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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Liquor stores must take more responsibility

MEDIA STATEMENT FROM

Communities Against Alcohol Harm – 11 May 2017

LIQUOR STORES MUST TAKE MORE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN SAFETY IN FACE OF ROBBERIES

There have been a number of reports recently in the media about robberies of liquor stores in Mangere and Otahuhu.

Most recent was the robbery at Liquorland Mangere Bridge.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/92402870/liquor-­‐store-­‐manager-­‐tells-­‐of-­‐robbery-­‐ordeal

“While we are alarmed at this and say that the violence and robberies cannot be condoned in any way, there is a lot that liquor stores could be doing to take more responsibility for their own safety in the face of these robberies”, says David Ratu, Chair of Communities Against Alcohol Harm.

“Our organisation together with many individuals, schools, Maori Wardens and other community groups have been pleading with the Auckland District Licensing Committee over the past three years to reduce the harm from alcohol.”

“Applications for new liquor store licences kept being made, often by people who own multiple stores already. We have asked that no new liquor store licences be granted in our communities. We have repeatedly said there are already too many, often located in isolated neighbourhood sets of shops. Because of their isolation, they are now being preyed upon by these robbers.”

Instead, the Auckland Council District Licensing Committee has kept granting new licences. They say there has been no evidence to show there is a problem. The Police, Medical Officer of Health and Auckland Council Inspectors have also almost always not opposed new liquor stores.

“Our communities have also repeatedly asked the Auckland Council District Licensing Committee to set earlier closing hours. But most liquor store owners have demanded that they be allowed to stay open to 11pm every night. If they closed earlier, say at 9pm around the time all the other shops in the area were closing, then they might be safer.”

Instead, the Auckland Council District Licensing Committee has generally accepted the demands of the liquor store owners and let them stay open to 11pm

The Auckland Council has also tried to set closing hours for all liquor stores in Auckland at 9pm through its Local Alcohol Policy, but this been strongly opposed by representatives of the liquor stores and supermarkets.

“Our communities have also repeatedly asked the Auckland Council District Licensing Committee to ensure liquor stores abide by the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.”

http://www.alcohol.org.nz/sites/default/files/field/file_attachment/2.0%20AL634%20CPTED_ Guidelines_Nov%202015_Online.pdf

The CPTED Guidelines at page 19 say: “There should be at least 50% transparency in the front of the premises so there is good visibility to and from the premises and the street.”

al 1

The media photo of Liquorland Mangere Bridge shows it tends towards the example having obstructed visibility into the store.al 2

“Again, our communities have been repeatedly asking for 50% visibility as set by the CPTED Guidelines and raising questions about whether liquor stores can lawfully ‘board up their front glazing’”. The Auckland Council District Licensing Committee has been generally good at requiring this when communities have asked, but liquor stores have been very reluctant to voluntarily improve their frontages.”

“The Indian Association of NZ and a Crime Prevention Group say they want increased police patrols, police stations reopened, a right for shop owners to defend themselves, and heavier penalties for resellers of stolen goods.”

“We strongly believe there are measures the store owners can voluntarily make to improve their safety. They can close much earlier at 9pm on Friday and Saturdays, and 6pm very other night. They can comply fully with the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Guidelines and have no boards over their windows. And they could volunteer to stop asking for any further off-­‐ licences (or oppose them) and perhaps even close down some of the 30-­‐odd liquor stores in Mangere-­‐Otahuhu (where frankly, there are already too many).

David Ratu Chair, Communities Against Alcohol Harm

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Make Your Ideas Matter

Are you eligible to vote this year?

Drop into the Mangere East Library anytime from 10am-2pm on the 20th of May and talk about what matters to you.

This FREE event is the perfect place to ask questions about how to enrol or how to vote.

Share some pizza and go in the draw to win a prezi card.

This event is run by ‘Respect our Community Campaign’ – a grass-root community group dedicated to amplifying local voices.

Check out the facebook event to find out more.

#YourIdeasMatter

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Corbett Talks about Auckland Council’s Provisional Local Alcohol Policy

Did you think there is an excess of alcohol outlets in the South?

Did you know that Auckland Council has a plan to freeze the number of alcohol outlets in the Manukau Ward?

What is ROCC’s policy on this issue?

Find out more by watching the video and by clicking this link http://tinyurl.com/LocalAlPolicy

Don’t forget to vote! #Corbett4Council #ROCCYourVote

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Press Release: Election campaign to be launched via public transport

For immediate release:

Election campaign to be launched via public transport

Once upon a time Auckland Transport proposed putting a motorway through the heart of Mangere and Otahuhu.  A group was formed to oppose this and after these plans were shelved, the group, known as Respect Our Community Campaign (ROCC) decided to keep the campaign going, and to keep working as advocates for their communities.

Now ROCC is standing a candidate in the Auckland local body elections.  Brendan Corbett is a Mangere resident and has lived in the area for 38 years.  He is a qualified builder and a technology teacher at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate. He also volunteers his time at Mangere Mountain Education Centre.    A kidney transplant recipient, he helped to start the Transplant Games and has represented New Zealand four times at these.  Brendan is a true community person and is a founding member of Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) which is currently working to protect Ihumatao for future generations.

The ROCC election campaign to vote Corbett for council will launch this Friday, the 2nd of September, at 7.30am at Manukau Train Station.  Brendan and his fellow ROCC members will ride the train to Westfield listening to commuters in the Manukau Ward and talking about issues that are important to them.

Brendan Corbett will be a strong community voice on Auckland Council and is campaigning on the following issues:

  • Protect Ihumatao: honouring Auckland’s heritage and parks
  • Housing: available and affordable
  • Public transport: free and frequent
  • Rail to the airport: now
  • Democracy: making it work
  • Liquor and gaming: reduce and control
  • Community facilities: build and improve

Media enquiries:

respectourcommunitycampaign@nullgmail.com

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/878889955575962/

Ends

launch

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Vote Brendan Corbett for Council: #ROCCyourvote!

