Julie Anne Genter
Public servants go on scrapheap while consultants cash in

Tough financial times? Not if you’re a consultant working for the National Government on one of its poor priority pet projects.

Today’s revelation that the Government has spent $200 million in the past three years for transport consultants to work on its roads of national significance reveal a stunning waste of money.

The roads are not a sensible use of cash at any time let alone when finances are tight.

The money would be much better invested in improving existing roads, public transport and better walking and cycling routes.

While nearly all Government departments haven’t had any budget increases and have had to shed staff the Government is happy to shell out for its ideologically motivated policies that won’t actually help the country’s economy.

The Government spent over $9m on its botched Foreign Affairs Ministry restructure and is paying out about $120m to contractors to sell off our assets.

I’m not saying consultants can’t deliver good value, but these projects don’t justify the cost, which does seem very high.

55 thoughts on “Public servants go on scrapheap while consultants cash in

  1. What it essentially means is that instead of the government being advised by civil servants, it can simply decide on the agenda and pay the private sector to produce the answers it wants. Some of those civil servants have of course become consultants, but it is pretty cut-throat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 6 (+4)

  2. and it shows in the reports to investors eg “Opus International Consultants has reported a solid performance for 2011, with Operating Revenue up by 7 percent to $393m and Net Profit After Tax up by 11.5 percent on the previous year to $24.5m”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1 (+4)

  3. Julie Anne says “The roads are not a sensible use of cash at any time let alone when finances are tight.”

    On the contrary – a number of economists have repeatedly said if there is one thing the govt should spend on in a recesion, then it’s roading infrastructure.

    It has to be done at some time, and better to do it when a/ the govt gets more competitive prices, and b/ when it puts money into the economy.

    Our roads are applling compared to other first world countries.

    You could bankrupt the country on a stunning rail system for Auckland, but it will only ever be useful for 5% of the population – what about the other 95%?

    As for the consultants – Design and investigative work typically costs 10-15%, so for $10b of roads over the next decade that’s $1-$1.5 billion.

    Plenty of people mouth off about wastage, even though they are totally ignorant about what design work has been done.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 18 (-3)

  4. Selling our power generating assets to pay for roads is certainly stupid.

    The economic figures dont stack up no matter how you spin them.

    We’re getting ripped off thanks to National ………… again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 10 (+4)

  5. I thought 1 in 4 Kiwis were Jaffas and it’s the main centre for what a rest of us buy, so where’s 5% come from? We all benefit if Auckland works better, if petrol imports are cut and if climate change isn’t boosted so much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5 (+1)

  6. photonz1 @ 6:14 – Which economists? None that I’ve read. Put your money where your mouth is and fess up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 12 (-4)

  7. I wouldn’t mind if these consultancies actually resulted in something besides either : more slash & burn of public services OR just going nowhere & collecting dust on a ministerial filing cabinet. (a great waste of tax-payers money !)

    It says alot about the Key-party’s real agenda : look after the rich/fat-cats.. whilst the rest of us sink further & further into the crap !

    Kia-ora

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7 (-2)

  8. “I’m not saying consultants can’t deliver good value, but these projects don’t justify the cost, which does seem very high”

    Well you can’t argue they can’t deliver it, since after all it was your career before you were an MP. It’s rather difficult for a former consultant to blast public spending on consultants. Labour is playing this as being money spent too early which could have been spent on construction now (which is nonsense), you’re playing this by implying that public servants lose their jobs to consultants, which isn’t true and you know it.

    Do you think your former colleagues were “cashing in”? Given Transmission Gully costs over $1 billion, and road and rail projects typically have investigation and design fees of 15% of total cost, do you think less than $100 million for detailed design is a rip off?

    Argue against the projects – fine, I’ll even agree with you for some of them. However, to claim that spending money on the vast array of work required to get RMA approval, engage in land acquisition, detailed design and prepare everything for procurement is somehow a waste, by itself, is ludicrous.

    Your beloved Auckland underground rail loop would easily cost $200 million in investigation and design, would it be a bit stupid to attack spending money on that in isolation?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2 (+4)

  9. “I’m not saying consultants can’t deliver good value…”

    No but you did suggest they were behaving unethically and feathering their own beds when you said it “does beg the question of whether the transport consultants’ industry is actually giving advice that’s totally neutral or whether they’re recommending projects they know are going to result in more work for them,”

    Classy. Of course you could never have been accused of that when a transportation consultant, could you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5 (+4)

  10. One of nationals excuses for the sale/theft of our assets is to invest in roads ( stupid?, yes ).

    But how much have they spent?, on a road which they’ve now cancelled because it was too expensive and the figures did not stack up.

