All posts by rfowler

Sign the petition to keep train staff on our trains

The decision by AT to remove train managers puts other staff and passengers at risk. Add your voice to support train managers here.

Everyone who rides on a train in Auckland should have a safe and enjoyable journey. Auckland Transport wants to take train managers off Auckland’s passenger trains. This will make train travel more difficult and less pleasant…

Go to: to sign the petition now.

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ROCC voice concerns over potential air quality threat

Request for Direct Referral by Ambury Properties Limited – 72 Tidal Road, Mangere

Members of ROCC have made objections to the application by Ambury Properties Limited to build a factory at 72 Tidal Road, Mangere. They want stronger measures to be taken about air quality and other issues relating to the factory.  
Recently Ambury Properties requested that a Council Hearing be avoided and the application be heard directly by the Environment Court.
ROCC raised concerns that this would by-pass the community.
The Auckland Council Regulatory Committee resolved (by IMSB Member G Wilcox, seconded by Cr E Collins): 
That the Regulatory Committee decline the request for the following reasons:
i) the resource consent applications are predominantly a local issue, with a total of 12 submissions predominantly from submitters in the local Mangere area; 
ii) those submitters will be able to participate in a decision-making process at a Council hearing on this local project and with a Manukau venue for the hearing; 
iii) submitters include lay people, who will likely be unfamiliar with the Environment Court process, and will be required to become section 274 parties to participate in this more formal process, including possible cross-examination; 
iv) the determination of the application is dependent upon a mix of both technical expert evidence and non-technical evaluative assessment that is suitably heard at first instance at Council level; 
v) there is insufficient indication of certainty that a Council decision being appealed to the Environment Court, either by the applicant or any submitters given the nature of feedback received through prelodgement public consultation process and given the matters raised in the 12 submissions received; and 
vi) if the decision made by the Council is appealed, the Council hearing process would have led to a refinement of the issues to then allow for a more focused and efficient Environment Court process such as mediation and caucusing that may avoid the need for hearing.
Keep an eye on the ROCC facebook page and this website for updates.
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Your Vote Matters

With the polls of the 2017 Election being so close I urge everyone to use your democratic right to vote! It’s going to be close and a few votes could make a significant difference.

In the recent UK election, the Conservative Party lost their Kensington electorate seat by only 20 votes!!! So, 20 votes made a significant difference in that area and helped to have a huge impact on the UK election over all.

It can be difficult to keep up with New Zealand politics! In fact, things changed only 6 months after the last election in 2015 when National MP Mike Sabin was forced to resign and Winston Peters won the Northland seat for NZ First. John Key stood down as the leader of the National Party in December 2016. In the past few months we have seen change of leadership for the Labour Party and the Greens. Just recently, we are left wondering if United Future even exist anymore after the resignation of Peter Dunn.

Many of us vote by habit or we vote like our parents. However, lots has changed. Don’t forget to do your research.

So, from now to the 22nd of September you can turn up at any early voting place and vote. If you haven’t registered to vote yet, you can register and vote at the same time. I have seen them outside cinemas, in libraries and in supermarkets. You can find out where your nearest one is here.

So just like the M&Ms in my local veg shop, I urge you all to vote!

Alan Worman

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Use Your Vote!

As a result of becoming a permanent resident, I am able to vote for the first time in 7 years of living in New Zealand. I am very excited about being able to vote. But it is clear to me not everybody feels the same.

I hear people say that the parties don’t represent them and that they don’t want to vote. To some extent I agree. However, I think we also need to be aware that the parties will favour the demographic that turn up to vote. In New Zealand, a significant portion of people aged 50 actually turn up and vote. Compare this to the under 25 that have a low percentage voting. So until there are more people 18-25 turning up to vote, it will seem the future of New Zealand is catering for and decided by the over 50s.

The more party votes a party can get, that gives them better representation in parliament. As a result they have more power to get laws passed that matter to them.

I’m urging everyone to enrol and vote in the upcoming election. To either enrol or check you are enrolled click here

All parties have policies. We will have ample chance to hear them explain this in the up and coming debates on TV.  Also click the following links NationalLabourGreensMANANZ FirstMoari Party ActTop

A useful way to work out what matters to you and which party thinks like you is by using this online tool here.

I chose the image of the rainbow flag flying as its a symbol of peace and understanding. Which is greatly needed on our door step and globally.

Will you be voting?

