Transport fiasco inquiry blocked

Just now the National-dominated Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee blocked my attempt at the committee conducting an urgent inquiry into the transport fiasco on the opening night of the Rugby World Cup.

It’s pretty disappointing that a committee  made up mostly of Auckland-based MPs wouldn’t grant me leave. The decision  continues the ‘blame someone else, but look like you are taking action’ approach adopted by the Government.

Auckland Council released their report on what happened yesterday, however this was far from an independent report. Essentially, the investigation was self-conducted and unsurprisingly reported back the problems, but not who was responsible.

The Transport and Industrial Relations Committee, made up of members from National, Labour and the Greens, is the appropriate place for a cross-party inquiry and could have looked at what role Government played in the embarrassment. I think it’s vital we ask: was the transport debacle caused by systematic bias against trains and buses in Government transport planning and decades of underinvestment? The committee has had a very light work load for quite a long period of time so had the capacity to conduct it – just not the will.

Friday night’s fiasco was unacceptable and risks undermining confidence in public transport for future games and risks Auckland’s reputation to host major international events. It is important to transparently and independently get to the bottom of what happened so we can make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I think the fear was an inquiry would show we need smarter transport investments like the CBD Rail Link to get our rail and public transport up to scratch, which isn’t a message the motorway-mad Government wants to hear.

10 Comments Posted

  1. What is abundantly clear is that a (presumably) relatively small number of members of the public through inappropriate (or in some cases, thoughtless but well intentioned) behaviour were able to satisfactorily cripple the rail network.

  2. “Friday night’s fiasco was unacceptable… risks Auckland’s reputation to host major international events.”

    So what? Are the Greens in favour of people burning up fossil fuels by flying to a destination as remote as New Zealand to watch/play ball games?

  3. “Morningside” isn’t mentioned but I expect that it appears in that report under a different name. Not being resident in Auckland, I don’t know where most of these places are.

    Morningside is the station that is to the west of Kingsland. I suspect that the break downs that Photo was referring to might have been what was initially thought in the hours immediately after Friday’s fiasco – certainly I had also thought that it was a breakdown that had ground everything to a halt.

    Something else that might have made a difference is the presence of more crossovers between Newmarket and Kingsland – at this stage, there are no crossovers between Newmarket and Kingsland and that means any stuff-up causes the whole system to grind to a halt. More crossovers (possibly at Grafton and Mount Eden) would have allowed other trains to bypass those that were halted for whatever the reason.

  4. The report linked to by Gareth above says:
    “14:19 Passenger collapses on train at Newmarket. Ambulance called to attend. Train held at station until passenger safely moved onto platform to await ambulance”. So that train didn’t break down.

    “Morningside” isn’t mentioned but I expect that it appears in that report under a different name. Not being resident in Auckland, I don’t know where most of these places are.


  5. Trevor29 says “photonz1 – don’t you read any news? No trains “broke down”.”

    Wrong – the news I read said a train broke down at Newmarket, and later another broke down at Morningside.

    However I’m sure you’re right and alcohol played a part as well.

    Perhaps it’s worth spending millions on Gareths inquiry to confirm what you already know – “alcohol also played a part”?

  6. photonz1 – don’t you read any news? No trains “broke down”. A number of trains were forced to stop because of either emergency situations or people pushing emergency stop buttons.

    If you want to find a single root cause, don’t overlook liberal alcohol rules. Several of the stopped trains were probably due to alcohol-fuelled stupidity! Alcohol almost certainly played a significant part in other problems on that night too.


  7. @John Chapman via Facebook

    The Nat MPs on the Transport & Industrial Relations Select Committee are David Bennett (Chair), Jackie Blue, Tau Henare, Jami-Lee Ross, and Michael Woodhouse. Blue, Henare, and Ross are Auckland MPs.

    Interestingly, that Select Committee has no business before it, so pressure of workload can’t be an excuse.

    They are just lining up to try to protect RWC Minister Murray McCully’s incompetence.

  8. Gareth – it’s patently obvious you’ve already made your mind up that it is all the governments fault.

    So why do you need an enquiry?

    And if you still want one, let me save the taxpayer millions, because the answers are (again) obvious.

    1/ Numbers were under estimated.
    2/ Trains broke down

    There – enquiry finished.

    Millions saved.

  9. Seems to me that the smoking gun is the statement “This [the number of people travelling by public transport] was substantially greater than the planning scenarios which had been agreed and peer reviewed.”

    When one is building a something, one doesn’t build it infinitely big, one builds it to accommodate the needs that will be placed upon it.

    So you have to think that if the planning scenarios had bigger numbers, then greater capacity would have been made available.

    No systematic bias, just planning that didn’t reflect reality. Gosh, this must be the first time in the history of mankind that everyone agreed the wrong set of numbers. What a bummer. Hope that London is watching, there’s lessons for them here too.

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