    From parliament yesterday ……” How much was spent on investigation, design, and other preparatory work for the now cancelled Otaki to Levin expressway?

    genter points out that the holiday highway north of auckland has less traffic benefit than the now cancelled otaki expressway..”

    So national are cancelling some of their new roads, but are sticking with others which make even less sense.

    What a totally useless, wasteful and dishonest govt the nats are ….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5 (0)

  11. I think its an example of how National would waste any money from selling our countrys assets…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2 (+2)

  12. $200 millions on consultants is just too much! All over the world road construction is always a nice way to swindle public money. So much of cuts in the contracts at every stage, and now millions to the consultants legally!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2 (+1)

  13. And now Nats resort to lies ……. or more blatant ones.

    In parliament yesterday, to avoid making a embarrassing admission regarding the 14 billion dollars national plans to waste on wonky roads Gerry Brownlee the ex-woodwork teacher mixed lies with insults while being forced to answer a question.

    http://publicaddress.net/hardnews/its-not-funny-because-its-our-money/

    Good on the greens for confirming and exposing the lack of quality or honest thinking on their spending from the National Govt.

    Shame on the Nats for thinking lies and insults are how you run a government.

    Standing up and telling blatant lies is standard practice for the nats.

    Its how they argue selling our assets makes sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3 (+3)

  14. John asks “I thought 1 in 4 Kiwis were Jaffas and it’s the main centre for what a rest of us buy, so where’s 5% come from? ”

    Currently an average of 25,000 people a day use Aucklands rail system. That means on any day 98.5% of Aucklanders don’t use it, and 99.5% of New Zealanders don’t use it.

    It has been estimated that spending billions on the new rail for Auckland will double, or even perhaps quadruple, the current usage (thereby taking usage up to an average of 50,000 or even 100,000 passengers per day – i.e. it will move up to 1-2% of the population per day.

    I’m not saying it shouldn’t be done. Just pointing out that what is often pointed to as something that will fix the countrys transport issues, on any given day will not be moving the other 98-99% of the population.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 (-2)

  15. Paul Bailey says “photonz1 @ 6:14 – Which economists? None that I’ve read. Put your money where your mouth is and fess up.”

    Perhaps you should read more widely then. I’ve read numerous articles over the last four years that advise governments to spend on infrastructure in a recesion.

    You don’t have to be particularly financially literate to see the advantages –
    1/ puts money into the economy
    2/ the govt can get more bang for taxpayers bucks as contractors will be far more competitive when they are desperate for work
    3/ we have lagged behind on maintaining and developing our infrustructure, so it’s money that has to be spent at some stage anyway – what better time.
    4/ better infrastructure – roads, rail, power lines, internet – will help improve the economy through better efficiency. (spending on infrastructure is the first pillar of Business NZ’s seven pillars of growth).

    There’s plenty of articles about it – here’s one

    http://www.morganstanley.com/views/perspectives/files/THE_INFRASTRUCTURE%20OPPORTUNITY_JAN09.pdf

    And another

    http://www.kpmg.com/nz/en/issuesandinsights/articlespublications/budget/pages/infrastructure-boost.aspx

    And if you know how to use google you’ll find dozens, if not hundreds more.

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  16. photon

    Currently an average of 25,000 people a day use Aucklands rail system. That means on any day 98.5% of Aucklanders don’t use it, and 99.5% of New Zealanders don’t use it.

    It has been estimated that spending billions on the new rail for Auckland will double, or even perhaps quadruple, the current usage (thereby taking usage up to an average of 50,000 or even 100,000 passengers per day – i.e. it will move up to 1-2% of the population per day.

    Cost-benefit returns for the Auckland CBD rail link are much higher than many similar-sized roading projects, and more New Zealanders support the Auckland rail link compared to the Puhoi to Wellsford motorway project. A CBD loop would return at least $1.10 for every dollar invested, and as much as $3.10 if ‘wider economic benefits’ were taken into consideration. That in my mind pretty much clinches the deal.

