It’s Friday again and so here’s some articles that caught our attention this week.

This Week in Greater Auckland

With Waitangi Day this week we only ran one post this week

Regional Fuel Tax

It’s hard to go past the news yesterday about the government cancelling Auckland’s Regional Fuel Tax from this July. We’ll be covering this in more detail next week, including some of the impacts and reactions.

But very quickly: we think this is a very poor outcome for Aucklanders. Many of the projects funded by the RFT are aimed at improving alternatives to driving and so any cancellations and delays to those projects will mean more people driving, more congestion, more emissions and ultimately, more people paying more fuel tax.

PM Chris Luxon and Transport Minister Simeon Brown announcing the cancellation of the RFT

One reaction to the news that has been quite interesting is that of Mayor Wayne Brown who is clearly unhappy with the news, noting that a survey his office commissioned last year found “only 26 per cent were in favour of cancelling RFT projects, and just 22 per cent favoured increasing rates to make up the shortfall in funding“.

He’s been a bit stronger in his opposition in interviews too, such as this report:

“We want to decide what goes in Auckland. This is my city, not theirs,” he said.

Brown said the cancellation would leave a shortfall in transport funding for Auckland of $1.2 billion over the next four years.

The Auckland Mayor said he and the Transport Minister have got “a bit of an argy-bargy” coming up because the Government want to build motorways in Auckland that “we don’t want”, such as an east-west motorway.


He said he was happy to have a tough time working with the Government to cut out things that are not necessary, but said he wouldn’t let them tell him what motorways to build with money that could be used for other projects.

“A negotiation isn’t telling me what happens. I’m not a supine thing you walk over,” he said.

Raised Crossings and Meola Rd

The Herald’s Bernard Orsman is continuing his crusade against raised crossings, even after AT finally responded and at least confirm some projects are safe.

The safety of people walking and cycling is a significant concern for Auckland Transport, and we remain committed to reducing the number injured or killed on our roads each year.

We have been clear that we will continue to implement measures that save lives and reduce injury, including raised crossings. We will also prioritise safety projects where there is strong community and local board support and clear evidence that we can reduce harm.

We are very aware of concerns that the cost of delivering these safety improvements have been too high in the past, and too disruptive to our roading network.

The process we now have in place is ensuring all safety related improvements are delivered in a more cost effective and pragmatic way. Over time this approach will deliver safety outcomes, significant financial savings and less disruption for Aucklanders.

Commitment to current projects

Our current commitments include:

  • The Pt Chevalier to Westmere improvements that are currently under construction and supported by the local boards and community. These include improved cycling and walking and stormwater upgrades. This is one of the most used pedestrian routes in Auckland, including by children going to and from school, and will be made a much safer and more appealing way for people to move. This has been delivered with a saving of $8m to date, through a focus on reducing the cost through procurement and improved construction methodology.
  • Improvements to Great North Rd between Crummer Rd and Ponsonby Rd. These are a combination of time limited buses lanes, bus priority, cycle lanes and new pedestrian crossings. Enabling works for this project are on track to be delivered on time and to budget by March, with a careful approach to traffic management minimising disruption to motorists.
  • An ongoing programme of safety improvements across our road and public transport networks
  • AT projects that follow a ‘dig once’ approach including how we work alongside work with Auckland Council Healthy Waters and other utility companies to minimise disruptions and costs to the ratepayer.

Somewhat related, Meola Rd has been closed to through-traffic since mid-December as part of the work to rebuild it. It was due to open again this week but on the day that was due to happen, AT announced it would remain closed for another three months. They finally responded to that yesterday.

Auckland Transport’s Director of Infrastructure and Place, Murray Burt is reassuring local residents that the decision to extend the full closure of Meola Road for an additional 10-12 weeks will reduce the time to complete the works by up to two months (delivering a saving of up to $400,000) and minimise the overall disruption felt by the community.

Meola Road was due to reopen this week with multiple stop-go closures still in place as work continues on a major upgrade project. However, analysis of traffic flows demonstrates that continuing the diversions that are already in place will result in faster travel times for traffic, because reopening Meola Road now would require single lanes with multiple stop-go closures, while the construction works continue.

The project has an 18-month construction programme Nov 2023 – Apr 2025, however the Meola Garnet Corridor completion will be brought forward to the end of February 2025.

“We acknowledge the frustration the late notice of this change has caused, but we want to reassure people that we are working closely with the community and businesses to manage the impact and complete this project sooner and at a lower cost,” Murray Burt said.

