Who Wrote This Anti-Rail Nonsense?


It’s disheartening being out of New Zealand enjoying cities with fast reliable trains (including those to the airport) to check in online to find the only Auckland newspaper, the consistently anti-rail Herald, writing absolute nonsense today in campaigning against Auckland growing its rail network.

This car-blinked editorial feels as if it has been written by the transport minister. Because of his close ties with the top brass at the paper, I wouldn’t be surprised if he did not at least influence it.

This load of garbage argues we don’t even need trains when buses can do the job and says closing down the rail network at this time of year and replacing services with buses proves it:

“It may be wondered why the city is getting an upgraded rail service to run at untold operating losses, if buses can do the same job.”

It’s depressing to find the city’s only newspaper, instead of being positive about the new Mayor’s plans and supporting him,  is continuing to campaign against the CBD rail loop and continue to spread completely ill-informed bigoted lies about the rail network.

“Build it”, say our civic visionaries, “and commuters will come”. They point to the growth in rail passengers since the Britomart terminal was built. But it was apparent to early assessors of the business plan for rail project that it would probably draw passengers from certain bus routes rather than increase public transport patronage overall. That impression is reinforced by the ease with which buses have been substituted for trains during this rail shutdown.

And it’s harsh and unfair on KiwiRail for suggesting that there is no need to close the network down at this time just to erect a few wires and masts.

Herald says we only need buses, not rail in Auckland

Obviously the paper does not understand the magnitude of the exercise of bringing us electrification.

“The council-controlled agency Auckland Transport should be aggrieved at KiwiRail’s clumsy project management. A total shutdown is surely not necessary for bridges to be raised to make room for electricity lines, or for other work on the tracks.”

The newspaper with its falling circulation and growing irrelevance and influence in the city is obviously gearing up to campaign fiercely against rail and the loop when its not filling its so called news pages with sordid depressing tales of people who have suffered tragedy.

Remember the scare nonsense headline saying electrification wasn't happening?

I have long cancelled buying the paper and it’s time for rail commuters to show similar disgust at the paper’s crusading stance against rail.

Ironically I am typing this on my MacBook Air on the Brisbane airport train. It’s busy.  Who says rail can’t work in a progressive city? Wasn’t the whole idea of Auckland to catch up with Brisbane?

Why does NZH hate Auckland?




  1. Matt L says:

    They are complete idiots and have been for quite some time, not just on rail issues. As has been pointed out already in a few comments, if we don’t need the rail network because it is closed at this time of the year then perhaps we don’t need the harbour bridge clip ons seeing as they are frequently closed at this time of the year for resurfacing work, we also don’t need massively wide motorways considering that at peak time there was no traffic so narrowing them down by a few lanes will be ok.

    Also I wonder how many are catching the rail buses, I certainly aren’t but are driving instead, something I would do the rest of the year if the trains weren’t available.

  2. Robincole says:

    I dont think the Herald is necessarily anti-rail, just conservitive.They supported electrification and urged the govt to get on with it.

  3. Simon says:

    I implore everyone who reads and posts on this site to reply to this idiotic peice of rubbish by sending letters to the editor and put this individual firmly in their place!

  4. Cam says:

    I can almost gaurantee that editorial was written by John Roughan. Very little doubt about it.

    The man is iognorant in the extreme on transport matters but does not let that stop him forming a strong opinion. He has little or no understanding of PT or transport in general and for some reason seems to be extremely anti rail.

    This is drivel from someone who is very uninformed and should be ignored.

  5. Matt says:

    Cam, unfortunately he gets this drivel in print behind the curtain of anonymity. Makes it very hard to call him on it.

  6. Anthony says:

    God this is humiliating, while every other city learns the potential of PT, Auckland is being restrained by ignorant politicans and small minded Editors,

    I think we all should write to the NZH about how the rest of auckland DOES want a better PT system.

  7. Kurt says:

    Unfortunately this tired old rag now tries to make the news, set the agenda, run questionable polls with meaningless questions and then report half arsed facts. A beacon to NZ’s awful journalism.

    So predictably at Christmas they bang on about the road toll as they do every holiday break, a perennial favourite with our journo’s and offer nothing but gloom thinking people buy and or listen to news like this out of morbid fascination. They are WRONG, we actually turn off to it!

    Point one. We had an almost bus exclusive public transport system, it was dreadful, it was and still is expensive and one of the prime reasons why Aucklanders prefer driving their own cars even in abysmal traffic jams. In other words it failed miserably.

    Point 2. If the reporters didn’t have their heads up their backsides they would have noticed over the years that the entire network was so run down and so under-invested that at some point it is more time efficient to close it down to achieve full and lasting maintenance and improvements. That is without running down a track maintenance workers and holding up trains throwing out timetables ad- infinitum.

