The government has launched a war against Auckland, seemingly determined to take away the city’s choice for how our transport network is built and funded. Combined with other recent decisions, this will leave Aucklanders with less choice in how we get around, more congestion, higher emissions with higher numbers death and serious injuries than we should have.


Regional Fuel Tax

On Thursday, they started by announcing the removal of the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax by July.

Transport Minister Simeon Brown has confirmed that the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax will end on 30 June 2024.

“Today, I can confirm that the Government has agreed to remove the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax in line with our coalition commitments, and legislation will be introduced to parliament to repeal the tax as part of our 100 Day Plan,” Mr Brown says.

[…..]

“The RFT was supposed to help fund important projects like Mill Road and Penlink. While Mill Road was cancelled, and Penlink received full Crown funding, Auckland Transport has used RFT revenue to fund many non-roading projects including more cycle lanes, redlight cameras, speed humps, and lowering speed limits across the city,” Mr Brown says.

“I have discussed the unspent funds with Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown and signalled our intention that they are to be spent on projects which are of mutual priority to the Government and Auckland Council. These projects include the Eastern Busway, City Rail Link electric trains and stabling, road corridor improvements, and some growth-related transport infrastructure.

“Legislation removing the RFT will require Auckland Transport to only be able to use the remaining RFT revenue and unspent funds towards delivering these projects.

As has become common from the minister, the suggestion that the RFT funding was spent on things it wasn’t meant to be is an outright lie.

If we go back to 2018 when the projects that were to be funded by the RFT were first consulted on, it was made abundantly clear that funding would go towards “non-roading” projects. In fact, that was a large part of the point, with the key objectives of the RFT being to:

  • Support substantial growth in key rapid transit corridors, especially where these are now being accelerated. This investment greatly enhances the potential for further housing growth around rapid transit corridors, and realising this growth potential will be critical to ensure the whole transport network can function effectively as Auckland grows to around two million people by 2028.
  • Provide for and encourage a step-change in public transport and cycling mode-share in Auckland. This mode shift will deliver significant safety, environmental, health and congestion benefits and leave Auckland much better placed for the introduction of road pricing over time.
  • Continue to enable growth in greenfield areas, where around 30% of new homes are forecast to be located over the next decade.
  • Improved access as a result of the provision of more congestion-free alternatives for travel and changes in land use enabled by rapid transit investment.
  • Improve safety outcomes with an expected significant reduction in deaths and serious injuries each year.
  • Reducing the transport system’s environmental impacts by improving the attractiveness, reliability and safety of more sustainable travel options (walking, cycling, public transport, carpooling).

Furthermore, by cutting the RFT, it’s not just that one funding source that’s lost, but all of the funding that it unlocks, including government contributions from the National Land Transport Fund, other council funding, and things like development contributions.

Essentially, that RFT which collected around $150 million per year unlocked a transport package of around $4.3 billion over a decade. Here are the key projects included in the package at the time it was introduced (although there were changes over time after the previous government took over Mill Rd and Penlink):

It’s also worth remembering that the previous government only introduced the RFT because Auckland asked for it to do so, and it took many rounds of consultation to get to that point.

Cancelling or delaying the projects that were intended to be funded by the RFT will only mean that Aucklanders will be worse off. It means fewer people will have choice in how they get around, meaning more people have to drive, resulting in more congestion, more emissions and ultimately, more people buying more fuel and thus paying more fuel tax.

Finally on this: the government do say they have “committed to working closely with the Mayor and Auckland Council to pass legislation allowing time of use charging to be introduced in Auckland to ensure more reliable journey times for Aucklanders“.

“Time of use charging” is just another name for congestion pricing, and it’s good that they’re committed to it, but the goal of that is primarily about changing when or how people travel. While this charge will inevitably raise some revenue, that’s not its key goal.

More importantly, even if today the government passed legislation to enable it, it will still take a number of years for the system to be designed and start to be rolled out – and in the meantime, that still leaves Auckland with a giant funding gap.


Transport Priorities

The following day, Simeon Brown laid out some of his transport priorities in a speech to the business group Committee for Auckland. And while some of those priorities are not a surprise, having been part of National’s Transport Policy, the comments particularly on the Harbour crossing are a major concern. As Newsroom reports:

Brown said he is writing a draft policy statement as part of the National-led Government’s 100-day plan, which he called a “blueprint for refocusing the New Zealand Transport Agency, and by extension Auckland Transport, on the basics”.

Those basics are building and maintaining the roads, making public transport safe and reliable, and efficient use of taxpayers’ money.

“We are moving away from the previous government’s untargeted approach to a targeted strategy that addresses the core needs of our transport network,” he said.

“Our directive to the transport agencies will be clear: we are prioritising projects that deliver real value to commuters and businesses alike, ensuring that our cities and regions are well-connected and that our economy thrives.”

But as much was revealed by what wasn’t said – the reduction of carbon emissions was not mentioned.

Speaking on his desires for the city’s transport network, Brown gave a few hints as to what his future may hold.

Light rail has already been axed, with a promise to focus on other transport links like Mill Road and State Highway 16 in its stead.

Brown said a rapid busway along State Highway 16 could be a priority, following in the mold of the much-lauded Northern Busway.

“Priority projects we have identified include Mill Road, East West Link, a Northwestern Rapid Transit network and setting a vision for a four-lane connection between Whangārei and Tauranga to unlock economic growth in the upper North Island.”

He also spoke of the need for a new harbour crossing, but said he would remove the cyclist and pedestrian lanes and light rail options to the North Shore that had been previously considered.

The idea of “getting back to basics” is extremely values-laden – after all, what can be more basic than being able to easily walk or cycle around your neighbourhood or city? This is something that most people are able to do freely, and doesn’t come with restrictions like needing a driver’s licence or being able to purchase (and maintain) a car. “The basics” are also not multi-billion mega-projects.

The briefing from the Ministry of Transport that we covered last week highlighted one of the big benefits of ideas like Congestion Pricing – which the government just said they’re committed to:

Congestion pricing in Auckland will raise some revenue but its value is in improved productivity and potentially deferring some capital spending.

Mill Rd was turned from a local road upgrade into a pseudo-motorway estimated to cost $3.5 billion. Committing to projects like it and the East-West Link, one of the most expensive roads in the world on a per-km basis, before introducing congestion pricing is absurd – and completely undermines the rhetoric that the government wants to focus on efficient use of taxpayers’ money.

We should put congestion pricing in first, and then see what road projects we still need. Speaking of “needing” the East-West, Mayor Wayne Brown says we don’t even want it.

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.

As bad as those projects are, peremptorily removing pedestrian and bike lanes from any future harbour crossing is petty, and the type of decision that future generations will rue. Doing it twice during the peak of motordom (when the bridge was built, and then again when the clip-ons were added) is something that most people today regard as a mistake that was doubled down on. But making that same decision again in 2024 is cartoonishly dumb and malicious. Is Brown scared of bikes?

It’s also a far cry from even the previous National-led government, which started the Urban Cycleway Fund that led to projects like Lightpath, the Nelson St cycleway and a cycleway on Quay St. Then-Prime Minister John Key, at the opening of the Grafton Gully Cycleway in 2014, was even supportive of getting across the harbour by bike and noted some of the obvious local tourism benefits. This was after speaking about the need for more dedicated cycleways to enable a wide range of trips. You can listen to his whole speech here.

I know the mayor’s been working very hard on a pretty exciting initiative about getting the Skypath over the Harbour Bridge […..] But I’ll tell you now, if we can open that up and link cycleways from here over through to the North Shore and across the bridge, you are going to get a huge number of families that are going to say, that’s all right, I’m going to take a Sunday afternoon, it’ll be a lot of fun, it’ll be exciting for the kids, it’ll be a really fun family thing to do. And so I do think we have to be a bit progressive about what we’re trying to achieve and see if we can rush some of those things along.

Key was also present at the opening of the interim Quay St cycleway alongside then Transport Minister Simon Bridges.

Simeon Brown being able to make such a decision does once again highlight one of Labour’s failings while in government. Namely, pushing for a walking and cycling-only bridge, instead of making the proposition much more useful by combining active modes with a public transport crossing for only a modest amount more. And then failing again, by pushing for crazy expensive big tunnelsl instead of more affordable bridge options.

I guess the only moderating factor for me here is that it’s unlikely we’ll see any real progress on a harbour crossing over the next few years, so there’s still time for the minister’s position to change – or for the government to change.


There’s a lot more to come from this government on transport and if, as expected, it’s a continuation of what we’ve seen so far, it’ll be a long three years.

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218 comments

        1. As a kiwi overseas, it’s interesting to see what you think I like or don’t like.

          That joke of a PM was my boss at Air NZ and he couldn’t organise a pissup in a brewery, never mind the other rable with him in government.

          NZ looks a basket case to others living outside of the country, kiwi or otherwise.

