thinking of examples in West Auckland where I live where most of the changes have involved speed humps and tables rather than simply red lines and signs.)

          Note that I’m not saying I agree with the new coalition government’s plans just that it’s the reality of how NZ is governed and our constitutional system. In fact I said in another post that while it may not have been perfect, the new rules are something the old government sort of got right. I also said I hope that there will be enough time in those areas where we did get speed reductions for there to be significant push back against these moves.

          FWIW, I follow a UK Labour political commentator on Youtube and while it’s difficult to know if he’s right, he keeps suggesting after some initial confusion and concern over similar changes in one area in the UK lead to a win for the Conservatives, the Conservative government there is making it a big issue, despite them being partly involved in the first place. (But councils there tend to have a lot more devolved power.) However the commentator claims this is stupid since polling shows in fact even most Conservatives supporters now support the changes as they’re getting more used to them. So I’m still hoping against hope a similar thing happens here and there will be enough pushback to get the current coalition to change tract.

        2. Sorry missed one line I planned to include. Frankly the variable part isn’t that important but I didn’t want to snip in the middle.

          “This will allow work to begin on a new Rule to ensure that when speed limits are set, economic impacts – including travel times – and the views of road users and local communities are taken into account, alongside safety.

        3. Sorry just two final comments which touches other stuff I said. Unless I’m mistaken, it’s worth remembering this isn’t something AT or even Auckland Council decided to do by themselves. AFAIK it was mostly the old central government which told them they should do this and set the broad based rules on how they should. AT to their credit seems to have embraced it better than they have with some other stuff but ultimately I don’t think we can say AT should follow central government when they give good rules, but ignore them when they give bad rules. That just doesn’t work least of all legally. Yes they can see if they can find ways to work around them but they can’t just completely ignore them.

          Also is there a clear majority on the council who clearly support safer speeds? Despite my hope, one concern I do have is I get the feeling there remains a lot of pushback against them in elections. This was probably a factor in even the general election but I got the feeling safer speeds (along with the general anti cycleway etc) was a major factor in Ken Turner’s win in the Waitākere ward where I live. And from what he said during has campaign, I’m fairly sure he doesn’t share Shane Henderson’s views on what should happen with safer speeds although he does on local control.

          (And I’m hoping he’s sincere enough in this view that he’ll push back against central government trying to override the council even if it’s in a direction he likes. Although he’s also opposed to council centralisation in general and central government has also talked about listening to local communities. And whatever the merits of even more localised control, I do fear there’s a strong risk of this being a case of they who speak loudest wins. Especially since it can be hard to get good consultation when a lot of people are still iffy on the idea or just aren’t going to bother even if they do support it, but there is some very vocal pushback.)

        4. There’s so much ambiguity to this change of rule. Who or what determines the balance between economic impacts, safety impacts and the views of local communities and road users when determining the speed limit? There is already a process that local authorities go through when setting speed limits.

          Simeon Brown telling them to stop work only serves as an unnecessary delay for councils to carry on with their regular duties.

        5. “…even most Conservatives supporters now support the changes as they’re getting more used to them.”
          Yes I think this is what you would expect & I suspect is happening in NZ too. Most people driving past their local school have either their own children attending there or know someone’s whom do.

        6. Yes, I saw that announcement too.

          There was some great analysis of the effect of political change around speed limits and enforcement in the UK. The Tories’ policies uncoupled the UK’s DSI stats from the strongly downward trend that other European countries continued to follow.

          The rate that this government is going backwards is startling. This article looks at the environmental policies, but the same is true of health, safety, climate and transport:

          Is NZ going to just put up with all this destruction of good policy?

          We’re going to need every professional to act professionally according to their code of ethics. Kimpton must know the engineers’ code, as he was President of Engineering NZ.

          His position through all this must be that as an engineer he is unable to make changes that will cause more death.

        7. Hearing Shane Jones with his “We are going to extract the dividend from Mother Nature’s legacy on the DoC estate and those areas previously known as Stewardship land” Victorian age ‘earth is something to conquer’ speech made for particularly painful listening.

        8. Mindblowing, eh? The only silver lining I can see is that their confidence is so high at the moment, that they’re not trying to hide anything. The public can use this openness, stop being ‘nice’, and call things out. This is simply pandering to those who’ll make money from climate destruction and from repairing some of it. It flies in the face of all evidence about how to deliver improvements for NZers and the world.

          National could be so much more than this, but the path they’re taking NZ on is one that will lead to incredible hardship and misery. This will be a long fight, because the leadership of so many public organisations is hand-in-glove with this. Yet, there’d be no peace or joy in ignoring it. So, fight, we must.

    1. Thanks Heidi, I watched with interest all the amazing presentations to the Transport Infrastructure Committee (TIC). School kids telling why speed limits are important to them etc. Public health specialists taking time out from healing sick kids (literally) talking to PM2.5 and NOx and how many we are sending to early graves. All this – followed up by ” its a noting paper ” only, until the new coalition government has advised on the new rules.