  8. Roger says:

    I’m in London at the moment. and visited Kings Cross station yesterday. The place is a mess as they replace the old roof with a modern glass structure.

    Several platforms are closed as an extra line is being built to allow more movements per hour.

    The station is cluttered with building materials and temporary signs but major improvements cause disruption. The Herald editor needs a few bricks to build a bridge and get over himself!

  9. Anon says:

    What are your thoughts on Brian Rudman?.

  10. Matt L says:

    As a point of comparison, I think it was the Sydney Morning Herald who were so fed up with the state governments lack of action on transport in general that they commissioned their own independent study to find out what could be done to fix the issues they have. Unsurprisingly the biggest and easiest thing they could do was PT improvements.

  11. ejtma2003 says:

    This article is the biggest load of drivel I have read for a long time and shows what a terrible standard of journalism that the herald embraces. On the other hand I also get tired of reading on this site all the anti roads mantra, but there is a balance needed. I am a roads user (primarily), but also understand and support the need for a world class train system, and am happy for my rates and taxes to pay for it.

    Maybe some of the contributors on this site should reflect on what the Herald have written, which is a pile of crap, but think what do they think of what is written here, and put some balance in their opinions.

  12. Simon says:

    I have written a letter to the editor. You can only write 200words and I could have written a couple of thousand such was the BS in this editorial!

  13. kel says:

    What a shame that Auckland is trying to catch up to Australia’s 3rd city!!!! :S

  14. Brent C says:

    I regulary read letters to the editor in the NZH about the improtance of rail and different ideas. Of corse they do publish some rubbish in there as well. But it lets everyone get there say and provides an alternative thought on transport matters.

    Wellington’s Domion has pushed for train performances to improve and ensures KiwiRail are accountable for issues which have riddled the line. But they have also pushed hard for transmission gully over the years

  15. jarbury says:

    Definitely written by John Roughan.

    Send in heaps of letters I say. Thankfully hardly any people will probably be reading the herald at this time of year.

  16. Brian says:

    No surprises for me in this Editorial. The Herald has long been in the Governments pocket (how many photos of J Key do you see in a week), and the Government is of course firmly in the pocket of the Road Transport lobby. I have long given up reading this “tired old rag”.
    As one who works on the trains I notice more and vertrisedmore people reading th Dom Post and the Waikato Times.
    The editorial says that people returning to work will be surprised to find no trains running. Of course any train users (or anyone with their head outside their backside will have known long ago about the closure. For gods sake I believe it was e
    mentioned (and advertised) in the Herald.
    Obviously the writer (who gutlessly remains anonymous) doesn’t know - or want to know the facts). Recently I was in Sydney and surprise, surprise two different lines were closed for the weekend for upgrading and the trains were replaced by - you guessed it - Buses. Does this suggest that Sydney doesn’t need a rail system either. Yeah right.
    Fortunately there are more intelligent people in charge than those who write crap in the Herald.

  17. Jarrod Gill says:

    Personally, I couldn’t believe it when I read that. Sad, sad, sad.

  18. dave s says:

    I was astounded at the uninformed ignorant argument of the editorial writer, if that’s the strength of the opposition to rail p.t. I don’t think we have much to worry about. I responded to the article in granny, telling him he has obviously never travelled on a rail bus, if he had he would be enjoying a frustrating Cooks Tour around the Auckland’s back streets as the bus must connect with each station on the run. As S. J’s and the Herald’s opposition is full of misinformation at best and downright falsehoods at worst I wonder when we will hear from some high profile supporters for a rapidly growing Auckland to step forward and take on these frontmen for shadow people. Hey! John Key, your silence is deafening.

  19. GJA says:

    If you look at Auckland, only three (or is it 4) lines are out of action and all lines lead to Rome or is that Britomart. So if major work happens from Britomart to Newmarket then the whole system gets closed down. Just imagine how long this work would have taken if they weren’t able to close the lines down.

    Imagine if all this electrification work was done 30 years ago, we could have spent all this money to build more lines - then again we might have had more lines already.

    I can’t wait for the lines to re-open, to see the work that has been done. Thank you guys.

  20. [...] Yesterday the NZ Herald’s Editorial claimed that Auckland didn’t need trains because the entire network can be shut down for three weeks and chaos doesn’t happen. I really can’t be bothered arguing with idiots, but AKT does a little bit of it here. [...]

  21. Bevan says:

    I rarely bother to read the editorials in the NZHerald as they are almost uniformly drivel. This piece is no exception. The rest of their reporting is usually at par with the rest of NZ media, but the editor would be best to keep his opinions to himself.

  22. Matt says:

    Auckland’s “Catching up with Australia’s 3rd city?”