        2. Martin if you live overseas why do you particularly care? From inside the country it looks pretty good. And I’m only inferring you’d prefer a leftward shift, which is definitely not indicated by latest polls which give about 7-8 more seats to the centre right. If a leftward shift is what you want it would seem odd to hope for an early election in the hope that it would increase National and Act’s number of seats in parliament. But maybe that was what you were trying to say?

          Act would have a stronger negotiating position and NZ first a much weaker one than they did last time. It would likely mean a powerful two headed taniwha to bring peace and prosperity to the land rather than the current three headed one.

        3. NZ doesn’t really vote out first term governments, although I do think things will eventually fracture within the first term, especially if Seymour continues to push things like the Treaty Bill that the other coalition partners are trying to steer clear of.

          But this government will go the way of the previous first term labour government; NZF will be seen as an unnecessary add-on/handbrake and will be cast aside.

          On the opposition side, the Greens (more popular than ACT, by some distance) will strengthen, but probably at Labour’s expense. So that total vore isn’t really going anywhere.

  1. So sad to be living in a country where we are seeing these regressive policies being put in place. Especially when we see daily news from overseas where cities are transforming into places where one can safely bike, walk and use affordable efficient public transport.

    1. Sounds wonderful. But if you like special taxes to fund such things, fund it out of a special tax on public transit tickets and bikes.

      1. Or we can just recognize the vast appropriation of public space that motoring has benefited from and build back everyone else’s access as we renew our roading.

      2. Or we can mail those people an AT HOP card tell them how to put some credit on it and call it a job well done at a fraction of the cost of other options if access to places for people without cars is the problem you’re tying to solve.

        1. how do you expect the bus and train network to go absolutely everywhere? Walking and riding are the only modes available to absolutely everyone, and critical to easy local mobility everywhere. It’s against every concept of natural justice to force people to use cars to get around for basic trips; and disastrous for the quality of life in any city.

        2. Nobody’s forced to live in a city. Or commute in one. Living jammed in where everything needs to be in walking distance and the alternatives to cars sap an extra hour or two from your life each day is also disastrous to the quality of life. That’s a dystopian future that hopefully we can avoid.

        3. Oh yeah, because there are so many jobs in Bombay or Dargaville, nobody has to work in the city…

        4. And how many jobs in the CBD need to be there vs it being a habit never lost from the days before the invention of things like telephones, electronic communication and cars. There are some jobs where everyone does need to go to a factory or worksite every day to get the job done. Most are not in the CBD. Therefore strategies built around stacking people into little dormitory boxes in a CBD or moving them there and back every day seem a little dated. You’re asking the first question, why can’t I easily get to the CBD. Step back and ask the next question, why do I even want to get there at all.

        5. Because I’m not a miserable misanthrope and I enjoy seeing my community and society as a whole 🙂

        6. It’s central so very convenient for people coming whatever mode from north south east and west. Ie bigger corporations often. The minute you move an office to out west or south say you make it too hard to attract workers from the north and east. Of course now there are all those that live in the central city now. For example Auckland Transport itself has realised the productivity gains from not having a lot of their offices out in Henderson.

        7. JoyfulUser that’s an odd response to encouraging people to use public transport. Not every road, street or path needs to accommodate cars, buses, pedestrians, cyclists, e-bikes, scooters, dogs and horses simultaneously. In fact some separation is highly desirable. I don’t expect to find cars driving on fields in the local reserve or on the local pedestrian paths, and I don’t expect kids to be playing with balls on the main road either.

        8. Grant it’s hard to seriously mention productivity gains and Auckland Transport in the same breath.

          But that aside for AT office staff, how many of them actually need to congregate in an office each and every day vs that being a vestige of the way things used to be done? Some face to face contact is useful in many jobs but in a lot of cases meetings sap productivity and give the unproductive people things to do to feel like they’re busy.

        9. Thought you would bring these two issues up. Often most of these office jobs have a work from home day or two so yes you can use up less office space overall but the fact remains central is central for a reason.

        10. WFH is great for getting things done in the short term but it’s terrible for getting stuff done long term. After a period of working from home people become less connected and projects slow and run into more and more issues.

          There will always be value for people to be in the same workplace and the most logical for many employers is somewhere central as it is the easiest for the largest number of people to get to.

        11. jezza, it’s not so much about being ‘central’ vs being easy for people to get to. Travel time matters more than geographic centrality. There’s generally no useful synergy in being located next to a thousand other businesses you never deal with or thousands of colleagues that you never meet face to face with yet for some reason feel a compelling need to surge to the same geographical location as them each day.

          Also many projects spans cities, continents and timezones. If you’re not managing people globally you maybe see that as an impossible challenge but people do it every day. Overseas, covid forced a lot of dinosaurs who only had skills managing people face to face to get much better at dealing with remote teams.

          But on the other hand taking the AT example you could see how co-locating the team that manages installing new raised crossings with the team that removes them would have great synergy. As soon as a new crossing was installed they could just shout across the cubicle wall to have it removed again. No more need to arrange offsite retreats to discuss upcoming additions and removals. Entire layers of middle management could probably be let go. The potential savings are immense.

      3. I’ve got such a special tax built into my rates. I pay one third every year for mostly roads and car parks. It’s now up to $2000 a year. I travel sustainably wherever possible, so I receive almost no value from something that in no way resembles a user pays system.
        And then of course there is general taxation spent on roads.
        Your system is broken and can’t be fixed. Forty years of trying in Auckland has achieved nothing.

  2. Any new govt is likely to push their more extreme policies early on and get moderated later on. But this really is getting cartoonishly bad.

    1. That extreme policy with the East/West motorway was moted when they where in Power 9 years ago , And don’t this new lot realize nobody wants the bloody thing . As all or most of the trucks use Neilson Street and it’s easier for them to use the Southwest Motorway .

  3. Sigh! Bad defa-vu.

    I was at the opening of Grafton Gully cycleway.
    Such promise back then for transport and cycling projects even with a luddite Minister of Transport, now speaker, Brownlee.
    Pooh poohing the CRL daily as “Lens’ train set”.

    And here we are 10! Years later fighting for the same scraps, while the roading lobby has their plans gold plated and rubber stamped and accelerated.

    But Auckland has very many more people living there and not a lot more roads relatively speaking. Than in 2014.
    And of course we signed up to legally binding emission reduction targets since then as well.

    So we cannot just kick the can down the road for even 3 more years while we hope the Minister gets sacked or, Hs a Road to Damascus experience, or something happens to put a more enlightened person in the role.

    I can’t see Mayor Brown making any headway and he will end up as ineffectual as Len Brown was.

    What is it with these white men named Brown? They all seem to think they know the answers to every problem. Before the questions are asked.

    Give us all a break. The last thing we need is a pissing contest between the mayor and the Government.

    The losers will be all of us. And of course yet another lost decade of Transport advancement.

    1. Len Brown got the CRL underway, that was a huge achievement. In the face of government opposition too although Key was more pragmatic than this current lot appear to be.

      1. Len Brown, only got CRL funded after Brownlee ran out the series of ever desperate roadblocks (more business cases, stupid MoT required growth targets and god knows whatever other hurdles he could put in its way. If not for Brownlee’s sheer pig headedness the CRL would have been funded & started a so long time ago it would now be open and running probably on time and pretty much the then “budget”.

        Delaying CRL because of nationals “we know best around Aucklands transport needs” as Brownlee did has had immense costs not just in budgetary increase terms but also time to get it built and of course opportunity cost for what we could have done on top of building CRL by now. As it is we’ve got f-all to show from government funds National gave Auckland.

        The RTLS projects were all largely funded from/by the fuel tax. Now to be binned.

        Len deserves credit, but much.

        1. Brownlee and ECANS after the Earthquake also canned the idea of Rail in Christchurch when the ADK’s became available and their excuse was that we have extend the old platforms at the different stations , so they built their favorite thing more Motorways .

    2. “What is it with these white men named Brown”

      All our ancestors were once brown. Yes that’s right, All white people Whakapapa brown if you go back far enough. Perhaps leave your racism at the door.

    1. Because taking pedestrian crossings out is exactly what this govt wants, thanks for reminding us, Miffy.

      And hope you will think it’s all small beer when East West Link mortgages this country for a few decades to some crazy PPP. But hey, when some future (probably Labour, lol) govt cost-cuts essential services because all the money is sent to some overseas bank to repay a motorway or three, you probably will be on a blog somewhere saying how this shows that lefties can’t be trusted with money.

      1. I have never supported the East West link. It was one of those ‘let’s appoint a retired High Court Judge who doesn’t have a knighthood yet to approve the thing’ deals. It will be every bit as wasteful of resources as CRL. Seriously why do you assume people support either wasting money on PT or wasting money on roads? That sort of false dichotomy is like asking if someone wants a boil on their bum or on their elbow.

        1. Miffy , the CRL or it’s original incarnation should have been Built over 100years ago and those in power said to Expensive [400,000pounds] so they wired up Wellington instead . And that was to go from the old railway station to Morningside which is a longer distance and Auckland was also going to wired .