Waitematā Local Board Chair, Genevieve Sage says: “I know it’s frustrating that this has come at short notice, however the benefits identified show fiscal responsibility and will help to deliver the project faster and cheaper.”

Murray Burt said: “We were reluctant to extend the full closure any longer, however, based on opportunities identified by our team at the start of this year, there are compelling reasons to extend a full closure. These include estimates of:

  • A 6-8 week saving in construction time for the Meola corridor
  • A saving of up to $400,000 in traffic management and construction costs
  • Improved traffic flows and faster point to point travel times by diverting traffic around the site rather than through multiple, single lane, stop-go closures.

I’ve got no problems with the decision or their reasoning but does seem that should have communicated this earlier rather than on the day.

Coyle Park again

And while we’re in Pt Chev, this happens every sunny weekend day in summer. When will AT finally deal with it properly instead of making PT users suffer?

By the way, “road congestion” is a new way to describe lack of enforcement of double-parking, and people parking in bus stops and on footpaths.

Ferry Annoying

And in other suffering PT users, Stuff reports:

More than 260 ferry trips have been disrupted in Auckland by cruise ships this season, with ferry users feeling like they’re paying the price for the rebound of the industry post-Covid.

Ferry commuter and shift worker, Sam Mojel, said the delays and cancellations have been “hugely frustrating”.

He questions whether ferry users are paying the price for the economic benefits others gain from the cruise industry.

“We’re the ones that get penalised,” he said.


Port of Auckland chief executive Roger Gray said cruise ships, which contribute “a significant percentage” to the company’s profitability, have always operated on Princes Wharf.

The issue is that when a ship puts on its bow thruster, it blows into the ferry basin, causing a churn, he said.

But what is not clear, is when the decision was made for ferries to halt operations while a cruise ship manoeuvres.


An AT spokesperson said the Harbour Master’s directive does not prevent smaller vessels from operating in the ferry basin when cruise ships are moving there, and the decision not to operate came from ferry operators based on health and safety concerns.

However, a Fullers360 spokesperson said AT’s pre-agreed standard operating procedure restricts all ferry operators “from operating in the basin while a cruise ship is arriving or departing due to the significant wake and wash created while a cruise ship is thrusting”.

The issue seems to be peculiar to Auckland. Over the ditch in Sydney, disruptions to ferries from cruise ship comings and goings are rare, a spokesperson for Transport NSW said. There, ferries can continue operating when cruise ships are manoeuvring.

This looks like classic AT finger-pointing, and as Sam notes, it’s the ferry users who are penalised.

Rail Fail

And rail users aren’t escaping punishment, with almost daily delays and cancellations caused by track and signal faults since the end of the summer shutdown. As with the other examples above, this is causing significant impact to users who have to bear the brunt of disrupted travel.

Speeding up late buses

Perhaps one ray of light, RNZ reports.

Technology that allows late buses to get priority at traffic lights is be rolled out to more Auckland intersections.

An Auckland Transport promotional video said it used a buses’ onboard GPS to identify when a service was running late.

They could then prioritise green traffic lights on the buses’ route to give it a “green wave” or “boost” to get it back on time.

Auckland councillor Richard Hills said the technology was trialled on Manukau and Dominion Roads and the Eastern Busway last year.

It would be added to 25 more intersections over the next six to eight months, he told Morning Report.

“Essentially it’s trying to speed up the public transport system so people want to use buses more. There’s nothing worse than being in a bus stuck behind 10 cars when there’s 90 of you in a double decker waiting to get through a queue.”

The PT Recovery

Despite the challenges above, PT use is starting to look a lot stronger. The data is showing that PT use is now back to around 85-90% of pre-Covid levels, and last week was over 90%. That would put usage today at similar to what it was in early to mid-2018.

A few other things I noted from the data:

  • It’s still the rail network that’s holding us back, as buses and ferries are now both regularly back to over 95% of pre-Covid levels.
  • Weekend ridership has a better recovery than weekday use – it’s now regularly above pre-Covid levels.

Dirty Cars

This is disappointing, but no surprise given the government’s decisions.

EV showrooms had a busy December followed by a ghostly January, after the Government killed the Clean Car Discount.

Recently-released sales data showed a crash in new EV sales at the start of the year. Used imports followed suit, according to information published by the Ministry of Transport.

The nosedive followed a busy December – when more than 4500 drivers registered New Zealand-new, zero-emission vehicles during the final month of the discount’s life, where a rebate of up to $7015 was available.

Just 352 people and businesses secured an EV in January – the lowest number of brand-new and New Zealand-new registrations since October 2020.