      Katoa, Ka Ora – We know know what Aucklanders want due to its extensive consultation.

      Cr Henderson and Cr Fairy seemed stunned and amazed. Like Auckland Council had just been pushed aside. I guess it has. So – it sums up Greater Auckland transport and blog. All the answers. None of the outcomes.

  4. There was a story on RNZ about speedy 300 Watt scooters that can reach speeds of 100 km/hr.
    I some Asian countries, China, Indonesia, Taiwan 2 and 3 wheeler bikes and scooters are out selling cars by between 3 and 30 to one and decarbonising and limiting pollution. In India the market for electric motorcycles is booming up by 50% in the past year. Users can easily swap batteries at charging stations. (ref Economist Sept)
    Sales of ebikes and escooters are increasing in NZ too as people are wanting to reduce their transport costs. Our govt an councils must support them.

    1. 300w can’t get you to 100kmph. That’s nonsense.
      At best it might get you to 35kmph.
      It is the 2500w motors that might get you approaching 100kmph, but they are most definitely not designed for those speeds.

      1. They are all 300w. You can buy a roll of silver and black stickers on Aliexpress that certifies everything as being 300w regardless of what output your motor has. Many of the 1000w bike conversion kits come with one of those stickers.

        1. The main limit on the speed of a scooter is stability with small wheels and a high centre of gravity. A small pothole can launch a rider quite a long way, so they are self regulating.

    2. I do agree with the story in that we need a speed limit for e-mobility vehicles on shared pathways, maybe 35km/hr. I am constantly amazed at the speed of e-scooters and e-skateboards on the NW pathway, I would guess 40km/hr +. The pathway is shared with kids walking and cycling to schools, dog walkers, pedestrians and runners.
      I do not run there in peak times as I feel that it is not that safe, especially close passes by e-bikes etc. Especially when there is no-one coming the other way and plenty of room to leave a decent gap

      1. The government needs to totally review the access and operating conditions, operating restrictions and speed limits on all roadway spaces, including footpaths, shared spaces , cycleways separated or not, and general carriageways.
        The existence now of e bikes, and powered scooters makes previous classifications and restrictions both obselete and irrational. For instance the restrictions on cycling on footpaths by wheel diameter.
        It needs a fundemental risk based rethink taking into account both the chances of collision and the potential consequences on each type of roadway, and the provision of alternative passageways
        As the consequences of a collision are heavily dictated by the kinetic energy involved, mass, but particularily speeds, these must be considered and appropriate limits both imposed and effectively enforced.
        Heavily laden E bikes or scooters speeding down footpaths accessed by young children and the vulnerable, is not acceptable. There will be fatalities.
        However if no alternative path is available then a very modest speed limit here might be acceptable.

        1. “Heavily laden E bikes or scooters speeding down footpaths accessed by young children and the vulnerable, is not acceptable.”

          I fully agree with you in principle. It just horrifies me that we are probably one or two dramatic e-scooter-caused fatalities away from having this govt spend more time and energy on slowing down scooters and e-bikes than cars.

        2. Yes heaven above, just think. What are the deaths and serious injuries of pedestrians or other users from scooters/bikes compared to those by cars/trucks/buses? I sure know where I would direct my money to save lives.

        3. I am only for speed limits on foot paths and in shared spaces.
          And it is rarely here that an alternative path, usually the general roadway, is not available. If you want to faster on such devices the general roadway should be the place to be, if there is no cycleway.
          If we follow international best practice most urban general roadway space should have 30kph 20mph speed limits anyway.

        4. Just another reason why shared paths are not ideal at best but downright dangerous and disruptive in most cases. You shouldn’t be mixing cyclists/e scooters trying to move it with pedestrians – the northwestern should be cycle lanes only. Widen it further if you wish to add pedestrian lanes. The purpose is to provide a safe route for people to use non-car transportation.

        5. It’s interesting Streetmix doesn’t even have a shared path option. Seems overseas, or at least in North America?/Europe? this is not very common. In saying that, they often have very wide corridors to fit everything in they want, often paths are way wider by default.

    3. By the speed of most of the ebikes and private escooters on the NW pathway in more recent years, most are over 300W and illegal.
      I probably average getting passed at least once per day by a scooter doing more than 50km/h.
      Many countries have powered limits of either 25km/h or 20mph (32km/h).
      My biggest concern is not necessarily the fastest people, its generally people on ebikes not looking ahead while overtaking or overtaking on blind bends, or not shoulder checking when they think they might have passed. Being on an analog bike I get passed a lot, and see this occurring most days.

      1. Doubling the NW pathway to separate fast and slow lanes is vital. Also, intersections need better protection, as visibility is often restricted.