    The amount of Auckland rail passengers continues to grow dramatically. In March 2010, there were 918,000 passangers, which equates to 2.5% of Auckland’s wider population using trains each day. I’m not sure where you’ve got the rest of your figures from, but presume they are simply made up?

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  17. jackal – I claimed 98.5% of Aucklanders don’t use rail on any given day, and you hit back that it’s actually 97.5% that don’t use rail.

    Wow – I’m stunned that I was 1% out from YOUR figure.

    You prove my original point. That a new rail system in Auckland will do nothing for the traffic issues of 95% of the population of NZ.

    And to reiterate again, I’m not saying don’t do it.

    I’m just pointing out that the arguement to spend on Auckland rail INSTEAD of national roads is superficial and silly when it applies to such a tiny part of the population

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  18. photon

    I’m just pointing out that the arguement to spend on Auckland rail INSTEAD of national roads is superficial and silly when it applies to such a tiny part of the population.

    How many people are expected to use the proposed Holiday Highway photon? Less than half the amount of people currently using trains in Auckland… At $1.38 billion cost for just 38 km and a saving of only five minutes at most. Don’t forget that traffic volumes have been static or even reducing over the last 7 years, while train passenger numbers in Auckland (except for June 2012) have been increasing.

    You say you’re not against the rail link, but your argument says otherwise.

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  19. Jackal asks “How many people are expected to use the proposed Holiday Highway photon? Less than half the amount of people currently using trains in Auckland”

    Wrong. Currently just on 20,000 vehicles per day use the road. Thats VEHICLES, including trucks, tourist coaches, buses, vans, campervans, cars, trades vehicles etc.

    Even at 1.5 people per car/truck/bus/van/camper, that’s at least the same as the total number for the whole Auckland rail system (with numbers predicted to increase by 50%).

    Also there have been 5 fatal accidents on the Puhoi-Warkworth road in the last five years and 14 fatals Warkworth-Wellsford. Three quarters of these were head-ons which can be eliminated with the new road.

    My original points is still remain – that even with a state of the art Auckland rail system, it will still only transport somewhere well under 5% of the population on any given day.

    So the other 95% of the country still needs their transport issues addressed as well.

    And that infrastructure spending IS good use of money in a recession.

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  20. The public transport schemes are primarily about getting large numbers into and out of the CBD at peak times. ARC’s 2009 LTP said 42% travelled to the CBD by public transport in 2006 and they planned to raise that to 49% by 2015. If the figures went the other way the CBD would grind to a halt with gridlock.
    Most cities of Auckland’s size have much higher public transport shares, but until recently the great bulk of Auckland spending has gone to roads and a large proportion is still going there. With poor public transport and improved roads it’s not surprising that more people use cars rather than public transport. With the probability that any new infrastructure will be in place for most of its life in a post peak oil world, it makes sense to build an electric powered system.

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  21. photon

    And that infrastructure spending IS good use of money in a recession.

    It’s only good infrastructure spending when the economical benefits outweigh the costs. In the case of the Holiday Highway they don’t, in the case of the Innercity Rail Link they do. Could you link to where you’ve gained those figures from please?

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  22. I am surprised to hear Photo advocating Keynesian policies, like stimulus spending on infrastructure projects, during a recession.

    Watch out Photo. You will be sacked for breaking ranks!

    I agree, we should. We should increase regional access with upgrading road, and rail, to Northland AND upgrade Aucklands public transport while we have the spare Labour and resources.

    Like the Kaimai links the fact they do not show a return at the time of building does not mean they will not in future.

    The same things were said against the Kaimai tunnell when it was built.

    Look at Tauranga now.

    However we should not be paying overseas banks, to add zeros to the money supply, to do so. Like Germany after WW2, FDR in the USA and NZ in the great depression, both successfully I may add, the State should add the zeros.

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  23. And. We should be spending on State housing. To relieve the 20 000 shortfall in Auckland, the lack of accommodation in Christchurch and the excessive amounts of interest we pay to banks for overpriced housing.

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  24. Kerry says “Watch out Photo. You will be sacked for breaking ranks!”

    I don’t have any loyalties to break. While I agree with much of what the current govt is doing, I’m quite happy to criticise if I think they say or do something stupid (like Key’s stupid remarks the other day that housing affordability is not an issue).

    Or praise ideas from the left when they are good – like Gareths standards for rental houses.

    And I agree with most of your post above on transport, but I’m much more skeptical about more state housing.