Meanwhile, gas guzzlers experienced the opposite.

More Te Huia

This is good news:

The passenger train between Hamilton and Auckland is increasing off-peak services.

Beginning today, Te Huia will have a third service on Thursdays and Fridays, where demand has been the highest.

There will also be a second return service on Saturdays.

Waikato Regional Councillor Angela Strange told Mike Hosking that she hears from Waikato people who are excited about the inter-regional service.

Was there anything else that caught your attention this week?

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  1. Te Huia continues to be a middle finger to the naysayers,l’m betting it grates in certain parts of Wellington. Kudos must go to the powers that be in the Waikato,with unwavering support,and the previous government for trying something different. The “problem” now is ,it shows a different way forward,that other regions will want to replicate,expect an announcement quashing aspirations.

    1. Angela Strange seemed to have been a bit unprepared when talking to Mike Hosking. Clearly the figures are not what Mike said. Since October, the average patronage per train was 69 passengers, not 44. She could also have pointed to the increase in patronage and the research underlying additional services. A somewhat more thorough justification would be helpful.

      1. Yep, patronage numbers would be the bare bones minimum you’d expect to take along to an interview.
        No so subtle digs from Mike in there too.

      2. I couldnt find the passenger numbers on the website. Apparently farebox recovery is 18 percent whereas 25percent is considered an internationally acceptable figure for this kind of service. I wonder if the free travel for gold card bee card travellers should be cut back some how maybe a reduced fare would be better if it helped to retain the service. Many of us oldies would be prepared to pay something or even full price if it meant the difference between having the service or watching the Govt take great pleasure in axing it. A little bit of preemption could save the day. Who said that I don’t know except I just did.

        1. Okay it came from business scoop but Greater Auckland will not take the link.
          Niall Roberston post will paste the relevant section.
          The Rail Advocacy Collective

          TRAC is pleased with the developments of the extra Te Huia services timed to start this week on Thursday February 8th. These increased services will be on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays only. The current service is reported to be doing well against …

          TRAC is pleased with the developments of the extra Te Huia services timed to start this week on Thursday February 8th. These increased services will be on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays only. The current service is reported to be doing well against its performance indicators and numbers are expected to rise further.

          In the 2021-22 year the fare recovery was affected by Covid and languished at 6% only, but the 2022-23 year that figure has risen to 18%.

          Niall Robertson, National Coordinator of TRAC says that the international standard for fare recovery of costs in most countries is 25% as public transport contributes through wider economic, social and environmental benefits that more than justifies the service users level of recovery cost.

          Robertson is confident that this number will be reached with increased service, but will be guaranteed to succeed as the service develops into the future.

        2. Just scrap the gold card entirely. The holders are already entitled to a universal and generous benefit which is not means-tested.

        3. CT ;- I would like to see you live on $300 a week after things like power , internet/land line and rent comes out of it before you have $300 a week to live on . The pension is not that large but the Gold Card does give you a few discounts on services i.e shopping at certain foodmarkets , petrol if you register it on their discount cards and the travel cards for transport but most have start times and cut off periods in the afternoon .
          With what you are earning now and sudden have to go on the pension how would you get on as single person ? , things you enjoy now like daily coffee/s alcohol eating out you will find in the end they will go on the back burner .
          So don’t whine about those that have a gold card as the tax taken out off the pension helps pay for the travel , but in a round about fashion . And during the off peak hours it also keeps up the numbers that use public transport .

        4. Ok my take is restrict gold card free travel to between 10 am and 2 pm this would give the truly deserving pensioner 4 hours to get to the shops and back and at the same time restrict freeloading trips on waiheke ferries Masterton and Hamilton trains

        5. Royce ;- With AT it use to be from 9-3.30 and from 6 till the last service , and now it’s from 9am till the last , and Hamilton was the same but now there is no stop start period on their Bee Card . And I think it was getting tricky for when you tag on say for a 9am train and you had to do before it left and the cut off period can get complicated if the train or Bus is delayed as part may cash of the Card and the rest from the Gold card . Also I use mine to Waiheke to visit my Doctor as it easier to keep the same as I have been using for 20yrs than finding a practice hear in Auckland .

    2. Yes, realistically the government will stop funding and the service will also cease.

      People have until 30 June to use it. It’s designed for those in Waikato rather than in Auckland but if you haven’t taken it yet, do so this summer.

    3. investment needs to be made ASAP in Ngaruawahia and Pokeno, those two towns not currently part of the network would allow a big up tick in pax going both ways.