        2. Time spent planning is irrelevant if a project has a benefit cost ratio of 0.6. Every dollar spent on it will return 60 cents. The actual costs have risen sharply since that time so the rate of return will be even lower. That is billions (they still haven’t admitted how many billions) that could have been spent somewhere in the economy where it would have been productive.

        3. So we should only build cycleways and the odd busway? Its mostly those that have positive BCRs. Which says alot about the modelling, I guess.

          That’s not a suggestion, just an observation.

        4. To be fair though once the Government decided to build CRL they briefed an international consultancy to review the project, they found more benefits. There is footage of it below.

        5. Miffy, don’t know where you get that value from, but last I read, CRL had a BCR of 2 over 60 years. Given that the tunnel will probably be there in a 100 years, the BCR could be far higher. But the tunnel could be under water by then. Or filled with lava from the next eruption. Regardless, the BCR is probably still positive and still better than a bunch of motorways few people use, but we still have to maintain because all the trucks keep wrecking them.

          Fair point on opportunity cost. In theory it could have been better spent elsewhere. In practice, probably not. PT is generally a good long term investment. All government is incompetent. If it wasn’t spent on CRL it would have been wasted on some other project, like some billion dollar IT project that gets scrapped before it is even used. Or the money is spent on crap imported from China.

    2. Miffy, you’re turning from an alternative opinion into a troll. You should have something relevant to this post to say.

    3. Well it’s 500k to put one in, probably costs at least another 250k to take it out again so thats only 200 crossings added and removed.

      1. User pays.

        No speed humps required if motors are geofenced like electric scooters.

        Pay for the in-vehicle element as a one-off at your purchase or next WoF.

        Pay for the roadside elements out of normal road funds.

        Like you say, user pays.

  4. Getting congestion charging implemented in the next 2 years will certainly change behavior, stop and prevent future congestion, assuming the charges are scaled to maintain free flow. It has the potential to gather a lot of money.
    Back to basics suggests the potholes might get fixed. The bar is pretty low when it comes to pleasing the public.

    1. It won’t be in this term. The agreement with ACT is that the legislation will be done this term. Implementation will be second term.

      Hence why the RFT should have stayed in the interim. Sure, say you want it gone but phase it in line with congestion charging.

    2. The place to start with congestion charges is surface streets in the CBD not SH1 which unfortunately goes past downtown Auckland. That is unless you’re in favour of tolling roads throughout New Zealand as an alternative to fuel taxes and RUCs.

      But if you have targeted congestion charges on the main highway network they should be spent towards alleviating the source of congestion that is causing the charge to be there in the first place not into some other pool to fund pet projects which will do little to alleviate congestion.

  5. Two little twerps coming from opposing ends of the spectrum I don’t know who is was worse. Why can’t we get a mature person who can steer a middle course to be the minister.

  6. On reflection, the Key government was probably NZ’s most progressive (at least on transport) in living memory. Now we have the minister for culture wars running the show.

    1. Not really, the Eastern Busway, third main, Papakura to Pukekohe electrification were all in limbo under the Key government. As was Kainga Ora housing. The last six years saw all those projects actually start and state housing builds really taking off.

      1. Slight correction, Bill English was the one responsible for the all the redevelopment of KO housing these last few years. He put the ground work in and kicked off the initial round then Labour continued it. Phil Twyford was opposed to it at the time so it was obviously a good idea.

        In retrospect, I think I’m going to miss that National Government despite not thinking much of them at them time.

        https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/english-signals-govt-is-set-to-accelerate-home-building-programme-in-auckland/SP5VW3YG5DBZTBSO6XQGD3LEGA/

        1. Yeah well, “signalling” and actually doing are two different things. Anyway KO seems to be under attack again for “too many staff” and debt. No mention of the assets created of course. No doubt we’ll be back to flat lining on social housing once again while the population numbers skyrocket.

  7. I don’t know if this “war” should be a surprise to anyone. It was well signalled by his comments on transport issues and the National Party’s Transport for the Future policy release. Apparently Aucklanders want this if voting patterns are anything to go by.

  8. I thought the country was going backwards at the time the previous National-led government was in office, and Steven Joyce, Gerry Brownlee and Simon Bridges each had terms and Minister of Transport. Now I know even that period of 9 years was far better than what we have now.
    Simeon Brown will go down in history as the most regressive Minister of Transport our generation has ever had.

    1. He’s got some way to go to beat Steven Joyce, who decided to rebuild an entire motorway and not include rapid transit corridor.

      1. Yes and any upgrades to the NW under Simeon Brown will probably include a catastrophic widening of the causeway and removal of bike path to avoid repurposing of vehicle lanes.

    2. Yeah I think so too, Labour got elected in 2017, and things took a noticeable turn for the worse. For example we are now officially too corrupt to get a tram to mount Roskill built. But also, for some reason AT sort of changed course, eg. a year in, the walking and cycling team disappeared.

  9. I don’t understand the whole obsession with 4 lane motorways. We have many things we can do that will make it safer/faster without the expense.
    Say on desert road there’s 2 areas taht are very twisty and curvy, build a bridge.
    We probably should re-rooute SH1/SH2 around some towns, as a lot of the delays thare happen is really due to towns. Moreover, in Italy, they have a lot of these mini highways I call them. When you have a single lane road that still has an onramp/offramp. We don’t need more tarmac, but re-alignment, a few bridges and bypasses for most of NZ in the golden triangle, and most of our problems are solved.

    1. The obsession is, people like getting places faster. Although the economics to build them is almost never properly justified. They only ever make sense on roads with the highest traffic volumes on a daily basis, but now seem to be justified based on a few days per year of holiday traffic. Towns such as Otaki, Cambridge and Warkworth have all been bypassed by four lane expressways/motorways for those reasons. When for so many places a simple ring road around it would be sufficient enough.

    2. They also want to use them to open up greenfield developments and artificially pump up the land values for wealthy land bankers. I was fed an automated ad for new suburbs north of Warkworth the other day.

      It’s not about making things better for Auckland at all but easy to get voters to vote for since car dependency and being able to drive fast are such emotive issues for so many.

      1. Matakana Link Road Project was only ever about unlocking development land on NE of Warkworth. As soon as it was approved, the first developers got going. And it could have been a two-lane road, but politicians intervened.

  10. Wait, so Auckland’s still the only water-based city in the world where it’s impossible to walk across an iconic bridge and enjoy the views? And one minister has decided that’s how it should stay? Bit weird if you ask me.

    1. If the government are going to spent billions building another crossing of Waitematā harbour, then the cost to accommodate a pedestrian and cycling corridor would be a tiny fraction. This is a party that opposed Skypath because of its multi-million dollar cost, which has only come about because of a short sighted design not to include them when the harbour bridge was built in the 1950s.

      1. “then the cost to accommodate a pedestrian and cycling corridor would be a tiny fraction”

        They’ll push a cars-only tunnel, where a walking and cycling add-on would indeed be stupid.

        This is just a combination of culture-wars dislike of active modes combined with a stance that even after they added four to six more car lanes across the harbour, under their watch they will never support a “Liberate the Lane” style re-allocation of space on the existing bridge. Cars will always come first and only for them.

      2. As far as I understand the cost is not the problem, but a belief that any accommodation for walking or cycling would be morally repugnant.

        It is so stupid. It is analogous to a builder pounding nails using a screwdriver because he thinks hammers and nail guns are for woke people.

        1. If you’ve got a lot of screws to screw in for efficiency you use a collated screwdriver. For a lot of nails, a nail gun. No builder is going to voluntarily take the slow and inefficient route if they’ve quoted by the job not the hour. The better analogy would be ignoring the best technology for the job because your wokeness has you focused on only certain slower and less practical alternatives.

          I’m fully supportive of ways to walk across the bridge and see the views but I don’t think for one minute it’s the solution to any commuting or congestion problem.

        2. @UserPays

          So you are saying we need trains on the bridge to make the best throughput in a narrow corridor?

        3. jakeysnakeypastabakey the problem with trains is once they get over the bridge without significant extra infrastructure they don’t go anywhere whereas we’re already set up with the northern busway and many other roads. And for New Zealand purposes you won’t see enough train ridership to even match the capacity of a highly loaded busway. So no, looking ahead trains in most parts of Auckland are a loser. Probably better to just fill in the CRL and save all the money we’re going to pay operating that hole in the ground. Or charge riders ticket prices that cover what it actually costs to run instead of burdening all ratepayers with that white elephant.

        4. UserPays so with that you would can the Te Huia and travel to Hamilton on the Northern Explorer at around $100 one than $18.00 on the Te Huia ? and forget about the Buses as there are those that don’t like them .