    Well Australia’s 5th city, Adelaide, has just electrified most of it’s suburban network, has extended it’s tram through the CBD and is going to extend tram lines in it’s north western suburbs on 2 routes and is building an extension of it’s Noarlunga heavy rail line over the Onkaparinga River.

    Brisbane is building or extending at least 4 new rail lines, Springfield, Kippa-Ring, Maroochydoore and Coolangatta that I can think of, plus the central city underground line for extra capacity. Just like Melbourne is doing too and just like Auckland, with a National Party in government, is NOT going to do.

    I used to think Auckland had passed Adelaide by, but I’m going to say it’s definitely the 6th most important Australasian city now.

  23. Patrick says:

    If you want to write a load of politics then call it a political blog and join all the masses of political blogs out there. And then I won’t bother reading it, cause I can read the Standard or the Labour Party blog if I feel like it.

  24. The Shadow says:

    Indeed, the article smacks of nonsense, and the writer obviously has never either taken a train or a bus. Having used the train service for several years to get to and from work, I found it to be a pleasant and quality service, provided that you both live and work close to stations.
    On the other hand, having recently changed jobs, it is no longer practical for me to take any form of public transport. This is because there simply aren’t enough train or bus stations in enough areas. The bus service is truly awful, if you want to get to any part of town that isn;t a neighbouring suburb it takes hours, Busses and trains frequently don’t turn up and waiting times used to be up to an hour, I have once been stranded at Sylvia park as three trains zoomed past me it took me 4 hours to catch a train!

    Below are a few of my obsevations:

    Money is being squandored by government agencies on ineffectual solutions such as building flashy train stations. The point of public transport is to move people to destinations, not to train stations.

    Auckland is simply too big to have one or two hubs the and the P.T. system needs to be de-centralised more effectively,

    There’s not enough connectivity between train and bus.

    Commuters are effectively discouraged from taking bikes on trains, by way of an extra fee. Many people will need to have a bike to actually be able to use a train effectively.

    The city is devoid of safe bicycle paths.

    Aucklands busses are uncomfortable, wallowing and noisy, they’re also a hazard to cyclists and create noise and smoke pollution in every corner of the city. the busses are far too big to run efficiently and run far too infrequently.

    The buses follow nonsensical routes to cover large distances between random suburbs which would be better covered by train. Example a bus from the centre city, caught from victoria street to sylvia park takes over an hour, but you have to walk from brittomart to victoria street first. The train takes about 20 minutes to do the same travel, but there’s no bus to take you from the train station around mt. wellington, there’s no bike lockup to store your bike safely so you might have to walk thirty minutes. Or be charged several times to take your bike on various PT systems.

    I think that a good long term plan would see the eplaced by a more efficient shuttle service which I propose below:

    Link up the long haul with the short haul, trains bikes, taxi’s and the buses, by running mini shuttle bus (20 seats max.+ standing room) services from each train station to local areas only, with a good frequency of no more than 10 minutes. Allowing for people with disabilities and small children.

    Look at applying a collective taxi system as seen in south america, where a taxi wait until it has picked up four people and do a quick run to local destinations at a fixed price.

    All services of this should run to at least 1am as this would encourage peoples confidence in the public transport system and reduce drink driving.

    Put decent sized bike lockups at every train station and make bikes free to take on the train.

    Basically the focus needs to be put on customers, not costs. No one seems to mind that the roading system makes absolutely no money and yet gets 10 billiion dollars spent on it.

  25. Matt says:

    Money is being squandored by government agencies on ineffectual solutions such as building flashy train stations. The point of public transport is to move people to destinations, not to train stations.

    Auckland is simply too big to have one or two hubs the and the P.T. system needs to be de-centralised more effectively,

    There’s not enough connectivity between train and bus.

    Point 1: If the facilities are unattractive, people won’t want to use them. If they’re dark and dingy, people will feel unsafe. These two things don’t help increase ridership.

    Point 2: We have three hubs, at Britomart, Newmarket, and New Lynn. We don’t need more, unless one gets placed at Panmure as part of AMETI. Also, hubs must be spacious and comfortable otherwise they’re unwelcoming and unwieldy. That doesn’t encourage ridership.

    Point 3: Yes, we know. It’s not going to change in the near future, and until we remove the transfer penalty it doesn’t matter if buses go right past train stations because people will avoid the financial cost associated with completing their journey by train if it’s possible to do so by bus.

  26. Jon C says:

    @ejtma2003 That is fair comment

  27. Matt L says:

    The rest of the comments have now been released, 49 of them and having a quick skim through about 45 of them are saying the editorial is a piece of rubbish/uninformed/biased drivel which is great to see. Also many of the original comments slamming the editorial have had over 100 ‘likes’ recorded against them.


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