This bloody bike bridge is going to be the Phil Twyfordication of poor Michael Wood

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Michael Wood throwing money at this bloody bike bridge

Auckland harbour cycle bridge: Cost far outweighs benefits according to Waka Kotahi

A planned standalone cycle and walkway bridge next to the Auckland Harbour Bridge has come under fire for its cost, and a newly released figure shows the cost of it could far outweigh the benefits.

Transport Minister Michael Wood did not provide the benefit-to-cost ratio (BCR) when he announced the new $785m project earlier this month – but has now revealed the initial assessment by Waka Kotahi is only 0.4 to 0.6.

That meant for every dollar spent on the bridge, there would effectively be a 40 to 60 cent loss.

Wood said the figures were preliminary and were being reassessed, and expected to improve – but Act leader David Seymour said the “stupidly expensive bridge” would only get more expensive before it was finished and should be scrapped.

Talking with sources inside Cabinet from the last Government, every time Phil Twyford started raving to everyone about how wonderful Kiwibuild was going, they were quietly rolling their eyes to each other.

‘Twyfordification’ became a disparaging term to describe an MP horribly out of their depth.

Michael Wood is dangerously close to Twyfordification with this crazy bike bridge of his.

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I like Michael, his nickname is ‘the Little General’. He’s kind, funny and is front bench smart, but this ill thought out bike bridge that he seemed to pull out of his arse because rich white militant pakeha cyclists stormed the Harbour Bridge is becoming more wonky as each week passes.

Think about the actual dynamics of this cycle bridge.

Commuters on the Harbour Bridge for the next 5 years watching this billion dollar glorified cycle lane grow ever slowly while they are stuck in traffic.

People will start yelling at the bridge as they drive by it. Aucklanders throwing garbage at it as they drive past will become as ubiquitous as Wellingtonians honking their horn through the tunnel.

This cycle bridge will become a performance art piece called ‘helping National win the next election’.

Does anyone actually believe Labour will build this in 5 years? We all know they can’t build one house in a room full of lego!

This will drag on and on and on.

It will become the new monument to Phil Goff’s dreaded ‘progress’ where infrastructure dooms viable use of public space for years and we all have to pretend it’s great.

Don’t get me wrong, as a Gold Star Public Transport User who has never driven a car, I support any infrastructure that pisses off car drivers.

One of the true joys in Auckland is doing the fingers to cars stuck in traffic as you whizz past them in the bus lane.

All that said, announcing a billion dollar bike bridge because militant middle class pakeha cyclists demand it is going go down like a cup of cold sick with voters who already despise Labour and who live in places where basic roading is the issue and not peddle powered self actualization.

That’s why the middle class ev car welfare testosterone tax is such smart politics.

Labour’s power electorate are the 45+ women vote who had been charmed by Key and voted National in 2017 but voted with genuine Covid response respect for Jacinda in 2020.

That electorate of 45+ women will absolutely buy an electric car and will continue to support Labour because it’s middle class welfare. The testosterone tax on Ute’s will hit men who don’t vote Labour so fuck them.

This is clever politics by Labour, it boosts and maintains the electorate whose seismic shift has given them a majority while hitting the electorate who don’t vote for them hardest.

If Labour maintains support with the 45+ female electorate, Jacinda can win the next 2 elections.

So if Labour can be so clever with the politics around using an EV middle class welfare rebate, how can they fuck it up so badly with this bloody bike bridge?

Here’s Sam Stubbs from Stuff with a far smarter plan

any new bridge might be short-changing cyclists anyway, because it could take so long to arrive. A mooted walk on/walk off ferry running between Akoranga and Westhaven, linking to already established cycle ways, sounds a better short term solution to me – $100m has already been allocated for land-based connections to any bridge crossing, and these could easily be extended to dedicated terminals.

And given how relatively calm the water is at the base of the harbour bridge, it could be a smooth, quick and frequent service. And why not an electric ferry, an example of which Fullers is testing soon?

Let’s assume we subsidised a dedicated cycle and pedestrian ferry to the tune of $100m. The remaining $585m saved could be put into starting a proper four-to-six-lane harbour tunnel, which could eventually free up a lane on the existing harbour bridge for cyclists and walkers.