  2. On Coyle Park and all the other places where a lack of parking enforcement has led to infrastructure damage, network problems and safety issues, is there anyone in AT who’ll take the CEO aside and explain how to see through the parking enforcement team’s excuses? An effective enforcement regime is absolutely possible within the current regulatory environment and fines settings; AT simply need to adopt a more efficient protocol, that works to create systemic change.

    1. They are afraid of Orsman and his ilk dashing out another series of articles about how AT is “ruthlessly penalising people who just want to go for a swim” and “how one can’t really take public transport to the beach anyway”.

      No spine is the real issue, not the rules. Or, even more problematically, they actually agree with those attitudes, because *they* would never walk, cycle or bus to the beach themselves…

      1. Orsman seems to be losing a grip on reality. After hearing that the question would be answered if put in writing, would you report this?:

        “The Herald asked the question several times, following Kimpton outside the Town Hall and down Queen St.”

        Maybe he’s even reporting about himself doing this! Or is it some younger reporter he’s supporting in this behaviour? Either way, it’s creepy.

        As for constantly seeking someone to be the mouthpiece for minority regressive views:

        “A senior council officer expressed misgivings about the Meola Rd cycleway and road project costing $29 million and other controversies dogging the transport body, telling the Herald: “They have got to stop doing stupid s**t.” The source was shocked to learn… [blah blah blah]”

        I mean, that senior officials have no vision and are preventing progress is not news.

        AT has been far too lenient with Orsman. He’s a man who is constantly undermining the work they’re trying to do, and they should be focusing on getting information to more balanced journalists. Their own communications should be straightforward and informative, and should be pushed more widely. The media release quoted above in the Weekly Roundup (about the extension of the Meola Road filter), is an example of a really good piece. Just wish AT had front-footed it.

    2. And Coyle Park on Sunday the 18th will have one if not the Biggest crowds of the Year with the Big Gay Out and no buses will get near the place .

    3. Maybe, rather than sitting at your keyboard, you should ask if you can go down there with the parking wardens on a busy weekend and see what they have to deal with. The abuse is truly awful from the segments of the community who park in the manner in the image. The wardens need security to accompany them and in the past, the police have to be called in – the latter probably have better things to be doing. Totally agree that the behaviour is not acceptable, but this location is particularly hard to control on busy days.

      1. A pair of officers is the answer in regards to that.
        Tickets could be mailed out, rather than put under the wipers of offenders, removing a little bit of the first hand confrontation.

      2. “Maybe, rather than sitting at your keyboard, you should ask if you can go down there with the parking wardens on a busy weekend and see what they have to deal with. The abuse is truly awful from the segments of the community who park in the manner in the image.”

        So? This is not improved, but made worse, by an AT who constantly lets things slide in terms of enforcement. Of course a society that doesn’t set boundaries gets backlash when then timidly trying to rein in things after all. Just ask any parent whether things work like that with their kids.

        Being a parking warden is no fun. But that is hardly an excuse for not having any parking wardens in a known trouble spot.

      3. Yeah but that is… not how a society is supposed to work? Don’t we have a police force in Auckland? Or are you guys living in some bandit-ridden remote frontier of New Zealand?

        Also extreme cases of bad parking are normally treated with bollards. It is not rocket science.

        But it seems the underlying problem is a strong tacit consensus that we’re not really supposed to enforce parking law. This has happened in plenty of other places in Auckland. I’ve seen similar images from the area around the bus station in Albany.

        1. AT convinced themselves they cannot legally stop bad parking (despite agencies in other regions being able to). Ak Council have continued to tolerate that stupidity.

          Tow offenders immediately.

        2. I remember a year or two back AT advertising for parking warden positions. I haven’t seen any for a long time now. This government needs to promptly get the parking etc fine rates sorted so it’s actually going to help AT to enforce bad parking. Given they don’t care about the low waged & unemployed so much there should be nothing holding this back.

        3. I suspect many of the commentators here are lefty enough to believe those people were brought up in unfortunate circumstances and hence should be allowed to break whatever laws they wish with impunity.

        4. “I suspect many of the commentators here are lefty enough to believe those people were brought up in unfortunate circumstances and hence should be allowed to break whatever laws they wish with impunity.”

          Early favourite for dumbest comment of 2024.

      4. Fred, when you say, “Maybe, rather than sitting at your keyboard, you should ask if you can go down there with the parking wardens on a busy weekend and see what they have to deal with” you’ve jumped to a false assumption about what I do.

