Ram Says - A Stay On Tolling Sh1 Must Happen
Ram Says - A Stay On Tolling Sh1 Must Happen
On behalf of RAM Residents Action Movement, I have formally advised Transit NZ and the (Alpurt B2) Consultation Hearings Panel, that the Auditor-General¹s office will receive a request to investigate matters relevant to Transport Authorities, the Panel, and to every New Zealand citizen,² says Elaine West, ARC candidate for Auckland.
Because of the nature of the Auditor-General¹s investigations RAM has requested that Transit NZ place a Stay on Proceedings concerning the Alpurt B2 project.
Elaine says A Stay on Proceedings should be in place while the Auditor-General's office investigates possible conflicts of interest between several key public office holders involved in public transport decisions and their private interests, If any conflict of interest exists then this may have wide repercussions on governance throughout New Zealand.
Elaine says Only a thorough and impartial investigation by the Auditor- General will reveal whether or not the Secretary of Transport, Dr Robin Dunlop; the Director of the Maritime Safety Authority, Russell Kilvington; and the Chief Executive Officer of Auckland Regional Council, Jo Anne Brosnahan, who are listed as Directors of National Certification Agency Ltd - are working under conflicts of interest circumstances.
RAM also intends to investigate central Government¹s claim that new road user charges such as tolls, and congestion fees are indeed necessary methods to rapidly fund Alpurt B2 (Albany-Puhoi, SH1 extensions) and similar projects.
"I believe they¹re not." Elaine continues "RAM supports the majority view of people who made submissions to the Consultation Hearings Panel on the Alpurt B2 project: that existing petroleum taxes should immediately be available to fund necessary road construction and maintenance. And further, RAM believes that a world-class public transportation system is achievable with existing transport funding from central Government."
"Therefore, RAM will request that the Auditor-General scrutinises central Government accounts with a special focus on petroleum taxes."
"Finally" says Elaine West, "RAM will contact specific Members of Parliament to seek remedy over lack of Œdue process" by central Government and Auckland local bodies over new road user charges, and law changes.
"I believe that our country¹s democracy processes have failed us "she said. "Ordinary New Zealanders are left out of vital information and consultation-loops as central Government, local authorities, and big businesses wheel and deal our fortunes away."
"And who benefits when legal changes are made that place a huge strain on ordinary people and their families? Ask New Zealanders, and notice how hard paying household bills has become, and how family debt is rising."
"RAM's Manifesto states clearly that a Register of Interest that is open to public scrutiny should operate at all levels of public governance; that existing petroleum taxes are available to build a world-class transportation network; and that open and transparent democracy can work."
CONSULTATION HEARING PANEL - Transit NZ 2-4.0904
Re: SH1 - ALPURT B2 Northern Motorway Extension as a Toll Road
PERSPECTIVES - WITHOUT PREJUDICE
It can be reasonably presumed that central Government, along with Auckland¹s local Government bodies, namely Councils¹ chief executive officers, Mayors, Council representatives, and Committees, dedicated large amounts of time and effort into getting road pricing schemes underway.
New Zealanders and Aucklanders in particular, are bombarded with a blanket message arguably sourced by central Government, local Government and big business through the media:
* that new fund-raising ventures such as tolls, congestion fees, debt-funding schemes, private-public partnerships, petrol taxes etc must combine with existing road user charges and petrol taxes to raise funds rapidly and construct a world-class land transportation network
* that household rates must rise annually to support transportation funding
* that if new funds are not available through tolls etc, then Auckland and New Zealand, will suffer dire economic, psycho-physical, and social consequences
* and that every New Zealand citizen must believe tolls are inevitable if their lives are to improve and contradictions such as consequential food price hikes should be ignored.
Now, flip-over the incessant Government, local body, and general media spiel and find:
- that additional road user charges by way of tolls, congestion fees, debt-funding, private-public partnerships is not the way forward
- that in reality, such revenue-collecting devices add billions of dollars to the Crown Account and § a depleted public transportation system enables trucking companies to monopolise moving goods across country and
- Big Business Accounts boom as citizens build roads and then pay higher costs for goods and services.
If central Government ministers actively willed all existing petroleum fuel taxes towards a world-class transportation network, then Auckland specifically, and New Zealand in general, would have the means to quickly put land transportation solutions in place to build quality public transport options as well as necessary roads - purchased by the public purse, for the public good, to be held in public ownership.
It is an unfortunate state of affairs when New Zealand citizens are NOT informed, consulted or encouraged to take part in debate associated with land transportation funding. The relatively new Land Transport Management Act (2003) effectively shut-out the wider-public voice as such voices do not fall into the Œaffected community¹ definition under the Act.