        5. Te Huia could easily be replaced by a handful of electric buses giving both a greener and more cost effective option.

          if it was charged at what it costs to provide, it’d have virtually no customers. Those who don’t ‘Like’ buses might start liking them a lot more if the train was priced at what it cost. but then they may also not like the bus so much if it wasn’t subsidised.

          The Northern Explorer is more accurately reflecting the cost of providing the journey so of course it’s the one that should survive.

        6. Userpays: But that’s exactly how the Northern busway works right now. I mean okay, the busway ends too soon, but that’s being fixed and the plan is that buses go back and forth on the busway. By and large, they don’t get off the busway to go to other places. So how is replacing buses with a train any different other than supporting far higher capacity?

        7. Busways are much more flexible and useful infrastructure. Ever see an ambulance on the train tracks? I didn’t think so. Also you’ll likely recall the original cost justification for the busway assumed it could also be used as a T2/HOV lane. Not every bus you see on the northern busway originated from and ends at a busway station. One of a busway’s most useful elements is that you don’t have only a few limited places you can load and unload the buses and it can start to accomodate more innovative point to point services as they become available.

        8. UserPays, you’re right that rail in general receives excess subsidy compared to buses. This isn’t a reason for us to not invest however. CRL and rail in general in Auckland are a long term play that rely on land use changing around the stations.

          In 10 or 20 years when tens of thousands of new dwellings and businesses are built along the lines it will be far more self sustaining. It’s the promise of more efficient future.

          Really it is the same with any infrastructure that is different from the status quo, requires something of a leap of faith from someone. Given how the value of transport infrastructure is dispersed (capitalized into land values) the only entity that can make this kind of investment at the moment is the government.

        9. I’m one of the biggest busway spruikers on this forum, we should be putting far more of them in, especially designating corridors through new suburbs. But busways are not the heavyweight capacity king that rail is. This is something basically unrealised so far by our rail network but that will change. We will fill up the 54,000 people per hour through CRL, we will build all day and counter peak demand. Just as we filled Britomart.

        10. The best heavy rail implementations are pretty much tapped out as far as further reducing train headway and the constraint that you need stations to load and unload people at. The raw capacity of the rails or the raw capacity of current busways is never met.

          The difference is busways and conventional lanes are on the cusp of a step change in their capacity with automated platooning pushing capacities to 10,000 vehicles per hour per lane as the technology fully matures. Even normal cars fully filled in that situation get you to 50k passengers per hour. If those vehicles are double decker buses adjusting for the difference in length that’s more capacity than any heavy rail system in existence. And that’s without even really pushing the boundaries of platoon size and spacing. The challenge becomes not how many you can fit down a busway but where you get that many passengers from and how you fill and empty that many cars and buses per second. Fortunately unlike train tracks loading and unloading does not have to happen at a limited number of stations with a limited ability for trains to bypass them. Trains are a great last century solution from when an easy way to automate steering something was put it on rails and the only safe way to run things close together was couple them to each other. But just are not that forward looking especially for a city of Auckland’s geographical size and population density. Even before the 10k/hr vehicle throughput is reached platoons operating mixed with “normal” traffic will still incrementally increase capacity so it’s a great way to grow road capacity without actually having to build more roads. At a certain point “autonomous only” lanes make sense at which point many of the reasons buses needed separated busways to begin with go away.

          New suburbs of course should be designed with much more separation of various modes in mind and including the dedicated ‘bus’ ways to allow them to run as efficiently as possible.

    2. Even the Harbour Bridge’s doppelgänger in Panama: the ‘Bridge of the Americas’ has walkways on both sides of the bridge.

    3. If you’ve ever walked across the harbour bridge from say Smales Farm to Victoria Park you’ll know the time it takes makes it a tourist and recreational option not a daily commuter one.

      1. This is why active commuters tend to cycle.

        9km is about 20-40 minutes on a bike, as opposed to 2-3 hours walking.

      2. My car has a trip computer that tells me that my daily commute is done at an average speed of between 15-20 kmph. I know I could do better on a bike. In Wellington I would cycle to my workplace along SH2. Faster than the cars that spent much time crawling. It was a wonder to me that my fellow commuters would choose such an unpleasant form of transport as the private car. In Auckland the decision has been made for us.

  11. A lot of demonisation of Simeon as if the policy is solely his – he is answerable to the collective of his cabinet colleagues – so even if he was replaced, the directives would be unchanged. Very concerned about the GPS now being rewritten – should be out for public comment by the end of February.

    1. Graeme, if you followed Simeon while he was only an MP, you know that this is not something anyone had to push him into. Of course he’s not the only one responsible, but he’s much more than a messenger. Also, I don’t see him being demonised here – people are identifying how horrible the policies and things he proposes are.

  12. There are at least a thousand new Aucklanders from offshore every week; the artillery being used is mass, unsustainable, bordering on neo-colonial migration, and the first salvo was fired a number of administrations ago.

  13. So good to see a piece with actual historical memory that shows why a tax was brought in, in the first place.

    The functional erasure of the entire RLTP process that has been in place since they came in in the 2003 Land Transport Management Act is a huge removal of democratic participation for Auckland’s people. Again.

  14. I would like to be shocked and surprised, but really it is just saddening. This government is hell bent on reverting everything backwards that the last government attempted to move forwards. And they, like the last government, will blame the last government.

    I think a good musical reference is from the great poet LKJ…”Inglan is a bitch”

    Aotearoa are we becoming a fascist state? The answer lies in your face….

    The CRL is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to Auckland, and I am glad it is safe from these desperate vultures. Of course we are entirely reliant on the Europeans to sort out our subway, but what respectable city on this planet does not have a viable metro system? Even Bogota ram raided a bus way through because trains would have been impossible.

    I cry for my children, but our current prime minister has children and he does not seem to care that much about their future?!?

    1. Agree, Matiu – the impacts on children of this reactive policy-making are the hardest to stomach.

      It’s not just that “active modes” are the ones that children enjoy most and that give them more freedom and independence. It’s also the growing and cumulative cost to future generations of decades of car-first planning – climate, health, accessibility and productivity, ongoing road maintenance, you name it.

      Alternate blog title: The Government’s War on Children.

      1. ‘Alternate blog title: The Government’s War on Children’

        Perhaps you need to get a prescription of copium to treat your melodrama.

        1. It’s true though.
          Children will have the foot the massive social/environmental/financial debt that boomers have created. They are being screwed over in so many ways. The country is bankrupt, boomers are just blind.

        2. It’s not the Boomers, Zoomers each spend more than Boomers on cars, airline travel, car rental and ride sharing.

        3. Ari, why are you so ageist? Neither Luxon or Brown are boomers. Luxon is Gen X, the same as Julie Anne Genter and Brown is a Millennial, the same as Chloe (up in smoke) Swarbrick.
          You may as well call Luxon a Nxxxxr as it is just as offensive and just as inaccurate.

        4. The older Millennials are turning 43, They’re no longer young. And most boomers are retired. Time for the ageists to find another generation to blame.

        5. “The country is bankrupt, boomers are just blind.”

          The country is not bankrupt. There’s plenty of money and almost all of it is in the hands of us; the wealthy and important. Your problem is that you are one of the Hoi Polloi, the plebs.

          Helpful advice from Avery: Don’t be poor!
          ——————————————————————————————-

          Avery T Deacon-Harry®; male, pale and stale and f*ckin proud of it!

    2. None of this stuff affects people who have as much money as Luxon and his kids do. They live in a totally privatised version of our world which has no relation to a normal lifestyle.

      1. We live in a world where a poor socialist from Hamilton can grow up to be a rich Harvard professor. Nothing’s beyond your grasp if you put your mind to it.

        1. I just put my mind to it and unfortunately I’m not at Harvard. UserPays, I’m not sure what weird mission you are on but I’ve never seen so many poor takes in one Greater Auckland post, so well done.

        2. But we’re talking about Harvard professors her, not employees with stock options or whatever. Some Harvard professors do make money from other things like consulting, startups etc, but I’m fairly sure most who weren’t already wealthy make most of their money from their salary (I’m including any simple investments from their salary).

        3. Clearly you’ve never attended an elite US university. Also Joes estimate of Harvard professor’s salaries is pretty low. the top published salary band has a minimum of US$276k midpoint of US$ 398k and max of US$520k. At Harvard inventors also get 35% of the royalties on any invention or discoveries they make. Some individuals earn much more in salary and there’s also book deals, speaking engagements, consulting, board positions, equity in startups and other jobs they may also be holding. If a Harvard professor can’t come out of a job there by what New Zealand standards is quite rich they are probably not Harvard material to begin with.

  15. What irony. As far as I can see, we’re stuck here any now making spending cuts precisely because Labour dumped millions into “shovel-ready projects” that weren’t as well as letting parts of the public sector become bloated on contractor staff (after they froze their pay for 3 years, forcing all the talent to go out to market of course) and chucking millions at stupid projects like alternative bridge options that are pie-in-the-sky or some daft idea to part underground/ part overground the airport link. Millions spend, not a single tangible thing delivered.

    Oh and you didn’t seem to have a problem when Labour borrowed heavily to throw cash at the economy to sit at home shopping on Amazon, now driving the worst inflation crisis since 2008. Turns out you can’t just dump cash into the economy without getting any product or output for it and call it all a day.

    I’d say we’re already paying a premium for Labour’s money management strategy, the nation literally can’t afford any more of it.

    1. If cuts are necessary because of labour’s incompetence, why are we spending billions more on roads (eastvwest link) which show no positive net benefit and will be amongst the most expensive in the world?

    2. Inflation is a world-wide problem or phenomenon though. And governments all around the world helped businesses to stay in business during Covid. If that had not be done, you might have lower inflation but a very real recession and no domestic market, either.

      1. Ah, so we either had the choice of doing nothing or massively overcooking it and winding back our living standards for the next few years while we cope with a huge amount of debt and as government services fall apart.

        What a shame there was no middle-ground option. I guess we’ll never know, given that there has been no independent review of RBNZ’s decision-making in the Covid era and no one wants to talk about how Crown services and infrastructure could have really used the at-least $9b that we managed to vapourise in the process.

        1. I just found that the EU Core Inflation Rate sits at roughly 4% as well: https://tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/core-inflation-rate
          (click compare, choose European Union, Core Inflation Rate). Same for US.

          But yes, you are right, I made my statement before checking the numbers. It looks like inflation has hit New Zealand harder than some other countries. Buttwizard may be correct that a middle-ground approach might have been more successful.

        2. John: It’s a genuine question – unfortunately the RBNZ was allowed to mark its own homework when it came to the response, and has made some questionable statements to Select Committees around the impact of the war in Ukraine and the impact on local inflation – which was already running hot when Vlad rolled across the border.

          Unfortunately the Covid barrow is usually pulled in certain directions by the anti-vaxxers and wing-nuts, instead of meaningful scrutiny that we can actually learn from.

        3. Right on cue, someone comes along with the old false ‘We could have let everyone die or we could have crippled our state and electorate with huge debt, massive mortgages and services that are decaying that require an oppressive level of taxation to resolve’ dichotomy we were apparently locked into and had literally no middle ground we could have gone with.

          Why are people like this? Is it because accepting we might have got some stuff wrong threatens their own personal political identity? Is it some form of weird nationalism? Is it just tribalism?

          I don’t know about you, but I’m embarrassed that we live in a first world country and city that doesn’t have actual rapid transit nor is it capable of actually building it. Nor one where our drug buying agency costs a paltry $1.7b a year (arguably the best money the government spends) yet still takes seven years or more to approve funding for drugs that would make a meaningful difference to people’s survival. Like… how do you reconcile that last bit with Covid Nationalism?

        4. Grant New Zealand’s cumulative covid death rates per capita are roughly on the world median. By definition about half the countries did worse and half did better. The myth of a ‘best in world’ response in terms of saving lives is just that. Given the extreme measures, lockdowns and all that money spent you would have hoped maybe we would have done a little better than middle of the road.

        5. “Immunisation Advisory Centre medical director professor Nikki Turner said high vaccination rates helped keep the death toll low.
          University of Auckland Immunisation Advisory Centre medical director Dr Nikki Turner.
          “New Zealand overall has done really well, but I think people now have got quite short memories and are forgetting how effective it was,” Turner said.”

        6. Yeah we kind of off topic but in my mind it was our slow uptake in the vaccine (supply/distribute to the people problems initially at one point I think) that probably undid the good work our initial tight lockdowns achieved. So overall we ended up with death rates much like most other countries. Just my take on it though.

        7. Also worth noting, much of Europe was under quite significant social distancing measures, continuously, for one and a half year.

          Whereas New Zealand spent 10 of those months with comparatively very mild restrictions (between October 2020 and August 2021). We had a more or less normal, very crowded, Santa Parade in 2020.

          People have no idea what they missed.

    3. “Oh and you didn’t seem to have a problem when Labour borrowed heavily to throw cash at the economy to sit at home shopping on Amazon, now driving the worst inflation crisis since 2008”
      Don’t think buying overseas goods would affect our local inflation rate much. Besides I get your thinking but think they made their decisions best they could at the time too keep businesses working.

    4. “letting parts of the public sector become bloated on contractor staff”

      …and you think that is just Labour? The problem is government itself. We need a better system.

  16. What a load of Lefties losing it!
    Typically the lefties want other peoples money spent on their local feel good projects.
    After 6 years of ideological economic sabotage, this country is in desperate need to get its economy moving, before our $NZ becomes worth $AU 0.50 or worse. Auckland was built around the automobile and unless the leftists can chip in a few trillion dollars to change the city, it is the freeing up of automotive transportation that is the only pragmatic solution.
    Simeon Brown is bringing some refreshing realism and cutting out the criminal waste on such things as raised crossings and speed limit mania – all the result of ideology that says the collective of drivers is too dumb to understand hazard management and must be controlled with a process of restrictive control.

    1. lol, we’ve been spending billions on motorways to “fix congestion” since the 1960’s and it only gets worse. That isn’t pragmatism, it is utter insanity.

    2. It’s not ideology, it’s statistics. Greg Murphy says that drivers are too dumb (or at least too many of them are). So low-cost means of protecting people from dumbness, bad decisions and simple mistakes is the best intervention until the robots can take over driving.
      It only takes the loose change from the infrastructure budget to put these safety measures in – you won’t get much else from that money.

    3. We aren’t in any danger of our dollar dropping against the AUD, and we haven’t been for some time. Stop fear mongering.
      If our government are actually serious about cutting criminal waste, then reducing the cost of road trauma ($4.4 billion per annum) the single biggest incentive we can do. This costs us far more than the loss of productivity from slower vehicle journeys.
      Simeon Brown has demonstrated he favours populism over realism.

    4. Chrisb since you’re an active commenter what exactly is your solution to improving congestion and access for everyone? Is it back to basics with Brown – which i assume is build more roads, more lanes, etc? And how will that improve the economy? Surely more congestion is worse for our productivity (not to mention emissions and our health)

      1. Nobody here seems to be concerned about the Big Picture; where is NZ & Auckland going? We can’t sustain a population increase of over 1000 per week in Auckland when there is no identifiable economic employment for people that will create future wealth for the nation.
        Where is the vision and the strategies for developing a country that our children and grandchildren will enjoy for the second half of the century?
        Carrying on with a Soviet style centrist philosophy of having all transport leading to the centre of Auckland is not going to meet future needs; will Auckland ever be an international business and finance centre, or a thriving port city or a tourist attraction?
        We need as a country to look at the options for what and where we invest for future development and who we need to be employing in NZ in terms of education, skills etc. Given that we have a global comparative advantage in the strength of our rural economy, is it likely that we should be looking at industries based on adding value to our primary industries, which would likely not be based in Auckland but in regional centres?
        Look at Pōkeno as a centre that has a Chinese milk powder factory, dedicated to providing a base product for China with many Chinese nationals employed. We should have a national strategy for development like this, but with NZ ownership and downstream economic activity.
        Pōkeno itself is an indictment on the Kiwi way of just letting things grow like topsy. Different in Australia where they develop regional towns with serious planning and infrastructure.
        We should be developing transport in Auckland with a view to efficient cross town and through town transportation using free flowing regional road networks for cars, trucks and buses. The Mill Road debacle in south Auckland is an example of where everything has gone wrong; from stupid leftist ideology blocking to the previous idiocy of a gold plated road that would have cost billions and 20 years to complete. A pragmatic 4 lane road with roundabouts following existing road contours would have provided a huge clearing of traffic congestion.
        Why does AT have to gold plate everything it looks at? Why doesn’t the population demand the sacking of the entire organisation and going back to Ministry of Works with a national focus and high competency?
        There is a quote from the Bible that says “where there is no vision, the people shall perish “
        When we can’t even have an adult discussion about what happened in 1840, largely because of the idiot leftist media’s involvement, how can we ever work out as a nation, what NZ should be like in 2100? I fear that my grandchildren will become Australian citizens.

    5. You are either joking, or very ignorant of history and concepts such as induced demand. How about spending some time on self improvement if it is the latter.

      1. Induced demand is just demand that was always there to make a particular trip given a particular cost (for most that cost is the time taken) Research into induced demand also shows that when you build enough capacity to meet the latent demand there isn’t some magical extra ‘induced demand’ that appears, only that demand that was already there for a trip with that time cost is satisfied. Routes only remain congested when your upgrade still has insufficient capacity. So induced demand is a terribly named concept because nothing is actually induced by adding capacity, When analysed in any depth it is just good old fashioned demand.

        So the question isn’t whether you should build to meet the latent demand, of course you should if it is practical to do so.

        And sometimes expanding an existing corridor further is difficult from an engineering perspective or prohibitively expensive. And demand for traffic infrastructure is quite peaky. Instead of just adding lanes you also need to look at ways to improve throughput on the existing infrastructure and to smooth the peaks with mechanisms like flexible work hours for those that absolutely must trek to a place of work each day.

        Sadly what sometimes goes on is an ideologically driven methodology which actually aims to reduce the efficiency of the network (and therefore the perceived cost to it’s users) to increase demand for substitute products (public transit, biking etc) that would not be sufficiently attractive on their own without attempts to nobble the other modes.

        As automation starts to take over driving, removing non automated modes from particular corridors will increase throughput and safety. Given how long traffic infrastructure takes to put in place a forward looking strategy needs to consider what happens when you need to start shifting ‘traditional’ users out of corridors and beginning now to prepare alternative options rather than continue to mix them on corridors that would eventually be designated ‘automation only’. A lot of wasted time and money is currently going into making provisions for modes that will eventually need to be eliminated from those corridors.

        1. Agreed. A lot of time and money is wasted designing our cities for cars when we could instead design cities for people and get rid of the cars.
          People are a necessity, not the cars, which can be eliminated over time.

        2. That implies cities as you know them today are a necessity. If you design cities for people you make nice suburbs with the facilities they desire and they rarely need to go to what 100 years ago would have been called the city centre. Central Auckland retail is dying. Unless you were already there for work why would you make a special trip?

    6. “Typically the lefties want other peoples money spent on their local feel good projects.”

      No. Aucklanders wanted their money (RFT) spent on their local projects. They didn’t ask anyone else for anything.

      Simeon Brown is now taking other people’s money from the wider NZ tax pool to fund projects they don’t want (east west link).

      Simeon Brown is looking like the leftist here, telling everyone what to do and how they should do it. At least by your idea of what a leftist is.

      1. “Simeon Brown is now taking other people’s money from the wider NZ tax pool to fund projects they don’t want (east west link).”

        More than 30% of that pool comes from Auckland anyway. If you only want to spend money in the areas that it’s collected from then you might find some other parts of NZ have decidedly less than they have become accustomed to.

        1. Well, “more” of other peoples money. But that wasn’t the point of the post, was it.

          Aucklanders (through the local ballot box) have democratically chosen to pay into a fund for various local transport projects.

          The MoT has told them they can’t choose what they spend their money on. He will decide for you and ask others to chip in more than they do now. And he has done that because he does not like, ideologically, the projects they have independently chosen.

      1. Phil, like a lot of brainwashed younger leftists, you have no idea of history. Look at a map of Auckland, circa 1920, which is when the Model T Ford was first imported in quantity. Before that time, cars were for the rich only, but when ordinary people and small businesses could afford them, “new” cities of the world expanded geographically at a fast rate.
        I know it hard for a leftist to recognise the freedoms that the Model T and later competing brands provided to people, but that is why Auckland of the 1960’s was dramatically different to 40 years previously.
        Only a good follower of Marx would want to see the command and control society that would coerce people to abandon their cars for public transport.
        And forget the crap about climate change, because every motor vehicle in Auckland could stop permanently at midnight tonight, with ZERO effect on the climate.

        1. And again, nobody is being stopped from using their car. It is a choice and you can still choose.

          Any claim to contrary is disingenuous.

        2. KLK Nowdays there are these newfangled tram like vehicles that run on giant inflated rubber donuts instead of steel wheels and tracks. They are kind of like the horse drawn omnibuses that any civilised city in Europe would have used until recently but an updated version that is much less infrastructure intensive than a tram. The motive power of a modern one is of course electric and in a truly modern one the coachperson and their whip have been replaced by a computer.

        3. Hey Chrisb I know huffing exhaust fumes in your garage can cause brain damage but you said Auckland was built around the car. Auckland was founded before the car existed, this is not really a disputable fact unless you think Back to the Future was a documentary your kids showed you. At various points in history choices are made about which modes of transport to encourage and support and it wasn’t until the 1950s that the automobile was elevated above all others. There was an extensive tram network as you well remember, I’m sure you must have made use of it to get to your first job as a human coat rack downtown.

          Keep harping on about freedom, no one is stopping you from driving. You can still get to your lifestyle block in rural Karaka even if there are buses, trains, and bicycle lanes.

    7. Evidence, not ideology:

      Our collective of drivers generates twice the per capita rate of road deaths as Spain and nearly three times that of the UK.

      Yes, we need controls on the street and in cars, education and testing for drivers, separation of fast traffic (yay, motorways!) and a seismic shift in attitude to prevent the criminal waste of life that some see as the acceptable blood price for a couple of minutes off a journey time.

      1. When you normalise the numbers per kilometre travelled the OECD as a whole has 72% of the deaths New Zealand has. Obviously there is room for NZ to improve but they’re not 2x or 3x better when that difference is taken into account. Per capita stats don’t mean much with the vast differences in amount of driving between various countries.

        1. Well perhaps, our high death rate per capita can be very significantly improved simply by better provision of transport options other then the car?
          A complete opposite to the moves being taken by our current Government.

        2. Sadly no, active modes are worse by an order of magnitude per kilometre even on best in class infrastructure. The best hope there to reduce deaths is start by eliminating active modes. Of course nobody wants to hear that. In the end people are just prepared to take the risk and advocate for and accept the extra deaths that active modes bring. Which means they should also be morally fine with lower risk modes like cars.

        3. Yes, per km risk is higher for walking and cycling than it is for motoring.

          That’s because the user causing that risk, the motorist killing people with their car, doesn’t pay for the risk they put on others.

          Lots of motoring costs are externalized, thanks for pointing that one out.

          User should pay to fix that.

        4. Actually in the Netherlands, an oft cited utopia for cyclists, 50% of cyclist deaths involve no car. They’re also an order of magnitude higher than car deaths per km travelled. Even if all car on bike deaths were eliminated (an unlikely goal as even the Dutch haven’t managed it in many decades of trying) and infrastructure was upgraded to the same standard as the Netherlands you’d be looking at a mode that was about five times more dangerous than driving even under the best possible scenario. That should be enough of a wake up call to eliminate the mode and switch to driving, buses, trains etc if number of deaths were your primary concern.

  17. Please don’t lose sight of the main point of this post. It’s not just what money is spent on, it’s about local democracy that decided on the support for the RFT and the programme that it was to fund. It was the oxygen for the intensive care patient allowing a cure to the illness. Now let’s just arbitrarily cut off the air supply.
    Auckland decided on this way of funding and how it was to be spent. It should be the Minister asking the Mayor to get together to talk about whether there should be a change put to the people of Auckland.
    If the Minister wants to ease the cost of living (=fuel inflation), he can cut the national fuel levy and leave the RFT alone for Auckland to decide.

    1. “Auckland decided on this way of funding…”

      I don’t remember being asked if I wanted an extra 10c Auckland fuel tax or not?

    2. What people are probably a bit grumpy about is contributing to a Givealittle for an intensive care patient’s oxygen and finding the people who put up the page decided to spend the money on recreational drugs for themselves instead.

  18. It is also a pretty grim timeline heavily in favour of ICE cars 🙁
    (- shut down large parts of the train network for months)
    – cut EV rebate scheme
    – introduce EV RUC
    – increase PT fares
    – remove RFT

    What is next? Rebates for utes? Removal of bus lanes for parking?
    If all we need to fix traffic is one more lane and the Northern Busway has two of them, the solution is right there! /s

    1. Haha, next you’re going to say that they will ask the IRD to cut their budget instead of auditing non-compliant FBT vehicles like utes. Oh wait.

      1. The busway is so under-utilised it’s probably time to let EVs on it as an incentive. No need to kick the buses off it yet.

    2. Realistically, while we might end up slower than we would have, we’re going to largely abandon ICE cars for the simple reason that few are going to be making them, nor are they going to be available on the second hand market.

  19. Hmm, time to put our hope in, and back our mayor.
    He needs full support, and to come across as powerful, because the battle here will be between him and a transport minister.
    When the smarter blokes in National realises that this anti public transport attitude, from the minister of transport, is starting to alienate middle class Auckland voters (you know those that determine elections), he will be reigned in.
    And publicly taking on a popular mayor of Auckland and suggest spending on projects Auckland don’t want or need, well, that’s not a battle National want nor need when Auckland property owners is already seeing way to high rate increases.

    I am all for much better budgetcontrol and I do believe we need to reign in our spending.

    Building an eastwest motorway is dumb – no one except a few fringe lunatics sees it producing value for money. Its a colossal white elephant project.
    Building a bridge/tunnel without PT or bicycle lanes seems utterly retarded. were a city, PT and mass-transit is key.

    I am so tired of all this province boys moving to Auckland and wanting the biggest city to be like their province town they grew up in. If they want province towns, its easy to move.

  20. I wonder if Simeon went to the Krishna Holi Festival at Kumeu over the weekend,he might have learnt something as well as getting covered in blue dye. The transport options were aimed at driving,as PT doesn’t work at Kumeu,the results were predictable,but you know,one more lane,etc.
    At least the Krishna festival people are faring better than Tauranga,where the water network is undermining the road,and the official advice is “stay home”.
    Careful,what you wish for ,Simeon.

      1. And yes, Tauranga brought it into focus too.

        The only viable option was to stay home. No alternatives available, sorry. But let’s double down on our lack of choice and alternatives. That will give us “resilience”.

    1. Don’t worry, Nats plan is to build a motorway to there and a bit further. North West Alternative State Highway – or basically just building SH16 as a motorway from Brigham Creek to Waiuku (or technically halfway between Waiuku and Huapai).

    2. I suspect Tauranga’s road network is more reliable than Auckland’s rail network, even if occasionally you do fall into a large hole.

      1. Well you’d think with global warming on the way we wouldn’t be building any more trains that can’t handle a warm summer day.

        1. Good point, sea level rise will probably take care of the rail cooling problem. How much more CO2 do we need to pump into the atmosphere to get the rail network underwater? AT and Kiwirail should get started on that project immediately.

  21. There really needs to be a strong effort in Auckland to pushback against these regressive brain dead reforms. This is 20th century stuff that even without climate change wouldn’t make sense.

  22. So we have replaced one bad transport minister with another bad transport minister. neither of the last two (Brown or Woods) have any real world experience with transport infrastructure. It astounds me that Luxon overlooked much more qualified MP’s like Simon Court (ACT) who has actually worked in and understands the sector in favour of Brown.
    Brown’s policies are outdated and ill-thought out. Opening space for more cars simply creates more congestion as using a car becomes more appealing and people turn to them instead of other transport modes.
    I’m sure some scandal will befall Brown at some stage and we get a new body in the seat, we can only hope they have some experience and can turn off the loud noise created by the Geoff Upson-like followers.

    1. Vested interests are by their nature, regressive.
      Enhance, and protect what we have been doing rather, and clobber any threatened alternatives in THEIR patch.
      To do this they have multiple channels to purchase influence which they do as a simple investment decision.

      They are not going to cede any square metres of publicly owned asphalt away from private motor vehicle use without a well funded fight.

      Increasing public transport patronage, micromobility use, and residential intensification are all threats to be vigorously opposed as they reduce private motor vehicle kilometers travelled, thus their incomes.

      Any government that is prepared to reverse popular and effective smoking reduction measures at the behest, of one toxic legacy industry can not be considered to be acting in our best interests.

  23. This government is the best thing to happen in the last six disastrous years of mismanagement. I don’t want my money being wasted on pointless cycle lanes, speed reductions and over engineered pedestrian crossings.

    You’d not be mistaken to think clowns are running our public transport system in Auckland when you hear the train lines are being closed because of the heat. They must be making them out of something other than steel overseas.

    1. Yawn. Investments in projects with BCR >1.0 such as cycleways, and safety enhancements is not wasting $.
      But building pointless holiday highways with BCR <1.0 actually is wasteful spending of $

      1. You are both right.. Thats what is so bad about NZs oxymoron NZ inteligencia
        Clueless miss unarge world ocean, And be over the age of 30. Maybe then our county would start actually talking about the real issues .. Anywderstanding about about the subtle play of transport and money and clever solutions to maximise wise outcomes with out destroying priniciples and stealing money from us.

    2. Then Bob, you had better talk to your democratically elected Mayor and Council who are implementing the wishes of the majority of voters.

      It’s got practically nothing to do with Labour. Auckland has decided what it wants to spend its money on and Labour just chipped in.

    3. And the Rail Lines don’t have expansion joints in them anymore as the Passengers want a smooth so they don’t spill their coffee and also be able to read their Idiot Phones .
      And if you want to beat/avoid the Heat Delay rent a large grinder and cut some expansion joints .
      And there are some places in the world where it get so hot the Tarseal melts , and the cars get stuck .

    4. Bob: no one wants pointless cycleways, they want connected networks of cycle lanes that enable cyclists to safely get about without having to share the road with multi tonne vehicles moving at 50+ km/hr.

    5. Bob actually they make them with steel and expansion is also a problem overseas. This doesn’t excuse Kiwirail from the terrible job they do.

      And DavidM cycleways only tend to get over 1.0 by throwing in a bunch of nebulous Health Benefits and some pretty dubious estimates as to how they will change future behaviour. On that basis maybe the Ministry of Health and not a fuel tax should be subsidising them.

      Separated cycleways are part of the future once we need to get bikes off main roads. But the modelling to cost justify them seems to be worked backward from that numbers needed to justify the project vs worked forward from realistic assumptions. Yes I know you’ll probably say the same about many a roading project. That’s true too but a bit harder to fake.

      1. Totally agree here, bikes should be accommodated away from high volumes of fast motor traffic.

        Elsewhere, they do that by eliminating through motor traffic from high streets and residential areas. If you aren’t coming to visit, stay on the motorway.

        Pedestrian zones and low traffic neighborhoods, linked up in an alternative network, allow everyone to get around without heaps of raised crossings.

        Very cheap, good BCR, good for the high street businesses.

      2. Agree with that, traffic separation is the only reasonable future.

        But also ‘high streets’ with on road parking or a cycle lane in front are a dead concept. Either turn it into a pedestrian mall (free of cars, bikes, scooters and the rest) or just build a legitimate pedestrian only shopping centre in the suburbs (aka a mall). Strip malls have a purpose but only when they have dedicated off-road parking in front of them.

        1. are you actually American? ‘Strip mall’, no such thing outside North America. It’s called the High Street, and it’s far more welcoming to everyone if it’s not miles wide and covered in parked cars. Suburban shopping malls are one of the worst things ever invented.

        2. Auckland has dozens of strip malls, not sure what you are on about. A strip of five or six shops, set back from the road behind a couple rows of parking.

          And kiwis don’t say the high street, that’s a britishism.

        3. High Street is a very British term and as it happens I speak British, American and Kiwi English. Strip malls exist in New Zealand. They work much better than the old school shops fronting directly on a busy road with people hoping to pull in and out of traffic and park on the road outside. Maybe you are more used to calling them ‘retail parks’. They’re very much designed for targeted retail trips where you know what you want and just need to efficiently go get it.

          Modern indoor malls in good neighbourhoods are a welcoming spaces dedicated to pedestrian shoppers. In fact their success depends on being somewhere people want to go and spend time. They’re also much safer than high street style shopping both from a traffic perspective and the likelihood of getting mugged or otherwise attacked. Retailers in malls see 10% of crime than ‘High Street’ stores do. There is not much left to recommend ‘High Street’ shopping these days either from a customer or a retailer’s perspective.

        4. So you take your pedestrian mall/shopping centre and surround it with mixed density residential developments in walking distance.

          Sprinkle in schools and parks, some office buildings and transit options to other malls.

          That’s a neighbourhood with a high street.

        5. Not exactly. I’d say the feature of the ‘high street’ is you’re trying to mix shops, parking, buses, delivery trucks, cars, bikes, scooters, cattle, dogs and horses all in one space, with shops fronting onto the footpath and an actual street in the way it was done in the old days when maybe the shopping part of the town was primarily the one street.

          With a covered mall you’re providing access by those methods but specifically excluding everyone but pedestrians from actually walking around. By all means ride your horse to the mall, but leave your horse in the horse parking section and walk around the shops or get off the bus outside and walk in. Having strip malls or office buildings nearby doesn’t turn a mall into a high street.

        6. “Whether you want to say what’s spent on cycleways is part of the MoH or MoT or whatever, who cares?”

          So you don’t really care if say the health budget gets spent on defence instead with some tenuous calculations showing how many citizen lives are saved by the absence of war in New Zealand. OK.

          There’s a certain logic that if a project can only be justified on the basis that the majority of it’s benefits are savings in health spend that MOH should be falling over themselves to put a line item in their budget to fund such things and be standing alongside MOT in making the business case. Clearly MOH doesn’t care what outrageous claims of savings that will never come to pass get made in their name when there’s no budgetary impact to them. If all predicted savings in health spend were removed from their budget they’d be squealing like stuck pigs.

      3. You’re right that central government should be spending more on cycleways etc than they are give the other benefits. But it’s not like all the money comes from the RFT and none comes from central government. When it comes to central government, there’s of course no such thing as MoH money or MoT money. Besides the ring fenced NLTF, which as we all know doesn’t even come close to paying for all we spend even on roads, there’s just budget. Whether you want to say what’s spent on cycleways is part of the MoH or MoT or whatever, who cares?

  24. Why nobody blame Auckland Bus/Train/Ferry service? We pay ridiculous price and get shit service. Look at after one year the rail closure, train service even worse than ever, always delayed and cancelled but we pay higher and higher fare. Not reliable service, much slower than driving car and higher price that causing more people give away on the public transport back to drive mode.

    1. John all the Rail Lines are owned by KIWI RAIL as are most stations and all AT does is pay a rental to use them , so get you facts right before you start blaming AT for works on the network instead have ago at KR and whoever is in power who took the cash that AT pays to use them .

    2. David AT is still responsible for choosing poor suppliers for a core parts of their business and not managing those supplier’s performance appropriately. No business gets away with perpetually blaming their poor choice of suppliers for the fact they can’t deliver. End customers by and large don’t care if it was you or a key supplier who screwed up.

  25. Good debate:
    To start with and probably still now.. I am beyond livered at (The Nats) also livered at people who vote for them when Act NZFirst Loyal even TOP party should be there.

    I mean wow. So annoyed .. Also almost stopped hating myself for how stupid evil thick lazy and dumb its seems 80% of New Zealanders are maybe 90%..

    That being said; I angry at myself for having some optermisium and hope for National Party even though (( I am angry to even comment )

    But the idea Luxon hired his like brown noser freak Simeon with a even lower IQ and personality than him – its a standard Corporate CEO 90s tactic of hiring bigger losers than one is.. ( Same goe for Mark Mitchell ) Anyway

    So – the 10 cents fuel is a smart way to raise large funds without killing us much better than massive rate rises which are no fair in many cases.

    But after saying all that again.
    I am also have for the floor to be pulled from under AT who have a secure sence of power with no actual competition and also not democracy worse than a freemarket company and worse than a council body.

    Many of their projects are over costed, million dollar foot paths and any bit of green in the City that used to exist before 1950 the feel the need to make it SQUARE and Concrete. Square square big metal bars and make it over prices and over modernised to some sort of Clean cunt Apple Store type feel. Perfect Square edges and million dollar hand rails..

    So they have had it too good for too long and so happy to see them burn a bit also.

    Ultimately what is holding Auckland (New Zealand)) back is the Low quality of insites, knowlegde , discussion, understanding, debate and education (mal facitiltated by a jourvanile un learned Main Stream Media. )

    Almost all problems could be solved ( in 100 years) thats how far behind we are ) by way of ensuring all Main stream media commentators had to qualify to be such by way of bare minimum: Master of Science Degree & Master of Arts and Lived in at least 3 other countries written at least 2 books, Sailed at least across one large world ocean, And be over the age of 30. Maybe then our county would start actually talking about the real issues .. Anyway I done.

  26. The revenue lost from the regional fuel tax can be raised through rates instead. Rates are more progressive than fuel taxes, with the burden tending to fall more heavily on those with large houses.

  27. Brown is very dangerous – the arrogance of youth combined with a conviction in ideology imbued potentially with religious zeal.

    He’s got the potential to be even more useless than Michael Wood was.

  28. At this point, expecting a change in government to result in better projects and decision making procedures in Auckland, is a bit like expecting KiwiRail’s work programmes to limit the frequency of track faults.

  29. I would support the retention of the Regional Fuel Tax if the money was spent on ripping out the Auckland metro rail lines (the ones that get too hot on a 25degree day) and converting the rail corridors into roadways.
    Surely sitting in the comfort of your air conditioned car during peak commuter time beats pacing up and down a railway platform waiting for a cancelled train.

    1. jspb you’ll probably also need to put some tents, cots and sleeping bags as well. All free wifi will let you do is post on social media how the train didn’t come again, and let you videoconference with you family so you can remember what they look like given all the time you’ll now spend sitting in stations waiting for trains that never come.

    2. curious, a commenter on a transport-issued blog that’s quite forward thinking, yet you clearly have no clue about how urban transport systems work and have a mindset that was proven from the 60s to the 80s to be hopelessly wrong.

    3. BlackFans only overseas visit was probably a trip to the Gold Coast back in ’97..unless you count flying back home to Gore as overseas.

  30. Love this section of the post:

    “As bad as those projects are, peremptorily removing pedestrian and bike lanes from any future harbour crossing is petty, and the type of decision that future generations will rue. Doing it twice during the peak of motordom (when the bridge was built, and then again when the clip-ons were added) is something that most people today regard as a mistake that was doubled down on. But making that same decision again in 2024 is cartoonishly dumb and malicious. Is Brown scared of bikes?

    It’s also a far cry from even the previous National-led government, which started the Urban Cycleway Fund that led to projects like Lightpath, the Nelson St cycleway and a cycleway on Quay St. Then-Prime Minister John Key, at the opening of the Grafton Gully Cycleway in 2014, was even supportive of getting across the harbour by bike and noted some of the obvious local tourism benefits. This was after speaking about the need for more dedicated cycleways to enable a wide range of trips. You can listen to his whole speech here.”

    Well I sure hope the bring in some other system of revenue pretty fast but only for some good projects of course.

  31. The government was elected to power by a majority of New Zealanders because they were concerned with the cost of living and wanted to see the government slash spending.

    Money doesn’t grow on trees. If you can’t afford something, don’t do it.

    1. Then cancel Mill Road, East-West Link and Penlink. Its not affordable and has negative returns.

      But guess what? That almost 10bn is planned to go ahead.

      If you believe their “cut spending” line, then you have been duped.

    2. the point is that we could afford it . For no particularly good reason the revenue source is being removed so now we can’t. The question that might be asked is can we afford not to do it?
      The projects that were planned to happen have been argued and consulted on extensively by Aucklanders and a plan was in place. Are we now expected to relitigate the whole saga again and come up with another way of revenue gathering? flies in the face of a govt that is supposedly all about getting things done if you ask me. Basically they have put a great big hand brake on Auckland. The Nats definitely won a majority for NZ but the difference in Auckland was only 6%… not overwhelming at all.

  32. The point is that what Wayne knows, and the government knows that he knows, is that he cannot go back to ratepayers to raise the money lost from the removal of RPT. Rates take the same amount of money out of the local economy as RPT does … but politically, it’s poison to be talking about matching rates increases. It seems that our current local government financing model is designed to keep a tight lid on local spending. Hence the not-unrelated debacle over water.

  33. I have neither the time or the energy to contribute to this debate to the extent that I would like to. Suffice it to say:

    Enough with the labels for people; left/right, young/old, white/brown, redhead/not redhead.

    As soon as you put a label on people it de-humanises them.

    You cannot, for example, look at me, guess my age and hence guess how I voted or whether I even own a motor vehicle, let alone what type.

    You cannot, for example, look at a factory worker and determine how intelligent they are.

    You cannot look at Maori or South African or Chinese or Indian and determine what their aspirations/fears/abilities as individuals are.

    You cannot look at a person with autism and determine what skills and ability they have.
    Everyone is different (and there is a “Life of Brian” reference to that should you care to go looking for it).

    What we are seeing is classic divide and conquer.

    The only generic label that matters is loadsamoney/not loadsamoney.
    Power is also important but loadsamoney buys power.

    There are companies out there that see their business models about to fall apart…and they don’t like it.

    As the Romans knew more than 2000 years ago; cui bono.
    Loosely translated – follow the money.

    Rant over; we need to get organised and raise funds. The Nats are not fascists. They are just hungry for money and the power that comes with it.

    1. Follow the money indeed. There are plenty of people and projects whose free government money supply is threatened under National and they’re not liking it one bit. This entire article is one such rant.

      And fortunately we just kicked to the curb a government that was set on dividing people into different categories of race, gender and national origin with different rights based on which category you were in.

      1. So because Labour was “dividing people into different categories of race, gender and national origin” it’s OK for your venal mob to do it as well?

        Where are your ethics “User Pays”? How will you feel when you or your family are on the receiving end of your “devil takes the hindmost” policies?

        In my Brave New World venal politicians will be first to be introduced to Madame Guillotine; Labour , National, ACT, Greens and NZ First alike. Heads will roll.

        “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure”
        Thomas Jefferson

      2. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

        Also Thomas Jefferson.

        Let’s for a moment ignore Dred Scott vs Sandford and focus more on the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Nineteenth Amendments and court decisions based on them as final follow through on that. There’s barely a race based law or preferential treatment policy that Labour made or tried to make that would pass constitutional muster in the US today. There’s a lot of jurisprudence around the equal protection clause and any person who feels their rights have been trampled on by a state actor can bring a case against the government seeking a prejudicial law or policy be declared invalid. And if the court rules in their favour that is binding on the government. Good luck with that in New Zealand where almost all law is subservient to and changeable at the whim of parliament.

        I support the principles that the equal protection clause espouses, regardless of who is in government.

        The rhetoric I hear from the right is how they want to uphold that vision of equality. The rhetoric I hear from the left is that equality is an outdated concept and that different rights according to identity are more important.

        Clearly the latter position is on the wrong side of history.

        1. That’s great…but can you talk about the rights you don’t have which someone else has and how they effect you day on day? And ultimately, would you swap with them and want to be in their shoes instead?

        2. Well let’s see. It’s more about what so called rights of mine that apparently differ from other New Zealanders that I’d happily see extended to all.

          And who are you offering that I swap with? I’d really have to consider that on a case by case basis rather than some race based generalisation.

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