…a ferry link up for cyclists costs a fraction of a bridge and it removes what will be a monument to bold promises with no follow through.

It concerns me that a Stuff Columnist is making more sense than a Minister.

When you have 23,687 desperate people on the public housing wait list, a billion dollar vanity project for militant middle class cyclists is outrageous.

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24 COMMENTS

  1. Before shitloads of money gets spent how about testing the demand from cyclists. What about removing the seats from buses and having a roll on roll off cycle express from Smales Farm and Akoranga bus stations to Victoria Park city side. 4 buses should give a 15 minute frequency. If cyclists can’t fill a bus then a bridge is overkill.

    • Now THAT sounds like a clever idea! The bus would need a few seats though, or straps at least. I wonder if any safety regs would get in the way?

  2. I use the ferry to cross with my bike all the time. It’s a no brainer. We have benign harbour, so why not more ferries? Ferries are so easy.

  3. A propos of ‘Phil Twyfordification’, on the basis of my PhD in planning and track record as an Auckland-based urbanist, I did some policy work on transport and housing for the Labour Party while Labour was in opposition in the mid-2010s but it was very part time and the Labour Party did not seem to regard the development of housing and transport policy as matters of any great urgency. What I was told was that, when out of office, Labour had just about no money for policy development and couldn’t afford to spend more than a few thousand (a very few thousand) on this sort of thing. Apparently, only the incumbent government gets much money for policy research: which if you ask me sounds like Sir Humphrey Appleby’s perfect plan for preserving the status quo and making a newly elected government utterly dependent on whatever the bureaucrats serve up after the election (just like in 1984). Now as to whether, in 2017, Labour still thought they had another three years in which to develop their transport and housing policies on a part time and ad hoc basis by putting it out on the intellectual equivalent of Fiverr, I really don’t know but it certainly sounds plausible.

  4. Yet again another dopey Labour Minister with absolutely no commercial nous.
    A minus return on investment to please cyclists?
    Investment in people more deserving health,child poverty,homeless etc,etc all the issues the current Government campaigned on but have now abandoned,a disgrace.
    Today Jacinda Ardern defending building of the cyclists bridge and her partner driving a gas guzzling
    Vehicle?

  5. This is the faux power the cycle lobby weild. They’re so convincing that politicians think the arguments these guys put up are well thought out and popular. They are neither. They’re are nothing more than polite socially awkward con women/men with personal hygiene issues who wanna ride their bikes wherever and whenever they want, fuck you very much!

    Wood was heaped with praise in a very manipulative blog in “Greater Auckland” this week, clearly designed to stroke his ego. It was pure bullshit but a good example of the con job that this lobby do.

    Michael Wood has been sucked into their web of lies and deciept like many an Auckland councilor and now he looks like a fool. And patience with demands of cyclists by the general voting public is growing thinner.

    The budget for this bridge cannot be tolerated, and engineering wise, building it too close to the existing structures piers as per the glossy brochure will become an issue.. The whole proposal was an ill thought out Hail Mary of the highest order and has damaged Woods brand.

    Dear Michael. Think before you leap!

  6. I support cyclists unreservedly as their increasing use signals a post fossil fuel future, but damn it is messy trying to integrate them into existing urban traffic.

    That bike bridge is fucking crazy! unless it is fully enclosed imagine the carnage in rough weather, vehicles, trucks even, flip in high winds on the bridge. Labour will regret this one.

  7. Easy solutions seem to be out the window as NZ spends all our tax payer dollars on bad construction and billionaire sports. No wonder people are queuing at the food banks….

    The easiest solution is to ban trucks from 7-10 am and 3 – 7pm on the harbour bridge and allow one land to be used in that time for cyclists and walkers.

    Trucks are increasingly a big problem in NZ, tearing up the roads, fake drivers licenses, poor worker conditions and wages, encouraging transient, insecure employment and the worst of the worst to stay in that industry. Thus we now have constant truck accidents.

    Reduced truck hours could be implemented immediately.