Transit NZ - ALPURT B2 (SH1 Albany-Puhoi extension) consultation process demonstrates a legitimate-gagging of the public voice. ALPURT B2, as the inter-regional transport link between Auckland and Northland will predictably be a toll road even though the public majority stated that they were opposed to tolls and that existing petroleum taxes should be used to fund transport construction and maintenance. Numbers of submitters thought of tolls as the last resort.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND - LET¹S NOT PRETEND Central Government Wants to Toll.
Auckland citizens lost the ability to be heard in political decision-making several years ago:
I) Nov 1999. The Regional Growth Strategy: 2050 (officers/politicians including G. Bull (ARC); Sir B. Curtis (MCC); B. Hucker (ACC) - Transport: ³Strategic use of public funds to leverage private investment to enhance PT systems; congestion pricing; increased business involvement in strategic planning (structure/corridor/area plans and RLTS process). P69.
II) AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL Transport Committee 4 December 2002 FUNDING OF MAJOR TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS. 1/3. That the Committee supports the concept of debt funding transport infrastructure projects, including roading and public transport. Carried
SH1: HARBOUR BRIDGE TO CITY PROJECT a. That Transit NZ be informed that the option of widening the current road and viaduct is unacceptable. b. That Transit NZ be informed that Council expects the improvements to be designed to fully mitigate the impact of this corridor on Auckland City communities through a mixture of trenching and tunnelling. c. That Transit NZ be informed that Victoria Park is an irreplaceable and valued community asset, and should not be further compromised. d. That Transit NZ be requested to investigate a combination of tolls and debt-funding for the Harbour Bridge to City project. Carried
ACC AND POLICY ON TOLLING Official Information Act 29 July 2004 [a contradiction] 3. Auckland City Council does not currently have a policy on road user charges, such as tolls and congestion fees. Auckland City, along with other councils in the region, Transit New Zealand and central government are currently participating in an investigation on this subject, but there is no official view at this stage.
ACC¹s Transport Committee in 2002, agreed to specific methods of raising revenue through road user charges such as tolls. In addition, in 2003, the Mayoral Forum including ACC¹s Mayor, proposed road user charges for Project Specific Tolls among other things: see below). Therefore, a lack of policy on tolling did not deter Council moving in this direction.
THE PUBLIC WERE NOT GENERALLY CONSULTED or INFORMED.
III) Auckland Mayoral Forum Proposal for Funding the Completion of the Integrated Transport Network for the Auckland Region by 2010
(Mayors of Rodney; North Shore City; Auckland City; Papakura District; Franklin District; Chair of Auckland Regional Council)
i) Auckland was seen to urgently need to raise additional capital of $2.4b to action unfunded components in the Regional Land Transport Strategy
ii) The paper was prepared by council chief executives using work by RT Executive Group; for ARTC. Invited participants included Auckland Transport Action Group, Auckland Business Forum, CEOs, and private sector groups.
iii) Funding for $5b over 10 years included regional fuel tax; regional Road User Charges
Levy; Transfund debt servicing contribution; project specific tolls; additional capitalŠ
* PROJECT SPECIFIC TOLLS evaluate appropriate projects e.g. Penlink; ALPURT B2, Eastern Transport Corridor.
THE GENERAL PUBLIC WERE NOT INVITED TO PARTICIPATE or INFORMED.
[The Mayors wanted a flexible tolling regime; private sector involvement and alternative private ownership structures; increase in local authority petroleum tax; introduction of regional road user charges - among recommendations].
THE PUBLIC WERE NOT CONSULTED OR GENERALLY INFORMED.
IV) Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy (2003) ARLTS: ARLT Committee (ARC; others)
a. The stance taken in the RLTS is to provide accessibility for all traffic, including commercial traffic, and to provide for commercial traffic on regional and strategic routesŠAll these measures are designed to assist commercial as well as general traffic, with the roading projects assisting commercial traffic directly. p50
b. Road pricing can have two main functions to change motorists¹ behaviour and thus improve traffic conditions, and to raise funds. P52. The  schemes investigated parking charges, tolls on new roads only, combined toll/high occupancy vehicle lanes, motorway tolls, cordon tolls, local network charging and tolls on all roads.P52
c. Road pricing does not impact equally on al sectors of society and raises important equity and privacy issues. P52
d. Research was undertaken by the ARC in 2001 to better understand public attitudes towards road pricing. The findingsŠ.show that road pricing as a way of controlling congestion was not popular or well understood by the public.
e. As there are many issues which still need to be resolved, and because of the need for a change of legislation to allow road pricing, this RLTS assumes road pricing will have no effect on the initial 10year investment programme it proposes.