      2. A legal 250 watt ebike will do 45 kph no problem, unless its choked to meet lower limits in overseas countries. 32 kph limits are a pain in moving traffic, especially getting from the left shoulder to a right hand turning lane on a 3 lane road, or even riding on a 40 kph road like Ponsonby Rd, as noone can safely overtake you, in my experience

  5. If you’d dropped this reality of the 2 Browns runnin the show 10 months ago I’d have left town in a flash but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Wayne, he’s still a loose unit but he’s listening. Simeon Brown on the other hand, I don’t think I’v ever seen an example of him listening to any experts and rehashing what they’ve said. Feel like it will be 1 forward, 1 back under these 2 and that’s the last thing the City needs

  6. The Auckland Transport Board should be forcefully reminded that their control and direction comes from Auckland alone. And from Auckland institutions, our Council and residents. They are an Auckland Council Controlled Organisation. They do not have two masters.
    Setting and ensuring National, (and ACT) objectives, is for the multiple agencies directly controlled by the government, not them.

    AT has been bedevilled by far too much influence from it’s own senior staff feathering their own career paths by staying on side with all the major operatives in our very incestuous Road Transport Industry.
    Thus maximising their future employment options at the expense of Auckland’s adoption of more holistic and environmentally favourable transport solutions.

  7. Great title

    The fuel tax situation is fascinating. It would be better to use congestion charging to replace the RFT.

    But in terms of political economy, is a congestion charge really going to be more popular with the National voter base than 10c a litre fuel tax?

    If I had to guess what will happen:
    1) National get rid of the RFT
    2) in the short term they top up council with some portion of the lost revenue, but council still have to cancel some stuff.
    3) they say long term that this straight transfer will be replaced by congestion charging, but this will come post next election and leave lots of opportunity for it to be killed, by a future govt, or by a future council.

    This along with housing are landmines for this govt. They promised everyone everything, but if they make a misstep….

    1. Its why I remain deeply sceptical that congestion charging will be in this term, despite the “cross party support” prior to the election.

      Simeon won’t want it, nor, probably, NZ First. I think it was in the coalition agreement with ACT but there was no timeframe. Expect the Minister for Auckland to kick this one down the road until the next term and when there is the “better PT” he won’t be spending money on.

  8. Part of the discussion of transport planning in Auckland is how the government and Auckland Transport jointly plan to improve safety for all of its road users and how that also ties in with the National Party’s Accelerate NZ plan, which specifically opposes to safer speeds on urban and rural roads. From everything I’ve seen from Brown, he has seemly very little interest in road safety. This is the same Simeon Brown who led a petition to stop AT constructing a signalised pedestrian crossing being built on Pakuranga Highway.

    1. Interestingly Labour too stalled speed reductions as polling had obviously suggested that they were politically significantly unpopular.
      Kiwis still are not prepared to trade some exhilaration in their driving environment for greater safety, and overall lowered transport costs.
      This needs further work.

      1. Labour reduced the speed of rolling out the programme, to concentrate on the most dangerous 1%. Some might say it was a populist move.

      1. Yes. AT pulled out due to overwhelming criticism during consulation … mostly contributed by Simeon’s rent-a-crowd.

  9. On the hopeful side, Auckland Central was held for Chloe, Efeso is in Parliament, and Te Paati Maori remains unapologetic. So stale pale males will be very aware that there is an expiry date for colonial era solutions; progress can only be impeded, not denied!!!

  10. The Nats have never had an interest in devolving meaningful power to Auckland councils. Quite the opposite. Remember the stripping of the regional council assets. Their interest is in delivering what benefits their financial and voting supporters.
    Expect to see more legislation over-riding local democracy, and supporting privatisation of council functions. The latter was undoubtedly the intention of the Auckland Council legislation establishing multiple CCOs

    1. Yes I heard this suggested when the CCOs were formed especially given Rodney Hide’s involvement. But as much as I distrust the current government I just can’t see any significant privatisation to Auckland Council assets happening this term. Watercare has always been the most obvious target being a service that already operates a bit corporate like and also one privatised in plenty of other countries. The problem is Three Waters, whatever you think of it, successfully garned a lot of opposition both again centralisation but also against “stealing” the council’s assets.

      While centralisation might not be a clear concern, is National+ACT really going to think they can sell privatising Watercare? We won’t steal it for government, we’ll just sell it outright. Maybe ACT would be willing to try but I figure National is going to be too considered about the political risks to try it, not to mention I think it’ll be one of the limited areas we’re were lucky have NZ First who I expect will also reject it and perhaps strongly enough that they’d be willing to bring down the government to stop it if need be. (Or at least National+ACT might think they would.)

  11. Transport, Local Government and Minister for Auckland all in the hands of one minister is concerning. Especially one so blinkered he still thinks building roads is a solution to congestion. It was telling that when questioned about the likelihood of Wellington trains being decimated unless an immediate $750m is poured into Kiwirail network he looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights in terms of “but but I didn’t realise we had to spend money on THAT…”

  12. Relationship between Council, AT Board and AT management is getting into the right space now, with meaningful Letter of Expectation and Statement of Intent, and Councillors on AT Board. The LGMA (Auckland) may not need meddling with to get the accountability that the Mayor was campaigning for. And who in government could be trusted to manage a change of that legislation. The Mayor is right to focus on getting govt. to work with Auckland and listen to facts, finances and the climate-change future.