ROCCyourvote

It’s official – ROCC have decided to stand a candidate in the Auckland local body elections. Our nominee for Auckland Council in the Manukau Ward is Brendan Corbett, longtime Mangere resident.

Brendan is a qualified builder and teacher and is currently Acting HOD of Technology at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate. He has been married to his wife Kahoa for 38 years and together they have raised four daughters and three mokopuna. Brendan is a keen sportsperson and helped to establish the New Zealand Transplant Games Association, following his own successful kidney transplant in 1986. He has represented New Zealand four times at the World Transplant Games and remains a keen cyclist and athlete. Building on his own transplant experience, he is involved in a Counties Manukau District Health Board campaign to increase Maori & Pasefika organ donation. Brendan is also an integral part of the Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) campaign to stop development on sacred land at Ihumatao. In his spare time, Brendan works at the Mangere Mountain Education Centre in the traditional mara kai growing kumara and taro, or can be found paddling waka on the Manukau Harbour. Brendan is a real community person and will be an excellent representative for Manukau Ward.

Vote Brendan Corbett: a strong community voice on Auckland Council

  • Protect Ihumatao: honour Auckland’s heritage and parks
  • Housing: available and affordable
  • Public transport: free and frequent
  • Rail to the airport: now
  • Democracy: make it work
  • Liquor and gaming: reduce and control
  • Community facilities: build and improve

 

#ROCCyourvote

Campaign Launch:

Friday 2nd September – Manukau Train Station – 7.30am

Ride with Brendan from Manukau Train Station to Westfield and back again!

We’ll be chatting with commuters about the issues that matter to them. Will you jump on the ROCC train?

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Should ROCC stand in the 2016 Local Body Elections?

Respect Our Community Campaign(ROCC) was set up in 2013 in opposition to the East West Link – a motorway proposed to be put through the communities of Mangere and Otahuhu. After we stopped that, we decided to keep our group going.

Now we are exploring the possibility of putting candidates forward for the 2016 local body elections. We feel that this will give ROCC a stronger voice and a better way to advocate for Mangere-Otahuhu.

ROCC have always been about community for community so we’d love to hear your thoughts about this proposal. ROCC is really open to your input. Maybe you’d like to stand as a candidate? Maybe you have some skills and/or time you’d like to contribute to this campaign?

At this stage this is only an idea. If you think it’s a good one – let ROCC know and show your support by:

– Coming to our public meeting on the 11th of February, 2016 at 7pm, Mangere East Community Centre, 372 Massey Road, Mangere East (behind the Mangere East Library)
– Sharing this blog post on social media
– Connecting with ROCC on Facebook and Twitter
– Filling in this quick survey

Thank you for your support!

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The East West Link is back….

ROCC_Onehunga

Yes, you read that right. The East West Link is back! This time it’s been rebranded as East West Connections. It now covers a new road in Onehunga(which all interested parties are keen to point out, is not a motorway – more on that later) and some new bus/truck lanes (we don’t know how those work either) and walking/cycling provisions(i.e: share the footpath, as we do now) in Mangere and Otahuhu.

Representatives from ROCC attended two of the four open days held by Auckland Transport and NZTA to promote their project and identified several concerns:

– This new motorway will not fix congestion, either on SH1 or SH20, or through Onehunga. Many supporters of this believe it will ease congestion, NZTA themselves say it won’t. It is proven all over the world that more roads don’t mean less traffic. In fact, they encourage it.

– Furthermore, there is no clear plan to decongest the bottleneck at the bottom of Onehunga Mall. More trucks will be getting pulled into this choke point.

– This project will cost in excess of 1.5 billion dollars. Future generations will be paying for this. Research already shows that young people are driving less, and are not as keen on buying cars as previous generations.

– The investigative report commissioned by AT and NZTA clearly states that more could be done with regard to public transport and lessening the number of private vehicles on roads. Why is this not being done first?

– The current safe cycling and walking facility along the foreshore is not part of the NZTA plan – the planned road is between the current path and the foreshore, with multiple road crossings.

– NZTA and AT have said that only 15% of traffic in this area is trucks. In that case, the funds could be better spent on lessening the other 85% of traffic through public transport initiatives. Furthermore, the 15% who will be served by this expensive road could contribute the money themselves, or the road could be tolled to recoup funds.

– The road is being touted as a beneficial thing for the harbour yet NZTA appear to have very little information about the problem they are looking to solve. What is the current water quality like in the Manukau Inlet? What provisions will be made to filter the run-off from this motorway?

– There has been very little effort to engage the public, particularly younger people who will be saddled with this debt.

– Why are we trying to ruin the Manukau Inlet with a major road, when it could be a major entertainment destination? The wharf could be a precinct similar to North Wharf – this will not be possible with various off-ramps and a ‘limited state highway’ surrounding it.

What can you do?

– Submit your feedback by Friday, July 17. You can do this online at http://www.nzta.govt.nz/east-west-connections
– You can also use Generation Zero’s handy and super easy web form: http://transportblog.co.nz/2015/07/16/submit-on-the-east-west-connections/
– You can also give feedback by e-mail – send your submission to eastwest@nullnzta.govt.nz
– You can write to your local representatives:
– Maungakiekie MP Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga: http://www.lotu-iiga.com
– Councillor Denise Krum: Denise.Krum@nullaucklandcouncil.govt.nz
– Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board Chairperson, Simon Randall: simon.randall@nullaucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Connect with ROCC on Facebook or Twitter, and come to our monthly meetings.

We will continue to provide updates on this page, and on Facebook.

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