[Central Government introduced The Land Transport Management Act 2003 to legitimise new road pricing conditions such as tolls].
CENTRAL GOVERNMENT DID NOT CONSULT THE GENERAL PUBLIC.
V) AUCKLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL Strategic Policy Committee. 19 August 2004 RESOLVED: That the Council support in this instance the construction of ALPURT B2 as a toll road, on condition that: i. Tolling is clearly demonstrated as the only way to complete the project within the timeframe anticipated by the Regional Land Transport Strategy 2003.
[The public were not informed, consulted or given an appropriate opportunity to have input in policy or decision-making in this regard, EVEN THOUGH THE Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy notes that road pricing is inequitable and not well understood by the general public.
In a letter dated 3 June 2004, under the OIA, the Chair of ARC stated that: ³any ARC action on road pricing or tolling existing roads will depend on the outcome of the upcoming study and the Government¹s reaction to that study.²
I understand that the Government study will be completed in the first quarter of 2005, thus making the Strategic Policy Committee¹s decision to toll roads presumptuous and therefore ultra vires.
The same OIA ARC letter states Œany action on the Eastern Transport Corridor will depend on the form of ARC involvement.¹ Yet early in 2003, the ARC contributed to the Auckland Mayoral Forum Proposal for Funding the Completion of the Integrated Transport Network for the Auckland Region by 2010 including Project Specific Tolls for Penlink, Alpurt B2, and the Eastern Transport Corridor.
TRANSIT NZ -CONSULTATION UNDER LTMA (2003) Excludes the Wider-Public Voice
In a publication titled Transit Getting Auckland Going reference is made to the Transit New Zealand Board committing $500m and planning to spend a total of $2.4b over 10 years.
$2.4b is the exact figure cited in the Mayoral Forum¹s proposal paper [see III]. The general public were not consulted nor informed on the Mayors¹ proposals nor consulted or informed about central Government and Auckland¹s local bodies co-working parties.
Page 2 of the Transit Getting Auckland Going is SH1 Northern Motorway Extension. A 7.5km extension to the Northern Motorway between Orewa and Puhoi to provide quick and safe travel between Auckland and Northland. Planned to be Auckland¹s first toll road, it will ease congestion in Orewa and encourage economic development of the Auckland region. Planned completion 2009. Consultation.
This pamphlet was published before consultation processes were complete. Note: ³planned to be Auckland¹s first toll road² indicating Transit NZ¹s actual intentions.
It can be presumed that the Hearings Panel is determined to approve tolling against the will of the people being the majority of submitters who -
§ opposed tolling § wanted petroleum taxes, road user charges and existing Regional Funding to pay for roads.
Other issues ignored by the Hearings Panel include -
§ cultural implications § equity disparity, especially as costs would be borne by residents more than businesses and § SH1 being a national strategic asset and therefore subject to wider Œaffected community¹ consultation processes than narrow-legislative interpretation allowed under the LTMA 2003.
It is interesting to note, that affected Northland Councils as well as Auckland Regional Council stated that tolls should be a last resort. This opinion is shared by the lesser majority submitters.
Therefore, a question to ask is-
§ are road user charges such as tolls and congestion fees necessary to construct/maintain New Zealand¹s roads? The answer ³No.²
I understand that New Zealand¹s income for the past year was a healthy $46b. Road User Charges RUC spanning approximately 10 years have accumulated steadily.
In 1994/5 Petrol tax was $858m with Road User Charges being $396m making $1b. 254m. Duties going into the National Land Transport Fund amounted to $558m.
In 2003/4 (unaudited) petrol tax amounted to $1135.9m and RUC to $696.8m making $1b. 832.7m. Duties going into the NLTF amounted to $1b. 141.2m.
Forecast figures show that in 2013/14 petrol tax and RUC will be $2b. 874.6m. Duties going into the NLTF amount to $2b. 003.9m.
In an article written in the NZ Herald almost 10months ago (25 November 2003, C1), 900 vehicles landed on New Zealand roads every day. Vehicle imports were worth $489m in September - 20% up on the previous year and 91% higher than 2000. Importers spent $3.3b on cars and motor retailers sold just under $2b vehicles in three months with 230,000 cars registered over the year.
It is without doubt, that with approximately 97,000 more cars on the roads from 2002 to 2003, GDP levels based on New Zealand¹s private-passenger vehicle industry continued to soar.
