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Metropolitan Mayors Seek Mandate to 'Finish Job'

Joint media statement:
Manukau Mayor, Sir Barry Curtis
Auckland City Mayor, Hon John Banks
Waitakere City Mayor, Bob Harvey
North Shore City Mayor, George Wood

12 September 2004

Fixing Auckland Transport - Metropolitan Mayors Seek Mandate to “Finish the Job”

The four city mayors in metropolitan Auckland today issued a progress report on the three-year action plan they launched in October 2001 for getting priority on solving Auckland’s transport problems by the time of this year’s local government elections.

In a joint statement, Mayors Sir Barry Curtis (Manukau), John Banks (Auckland), Bob Harvey (Waitakere) and George Wood (North Shore) said they were overall pleased with progress in the last three years, but agreed that there was still some major gaps needing focused action - otherwise the gains of the last three years would be wasted.

“The fact is that we have come a huge distance in the last three years,” said Sir Barry. He recalled that in October 2001, shortly after the last elections, the four metro Mayors had met in his office and drafted an action plan for addressing the region’s transport issues.

“We agreed that the priority of the Mayors for the three years should be on sorting Auckland’s transport. We convinced John Banks to a call for action on “motorway network completion including integrated public transport.

“We also were enthusiastic for John Banks to lead the charge publicly in shaking the tree to get the action and focus we wanted from Wellington and the Regional Council,” said Sir Barry.

The strategy that the Mayors committed to embraced encouraging Wellington and the Auckland Regional Council to action the following:
- The Crown to purchase the rail corridors – completed;
- Upgrade suburban heavy rail – underway;
- Upgrade stations and corridors – underway;
- Double track the rail line to Swanson – underway
- Improve bus transport – underway
- Commence – complete – 15 major infrastructure projects needed for motorway network completion, including the western and eastern bypass and the SH1 bus lane between Auckland and North Shore Cities – 3 completed, 9 well underway, and 3 still to be locked down;
- Promote innovative funding methods, including from private sector – Enacted by Parliament.

Bob Harvey said that getting focus and engagement of Wellington and the regional council on the rail package had been a mammoth task. “With Britomart station finished the resulting demand for better train services has been a catalyst for faster action on the rest of the agenda,” he said.

Of the 15 major roading projects, just two have been completed, Grafton Gully and Puhinui interchange.

However, George Wood noted that construction is underway on projects on Upper Harbour Drive and the North Shore Busway.

While construction is finally scheduled to start on the Richardson Rd section of the SH20 western bypass, John Banks agreed that critical gaps still remained in upgrading SH1 at St Marys Bay and getting the Avondale section of SH20 firmly locked down.

“I agree with Mayor Wood that we need to get more focus on speeding up the Victoria Park viaduct project – it will be a priority in the next three years,” said Mr Banks.

Sir Barry said that the recent announcement that construction would soon start on the Manukau extension and Waiouru interchange projects “would not have happened if it the Mayors hadn’t worked closely together as they had over the last three years.”

Sir Barry: “Aucklanders overwhelmingly want clear leadership to get the job finished. It was never a one term project.”

Ends

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