Lee Blasts Joyce Over CBD Link


Auckland Council transport commitete chair Mike Lee today labelled transport minister Steven Joyce’s thinking “fairly basic small-town red neck stuff -standard roads first and pro urban-sprawl.”

Writing on his site, the former ARC chair said Joyce’s hands were all over the plan to change Auckland local government and the government was expecting that their man John Banks and his government-friendly ‘affordable progress’ policies was going to win.

“As it turned out Banks crashed and burned and it was Len Brown with a visionary manifesto very much based around rail projects who won a resounding mandate from Aucklanders.

“With Plan A now around the government’s ankles, the government has gone to ‘Plan B’.  ‘Plan B’ is to delay any new rail projects for as long as possible by refusing to fund them. Plan B was in evidence during the Auckland Council swearing-in ceremony when the new Mayor, councillors and a crowded Town Hall audience of leading citizens was subjected to an embarrassingly obvious lecture from the Prime Minister about how important it was for the new Auckland Council to spend 18 months completing a ‘spatial plan’ before embarking on any major infrastructural projects like CBD Rail and rail to the airport.

“Let me correct that – I should say ‘rail infrastructural projects’ – obviously the government would be unlikely to be calling for a freeze on road projects.”

He said that the transport minister, resorting to Plan B now Len Brown was mayor, was trying to pour scorn on the business case while blinkered about the road Lee hiuself famously coined the phrase the “Holiday Highway” even though it has been given a 0.4 cost benefit rating.

“It would seem that why the Minister has become so emotional about the CBD rail link (which clearly he doesn’t especially care for one way or the other), is that the rail link has become inextricably entangled with something the Minister really does care for – the Puhoi to Wellsford road project – aka ‘the Holiday Highway’.

“Clearly the CBD rail link, which at around $2 billion is about the same cost as the Holiday Highway, has become in Joyce’s mind the unwelcome – even dreaded Doppelgänger of his much favoured Puhoi to Wellsford roading project.”

Mike Lee says history is repeating itself

Noting this feels like history repeating itself, Mike Lee says if the National government wants to be re-elected next year it will have to concede that unlike the Puhoi to Wellsford Highway with its BCR of 0.4 – the CBD Rail Link does stack up.

“The National Government would dearly love to kill it off – but if they are not careful what comes roaring out of Auckland’s underground rail link could end up running down the National government. ”

Todays NZ Herald cartoon




  1. karl says:

    Love that cartoon, even though it simplifies the tunnel concept way too much.

    As for Mike Lee, it’s good that he’s there to play “bad cop” to Len Brown’s “good cop”. He can be much more direct and snarky in commenting the fallacies of Steven Joyce than Len could.

  2. joust says:

    This is an opportunity for minor parties to gain dissatisfied national voters with a promise to bargain on its funding in the coalition talks next year.

  3. karl says:

    Only because Labour is so useless in fighting for the CBD tunnel, though.

    Why have the centre-left parties worldwide become such toothless tigers? They should be energised and angry after globalisation and global financial crisis have proven them right in what they were always warning of (not to speak of homegrown issues like the leaky homes crisis or Canterbury Finance bailouts).

    Instead, they pussy-foot around, because they are afraid of being seen as anti-economy when they stick up for those people who don’t hold large stock portfolios. No wonder fomer “minor” parties like the Liberals in the UK or the Greens in Germany are increasingly overtaking the Labour/Social Democrat-type parties at the polls.

  4. Matt says:

    Karl, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens to Labour over the coming year, with its public (if not complete and utter) rejection of the orthodox economic dogma that’s been doing the rounds in NZ for the last 25 years. If they can get back to really being a socialist democratic party, we might stand a chance. It’s a shame that Goff is showing no signs of going away, though, because his history suggests that he probably hasn’t “found the light”.

  5. Nick R says:

    I must admit Labour seem to be standing for little at the moment, especially on infrastructure. Their ideology seems the same as National, except they want to spend less.
    Will labour reinvent itself under new leadership, will the Greens step up as the main leftist opposition, or will one of the small centrist parties start putting the boot in?

  6. Jon Reeves says:

    So, here we have a conservative ex radio station millionaire owner from Taranaki telling Auckland about what good transport is.

    I would suggest that even “on the back of an envelope” I can tell you Joyce is not up to the standard New Zealand requires for leadership in transport infrastructure.

    Amazingly enough, Joyce hasn’t smelt the roses as to what Aucklanders want…and what the Waikato wants (commuter rail).

  7. Nick R says:

    Something has to crack, either National will swing to meet the zeigeist of public opinion, or someone from the opposition will start to hammer them over it.

  8. Luke says:

    I think the herald headline saying the article was ‘caustic’ is misrepresentation of Lee’s views.
    I was a very measured article with well argued and supported points.
    Total opposite to the poor composition and argument of Joyces piece in the SST.

  9. Kurt says:

    I couldn’t agree with the opinions on Labour. They should be joining in this debate with full force but they are missing in action.

    At the moment they are so woefully out of touch it is embarassing.

  10. Jb says:

    Imagine if, for once, rather than a national government taking down the underground rail project of the day, the project were to take down the government.

  11. Simon says:

    And when you see shadow Finance spokesman David Cuncliffe talk about PPPs for the CBD tunnel, you know Labour is still sitting on the fence on this one. Even National rejected PPPs for the funding on EMUs.

    Labour need to grow some balls!

  12. Jimbo says:

    Neither Joyce or Rod Oram who sparked the debate mention that we will have fewer vehicles on our roads, not ever-increasing numbers.

    Dozens of recent reports including one cited by Lian Dann in the NZ Herald on Saturday all point to an oil supply crunch in the 1012- 2015 timeframe

    see http://oilshockhorrorprobe.blogspot.com/2010/12/staring-down-barrel-of-oil-shortages.html
    for some interesting analysis


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