Another corporate grab for Auckland assets


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Rust never sleeps and neither does corporate New Zealand’s lust for community assets. There are megabucks of unearned, untaxed wealth to be had by the 1% who want an even bigger share of our national income.

And so it is with Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee’s rejection of fuel taxes, road tolls or congestion charging to make up the $12 billion shortfall for the big roading projects the government wants Auckland to fund for their mates in the tarseal lobby over the next 30 years.

On the one hand Brownlee wants to be seen to side with the people of Auckland against the council’s unpopular new taxes and put Auckland voters in a better frame of mind towards National at next year’s election.

But on the other hand Brownlee has his eye on Auckland’s assets.

If National wins a third term next year the government will push hard for the council to agree to sell the Ports of Auckland and the Council’s shares in Auckland Airport to fund these projects.

Auckland’s big business reps will chime in and Aucklanders will be heavily pressured to sell council assets if the city wants to fund the inner city rail link as the government withholds legislation to allow for the collection of road tolls or congestion charges.

Brownlee has used the same tactic in Christchurch where he relentlessly pressured the Christchurch City Council to privatise its assets to help pay for the Christchurch rebuild. The CCC resisted that pressure and Aucklanders must do the same.

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Just as importantly though, Auckland doesn’t need road tolls or congestion charges anyway because building more roads will NOT reduce traffic congestion in Auckland. Nowhere in the world has any city been able to tarseal its way out of gridlock.

In the mayoral election campaign I’m proposing an end traffic chaos in Auckland within 12 months at less than half the cost of Brownlee’s roads. We will do this using free and frequent public transport to all parts of the city’s urban area.

Mana’s proposal will release $1.25 billion per year in extra productivity lost through traffic congestion as well as stimulating the economy with the money saved by people using free public transport.

Instead of a lose-lose scenario (more expensive roads and no end to gridlock) I’m proposing a win-win option (less than half the cost and ending gridlock within 12 months)

And of course it’s a much more environmentally friendly way to go.

I hope Aucklanders will give Brownlee the fingers and adopt free-public transport as the sanest, most intelligent way to solve Auckland’s traffic gridlock.


  1. “$1.25 billion per year in extra productivity lost through traffic congestion”

    This is the councils own figure – when I spoke to the public transport committee I put this figure at 3 billion and no one in the room challenged me on it. And yes I pulled this figure from thin air, I took a punt, I took a guess. And people in the room seemed to nod.

    The point however, is the conservative minimum amount is 1.25 billion dollars lost in Auckland every year – that is the conservative figure. When this plan John and the team have worked out come through – we may all be shocked at how much money is being lost in Auckland – just by the roads being blocked.

    • You have a point, these figures don’t really include any real information on the cost of air pollution and health problems associated. But those who are pro private automobile don’t really want to admit that they are killing people beyond accidents. The toll for air pollution in Auckland has been estimated at up to 2000 deaths a year. Far higher than the actual road toll.

    • They don’t have anybody else – the right that is, they know Brown is a shoe in, but they want to force him to sell the assets the Auckland people own to pay for all this transport stuff. The right hate community ownership of anything!

      • Of course they hate community ownership of anything – they can’t get rents off of it if it’s community owned.

  2. Dear John this is the first sane solution I’ve heard, you have my vote on this proposal alone but might I suggest that replacing those huge buses with more frequent shuttle like vans running more frequently and covering more routes might also provide more user friendly public transport and more jobs?

    • oh and might I add, frequent shuttle services running from train stations that routes run in that local area only, to prevent congestion of car parks around train stations also.

  3. Liking this policy. You may also want to look into providing cyclelanes throughout neighbourhoods.

    Looking on Google Maps, there are numerous places in South Auckland that has been designated stormwater corridors, that if designed and developed intelligently could act as feeder systems for public transport and alternative off-road routes.

    Funding – stop the ill conceived and non-justified Roads of National Significance – particularly those with the expected return of 20c on the $1.

  4. Your proposal is..
    1) both ” sane” & ” commonsense”…

    By – Sole Virtue of which,

    2).. It goes against:-
    -..Today’s Corporate ($$ Short Term Greed for Profit & Power) ingrained & driven mentality which has infected the minds of.. such as Brownlee, and all others in a position of ” $$$Power”,- as well as brainwashed ordinary people that this is how life should be run..

    3) It benefits People.. (as opposed to “Human Resourses to be exploited for “the Economy”),

    4) and therefore, if people can just be reminded that they are Human Beings…….vs “human Resources” to be exploited by the “Economy” = Monopoly Game by the Rich and Powerful ,(nowadays)

    …if only…then You should win. And all of us People win.
    BEST WISHES & may all NZers wake up!

  5. This is an incredibly smart policy. Don’t forget to add in the savings of not having to have expensive hopcard, gold card and cash collection processes. Buses currently spend a lot of time stopped while drivers process payments. 40 people sitting on a bus while the driver collects small change from passengers or supervises card processing is a massive waste of time. I would expect buses to run about 20% faster without fare processing – my guess would be a 20% gain in productivity.

  6. Well done Mr Minto, you`d even be able to afford to increase the services out to Waitakere/Helensville. Growing up in Waitakere Township, I know from experience the difficulties of a regular public transport system.
    I was fortunate to live in Wgtn for 15 years and if you could get past the break downs, the public transport services in Wgtn were excellent. trains going hourly to all area`s as far north as masterton and paraparaumu. Buses were regular with connections at all major railway stations.the last train out of wgtn on any given night is 1.30am, the first of the day is 5.30am.
    I lived in the Hutt Valley and I didn`t find the need to own a vehicle, which was a common attitude among my colleagues and friends. We got around on Mountain bikes, the council, in it`s wisdom, promoted the use of public walkways and bike tracks investing in, upgrading and ‘beautifyng’ them. It would be good to see more pedestrians and cyclist`s about.

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