    1. That sounds promising. Does this mean the LoE includes:
      – road renewals budget will be primarily used to deliver TERP.
      – AT will develop the programmes to reduce VKT according to the TERP, ie 50% drop by 2030.
      – AT will make all decisions according to Vision Zero.

      Or is your focus on something else?

  13. Who has their “heads in the sand” over “climate change”?
    The two Browns obviously have a more objective, pragmatic perspective, based on the reality that Auckland could reduce its private car usage to absolute zero and still make not one jot of difference to the climate. They are also probably better read than the leftists who write these pro public transport/anti car freedom articles and understand that the world’s climate has changed dramatically since recorded history began and even more so beforehand; it will continue changing despite what mankind does.
    There is no purpose in sending ourselves broke to appease the neo Marxist gods of “climate change”

    1. Ignoring your obvious fly-in-the-face of scientific consensus ignorance regarding climate change, it doesn’t take a genius to see that there is hardly any more efficiency to be squeezed out of roads in the Auckland isthmus. There literally isn’t more space to be had for roads and, even supposing there were, there are bountiful recent examples of road infrastructure inducing further congestion and failing to do what it promises. I am not sure how you found your way to this blog, but the general ideology of it is not going to find a welcome home in your lead-addled grey matter.

      1. In a country the size of Japan, with less then 3% of that country’s population and more natural resources, why are we so focused on cramming everyone into urban ghettos like the Auckland isthmus?
        The money wasted on the CRL could have been spent on real development of the Auckland/Hamilton/Tauranga triangle with commensurate economic diversification and growth.
        But I guess the real leftist ideology is to have everyone concentrated into areas where they have limited mobility, hence freedom, so that they can better serve the socialist demand economy.
        Your “general ideology” is why after 6 years, this country is in a dreadful mess.
        Also, if you rely on the consensus of people who are paid to write “scientific reports”, you may wish to get a scientific education and do your own research.

        1. Ah, yes, the “leftists did it”.

          Newsflash: Cities grow because they are places where people want to (or need) live. Prior to working from home becoming normal, that’s where most of the jobs were, mate. Even now, unless you are a well-paid desk worker, that’s STILL were most of the jobs are. Your typical cleaner, retail worker or even builder cannot all find jobs in Matamata, especially if 500 others of their same trade also were to move there. Plus, they may simply prefer city life, okay?

          People are in cities FOR REASONS. About the only thing that has ever shrunk cities substantially were wars and pandemics.

          You can’t just simply drop money on the regions and expect people to flock there, not even (especially not) by making it a moral choice.

          Many countries have tried that, poured billions into schemes trying to attract people there and rural areas still get more and more deserted (unless you have massive population growth in those rural areas in the first place – or the specific rural area is a retirement area style wider fringe of a large city).

          You are also massively undermining your “scientific” arguments when you claim Auckland as a “crammed” “ghetto” – using emotive slagging-off terms for what is internationally a really LOW-density big city.

          Auckland has a lot of both good and bad. But people like you really need to get over your feeling that cities are bad, or that they shouldn’t get money allocated to them in line with how many people live there. You did that for decades, long before Jacinda’s Labour. I get it – you’re team country. Enjoy it. But don’t go around claiming cities are wrong, and people who like cities or want to spend money making them better have a moral failing. That only makes you sound like a rural hick railing at clouds.

          Signed: Someone who lives rurally now, but still has a soft spot for Auckland.

        2. “do your own research” thanks for raising that flag and letting everyone know you don’t have anything of value to add

        3. Right winger falsely claims anti-freedom, then objects to people making their personal choice to live in Auckland. Then indicates he’d like to stop people having that choice.

          Its always a logical argument….

        4. I’m assuming you live in Auckland. If you don’t consider that maybe it’s better to let Aucklanders have the freedom to decide how they want to live.

          As others have said, the reality is plenty of other people, way more than you want to also live in Auckland. They want to live in the way that best suits them. And since they outnumber you, they mostly get to override you and you don’t get to tell them they need to lvie somewhere else. Sorry.

          And while for you, having to drive 30 minutes + just to get to a shopping complex or whatever might be freedom, for them perhaps being able to walk or cycle 10 minutes to buy most of what they want is freedom. And when they do want to go further, being able to just hop on a public transport, not have to worry about traffic or concentrating on driving and not killing people, not having their lifespan shortened by fumes, maybe not even needing to own a vehicle and all the costs and time that entails and definitely not needing two for a couple or small family; and most of the time still getting where they want to go faster than in your ultra-sprawled heaven, maybe that’s freedom.

    2. Maybe they could split China or the US into little 5 million pop climate accounting blocks, everyone can make the same argument, and climate change will be solved! /s

      1. How will climate change be solved? How do you know that man made CO2 is the cause?
        If you are that smart, then you can probably tell us how the Ice Ages and the warm period between the 8th and 13th centuries occurred – without coal fired power stations or ICE cars.