    To provide just one new house requires the equivalent of around a lifetimes tax from the average worker. Is there no way we can get much more benefit from such a vast amount of tax?

    I’ve said before that the govt should be buying land and building subdivisions including cheap houses, then onselling them to first home buyers and landlords.

    By building in bulk, taking zero profit, and building MODEST houses, we can produce much cheaper housing that is currently available. It would put presure on pricing from developers, but builders and contractors would still get plenty of govt work.

    And best of all, 100% of the taxpayer money that is put in is recovered, and recycled into the next subdivision. So the long term cost to taxpayers is effectively zero, but the benefits are huge.

    Actually I partly heard a news story a couple of days ago about a govt and council scheme along these lines in Auckland, but with perhaps slightly different objectives.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10821817

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  25. Well Photo. I agree with you there. Encouraging ownership is much better than having State rentals. In any case the housing “market” has failed to provide the needed infrastructure.
    During recession is the cheapest time to build infrastructure such as rail, roads, housing, education and sustainable power supplies.

    So there is some hope yet that you may agree with me on the Governments really bad ideas, like privatising power companies and other essential infrastructure where private companies can hold us to ransom, and borrowing for election bribes for Hawaii holidays?

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  26. Kerry,

    You really have a barnacle on the bottom regarding Hawaian holidays.

    What election bribes return a Hawian holiday?

    You saying Key funds his Hawian retreat from tax payers money?

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  27. Tax cuts to those who spend their money on Hawaii holidays and financial finagling. The stimulus that wasn’t. Election bribes to NACT voters which we couldn’t afford.

    And yes their offshore retreats do cost the rest of us money.

    Watch Key get some well paid sinecure with the corporates, he burgled our assets for, when he is voted out in 2014.

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  28. Sorry to weigh in late, but I should provide a few stats for Photonz.

    The RoNS projects aren’t “investing in roads” — they are spending 75% of new money on transport infrastructure on 5 projects that collectively carry about 3.5% of the daily vehicle trips in NZ.

    To do this, there is considerably reduced funding available for everything else, including road maintenance and safety on all the other roads NZers drive on.

    As stimulous spending, it’s worse than useless because it could be spent on higher value projects. It’s that simple. $14b on very expensive projects that don’t create many jobs, because most of the $ on new motorways goes on imported machinery and materials, and that won’t substantially reduce transport costs across the country, because they only result in times savings of about 10 minutes on less than 5% of all vehicle trips.

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  29. Finally, there are about 17,000 vehicles on an average day using the route from Puhoi to Wellsford. For the last five years it’s been increasing at a rate of less than 1% a year, so even in the best case scenario, it’ll be less than 30,000 people a day in 2040 or so.

    The rail network in Auckland already carries 40,000 people on the average weekday. It’s been growing very fast, close to 10% a year for the better part of a decade. So the CRL will benefit 80,000 train users directly before 2030.

    But there’s more! Not only does the spending on the CRL benefit the people taking the train, it benefits EVERYONE in Auckland, and the wider economy. Because that’s 40,000 people not driving on the roads, there’s a direct benefit to all the commercial and freight road users in Auckland. It substantially reduces total transport costs to the Auckland economy because the people taking the train don’t have to pay for parking, fuel, etc. They then put that back into the local eocnomy. PLUS, every million spent on public transport creates at least twice as many jobs.

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  30. PhotoNZ, average vehcle occupancy in the Auckland Region is 1.1, not 1.5. Traffic volumes north of Puhoi are 17,000.

    Traffic volumes north of Warkworth are about 10,000 vehicles a day.

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  31. Julie,

    Because that’s 40,000 people not driving on the roads,

    Absolute rubbish. it only takes those people who live within walking distance from a railway station at either end of their journey off the road.

    Sure it may take traffic off the motorway, but suburban traffic will still be the same volume.

    Rose tinted glasses on?

    Where do you get the figures, for every million dollar spent on public transport create two jobs, from?

    More rose tinted glasses?

    For every car not on the road, the petrol station attendants are not required, nor WOF station employees, no mechanics, no spare parts people, no car sales staff, no car importers, no wharfies to unload the cars, etc,. etc,.

    Where is the balance in your employment statement.

    No extra jobs will be created, just a reallocation of job functions.