Alan Worman

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Mobile Truck Shops Breaking the Law

We are all think about buying things we can’t afford … just yet.

Mobile Truck Shops are so tempting as they offer the goods and you don’t have to pay right now. However, if you read the small print, often you’ll be paying, A LOT, for a long time to come.

Two of these shoddy businesses (Zee Shop and Budget Warehouse) have now been caught for making their ‘small print’ too difficult to understand and have received massive fines.

Have you seen Zee Shop or Budget Warehouse trucks in your neighbourhood?

ROCC wonders if we should go one step further and ban these vans?

Do you know of any political party that has a policy about this? Is this an election issue for you?

Let us know!

Read more here:

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Bari Land Road Stopping

Housing NZ has made an application for Bari Lane in Mangere East to be ‘stopped’ and amalgamated with its adjoining land holdings so as to facilitate a comprehensive redevelopment for intensive housing. Housing NZ proposes to amalgamate its existing land titles and Bari Lane (when stopped) into one single allotment.

Do you live around here? Will this effect you? Let ROCC know on the facebook page


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Proposed Motel threat to Yates Park

A 15 unit motel plus manager’s residence is proposed at 1/75 and 77 Yates Road, Mangere East. The Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board have expressed concerns around the potential for future change of use of the development, especially to construct a stormwater pipe through Yates Park. The motel applicant also requires Council approval to conduct works within the dripline of one protected tree, a Silver Birch that stands within the park along the boundary of 77 Yates Road as part of the carpark construction works inside 77 Yates Road. The tree might be negatively affected by the works.

Do you use this park? Do you live down Yates Road? How will this effect you? Let ROCC know on the facebook page

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ROCC opposes Opal Lounge Appeal

ROCC has opposed an appeal made by the owners of the Opal Lounge (a pokie tavern in South Otahuhu).

The Opal Lounge is trying to appeal a decision of the Auckland District Licensing Committee to refuse their licence because their accounts were not in order and they were not primarily a tavern, but a gambling den.

However, because the owners filed their appeal outside the 10 working day requirement, they also had to ask for an extension of time. ROCC has also challenged that.

Such an extension can only be given if there was reasonable cause for the failure to appeal within the 10 working day time period.

 ROCC says there is no reasonable cause.

In addition, the owners had a history in their initial application of failing to meet other time requirements and include the correct notices in the local newspaper.

Moreover, ROCC also pointed to comments by the Auckland District Licensing Committee that were very critical about the non-attendance and poor attitude of the owner of the Opal Lounge in that hearing.

ROCC is awaiting the outcome of the application for an extension of time.

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Redevelopment of the Mangere East Town Centre

The redevelopment of the Mangere East Town Centre is the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board’s main priority for the forthcoming Long Term Plan 2018/28. The Council has completed an initial rough order of costs to spend about $700,000 – 1,000,000. But there are still some factors that need to be considered. The Local Board is looking to share the predicted costs with Auckland Council will help develop a business case for the redevelopment. We will be asking  the Local Board for ROCC to be involved as the ideas progress.

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GUEST BLOG: Mike Lee – Auckland Transport’s March of Folly « The Daily Blog

Source: GUEST BLOG: Mike Lee – Auckland Transport’s March of Folly « The Daily Blog


Historian Barbara Tuchman’s acclaimed ‘March of Folly – from Troy to Vietnam’ published in 1985 was about ‘the pervasive presence, through the ages, of failure, mismanagement, and delusion in government – contrary to its own self interest.’

I think about Barbara Tuchman’s book whenever the question of rail to Auckland airport comes up.  There could no clearer example of Tuchman’s thesis than the boards of Auckland Transport (AT) and NZTA marching in lockstep to rule out even the possibility of future trains to Auckland Airport. And, it’s not just words, over the Christmas holidays AT demolished Onehunga’s Nielson Street overbridge rebuilding the road at grade, thereby physically blocking the rail corridor to the airport.

Deliberately sabotaging the rail corridor to Auckland International Airport is one of the most irresponsible acts I have witnessed during my time in local government.

Auckland International Airport is of critical economic importance to Auckland and to New Zealand – it is the gateway to the country. Despite hundreds of millions spent in road construction, congestion on the route to the city is already near where it was 10 years ago, chronic at peak times, periodically at grid-lock.  With airport passenger movements currently 17 million per year, and predicted to increase to 20 million by 2020 and 40 million in 2044, this congestion can only become more dire.