        This is the fifth summer I’ve been down there alongside the bus drivers and the parking wardens. I have challenged drivers directly, have documented what’s happening, and supported the parking wardens. I’ve put my personal safety at risk multiple times and have helped many dozens of stranded passengers find their way, including helping carry their gear.

        I have witnessed this problem growing day by day and year by year firsthand.

        It is 100% caused by Auckland Transport’s approach.

    4. Regarding the Pt Chev /Coyle Park issue. It’s such a shame as I read the Our Auckland “Get out and about on the bus this summer” email/webpage promoting three key bus routes you can take to the beach and they featured the 66 bus from Sylvia Park to Pt Chev beach. Alongside Takapuna and the Tamaki Dr beaches.
      Easiest thing to do would to not allow parking on that one side of the circled tree island in the middle of the turn around. I must visit one day it’s blocked again to see exactly what the normal issue is.

      1. The issue is cars parking in the painted triangle, as I understand it. That’s something that won’t be fixed with more yellow lines – best option might be a mountable kerb, but that’s $$$ and would still only discourage, not prevent, shit parking.

        1. Yes – in fact that is just one of the spots they park. Others include next to the orange dashed lines on one side of the inner island, next to each end space in the lines of carparking spaces and in the bus stops themselves. AT wasted money on a kerb buildout on the left as you enter the circle a year or so ago. Drivers are simply parking on the footpath there, now.

          AT refuse to engage with those of us who suggest effective solutions. The problem is city-wide, systemic, and created almost entirely by AT – and the solution is city-wide, systemic, and reliant on AT.

        2. Very visible bollards on the triangle there would stop them. They could have a 2-5 min drop off zone like at an airport by the toilets to encourage parking further away. So those with lots of chilly bins etc wouldn’t have to walk a mile.
          But here’s a tip: Catch the bus.

        3. I was under the impression that the buses needed the space inside the painted triangle for their turning circle, which is why they can’t just put an island/bollards there. You could do retractible bollards (like they use for bus gates overseas) but I imagine that would cost tens of millions and years to implement if they started today.

        4. They could possibly put bollards well within the painted triangle, preventing the cars from parking there while still allowing the buses to do their turn.

          Retractable bollards are expensive, but they are not millions of dollars. However, there are many options to try before having to do that anyway.

          Currently, there’s just one carpark for temporary use to allow dropping things off, and it’s only for small vehicles.

          The first steps they should take are:
          – Proactive enforcement instead of waiting for people to report an out-of-control situation. Issue tickets every few hours and employ the tow truck people when required. Justify the cost, if required, through the explanation that this is a temporary stage that creates driver behaviour change. Use the mobile unit when appropriate. This would put some people off and the message would spread that AT is enforcing again.
          – Convert all carparks in the circle, to a mixture of paid parking, mobility parking and 10 minute drop off parks (this should be the majority of the parks; it could also operate only during December to March, if they really wanted, and be extended as required). This would again send a strong message to drivers to get organised.
          – Issue excellent communications, be consistent. Ramp up city-wide enforcement in the same way, following Deterrence Theory.
          – Escalate the measures taken if driver behaviour doesn’t improve sufficiently to prevent people using other modes from being impacted. Use the existing gate, if required, to keep drivers out entirely, on busy summer days. It’s far easier for a towtruck driver to remove any cars that drivers dare to leave in front of the gate than from random parking spaces within the circle.

          AT Public Transport and Safety staff, and the ELT members involved with network planning, public transport and safety… Why are you so silent on this? This is core transport network management. It has the support of the majority of the public – unless you really mismanage it, this should not be controversial. So, why has AT allowed the utter incompetence of the parking enforcement unit to ruin your areas of work? This reflects badly on you all.

  3. “The Auckland Mayor said he and the Transport Minister have got “a bit of an argy-bargy” coming up because the Government want to build motorways in Auckland that “we don’t want”, such as an east-west motorway.”

    Aaaaand there’s East-West Link back on the cards. Most expensive road of the world, at one stage. And that was before the cost escalation of actually building it. Sigh.

    1. I saw the interview with Simeon

      Getting rid the RFT won’t be a problem as they will get rid of cycleways and expensive raised crossings to pay for the mega-projects

      I know politicians are always going to do politics, but no response from media. Such an awful lame response; a poor dog whistle rather than anything meaningful, I serious think Simeon is that stupid and will simply run out of money and ideas before doing anything

      1. I really can’t believe NZ voted in this shower of shit.

        So glad I’m away from it overseas. Other right wing governments see value in public transport, green/electric mobility infrastructure and public services.

        Why don’t most kiwis in the Beehive or on the farm?

        So regressive.

