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Overwhelming support for transport net. completion

MAYOR'S OFFICE

AUCKLAND CITY

Moving Auckland Forward

30 June 2003

Survey finds overwhelming support for transport network completion

More than 90 per cent of Aucklanders want Government to urgently provide the funds needed to complete Auckland's agreed transport network by 2010.

Reinforcing this view, 95 per cent believe that completing the network - both motorways and improved public transport - is either extremely important or important.

These findings are among highlights in a survey of Auckland region residents from Wellsford to Pukekohe. It was carried out for the Auckland City Council and released today by Auckland's Mayor, John Banks.

"There is unquestionably overwhelming support for the recent suggestion by Prime Minister Helen Clark and Finance Minister Michael Cullen, for a special funding for the region's network," Mr Banks said.

"Auckland's incomplete network is now causing gridlock virtually at anytime of the day or night. Every Aucklander experiences frustration and the cost to the economy is a billion dollars a year."

Mr Banks said: "If the electricity crisis is now over, every Aucklander knows that the region's transport crisis is still with us and getting worse by the day.

"I'm sure that Government is getting very tired of the slow progress we are making to fix Auckland's third-world transport network. What this poll does is give Government and the region the ammunition to fast track the solution.

"It brings new urgency to the work underway between the region and central Government to determine a funding package that can be quickly applied to get completion of the triple by-pass as a single project.

"My mayoral colleagues want this package in place before the end of the year," said Mr Banks. "With Government now agreeing on the case for urgency, we suggest a Christmas box for Auckland. This should include a special fiscal solution for the region, which the region contributes and helps to pay for.

"Together with the government, I'm sure the region can provide the leadership to get network completion locked down once and for all," Mr Banks said.

Key survey findings include:

- 62 per cent say rush hour traffic congestion affects them personally

- 74 per cent think completing the regional transport network in the next seven years is extremely important

- 21 per cent consider it's completion important but not urgent

- 92 per cent approve a contribution by central government toward completion within seven years (23 per cent choose this as their sole funding option)

- 38 per cent say they support an extra ten cent tax on fuel

- 42 per cent say they would approve of tolls on key roads

- 30 per cent support charging vehicles to drive in congested areas

The telephone survey of 476 respondents was conducted by an independent company. On 21, 22 and 23 June. The maximum margin of error is 4.5 per cent. The questionnaire was designed and analysed internally.

Ends

Footnote:

All seven Auckland councils - Rodney, North Shore, Waitakere, Auckland, Manukau, Papakura and Franklin - together with the Auckland Regional Council/Auckland Regional Land Transport Committee with Infrastructure Auckland, are working with central government to bring in a package of measures to finish Auckland's transport network in the next seven years. This work is costed at $5 billion, but presently a $2.4 billion funding shortfall exists.

The Transit New Zealand's and Transfund's annual and 10-year national transport project construction plans are expected to be released later today (Monday 30 June).

Editors note:

The full poll results are available below

Regional transport network funding poll

Poll details

This survey was designed and analysed by officers of Auckland City. The independent telephone calling company Telelink conducted the 476 phone interviews (of just over five minutes each) for a total fieldwork cost of $3780.10 plus GST.

The calls were conducted from the evening of Friday, 20 June to the evening of Monday, 23 June 2003. Telelink contacted people all over the Auckland region, from Pukekohe to Wellsford.

The survey was statistically weighted to be representative of the Auckland region (18 years and over) in terms of age, gender, ethnicity and employment status. The method of weighting used was iterative rim weighting and was carried out by the research and consultation manager of Auckland City.

The maximum margin of error is 4.5 per cent (at 50 per cent incidence). The margin of error is 3.8 per cent at 25 per cent incidence and 2.6 per cent at 90 per cent incidence.

Key findings

There is strong support for the government providing the solutions to the funding shortfall.

Aucklanders do not expect that to be the only way, but there is no clear second choice behind central government providing the funding.

The level of frustration is high (three-quarters of people say the network completion is extremely urgent) even though the level of awareness is only moderate (two-thirds of people know at least a little about the network although almost all have heard of it).

Questionnaire and results

Hello, it's _______ speaking. I'm calling on behalf of Auckland City Council. We're doing a short survey on issues that affect Aucklanders. Do you have time for this now?

(If not, ask if they are interested and, if so, make a time to call back otherwise thank them for their time)

Q1. Firstly, do you or anyone in your household work for Auckland City Council?

Yes 1

No 2 100%

Don't know 9

This survey is about transport.

The different councils in Auckland want to complete the integrated regional transport network by 2010.

These road and rail improvements will cost about $5 billion but the region only has about half that money.

We'd like your views on the issue and some of the ways proposed to raise the money.

Q2. How much does rush hour traffic congestion affect you personally?

(read out)

...A lot 1 33%

...A little 2 29%

...Not at all 3 38%

***DON'T READ*** Don't know or refused 9

Q3. How much does traffic congestion outside rush hour affect you personally?

(read out)

...A lot 1 18%

...A little 2 38%

...Not at all 3 44%

***DON'T READ*** Don't know or refused 9

Q4. Thinking about the importance of completing the regional transport network, which of the following statements best reflects your view?

(read out)

...Extremely important and should be completed in the next seven years 1 74%

...Somewhat important but not urgent 2 21%

...Not important compared to other issues 3 5%

The transport network could be completed within seven years if we had the money.

Q5. To get the money which of the following ways do you approve of? (just say yes or no to each one)

(read out)

...A regional petrol tax 35%

...Contribution by central government 92%

...A toll on key roads 42%

...Charging money to travel in congested areas 30%

...Increased rates 22%

Only 23 per cent of people said "contribution by central government" and nothing else. Combined with the extremely strong message that people want a contribution by central government (92 per cent) this shows that Aucklanders do not expect the government's contribution to be the only source - most are willing to pay for it in some other way.

In addition to some money from the government, the councils suggest that money be borrowed to pay for improvements. An additional regional fuel tax could be introduced to pay back the loans.

Q6. On top of what you already pay for fuel, how many cents per litre do you feel would be fair to pay for the completion of the network?

[record actual cents. Use ZERO for "no increase" and 999 for "don't know"]

17 per cent of people said they didn't know. Of those who said an actual amount, 49 per cent of people said "No increase" and only 10 per cent said more than five cents.

Q7. This regional network can be completed if there were an extra ten-cent tax on fuel. This would cost most people an extra few dollars per week. Would you support this tax?

Yes 1 38%

No 2 59%

Don't know or refused 9 3%

Q8. Thinking about this future integrated road and rail network, which of the following statements best describes your current level of knowledge of it.

(read out)

...I have never heard of it before 1 10%

...I have heard of it but I don't know anything about it 2 22%

...I know a little about it 3 58%

...I know a lot about it 4 9%

*** DON'T READ *** Other or don't know 9 1%


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