        1. Everyone accepts the planet cools and warms, its just the rate. And the accelerated rate due to human factors over and above the norm. That’s the focus.

          This is like, primary school stuff, right?

  14. Lol, I’ll bite.

    It’s just simple economics, it costs more to provide the same level of service over a large area vs a smaller area. It’s something that naturally happens across the rest of the world, just we distort it by providing subsidies in the form of building infra for greenfields development with some of the cost coming from the taxpayer/ratepayer, and also cross subsidising with higher density areas subsidising lower density ones. Then we add on top restrictive regulation preventing people doing what they want with their property, which prevents density.

    I’ve got no issue with greenfields growth (as long as it’s not destroying productive land), just I think the developers/new residents should be paying their fair share rather than expecting the rest of us to pay for it. Thankfully this is what we’re going to move towards purely because we can’t afford the subsidies anymore.

    Re CRL – it’s a long overdue project about reducing travel costs to Auckland/improving the labour market. There are decent arguments about its management/cost overruns, but it should’ve been built already. Thankfully John Key overruled the ideological detractors, but Stephen Joyce and co’s delays have added billions to the cost (as it’s more expensive now than a few years earlier to build it) which would’ve been able to be spent on other parts of the Golden Triangle.

  15. Sure, I enjoy the old cities of the world like London, Pais, Rome and the newly developed cities with massive investment like Singapore.
    You fail to realise however, that Auckland has been mostly developed after Henry Ford and the Model T, which enabled people to live around a city in the way they most desired; the 1/4 acre blocks that were a feature of my childhood and a city that worked fairly well until the 60’s.
    To reimagine and reengineer Auckland to become as liveable and workable as say Singapore would require the massive investment we simply do not have. The compression of living spaces whereby an eminently liveable house on a section is replaced with a dozen slum boxes, so that people can be close to the CBD doesn’t create a desirable city.
    What would you enjoy about a trip into central Auckland – viewing the rough sleepers or maybe fighting off the street kids?
    Our cities earn nothing in terms of our export economy. We need to look at the alternatives of regional development, perhaps studying what Sleepyhead are doing in the Waikato and looking at how countries like Italy developed regional centres of excellence for their kitchen and automotive industries.
    It is too late to abandon private car ownership in Auckland. We need to get rid of the ideologies and look further outside the box for housing people without regarding them as sardines packaged for transport to jobs that a socialist government will make for them.
    We need an NZ inc vision and strategy to get our country back to the place it used to be – getting people here who have the right skills, with industries that give NZ a commercial edge in the world.
    Instead we are wasting time chasing ideologies that are causing wasted investment in “saving the world” but are also about controlling everyone in the best socialist traditions.

    1. Couple of points. The central city is improving rapidly after a bit of a downturn from COVID etc. Maybe you haven’t visited for a while.
      Why are you linking city centre density to socialist ideologies? Dense cities develop almost organically from increased business & social opportunities that a more compact form allows.
      “..replaced with a dozen slum boxes” around my suburb, many average to crappy old run down houses have been replaced with quite nice terraced houses, they look a lot better and of quite a high standard.
      The CRL is not a waste of money, it will be a game changer for the central city and wider Auckland area. Once it opens & given some time you can come back on this blog an admit your misplaced out of date 1960’s Auckland era predictions.

      1. You mean the central city that has increasingly empty retail spaces and foot traffic down 25% in the last year. It is not even a pale shadow of cities one would like to visit.
        As for the CRL, I fail to see how a small circular track that serves less than 5% of the population is going to be a “game changer”. It’s astronomical costs aren’t even fully known yet!

        1. Yet a quick google search shows, demand and supply is increasing:

          The CRL is more than a small circular track, that’s very small (literally) thinking, it allows people flows directly into the centre of the city (and K’rd) rather than just downtown. More than that it allows double the capacity due to Britomart becoming a through station rather than a dead end. It also provides for a large uplift & redevelopment around the former Mt Eden (Maungawhau) station. Further more, people travelling from the west to the city centre will save about 20 mins from current times by not needing to do a double back from Newmarket Station having a direct route through the new line.
          Wider rail network improvements including The Strand, Ōtāhuhu and Newmarket
          Provision for longer nine-car electric trains

      2. “As for the CRL, I fail to see how a small circular track….”

        Lol. Surely you understand it a bit better than that…

        And John Key, as the PM who ultimately got the CRL started, will be amused to know it is nothing more than Socialist dogma.

        1. lol – no I haven’t drunk the CRL Koolade!
          We are told that the existing Britomart station is “inefficient” because it requires trains to reverse. Why then, do super efficient stations like those in London, Paris, Milan, Rome, Florence to name a few all have blind ended platforms that require trains to reverse? Our electric trains are double ended if you haven’t noticed.
          As for John Key, the faux conservative, he just smiled and went along with everything until it got too hard and he left; same as the smiling PM that resigned earlier this year. It seems that in this country the numpty populace goes with the biggest smiling face that tells them what they like to hear.
          The promises made about the CRL included; the costs of this thing are going to be way out of kilter with the benefits provided. Auckland needs to think hard about such massive, geographically limited investments in the future.