  4. Technically the two pictured politicians are from “Auckland”. So why are these two so hateful of us? What did we do to them?

    I am glad we have a mayor who speaks his mind, as our city needs the people who control it to represent its inhabitants.

    We are half the country and we are more important than any other town in this milk powder republic. Ignorant neo liberal ideologues should not be reducing our capacity to become a less destructive city.

    Build the railway to Botany, let these people see the magic of rail, like the fortunate Hamiltonians that we have graciously allowed to enter into our seaside city.

    I just want to be able to walk with my almost seven year old and four year old boys without worrying constantly about getting run over by another neanderthal with wheels!!!

  5. Removing the regional fuel tax was a policy the Nats campaigned on so you get what you paid for I guess… doesn’t stop it being stupid though. I hope Auckland Council have the political wherewithal to not add in any funding to projects that the Nats have committed to. I mean seriously… the east west link has to be the silliest use of money I have ever heard of. Presumably it is at the behest of trucking companies so let them pay for it. No one else is asking for it and building a new motorway to come out at Kumeu is just pushing the issues further down SH16. There is no doubt it is a shambles up there but building more roads won’t fix it at all.

  6. People just dont give a shit. Drive fast, park all over footpaths, grass, etc – all made far easier with huge US style utes and SUVs.

    To all of the so called “educate them better” brigade commenting recently – it doesn’t work for many people. We need to design and enforce the systems for the lowest denominator. Bollards, cameras, actual people enforcing the rules.

    1. Yep 1000%. They’ve been arguing for “educate them better” for the 100+ years of cars with the results only increase in road carnage.

      I would be in favour of “educate better” if it was the forklift model: re-sit a course with a trainer and practical test every three years. And hammering home the message that you are in control of a hazrdous piece of machinery, you are responsible for it and anyone else outside of it. If you damage a human, it is your fault and you will be held accountable, even if they were being stupid and not technically supposed to be in your area. Because you are the one controlling the dangerous machine.

      But I feel like that’s not what they have in mind when they think of educating people better, and I realise it would be wildly unpopular and expensive. I would hate to have to do that every three years! It’s already annoying when I need to do my forklift license. So…seems like physical barriers, lower speed limits and enforcement is the best way to make road safety happen.

      1. Actually to clarify, I’ll always support better education. The above is what I feel it would take to actually be somewhat effective.

        And also to elaborate in the industrial environment, we do both the education AND the physical barriers. If there are obvious multiple ways to reduce risk around identified hazards, we do them all – cost permitting (but cost of lives always has the biggest weight so spending money to save lives is justified).

  7. I was surprised at the time last year that Kiwi Rail opened the Eastern line for a month during the FIFA womens world cup. That must have set them back a couple of months for reopening the line. They made much all last year that the line would reopen on Jan 16 but that was not quite true.

  8. We have a new Government that is busy telling us how it is reversing centralisation and returning local control. And selling this as a prime virtue.
    Three Waters reform and Healthcare provision being the most notable.

    But actions speak much larger then words.

    Auckland, by the fact of it’s size and concentration of its transport requirements increasingly requires the application of well proven high density transportation options.

    A migration away from the extraordinarily space inefficient private car, towards much more spacially efficient modes.
    Yes towards more public transport and micromobility, even those irrationally despised cycles.

    Just like what is much further underway in the other flourishing big cities of the world.

    A nationally, (geographically and by political party) imposed simplistic solution, of just more wider and faster roads is no where near a viable solution in our, unique in NewZealand, already dense, and highly emitting urban setting.
    A urban setting currently coping with the bulk of New Zealands population growth.

    For every new car on the road, extra storage space, parking, is required in multiple locations.
    This removes further already very scarce land, from far more productive, and environmentally, benificial uses.

    Surely the ability to raise income locally, and spend that income on locally devised solutions is the single most powerful act of decentralisation possible?

    And yet now we have a central government removing this huge part of our cherished self determination, here in Auckland.
    Curtailing our very ability to be able to provide substantial local solutions to our uniquely local transportation challenges.


    Here I am fully behind our mayor. I hope he expresses rage, OUR RAGE, to this single most extraordinary of centralisation of control, undertaken by any government, that I can recall in recent decades.

    What promises did they make?, and to who? to bring this about.
    What donations did they recieve in return? And from who?
    They must have been very substantial to impede the modernisation of our largest by far city to this extent.

    As surveys have shown, they certainly weren’t promises to the majority of Aucklanders.
    We just want more and improved options, other then getting into our cars, to getting around our city.
    Cars are so last century for this task in modern high density urban environments.

