New Lynn opens with new hope for Auckland

I attended the opening of the New Lynn transport hub last Friday. I always enjoy attending the openings of great transport projects but this one was particularly fun. It wasn’t just a lot of boring speeches but included a troupe of dancing dragons, a Maori kapa haka group performed and Govenor General Anand Satyand, made a great speech in favour of better public transport for Auckland.

It was somewhat amusing that Labour pointed out – just before Steven Joyce’s speech – that the credit for building this station largely rests with Labour and Michael Cullen in particular. While I don’t think Labour did enough for public transport during their last 9 years in government there is certainly no denying that they funded 90% + of the government’s contribution to the New Lynn transport hub. Credit where credit is due.

After the formal part of the opening concluded, the deputy major, Penny Hulse headed outside to use a digger and take the first shot at demolishing the old New Lynn Bus Station. That might seem a little weird but if you compare the old, tatty wooden structure with it’s inadequate coverage to the new, shiny station which has good integration between cycling, trains and buses, you can understand why the locals are so keen to see the old station go.

As the Auckland Trains blog reports, as well as being a good example of integration between different transport modes New Lynn is also a good example of a transport orientated development. The old bus station will eventually turn into a shopping centre and apartment complex – meaning that hundreds of people will be living just 2 minutes from their local bus/train station.  Now that’s a good way to get cars off the road!

And, as well as the New Lynn opening, there is new hope for other desperately needed public transport projects in Auckland with the early results of the Super City elections showing that Len Brown is beating John Banks.

While both Mayoral candidates have supported more investment in public transport and, in particular, fast-tracking the CBD rail loop, Brown has been much more vocal in his support for rail than Banks.

I think that Brown will also be more willing to challenge the government on their crazy motorway-building agenda and ask them to put more funding into the kind of transport infrastructure Aucklanders actually want – that’s more rail, in case you’ve missed the results of recent surveys.

6 Comments Posted

  1. Lucy,
    Point a) is best addressed through land use planning since trying to build your way out of congestion with anything other than better footpaths and cycleways has been proven to be a waste of money in every city that has tried that approach over the last 150 years.

    Point b) is not supported by robust economic evaluation. Auckland merely provides support services that improve the efficiency of the primary sector and is the main gateway to New Zealand for multinational franchised retail chains.

    To put the road fund into it’s correct perspective I suggest you read the report of the Roading Investigation Committee from 1953. It concluded that the nations highways were falling apart because none of the petrol tax increases since 1929 had gone to the Highways Board to cover inflation. That led to all of the petrol tax being paid to the highways board which was equivalent to a full inflation adjustment. That led to the massive improvement to our roads over the subsequent two decades. Rowling, Muldoon and Douglas’ return to the bad old days of using the increases in the petrol tax to fund government deficits during the next two decades led to Aucklands congestion problem and to NZs road safety ranking within the OECD falling from 5th best in 1970 to 5th worst since 1990. Please note that the technique used by politicians wanting to avoid paying all the petrol tax into the land transport fund was to limit evaluation of inter-regional transfers to just the most recent low spending decades when Auckland had been the single biggest loser and to ignore the earlier high spending decades when Auckland had been a relatively small loser and to completely ignore the real enemy of good transport systems – inflation.

    The fraction of every dollar paid into the fund that got diverted to other regions during the boom years and the decades since are the key numbers and here they are (with Swedish rounding):
    Canterbury lost 30 cents
    Waikato and Auckland lost 20 cents
    Taranaki lost 15 cents
    Wellington lost 10 cents
    Southland lost 5 cents

  2. @ Kevyn. I can’t read this but I do know that a few years ago we did some research which compared the total amount of fuel tax paid by people around the country in different regions with the total amount spend on transport infrastructure. What that showed is that Aucklanders paid substantially more in fuel tax than they got back in transport spending. Instead, they subsidized other parts of the country.

    It’s a bit pointless just looking at raw amounts cos different areas have different populations – why WOULD we spend as much on transport in Southland as we do in Auckland?

    Even if that wasn’t the case, I think you could make a very strong argument that a) Auckland is experiencing and predicted to have FAR more rapid population growth than any other major city and b) is key to the success of NZ economy so it’s in our interests to invest more in transport infrastructure there than in say, Te Kuiti.

  3. Lucy – Here are the facts from the annual accounts for the highway/road/land transport fund (million 2006 dollars).
    Where did you do your research – John Banks rubbish tin?
    (appologies for the formatting)
    1925-1949 1950-1974 1975-1999 2000-2009
    Auckland To Northland 106.625 454.534 511.024 0.000
    Waikato To Northland 58.548 0.000 0.000 117.069
    Waikato To Auckland 0.000 0.000 0.000 289.105
    Auckland To BoP/Rotorua 0.000 64.675 0.000 0.000
    BoP/Rotorua To Auckland 0.000 0.000 0.000 23.489
    Waikato To BoP/Rotorua 102.525 245.224 0.000 0.000
    Auckland To Gisborne 0.000 0.000 364.081 0.000
    Waikato To Gisborne 0.000 101.121 17.975 0.000
    Waikato To Hawkes Bay 0.000 0.000 289.777 0.000
    BoP/Rotorua To Gisborne 0.000 0.000 196.317 119.866
    Wanganui/Manawatu To Gisborne 35.868 0.000 0.000 0.000
    Wanganui/Manawatu To Auckland 0.000 0.000 0.000 70.011
    Taranaki To Gisborne 16.496 55.721 0.000 0.000
    Taranaki To Wanganui/Manawatu 0.000 99.719 0.000 0.000
    Taranaki To Wellington 0.000 0.000 0.000 28.290
    Wellington To Rotorua/BoP 41.910 0.000 0.000 0.000
    Wellington To Gisborne 33.559 102.652 0.000 0.000
    Wellington To Hawkes Bay 55.227 186.126 0.000 0.000
    Wellington To Nelson/Marlborough 14.210 0.000 66.035 0.000
    Canterbury To Nelson/Marlborough 65.733 77.749 111.964 10.010
    Canterbury To West Coast 188.241 439.214 455.299 76.233
    Canterbury To Otago 0.000 57.488 0.000 0.000
    Southland To West Coast 13.231 0.000 0.000 0.000
    Southland To Otago 4.419 0.000 0.000 0.000
    Auckland to Otago 0.000 0.000 252.487 0.000
    Waikato to Otago 0.000 0.000 196.317 0.000
    Canterbury To Gisborne 0.000 165.573 0.000 0.000
    Southland To Gisborne 0.000 285.432 0.000 0.000
    Canterbury To Auckland 0.000 0.000 0.000 473.368
    Otago To Auckland 0.000 0.000 0.000 63.186
    Southland To Auckland 0.000 0.000 0.000 23.937

  4. @Kevyn. Oh not that old chestnut! Do some research – Auckland subsidized the rest of the country’s roads for years in the 1980s and 90s. The cash they’re getting now is just helping them catch up on what they’re owed.

    Jeremy – yeah, I think if there is one way in which the new transport hub has failed it is in improving walkability…. it is just surrounded by massive roads on all sides.

  5. The trench as a whole has improved New Lynn markedly… They are putting a lot of traffic lights in and linking up quite a few roads…

    Sadly I think it is going to become less walkable than went I was a kid even though the are now has better PT links…

  6. It was very generous of the members of the Labour Party to fund 90+% of the government’s contribution. I’m stunned by this revelation. Someone at Transfund/NZTA needs to fess up to doctoring their annual accounts to make it looked like Labour was taking half of Waikato and Canterbury’s contributions to the Land Transport Fund and giving them to Auckland, Wellington and BoP as coalition bribes.

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