        2. Britomart is a dead end and every time a train has to come back out, it delays a train coming in. And every line leads to Britomart, so it effects every train on every line, all day, every day. The CRL makes it a through station and has massive time savings, increased capacity (double). Its not that hard to do some reading and come to an informed conclusion.

          But I get your position; PT = bad/Socialist, Cars = good/freedom. Its such a well thought out argument…

          I take your point on costs v benefits. If that’s your position, there is practically no new highway that should go ahead. The BCR is worse than the CRL even after inflating their benefits. So that would leave us with spending with positive benefits, pretty much just cycleways and busways. You OK with that, presumably?

        3. This chris guy is delusional, comparing Britomart to the huge railway stations of Europe… (or is he comparing it to the likes of crossrail, or the paris RER… which are functionally identical to the CRL?)

          e.g. Rome, well Roma Termini which has 22 terminal platforms accessed by no less than 15 tracks. It’s not super efficient, it’s just huge. The thing is 250m wide and a kilometre long.

          Britomart has five platforms, accessed by 2 tracks. It’s very efficient actually, twenty trains an hour from one track in and one track out is world class turnover. The only problem is the trackage is too small, and the biggest benefit of the CRL is it doubles the number of tracks in and out of the city.

    2. Sure the CBD has not yet regained the vibrancy it had immediately pre covid.
      But it has hugely more vibrancy then it had 25 years ago, when it had suffered years of following the car domination effects of hollowing out city centres. Something still occuring in the completely car dominated Tauraranga.
      Bringing the rail back into the city centre, and terminating the Northern Busway in the city centre, overcame the transport difficulties for many, making the CBD a far more desirable place to both do business and to work.
      The CRL is just another step in this process.
      But uplift to the CBD is not in everyone’s interest.
      Uplift here is at the expense of uplift in development sites in the car dominated fringes. Hence well funded pushback.

      1. Yes, it’s all in process. We may as well embrace the CRL, it’s not going to be halted. Yes it ended up expensive, but so did everything else in the construction world (other anglosphere countries are having huge bills too). Immediately and longer term I see it having suburb implications with improved reliability of services and better frequencies. It should provide fore better regional services too with hybrid trains able to terminate in Britomart’s extra spare platforms. Auckland getting funding cut while also being handed roads to now maintain (like Puhoi to Warkworth) that were previously under our national transit agency is what we should be complaining about.

  16. I see both Simeon and Wayne having their ambitions curtailed by the massive cost of building infrastructure, Watercare are soon to reveal the actual cost of Central Interceptor, another blowout. There are so many must do’s,(slips,sinkholes,pipeleaks,stormdamage,potholes),there will be little left for “improvements”.
    Any central govt project suggested,always requires a significant local investment,to marry it in to the existing infrastructure. It is hard to imagine Mill Rd, East West link ,type projects getting off the ground,neither central nor local govt has the means to finance it.

  17. If you think that Auckland is paradise on earth, then good for you; just don’t expect the rest of the region and the country to subsidise your public transport obsession. The country of NZ is beautiful, which is an adjective that few would choose when describing Auckland.
    Perhaps you have a small radius outlook and can’t see beyond the limitations of your neighbourhood; my point is that we can’t afford more white elephants like CRL or second harbour crossings – we need to think laterally about our population size, what it will do in terms of an international economy and where it will be located.

    1. If you’re worried about costs to government and cross-subsidies, why are you advocating a solution which all evidence suggests will cost NZ a lot more, as it has everyone else that has tried it?

    2. lol. Auckland subsidises the rest of the country. Net outflow of taxes.

      And if you despise costly white elephants, wait till you hear about the 13 RoNS proposed by National and NZF. If the CRL business case gets you frothing at the mouth, that will make you absolutely hysterical when you see how much they will be subsidised by the taxpayer for such a poor return.

  18. The RoNs will provide for more efficient movement of freight as well as people, throughout the whole country. The anti car, anti road ideology of the last 6 years has stifled this country. We are going to need all the export dollars that we earn to pay back the borrowed money that made everything look so jolly on the surface.
    The RoNs will benefit the whole economy and not just provide a small circle around the lefties of Grey Lyn for their exclusive benefit.

    1. But the benefits don’t outweight the costs. That’s the modelling by all the parties involved. Its why they are RoNS in the first place and not coming out of road charges. Because they don’t pass the test. They need massive taxpayer subsidies.

      Now you are either for the position that BCRs matter or they don’t. Make up your mind. Inane statements like it will “allow more efficient movement of freight as well as people” applies to the CRL as well. And the most efficient movement of people is buslanes. But I am guessing when it comes to those, your “value for money” positions changes…

    2. One more comment along these lines (see KLK higher up about RoNs BCR’s) and I have absolutely no respect for you and your “well thought out opinions”/s to be worth arguing with.