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  32. Gerrit, the direct job creation figures are if anything conservative… the relationship has been established time and time again through analysis of spending in the US and elsewhere. It’s also inuitive. New motorways are extremely capital intensive, whereas buses and trains are more labour intensive (and more energy efficicent). Here’s one example: http://www.cnt.org/news/media/ARRA-Public-Transit-Jobs-Fact-Sheet-Dec-17.pdf

    Secondly — how can you say it’s rubbish that 40,000 additonal people taking the train on weekdays is not 40,000 fewer people driving on the roads?

    If more people take buses and trains instead of driving, no matter where they live, that’s still fewer people clogging up the roads. Btw, let’s say they all would have carpooled, so it’s only 20,000 fewer cars. Given that one lane of motorway only moves 1,800 vehicles per hour, that’s enough to make a big difference to congestion all over the city, at far lower cost.

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  33. Gerrit, people take buses to and from train stations in the Hutt Valley and there are carparks full all day (these are being expanded in size all the time). To say only those who can walk to train stations take the train is quite ignorant.

    As for your comments about the car and petrol industry – is an economy built on imports?

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  34. SPC,

    I did not say only those who can walk to train stations take the train.

    Jeez, talk about ignorant.

    I said those who do NOT live within walking distances from train stations, at either end of the journey, will still take their cars on the road.

    Be it to drive inter suburb just to get to a train station.

    They still drive on the road, being my point you are misinterpreting.

    Julie,

    Same point i’m making to SPC, they still need to drive on the road to get to the bus or train station.

    Ever tried car pooling for extended periods of time?

    Very inconveneint and depended upon the other person not being either holiday, sick, MDO, etc. or just have other commitments (eg. taking kids to soccer or ballet) that dont tie in with driving other people around.

    And that report you linked to is a neat bit of spin.

    Because the job numbers dont line we just create another measuring technique called “Job Month”

    What a load of spinning tosh that report is.

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  35. So we just keep adding roads, adding cars, using more petrol… what kind of future are you looking at Photo?

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  36. Absolute rubbish. it only takes those people who live within walking distance from a railway station at either end of their journey off the road.

    Gerrit… people often get rides, or drive, to/from the station… the bulk journey by train keeps a lot of cars local and local bus routes feed the stations as well… if the schedule is workable at all it can keep a LOT of cars off the roads. People may grizzle about the time but the petrol and parking fees saved is usually more than the commuter ticket(s). Not having to be stuck in traffic is simply bonus.

    BJ

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  37. Gerrit, making an issue of local road use (by bus as well as car) to access public transport services is a red herring, not a relevant point.

    The congested roads are rarely the ones to train stations – but the ones avoided by taking the train. In the context of taking cars off the roads – the congested ones are primary and cars are taken off them by providing public transport services.

    Where there is public transport – households are more likely to have only one car (why more people get driven to and from train stations than park cars at stations if they do not walk or use buses).

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  38. Julie Anne says “Traffic volumes north of Puhoi are 17,000.”

    NZTA report on the highway says “2012 traffic modelling shows an average 19,700 vehicles travel SH1 per day between Puhoi and Warkworth”

    Julie Anne says “For the last five years it’s been increasing at a rate of less than 1% a year, so even in the best case scenario, it’ll be less than 30,000 people a day in 2040 or so.”

    NZTA says “..average number of vehicles travelling between Puhoi and Warkworth each day is expected to increase by around 60 percent over the next 15 years”

    Julie Anne says “PhotoNZ, average vehcle occupancy in the Auckland Region is 1.1, not 1.5.”

    Surely you have confused average VEHICLE occupancy for average PRIVATE CAR occupancy (which is normally surveyed – Opus surveys for a couple of different years have shown to be 1.2 per PRIVATE CAR).

    When you add in work vehicles, taxis, vans, and…er…buses, the average is considerably more than the PRIVATE CAR rate.

    And lets face it – while you’d like to get as many people onto trains as possible, it’s not really that practical for say a builder building a house, or even someone doing their weekly grocery shopping – so even if we have a state of the art railway, were still going to need better roads anyway.

    Julie Anne says “So the CRL will benefit 80,000 train users directly before 2030.”

    That’s great, but it brings me back to the original question. 80,000 will be less than 1.5% of the population in 2030 – so what about the traffic issues of other 98.5% of the population?

