Auckland Central Green MP, Chlöe Swarbrick, this morning received a long awaited OIA with official advice and consultants’ reports on whether to regulate the Waiheke ferry service.
“My constituents on Waiheke are forced to use the only public transport route in the country which is recognised as integral to the network by the local authority, but not afforded the regulation and subsidies of all other public transport. Everyday, my constituents live with the legacy of dodgy decision making by the former National Government to explicitly exclude the service from regulation,” says Auckland Central MP, Chlöe Swarbrick.
“Now, after years of strong local advocacy, Waka Kotahi have spent two years kicking the can down the road only to twiddle their thumbs. They conclude that the service is integral to Auckland’s public transport network but say they haven’t found enough evidence as to whether fares should be regulated.
“It’s inexcusable, circular, bureaucratic logic while my constituents suffer. They say they can’t find enough evidence that fares need to be regulated but never used that impossible threshold when regulating all other public transport fares. They have based this almost entirely on a report as to whether Fullers are making normal or supernormal profits, as opposed to any metric of affordability for the people using the service.
“Even Auckland Transport have been explicitly arguing for regulation of this service since 2019. My community will once again be deeply frustrated by this complete lack of consideration of their needs, let alone the seemingly core concern of Waka Kotahi of what constitutes ‘normal’ profits for what’s supposed to be public transport.
“I invite Waka Kotahi to come and talk to my constituents who struggle to afford to visit family members in hospital, to those with kids who don’t get the same subsidies as every other Aucklander and struggle to attend sports and cultural events, to the workers for whom this is the only, extraordinarily expensive way to get to their job. They seem to have got the wrong end of the stick and only looked at profits when the point is public service.
“I have raised this frustration with the Mayor today and will once again escalate with AT and Waka Kotahi. This isn’t good enough and I want my community to know the fight for fairness will not stop with this latest bureaucratic road block.”