  9. So far Brown has been cancelling things and patting himself on the back for his achievements. He is going to find it a lot harder when he has to come up with new ideas. So far all he can come up with is that it is for councils to decide and then he takes away funding that would allow that. It is the usual thing that Wellington is afraid to let Auckland make it’s own decisions.

  10. Assuming Brown runs for Mayor again he will win in an absolute landslide. So nice to see a politician that isn’t rooted to the right or left. Someone who can judge a project on its merits unlike the right, but also get things done unlike the left.
    Don’t get me wrong he’s not perfect by any means…

  11. Auckland Council negotiated with the previous government to bring in the legislation to allow Regions to set a Regional Fuel Tax. It wasn’t ideal but it was one way to allow funding beyond rates. Auckland citizens and ratepayers then supported the Council Plan to set that Tax. Now, a government that was elected just to change stuff happened to include revocation in their manifesto, so no-one could vote for them without ‘supporting’ that revocation. The Regional Fuel Tax was supposed to be a stop-gap until congestion/time-of-use charging legislation could be implemented. This government says they will do that.
    Fine – just don’t take the Fuel Tax away until they bring the alternative in.

  12. RNZ has a useful story with interviews about the regional fuel tax being canned without any replacement funding streams:

    We know the current govt wants private involvement in infrastructure projects.

    Auckland Council has a ten-year budget to deliver this year. They need to withdraw funds for large projects that govt may want to privatise, and instead fund 100% of the smaller ones like cycleways, bus stops, and safety improvements. Call govt’s bluff.

    1. 100%, they should axe the big projects. One is a busway to Simeons’ electorate! Not that anyone in that electorate knows what a bus is…

        1. Simeon must love Busways (and why shouldn’t he) because he is promising the next harbour crossing will be for cars and a busway.

    2. “This is about reducing the cost of living”.
      Asked if there was a timeline for the introduction of “time-of-use charging” on the roads, also known as congestion charging, the minister said no proposal had gone to cabinet yet “But it is in our coalition agreement with the Act Party for this term, and we want to move quickly.”
      This is the replacement funding stream.

  13. Re the ferry delays being required for AT’s safety policies, do we think that AT is over-obsessed with precautionary safety measures? Eg:
    – the ridiculously long train procedures, from doors opening with alarms, conductor’s two stage approach to closing doors, the long time between doors closing and the train leaving the platform, level crossing barriers closing way before a train is actually passing, whatever is always delaying things at the Newmarket junction.
    – bus drivers often waiting until passengers are seated before leaving a stop, even on double deckers (this never happens in London).
    – insisting on separate traffic light phases for pedestrians and bikes at certain intersections where it is wholly unnecessary (eg K Rd/Queen St, Nelson St/Fanshawe).
    – closing footpaths or roads entirely where there is a partial blockage instead of trusting users to navigate around it.
    – shutting the Lower Albert bus interchange for FIVE MONTHS to do some bus shelters.

    Seems like a lot of their decision making is over the top compared to international practices, do we need to be this swaddled in bubble wrap?

  14. Another wet dream for a Stadium in Downtown Auckland ;-

    And that is mainly a video

    And looking at where is going say goodbye to the Eastern line , the Strand Railway Station and the Stabling yards

    1. And the 1st article is behind a pay wall but here it is I think

      New Zealand Rugby (NZR) is backing a downtown stadium for Auckland, as the long-term solution for the city.The national sport’s governing body has aligned itself with one of the three consortiums proposing a new waterfront venue.Such a stance by NZR is almost unprecedented in more than three decades of stadium debates in Auckland, as they have usually preferred to be neutral, or backed the status quo.As reported in the Weekend Herald, on December 11 the Auckland council working group, put together by Mayor Wayne Brown to strategise on the best future option for a main stadium in the city, heard extended submissions from four parties.The quartet were: Eden Park, with their 2.0 redevelopment, the downtown options at Bledisloe Wharf (”the sunken stadium”), Quay Park on the eastern part of the waterfront near Spark Arena, and the Tank Farm proposal, near Wynyard Point.The groups gave 75-minute presentations, with a range of speakers on each pitch.The Herald has been told NZR chief executive Mark Robinson was part of the Quay Park presentation team, outlining his vision and the benefits for the city as a whole.