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  39. photonz, I would hardly think many weekly shoppers would be on the congested roads – most supermarkets are in suburban locations. Traffic levels are relevant to peak load times – managing down these levels to realise maximum efficiency in the total network.

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  40. SPC,

    Suggest you spend a week in Auckland instead of the unique single line corridor that is the Wellington to Lower Hutt to Levin link.

    A link about to me submerged if BJ’s predictions of higher ocean levels are to be correct.

    Auckland is like a spider web with vastly different needs then Wellington. Trains will not work in Auckland for more than, at best 10% of the people. The bulk of people live away from railway stations (even the proposed loop add only another 5%).

    How long will it be before the coucil add parking charges at park and ride parks? Try park and ride in Sydney and add car parking charges to your overheads.

    Congestion is localised in Auckland, we measure motorway traffic but never it seems local roads.

    Before the completion of the SH20 to SH1 link at Manukau, ALL heavy traffic south bound from the inland port at Wiri travelled along Roscommon and Mahia Roads and onto the Takanini interchange.

    Congestion was severe and in a 10 year period Mahia Road had to be dug up and relayed 3 times.

    Thanks to new motorways we have now removed that local suburban congestion.

    You obviously have not been to the local Clendon supermarket here, congestion is localised and severe.

    Janine

    We do need roads, where will you ride your bike? Transport while currently reliant on fossil fuel is not bound by it. We will have roads no matter what the motive power (horse or electric or anything else).

    BJ

    Your daughter is at the local train station after attending an activity. It is dark, cold, raining and there are not many people about.

    You happy for her to “get a ride” home by anyone?

    Or will you jump into the car to pick her up. Thus adding to the car volume simply because even if in walking range, her safety and wellbeing is paramount and a quick trip to pick her up is the most sensible option.

    The biggest obstruction to public transport is the freedom people enjoy in private transport. That genie is out of the bottle and no amount of public transport will put it back.

    We are no longer bound the need to use public transport as we have the freedom of private, although we currently use a very inefficient car for freedom that private transport provides.

    But that will change where technology will allow smaller faster “cars” to travel in tighter formations.

    The future is efficient private transport (even bicycles for Janine)

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  41. The coordination of train and local schedules has been something I have been working on since 1983… it really is NOT that hard to tune schedules so that nobody spends a lot of time alone on a cold wet platform, or has no options to reach home except by walking or thumbing.

    My considered opinion that women should not in general, walk alone anywhere except the inside of a shopping mall. That’s one of the “not right” things about society, but it is what it is.

    Clearly Gerrit, your opinion is informed by the utter failure to design a loop of ANY sort into the Auckland “web”, and impose organization on chaos.

    Almost any city can have such a loop, and larger cities have more than one, and once they exist, with transfer stations along their periphery, you can handle the masses FAR more easily. Once they exist the “apartment dwelling” option becomes viable for people who are not so enamored of the idea of mowing the lawn every weekend as we get older. No car needed.

    Not in Auckland though, and that is through neglect, not design.

    What is possible in Auckland is in some ways, better than what is available in Wellington, where the linear geography imposed by the hills leaves little space.

    The Wellington rail issue, that it is close to the tide line, is an interesting one. Consider that in 100 years we will almost certainly have a quake.

    How that alters the geography and requires rebuilding of infrastructure is of interest, and it is probably economically rational to try to save up a fund for a more appropriate level rebuild of the system than to build it up now… of course the question of what will be left of Wellington (or Auckland) after the Sea rises 1.5-1.7 meters (my guess for the next 100 years), is of interest as well. Not a good look really.

    ciao
    BJ

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  42. What we do need to change IF we want public transport to succeed is the redesign of busses and trains.

    The last “mile” is always the problem so we should design busses and trains that make it easy to get a cyclist, mobility scooter, electric scooter or other personal transport option (Segway) for the last mile onto the bus or train.

    Currently public transport only caters for the pedestrian.

    Was impressed with the Canadian VIA rail trains where bicycle commuters rode on and off trains very easily.

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  43. Gerrit, it seems like you will reject any evidence that doesn’t support your strongly held belief that investing in passenger transit is a more cost effective way to deal with our transport challenges than blowing in on 5 upgraded highways. But, the report I linked is entirely consistent with job creation numbers released by the Government. About 1-2 jobs are created for every $1m spent on new highways, whereas spending on road maintenance, walking and cycling, and passenger transit services creates more jobs. I’m not sue why you think his is controversial or ideologically driven. It’s just a fact that new motorways are very capital intensive.

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  44. Photo NZ, I assume you are referring to the Puhoi to Wellsford 4 laning business case statement?

    If so, you really need to distinguish between what the traffic forecasts say and what’s actually been happening. The 17,000 I cite is from NZTA traffic monitoring. It’s what’s actually happening.

    The modelling in the business case assumed a 4% annual traffic growth rate from 2006-2026. Traffic monitoring of the route shows that from 2006-2011 actual annual traffic growth was around 1%, even declining at some sections.

    So why would we think that demand for vehicle trips would suddenly grow by 60% in the next 15 years, given the last five years it hasn’t grown at all?

    We have an economically precarious Europe, slowing growth in China, a high NZ$, and despite all this petrol and diesel prices are quite high. All of that spells reduced demand for vehicle trips — not increased.

    http://transportblog.co.nz/2012/03/29/unprecedented-change-kiwis-driving-less-and-loving-it/

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  45. PhotoNZ, one last point:

    Julie Anne says “So the CRL will benefit 80,000 train users directly before 2030.”

    That’s great, but it brings me back to the original question. 80,000 will be less than 1.5% of the population in 2030 – so what about the traffic issues of other 98.5% of the population?

    The question is: what is the most cost effective way, at the margin, of moving the additional people who are travelling around the city at peak time. And that is rail. Because as I said, it doesn’t just benefit rail users, it benefits the entire transport system to move more people at peak hour at lower cost. Expanding the existing road capacity in Auckland to accommodate tens of thousands of additional cars would not only be much more expensive, it would have other costs, such as less land available for more economically productive uses (ie. retail, commercial, residential space). It would require more land taken up by cars at peak, empty at off peak times, and then all the space required to store those cars at all their destinations.

    You surely can appreciate that even a small reduction in the amount of people travelling by vehicle at peak hour makes a big difference to congestion (see school holidays, for example).

    Anyway, the Government isn’t proposing to spend any more money expanding road capacity or even maintaining existing roads in Auckland, they are proposing to spend $14b on a few motorways that carry about 3.5% of daily vehicle trips. Not only will that not reduce congestion in Auckland, it could make it worse by encouraging more people to live up north or down south and drive into the city. (If they can afford it…)

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  46. Julie Ann,

    Thaqt report was not evidence. It was a fluff piece on how they changed the measuring technique from “jobs” to “job moths”

    If tie your strongly held belief to that level of “evidence”, it is a reflection on your fragile belief system.

    Any other links to back up your claims?

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  47. Jeez, Really must learn to spell.

    That report was not evidence, It was fluff peice on how thy changed the measuring technique from “jobs” to job moNths”

    My bad.

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  48. I think a point Julie Ann misses is that better transport links to the regions also reduces Auckland congestion. Imagine Auckland without the Kaimai links. Auckland would have had to absorb most of the business and people now in the Bay of Plenty.

    I agree much more should be spent on rail. And the total lack of incentives for coastal shipping also needs to be addressed, but we will still need roads, even if only for bicycles and horse drawn carts (Which, incidentally, are much less energy efficient than motor vehicles).

    Neglecting the regions in favour of Auckland makes Auckland’s problems worse, not better.

    Encouraging business nodes on transport corridors outside Auckland can be more sustainable than trying to concentrate everyone in the centre of Auckland.

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  49. Totally agree about the ridiculous costs for consultants though.

    “A consultant is someone who charges a thousand an hour, to tell you the same things your employees will tell you for nothing”.

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  50. BJ,

    Give us a break, only just graduated from two finger peck typing to four finger double peck typing.

    Just found out what the ridges on the F and J keys are for. But blowed if I can get these sausages for fingers to flick across the keyboard while hovering the index fingers above those keys.

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  51. This threads drifted ……

    How much money have the National party blown and wasted on consultants for the now cancelled bit of road between Otaki and Levin?.

    And if that bit of road got cancelled because the dollar figures were bad, how come the Nats are pushing ahead with other roads where the dollar figures are even worse ?.

    Is this an example of how the Nats will blow and waste the money from the asset sales rip-off?.

    And whats the point of even having a question time in Parliament when the Nats like Gerry Brownlee just stand up and lie in answers to questions?.

    There should be penalty’s and suspensions for such bad behavior. Aside from getting voted out ……

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