    3. “The anti car, anti road ideology of the last 6 years has stifled this country”

      You aren’t even educated on the matter. PT spend is a drop in the ocean over the last 6yrs, compared to the roading budget. the CRL is peanuts compared to the RoNS program but you are so miserable you want to deny people the freedom to choose their transport choice. The CRL or any PT spend doesn’t stop you getting in your car. You want to decide for all. Who is the socialist here?

      The only ideology here is yours.

  19. No, the left never like to hear dissent from their utopian view of everyone being herded into a compressed living space with limited freedoms on where they will work or go to for their recreation
    The unbridled immigration that is causing the congestion and ruin of our cities is just yet another Marxist fundamental plank.
    I have zero respect for those on the left who think that we should all conform to a lowest common denominator level and think that in the new Eutopia, all animals will be equal.

    1. I have zero respect for people that hate other people having the choice in how they want to live or travel.

      No one is compelling you do do anything. Live where you like, travel how you like. At least have the decency to allow others that choice too. It’s not hard.

    1. The housing, job, education, and health markets that 3xing the rail capacity in Auckland will enable (assuming National lets people build more houses in Auckland) will drag the rest of the country’s economy up and along for the next 30 years. It’s what the country is missing compared to Australia, a large efficient city of 2-3 million, and the ultra specialization and labour markets that creates.

      There are no economically efficient RONS left to build, nearly all the proposed ones have less than 0.5 BCR’s. They destroy more value than they create for the next (at least) 30 years.

      People can live where they want, a shitload of people want to live in Auckland where they can create the most value for the economy and for themselves.

  20. People should be free to choose whatever they want to do, but not to expect others who do not join in to their ideas, to subsidise them.
    If people want cycleways and wall to wall public transport then they should be happy to pay for the costs of the amenities that they are using, not everyone else in the region

    1. People should be free to choose whatever they want to do, but not to expect others who do not join in to their ideas, to subsidise them.
      If people want new roads, parking and wall to wall motorways, then they should be happy to pay for the costs of the amenities that they are using, not everyone else in the region

        1. Maybe read back the comments, all you’ve managed to do is make a bunch of baseless statements which others have easily pointed out flaws in. You think you are trolling, but you are just proving that your position has no factual basis in reality so really your only success has been to undermine whatever position you believe, whether sincere or not.

  21. As a kiwi in the UK sick of Torries here, NZ is looking even worse with this newly elected government.

    Many of my British friends are asking me why we’ve U-turned on the smoking ban, binning fossil fuels, getting rid of Auckland fuel taxation and free prescriptions etc when even the useless British Tory party are doing (most of) these things as well as investing in public transport.

    I feel sorry for you all back home. Decisions being made in Wellington are turning me off coming home anytime soon and I can see many young kiwis concerned about transport, health and the environment joining me in the exodus.

    1. Wellington has always been Auckland’s biggest problem. Pretending that this has suddenly come about with National in power is being a bit cute. Outcomes were no better for Auckland when critical infrastructure projects were bouncing around desks in endless case studies or planning stages, and no one seemed too concerned with a proper population strategy or giving Auckland the same deal for the CRL that Wellington was getting with LGWM – which would have meant Auckland could have carried less debt and wouldn’t have had to slash active mode projects across the region.

      The reality is if the previous government had actually delivered much for Auckland, even a fraction of what they promised, then they wouldn’t have had the public turn on them come election time.

    2. Kiwis voted to get rid of the previous government. You could have stood a cabbage against Labour and won. They said all the right things and promised us the moon but then did something different.

  22. The failures of the previous Government in actually doing anything in the Transprt sphere were a big factor, in it loosing support.
    Including mine.
    A relitively simple Light Rail line from the central isthmus to the CBD that should have been well underway by now, morphed into a horrendously expensive line all the way from the Airport to the CBD including a large section of tunnelling complete with underground stations.
    A tunnelled two track light rail connection under the Waitemata and reallocating one lane of the harbour bridge for cycling and walking morphed into a four lane motorway tunnel from the already congested Spaghetti Junction to the already congested Akoranga/Onewa interchange area.
    Let’s get Wellington Moving again was everything but.

    And apart from providing lots of employment for multitudes of consultants nothing got done.
    Which was probably a better outcome then doing the wrong things.
    As “progress” in Tauraranga testifies, where more and more lane kilometres of road is rewarded with ever increasing travel times, and an atrophying CBD.

    1. “A tunnelled two track light rail connection under the Waitemata and reallocating one lane of the harbour bridge for cycling and walking morphed into a four lane motorway …”
      Though I like that plan, I dont’ think it was actually on the cards as a plan.
      If we keep the light rail all on the surface then a bridge would be cheaper to both build and maintain/run, with with less carbon emissions too. Actually even if some of the first LRT setup was tunnelled a bridge still makes sense and I think Mayor Wayne Brown had mentioned this also.