In contrast, an interpretation of total Revenue funds from 1999/00 to 02/03 show a trend figure of around 3.5% going into the National Roads Funds, thus emphasising successive Government¹s chronic under-spending in this area.
Northland¹s Economy Depends Largely on ALPURT B2 Construction
The Far North District Council urged the Hearings Panel to waste no time in getting the ALPURT B2 project underway (I understand Northland¹s forests are closer to harvesting and ALPURT B2 would benefit Ports of Auckland Ltd access to forestry resources). Reasons cited in the submission include:
- national importance of ALPURT B2 - need for bringing goods from Ports of Auckland to the Northland region - popular destination point for Aucklanders holidaying in the Far North District.
Tolls were supported only if such charges enabled road construction to become a priority.
POSSIBLE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST ISSUES
National Certification Agency Ltd AND CEO (ARC); Secretary (Transport); Director (Maritime Safety Authority).
The following item is Without Prejudice and is Subject to Review if Required
It is of concern that the Directors of what appears to be a private company - National Certification Agency Ltd - are also members of Government or Local Government bodies who deal with transport issues in Auckland or New Zealand generally.
Further that the shareholder of the National Certification Agency Ltd is: The Institute of Logistics and Transport in New Zealand Incorporated.
The three Directors of the private company viz: National Certification Agency Ltd are key public office-holders who also had/have connections with Ports of Auckland Ltd (see NCAL shareholder)
1. Jo Anne Brosnahan
2. Dr Robin James Dunlop
3. Russell Kilvington
I understand that Jo Anne Brosnahan, Chief Executive Officer of the Auckland Regional Council, acts as an adviser to staff and ARC Councillors. Ms Brosnahan appears to hold 5334 ordinary shares in Ports of Auckland Ltd.
Dr Robin James Dunlop, Secretary of Transport (2004) and previously Chief Executive Officer of Transit NZ, was President of the Institute of Logistics and Transport Inc in NZ in 2003.
Mr Sandy Gibson, was Vice-President in the same year (2003). Mr Gibson is General Manager of Axis Intermodal at Ports of Auckland Ltd.
Russell Kilvington, Director of Maritime Safety Authority. I believe Mr Kilvington held an official chair on The Institute of Logistics and Transport Inc in recent years.
A series of questions were emailed to each Director, referring to their role and purpose on the National Certification Agency Ltd. Replies have not been received to date.
Clarification is sought regarding possible conflicts of issue - each NCAL Director plays a major part in specific public organisations and each deals with current transport issues in Auckland.
I believe that Dr Dunlop was CEO of Transit NZ for 14 years until this year when he became Secretary of Transport, and, Ms Brosnahan has been the CEO for the ARC for the past seven years.
Transit NZ and the Hearings Panel are dealing with roading infrastructure with input from the ARC, Ministry of Transport and Ports of Auckland Ltd involving the Directors of NCAL and their current public positions.
It must also be noted that the Mayoral Forum¹s Proposal Paper was put together by Auckland Councils¹ CEOs, (I assume this includes Jo Brosnahan as CEO for ARC) for central Government and Transit NZ to consider - Dr Robin Dunlop was CEO of Transit NZ at the time, which appears to add weight to conflicts of issue matters.
RECOMMENDATIONS That the wider-public body have · adequate data from Government sources explaining road pricing mechanisms that exist/are proposed as revenue raising ventures
· opportunities for input including: education, consultation, debate and the ability to make important transport infrastructure decisions affecting their future
That Transit NZ
· NOT toll roads as the majority of submitters did not favour such a move this would go some way in providing the public with a positive perception that local bodies and central government add genuine weight to consultation processes
That Transit NZ
· lobby central Government with the notion of putting all petroleum excise taxes into public transportation and road maintenance [as called by the majority of submitters]
That central Government and Transit NZ
· disregard the Auckland Mayoral¹s Proposal Paper as unconstitutional the wider-public body were not invited to participate in any way, shape or form to the paper as strategies outlining Auckland¹s transport network by 2010 included items such as road pricing mechanisms
- disregard Project Specific Tolls as suggested by the Mayoral Forum¹s Proposal Paper (2003) - Retain Penlink and ALPURT B2 as publicly-funded roads using petroleum excise taxes - Recognise that there is massive public opposition to the Eastern Transport Corridor - Establish a world-class public transportation system in Auckland using existing road user charges such as petroleum excise tax without delay
- request clarification from the Directors of the National Certification Agency Ltd - request that the Auditor-General investigate potential conflicts of interest re: the Directors of the National Certification Agency Ltd being: Jo Brosnahan, Dr Robin Dunlop, and Russell Kilvington; and their associations with the shareholder group (as mentioned)