Following on from work initiated by the former Auckland Regional Council, in September 2011, a multi-agency study involving Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, NZTA, KiwiRail and Auckland International Airport Ltd, with consultants GHD, after examining light rail (trams), busway and heavy rail (electric train) options, concluded that heavy rail from Onehunga 10km to the airport and 6.8km from Puhinui on the main trunk line would be the ‘most economically efficient’ solution – providing a fast, single-seat journey from airport to downtown Auckland (including the CRL stations), and all points on the rail network including Newmarket, Henderson, Glen Innes, Pukekohe, and ultimately Hamilton.

In 2012, this recommendation, after public consultation became a commitment in the Auckland Plan: ‘route protect a dedicated rail connection in the first decade (2011-2020); construct in the second decade (2021-2030).’

However in November 2014, Auckland Transport ‘planners’ (un-named) announced to the NZ Herald their preference for light rail.  A year or so after AT came up with a business case ‘proving’ extending (non-existing) light rail from Dominion Road to the airport would be more economic than extending (existing) heavy rail from Onehunga. As an example of the credibility of this business case, it claimed a second track for the 3.5 km Onehunga Branch Line would cost $578m, (notwithstanding it cost KiwiRail $9m to build the first track in 2010). It also claimed a tram coming from the airport via Dominion Road, despite stopping at 20 tram stops and numerous intersections while keeping to a 50kph speed limit, would get to the CBD within one minute of an electric train travelling at 110kph!  There are other claims which stretch credibility but let’s leave that to one side.

Melbourne is one major Australian city that does not yet have airport rail but it does have the most extensive light rail system in the world.  Unlike Auckland however, the Victorian government is not planning on light rail for Melbourne Airport but heavy rail. This on the grounds that trains as international best practice demonstrates, provide a faster, more predictable journey-time and carry a lot more people and luggage than street-running trams.

However I should point out that the argument in Auckland between light rail and heavy rail is something of a sham; (one of the few people still taking it seriously is Mayor Phil Goff), given the government’s recently announced answer for Auckland Airport’s transport problems: light rail in 2047, good old buses in the meantime.   I should add the only other supporters for trams to the airport are the bloggers at Transport Blog – self-styled experts who obligingly changed their Congestion Free Network ‘vision’ from trains to trams in line with the corporate position of Auckland Transport and NZTA [funny that isn’t it].  Vision on demand?

Rather than facing up to the growing transport crisis at Auckland Airport, the government is pushing the bizarre ‘East-West Link’ along the Onehunga foreshore, at $1.8b the most expensive road in New Zealand history with no cost benefit analysis (and the reason why the rail corridor from Onehunga was blocked). The only demonstrated benefit of the East-West Link would seem to be better truck access to the Penrose ‘inland port’ owned by the Port of Tauranga. Given Auckland’s long list of infrastructure priorities that would seem a rather expensive gift to the shareholders of the Port of Tauranga. (What electorate does the Minister of Transport Simon Bridges represent again?)

Last month AT’s ‘Project Director Key Strategic Initiatives’ Theunis Van Schalkwyk, whose responsibilities also happen to include the East-West Link, and who commissioned the business case that ‘proved’ trams superior to trains, and who along with his boss David Warburton persuaded the boards of NZTA and AT to exclude heavy rail from any consideration for Auckland Airport, announced to bemused Auckland councillors that ‘mass transit’ services will begin at Auckland Airport in 2024. When questioned on what he meant by ‘mass transit, he answered ‘advanced buses.’

However in arguing Auckland Airport’s transport problems can solved with more buses (‘advanced’ or otherwise), the government and AT’s bureaucrats have apparently forgotten their own Centre City Future Access Study of 2012, the modelling in which revealed that inner Auckland streets will be so congested with buses by 2021 that average road speeds will be down to 7kph.  Now they are proposing to add ‘platoons’ of airport buses to the city in 2024!  What confidence can Aucklanders have in these people’s advice?

Barbara Tuchman made up some rules on how policy decisions get to qualify as a ‘March of Folly’.  First the policy must be contrary to self-interest, [check]; secondly a feasible alternative policy must be available [check]; and finally the policy must be that of a group (not an individual (mad) ruler) [check].

The feasible alternative option of connecting Auckland International Airport by rail to the electrified main trunk line at Puhinui 6.8 km away must be carried out urgently before that option too is sabotaged.

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