  23. Trams & Light Rail in France go back to 1837 & continuously improving to the present day.

    Trams & Light Rail in Auckland go back to 1887 to 1956 when it was dismantled during the 1949 to 1956 period. Replaced by trolley buses.

    France is now in the forefront of the revival of tramways and light rail systems.

    NZ is now backwards of the revival of tramways and light rail systems.

    1. Actually France followed the typical path with almost all the first generation tramway systems closing after ww2. However from the 1980s, a major revival began, picking up speed in recent years so that by 2020, 27 light rail systems were in operation.

    2. if you want great rail based transport go to Central and Eastern Europe.

      Prague has a great team network that never got pulled up and nearly all of its buses are trollies. Heavy rail everywhere too if course.

      Such a pity Auckland, and a lot more recently Wellington, got rid of their clean transport systems (trolly buses) and replaced them with diesel buses. What a backwards step.

  24. I guess nothing has a “factual basis” for the leftists, that doesn’t go along with the narratives of climate change hysteria, taxation to pay for the mad schemes of the left and the command and control of the populace.
    If the leftie members of this blog site had better than a primary school understanding of science and geology, they would be able to do their own calculations on the quantum of man’s contribution to heating of the earth and realise how puny this is in relation to the heat energy both plus and minus required to make the changes to climate in quite short time frames experienced over both historical and geological time. The obsession with eliminating fossil fuels would only serve to return us to a time before the Industrial Revolution. However you will continue to only listen to those “scientists” who are paid to produce what you want to hear.
    As for the focus central Auckland, it may shock you to know that for a large proportion of the regional population, central Auckland is an irrelevance. Who wants to see the Soviet style apartments alongside that other edifice to Soviet style centralist thinking, the Britomart station. This together with the horrendously expensive CRL is a farce from beginning to end and will cost everyone in the region dearly for decades to come. However I guess your leftie mates will still be telling themselves about this magical entity that will solve greater Auckland’s transport woes; just a pity that they aren’t the only ones paying for it. Perhaps they never read Hans Kristien Andersen’s “ The Emperor’s New Clothes.
    Thank goodness we now have a government which has its feet in the real world and have called BS on the fanciful electric ferries for Cook Strait. This goes to show that we a a country do not have the finances to throw money around; we can only spend money once and the $6 billion plus for the CRL could have been much better spent elsewhere, such as Cook Strait infrastructure.
    You can like it or not, but Auckland was built around the private car and whilst it is great to go out and ride a bike, it is not great to see such huge expenditure on biking fantasies like the bike path beside the Southern motorway at Papakura; this is a massive concrete structure that would take an Israeli armoured division passing over it without a dent. The ratio of cyclists to cars on the adjacent motorway would have to be less than 1 to 10,0000 – yet your leftist mates try to argue the BS that such projects are indeed user pays.
    This country has some huge issues with debt from 6 years of the loony left spending money with nothing to show for it. Unlike Australia, we do not have mineral royalties to pay for such excesses – especially since Jacinda shut down our oil and gas revenue stream.
    We need to focus on what will rebuild this country and provide a future for our grandchildren that doesn’t involve them going to Australia to get ahead. We can obsess about climate change but need to realise that we could stop everything, go broke and starve, but have absolutely ZERO effect on the world climate, whilst the rest of the world would carry on with complete disregard for whatever value signalling we had done.
    I really don’t care what leftists think, but do care about the debts that we are all left with from their mad spending of other people’s money.
    Let’s hope the new government will stick to its mettle and sort out the lunacy that has been going on.

    1. What’s your thoughts on canning iRex?

      That decision will cost NZ billions more in the long run in pollution costs, penalties and obsolete infrastructure.

      Welcome to tin pot NZ.

    2. You mean the government who has just cut funding for a project that would have replaced its aging sea fleet and necessary port infrastructure (which has already started) to keep supporting the most vital transport link in the country?

      When you have a right-wing government in power, you get things done on the cheap. And those things always come back to bite the country after the righters eventually get voted out. As has happened with practically every infrastructure project started under their watch. And I don’t hold any confidence that this current coalition will do things any differently or more efficiently than the one led under John Key.

    3. Once again Chrisb you’ve not responded directly to points or questions; if you’re looking for somewhere to yell your climate denier nonsense might I suggest the side of one of your beloved highways? With a bit of critical thinking you might follow your suggestion to “follow the money” and notice that the oil and gas industry eclipses money spent on scientific research by many orders of magnitude and draw some kind of conclusion from that. I regularly interact and work with climate scientists and please be assured that money is not the primary motivating factor for them – they would be making a lot more using their physics PhDs at a finance company.

  25. Unfortunately with Simeon everything will go brown. The guy doesn’t have a clue. As much as I welcomed change of the government he is probably the least competent person to be responsible for transport. He will be drunk with power, doing things opposite to what people want just to show how important he is.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *