Steven Moans About Transport Blogs
Transport Minister Steven Joyce had a go at “left-wing transport blogs” this afternoon in parliament when being questioned over why he did not go along with the Auckland Council call for a City Rail Loop.
To quote from questioning from Labour’s Phil Tywford:
Twyford: In relation to the Ministry of Transport’s review of the city rail links business case, which has led to the number that the Minister just quoted, does he know that that review relies on Fanshawe Street, Albert Street, and Symonds Street coping with more than 1,000 buses per hour by 2040, and are such huge numbers of diesel buses in the city centre consistent with this Government’s vision for Auckland?
Joyce: I think the member will find he has been reading too many left-wing transport blogs.
Bill English: How many are there?
Joyce: Oh, there are two or three. The reality is that the Government’s review of the business case does not require any such thing. The reality is, and it is very important, that we assess all the options for transport into the central business district in Auckland, going forwards, and I think it is important we do that without rushing straight to one solution. That is what the Government is seeking and that is what the business case review recommend
BTW, AKT is not a “left wing” blog. I can not speak for other transport blogs. I have made it clear in the about section from day one I am a-political, the only membership group I have ever belonged to is a gym and I have been scathing of Labour. I have always acknowledged that the Minister is a very competent politician and campaign manager. I do disagree strongly obviously with the Minister on the issue of the loop and his priority with motorways and I have always supported Len Brown’s transport vision for Auckland and his mantra to make the city the most livable in the world.
Asked whether given that Auckland Council confirmed by 18 votes to two that the city rail link was the “top priority transport project for Auckland,” was he concerned about the level of misalignment between the Government’s transport priorities for Auckland and those of Auckland Council, the Minister said: “ No, it is quite common for councils to have views and then to come to Government to seek funding for different projects. The Government, of course, has to prioritise all the projects across the country, and it tends to do so with things such as benefit-cost ratios to allow it to evaluate the difference projects.”
Annette King interjected: : Like the “Holiday Highway”.
Steven replied: “I will come to that—has a benefit-cost ratio of 0.3, as against some of the other projects that members opposite are concerned about, which are all in excess of one.”
Minister: Well, the Auckland Council and the Government have agreed on a forward plan for discussing that project alongside other projects. That involves, firstly, finalising and implementing the Auckland Spatial Plan and the city centre master plan to establish achievable growth projections for the central business district; secondly, demonstrating a commitment to resolving current and emerging central business district access issues—for example, by improving bus operations and addressing capacity issues; thirdly, development of a robust and achievable multi-modal programme for transport in the central business district, which considers a thorough analysis of alternatives and identifies the optimal mix of modes to meet demand; fourthly, beginning implementation of large-scale residential developments along the rail corridors, which were anticipated by the Auckland regional growth strategy; and fifthly, implementation of additional park and ride sites and changes to bus feeder services where appropriate, in terms of overall public transport demand. I think that those sorts of initiatives will ensure that we come to a cost effective and appropriate transport response in Auckland for the benefit of Aucklanders, and also, for the whole country.
Phil Twyford: Why is this Government so intent on undermining the council’s transport goals and its plan for a compact city, and so reluctant to work with Mayor Len Brown and the Auckland Council on making Auckland the most liveable city in the world?
Steven Joyce: For goodness’ sake! I mean, really. I tell Mr “Twifford” that we have just announced the investment—
Phil Twyford: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Minister seems to have fallen into Rodney Hide’s—
Mr Speaker: Whether the Minister has fallen into anything to do with Rodney Hide is nothing to do with the proceedings of this House. If the member wishes to raise a point of order, it must relate to the proceedings of the House.
Steven Joyce:: I was just trying to point out to the member that the reality is that the Government has just announced a very good project with the Auckland Council. We have worked together and agreed a 50 percent increase in the number of electric trains that was contemplated by the previous Government and previous Auckland Councils, to ensure that we have a modern electric fleet in Auckland. That is the sort of cooperation we are achieving. It is going very well between us and the Auckland Council.
“The Green Party member is disappointed that the committee did not want to hear a submission from the Auckland Council on this CBD rail link petition. The member believed it was important to hear from the Auckland Council because it is currently planning designations for the rail link and has prepared an in-depth and internationally peer-reviewed report that reaches different conclusions than the combined
Ministry of Transport and New Zealand Transport Agency submission presented to the
committee. This would have complemented the submission by the Government department and
agency, and given the committee a broader as well as an Auckland understanding of the issues.”
Not good enough.