    Has been done before when there were ‘carless days’ in NZ when you could not drive for 1 day (due to fuel shortages in the 1970’s). This approach could also be used for climate change.

  8. “as a Gold Star Public Transport User who has never driven a car, I support any infrastructure that pisses off car drivers” ….is fine until you realize those same roads deliver food to your local supermarket, produce for export to the docks and the airport and yes tradies utes to fix your plumbing.

  9. That the cycle option isn’t part of a bigger, more-encompassing solution for crossing the harbour is madness. It takes a $billion off the inevitable other crossing.

  10. I have a bridge I can sell you,…what is it about bridges in NZ that is always the undoing of politicians,… thinking of Bridges seven bridges in Northland…

    Bloody hell! I think we ought to be start building rope bridges and just be done with it !

    We are not even Albania or Mexicans with cell phones anymore, we are the Congo in the 17th century, or England in the dark ages !!!

  11. The hard core lycra clad militant cyclist will not be happy having to ride on to a ferry and park up whilst the ferry journeys from one side to another.
    Their selfish personal goal, heart rate, race time will be compromised.
    They will also not be happy not being able get to the front of everyone else.

    • Yeah you’re so right Jack, The lycra clad cyclist is a self centered dickhead /cunt at the best of times. So boring in conversation too. Now mountain bikers on the other hand are great people. Love the electric version s of the mountain bike just wish I could afford one!

      • Shona
        Most cyclists in lycra just want get a bit fitter. BTW many of them are ladies in lycra. But I assume you are referring to the male variety whe you say dickhead/cunt. Using that kind of language as a woman is pulling the female privilege card. If we called you the same names, there would be an outcry.
        But what can you expect from an E bike fan.

  12. Can picture trades on a bike with all their work gear strapped to them & their bike and a towable bike trailer peddling like fuck over the bridge to get to the construction site but all of a sudden there’s a 40 bike pile up on the bridge! It’s carnage! Bloodied bodies everywhere! The Ambo’s cant get to all of the injured because they can’t drive onto the bridge! 20 people die.

  13. A good piece Martyn. The $785 mil. spend to provide this bridge could certainly be better used. Sam Stubbs’s notion of more ferries got me thinking. The capital cost of a ferry as used on our harbour is in the range of $1 to $5 milion. At a cost of [say] $5 mil per ferry, the $785 mil could provide an additional 150 ferries. This is too many but you can extend the argument to suggest that a reasonable number of extra ferries [25 or 50 perhaps] could be provided around the harbour, along with their staffing costs and maintenance, upgrades to wharves and so on for the spend that is being proposed on the cycle/ped bridge. The ferries could be designed with extra capacity for cycle carriage and they would be more frequent than now. They would provide transport for many suburbs not just the narrow North Shore – CBD crossing. I assume that the proposed new bridge will be free to pedestrians and cyclists and so will be a ‘sinkhole’ of cost for its construction and upkeep. I think the minister and his officials need to go back to the drawing board.

  14. Yes, we farmers who grow, produce, shear, crop, milk, calve, lamb and who are on-call 24/7 to get fuck all for what the big city scammers get to sell for grotesquely rorting, inflated, bloated post farm gate priced now-that-it’s-out-of-sucker-farmer-hands to our exploited, manipulated, corrupted, once-were off shore markets are terribly concerned for how you bludger aucklanders get from one side of a bridge to the other. Could you try going the long way and give us our money back instead?
    But seriously City of Sales cyclists? We get your pain. We get it that you’re a pain in the arse, a drain on resources and a danger to all life on earth.
    Now that the soulless, soft, pink, city born Right Wing who’s creed is greed has all but destroyed our economy, our country, our climate, the climate and countries of others, our planet and no doubt beyond we should stop now and take a stand against the unsightly sight of tight arsed multi coloured lycra wearers burning off their guilt on a many million’d dollar ego trip.
    Too much? Or not enough…I got more if you like?

  15. I agree with you on Woods and the idiocy of his cycle bridge…but not the EV tax. If we actioned the intent of the ETS, we don’t need this. It will have so many unintended consequences and we won’t achieve the suggested benefits. Too much govt control and not enough analysis and and discussion.

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