Let Tauranga Hear the Voice of the Nation
8 February 2005
Let Tauranga Hear the Voice of the Nation Rise Against Tolls
Build Tauranga Harbour Link Bridge as an Open, Untolled Road
Submissions close Friday 18 February 2005 (please circulate widely)
First - A big THANK YOU to the growing number of New Zealanders coming together to oppose Road Reform and tolls in particular.
It is important that you give time to the following information based on best available documentation.
RAM - Residents Action Movement welcomes comments.
A small section on ROAD REFORM before entering your submission to Tauranga City Council.
Road Reform is driven by both Labour and National Governments and continues the 1984 Rogernomics agenda.
Transport officials including the Ministry of Transport CEO who is also the Secretary of Transport, give stability to Road Reform and make sure the programme goes through whoever gets into Government following an election.
Road Reform is being introduced into New Zealand in a 'careful and measured way' with as Œlittle public disruption¹ as possible. New laws are being drip-fed into society so changes are less obvious.
Public roads will operate as private roads ie. exclude those who do not pay for use.
New Zealand is now in a Road Reform transition phase that will see the corporatisation and privatisation of public roads.
Public roads will be used to chase profit-margins via Direct Road User Charges - tolls/congestion fees
- tolling and/or congestion fees will - at first to vehicle users and - later to cyclists, pedestrians, and utility providers (water/wastewater pipes, electricity lines parallel to roads
predictably costs will rise)
- charges for police managing roads
- transport authorities/road companies will make profits and pay tax.
Major law changes include the Local Government Act 2002, introducing public-private partnerships (PPPs) and giving multinational corporations entry to public road systems.
The Land Transport Management Act 2004 includes an 'affected community' in public consultation and denies wider community input (I presume that this does not stop everyone writing submissions as a democratic right).
Public Sweetners to Reduce Road Reform Impact * found as discussion items on Ministry's website.
- a reduction in local Transport Rates - a percentage of regional petrol taxes - * removal of existing Road User Charges for commercial vehicle operators
Tolls and congestion fees are Direct Road User Charges the New Zealand public have not been given opportunity to debate 'road pricing' and are largely unaware of Transport officials and Government's motives.
This is election year and Road Reform must be our top priority.
Tauranga's Battle is New Zealand's Battle
Tauranga¹s community have battled Road Reform changes and Direct Road User Charges (tolls) with courage and tenacity.
Now it's time for all New Zealand to come on board in the fight against Road Reform and tolls in particular.
Currently, Tauranga wants a strategic Harbour Link Bridge to be built as a 2nd harbour crossing for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. Tolls will be set up if funds are not available from other sources. Transit will pay about half costs.
Peter Brown MP, Deputy Leader, New Zealand First explains the situation.
· Currently we have one bridge paid for by tolls but require another (to run directly adjacent to the current one).
· They will be two-lane bridges · The infrastructure leading to the Tauranga bridge (and from it) is recognised as State Highway. · The bridge itself however is deemed a local road. As such it does not qualify for state funding - and does not appear even in the Transit programme.
· The public are being told there will have to be a toll. They are not being told how much money needs to be collected, how long the toll will be imposed for or what it will specifically pay for.
· The only information given is that the toll will be between $1 and $2 per car. · There is talk of the toll being used as a network toll (paying for other roads) and subject to "demand management" criteria (more expensive at peak times.)
· The Government expects to receive by way of taxes, vehicle registration, and Road User charges etc $18.7 billion over the next ten years.
· In addition, it will receive something like another $6 billion from the tax on petrol, which goes into the Crown account.
· New Zealand First advocates that there is no necessity for tolling (high use, priority) roads. It is legitimate to build/enhance roads at best possible speed and borrow where necessary against future income.
RAM - Residents Action Movement (Auckland)
RAM - opposes tolls and congestion charges on roads and expects Government to put all petrol taxes towards transport infrastructure.
These views were put in two submissions opposing
- building SH1 Orewa-Puhoi as a toll road and - the setting up of an electronic toll collection agency and - the Road Reform agenda.
Transit CEO: Tolls Could be Permanent Features
An article in the Bay of Plenty Times reveals that at a meeting held between Tolls Action Group (TAG), Transit NZ and Tauranga City Council on 24 January 2005, Transit¹s chief executive Rick van Barneveld accepted that law changes could make tolls permanent and income may go to other roading projects.
Secret Government Report
Tauranga¹s Predicted Toll Chaos & Govt's Urgency to Toll Auckland's Motorways
A secret government report leaked to Toll Action Group (TAG) predicted that re-introducing tolls on Harbour Link may send almost 30,000 anti-toll motorists onto free, alternative routes causing congestion chaos in the region.
The report¹s key contributor - Land Transport NZ - made it clear that the Harbour Link consultation process should speed up "because the outcome would be 'helpful' in advancing tolling plans for Auckland's motorway system." (Bay of Plenty Times, 21.1.05)
Tauranga Tolls Problems are Our Toll Problems
Toll 1. Special legislation allowed Tauranga's 1st Harbour Bridge to be built as a toll road at the cost of $27m in 1988 [similar to Auckland Harbour Bridge]. After 13 years and $90m, and following public protest - the tolls were lifted. Income had paid for another road project.
Toll 2. In 2003 Tauranga District Council opened Project K (Kopurererua Valley) as a toll road - costing large trucks $4, small trucks $2 and cars $1 each way. Again the public protested by avoiding the toll road and using a free route. A loss of $5.2m was recorded in Project K's first year of operation to 30 June 2004.
Proposed Toll 3. Harbour Link Bridge [Rd].
NOW'S the time for New Zealand to come on board and join Tauranga¹s toll protest.