      The details of the presentations are highly confidential but observers in the room said Robinson emphasised the “transformational” impact of that particular bid – which is based on a sporting and entertainment precinct rather than just a venue – as well as the overall positives of having an inner-city venue.The working group was told NZR believed a new venue could put Auckland on the map in an unprecedented way.They were also interested in potential commercial and strategic opportunities from a brand new facility and were excited about the possibilities to enhance the match-day experience for fans.The benefits for a range of stakeholders were also outlined, including iwi Ngāti Whātua, while the meeting was also told by Robinson that NZR’s stable of world-class athletes – including the All Blacks and Black Ferns – deserved to play in the best possible arenas.

      At the end of his presentation, it’s also understood Robinson suggested the 2029 British Lions tour could be a stretch goal to christen the new facility, given the massive opportunities that come with those expeditions, with tens of thousands of travelling fans.

      NZR’s involvement feels like quite a statement.Through the All Blacks, they are the biggest sporting brand in the country and their influence carries weight, formally and informally, in corridors of power, from Auckland Council to the Beehive.However, it is still very early days. Sources close to the council have told the Herald NZR remains respectful of their long-standing relationship with Eden Park, especially with the All Blacks’ success at the Sandringham venue.

      NZR also knows that the process, which is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter next year, needs to be completed, with the ultimate decision made by the wider council.But the NZR board also believe, as emphasised by Robinson, that the time is right to explore all the opportunities – in a thorough way – to arrive at the optimal solution for Auckland and New Zealand. In that way, they appear willing to be at the forefront of the conversation.While it is an unprecedented move to be aligned with a bid, NZR’s involvement will certainly add credibility to a waterfront option. It could also send a signal to other sporting codes that alternative ideas should and can be investigated.Such a proactive stance is a change of tack for NZR.Back in 2005-2006, when plans for a waterfront facility (Stadium New Zealand) were first mooted ahead of the hosting of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, NZR was neutral.While they suggested conditional support of the Labour government’s plan for a fully funded 60,000-seat downtown stadium, behind the scenes there were mixed messages and even considerable lobbying in favour of Eden Park from some quarters, before the waterfront option was eventually ditched by Wellington, buried in red tape thanks to Auckland Council and Auckland Regional Council.It was a similar scenario in 1997-1998, when a new city stadium was being proposed ahead of the co-hosted 2003 Rugby World Cup with Australia (which eventually fell through).Granted, back then it was a very different environment – in the first few years of professional rugby – but the NZR board chose a wait-and-see approach as the merits of both proposals were debated, with the council eventually deciding to redevelop Eden Park’s North Stand rather than put funds into a downtown venue.Even recently, as numerous different plans have been mooted since 2012, NZR has mostly seemed reluctant to take a position. In 2016 the Blues board decided they would support – in principle – a new rectangular downtown venue for the football codes in Auckland, despite being long-term tenants of Eden Park.

      It was quite a statement, but at the time then-NZR chief executive Steve Tew told the Herald: “We have a current arrangement with Eden Park and will leave any discussions on a new stadium to the wider Auckland community.”The new stance could reflect the vision and make-up of the new NZR board.When contacted by the Herald, NZR declined to comment on a “confidential council process” but provided the following statement from Robinson.“NZR is always looking for ways to grow the game and create great experiences for our fans and our teams. We also understand that we have a leadership role wider than rugby and being engaged in conversations about transformational opportunities in Aotearoa is also important.

        1. The yards in Wellington were/are still larger than what is left in Auckland . And I don’t these clowns have any idea what they have let themselves in for and for the NZRFU being involved I hope they will digging into their pockets to pay for it especially the All Blacks theme Hotel and who would want to go there , it would be like the planet Hollywood theme eatery that up by Aotea Square and were is that joint now , and I won’t say what I’m Thinking

      1. I would be for it, could be fantastic, if they:
        1. Sell Eden Park for housing and or mixed use.
        2. Have minimal parking – some staff and accessible only.
        3. Develop housing & mixed use around it well, open & accessible.
        4. Doesn’t cost much or any on rate payers. Should all be self funding.

        1. “Sell Eden Park for housing and or mixed use.”

          The consortium for Quay Park has nothing to do with Eden Park. That is owned by the EP Trust and its up to them what they do with it.

    2. “And looking at where is going say goodbye to the Eastern line , the Strand Railway Station and the Stabling yards”

      I think the plan is, like the Cake Tin, to hover over the tracks and in fact, have a new Strand station, at least for events.

  15. I think Mayor Brown needs to check his numbers.

    Auckland Council website says Mayor Brown got 180k votes in 2022.
    The sum of Auckland electorates for 2023 have the National Party on 354k votes.

    1. And if you use the old Education pass/fail rate system Brown may have got more votes than National possibly . And local Body election don’t get that many voting compares to the national elections .

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