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Transport Crisis Needs Action, Not Slugging…


3 June 2005

Media Release

Auckland’s Transport Crisis Needs Action, Not Bully Boy Slugging…

Following the leak of misinformation in a Brian Rudman Herald column (3 June) about what allegedly took place at a Beehive meeting earlier this week between a group from the Auckland Business Forum and Finance Minister Michael Cullen and Transport Minister Pete Hodgson, Auckland Chamber CEO Michael Barnett released correspondence showing that Transit Board member Mike Williams in fact misled the meeting.

“Mike Williams’ claim to Ministers that Transit NZ has started ‘all’ the projects that were ready to go as at March 2004 is untrue.”

It is also false to claim that the Government’s 2003 funding package has been used to help accelerate the programme.

Of seven projects that were ready to go at the time of the Government’s announcement in 2003, just two have had timelines brought forward:

- The SH1 Alpurt bypass of Orewa, as a result of a decision to use tolls to help fund it following intense lobbying by Rodney Mayor John Law; and,
- The SH1 Waiouru peninsular link, as a result of intensive lobbying by Manukau City Mayor Sir Barry Curtis.

“Williams misled Ministers with claims that other ‘ready to go’ projects had started when in fact they have not.”

He also tabled a Transit document confirming that expenditure in Auckland in the next few years was not going to increase and that there would in fact be dip in 2-to-3 years time – perhaps he should also release that document.”

“Contrary to what Mr Rudman alleges in the Herald today, there was no U-turn. In fact, it was Mr Williams who left the meeting early allowing the meeting to proceed down a constructive pathway,” said Mr Barnett. Our letter to the Minister yesterday demonstrates this very clearly, said Mr Barnett.

“What is very clear, however, is that Transit – through Board member Mike Williams - misled both the business community and Government.”

The Business Forum group took down to Wellington positive suggestions to help accelerate completion of Auckland’s strategic roading network. “We stand by that call to action. We are trying to work constructively with the Government and will continue on that path.

“Like us they believe that putting a believable timetable and work programme on the wall that Aucklanders can trust and see being implemented month-by-month is a basic starting point.”

CHART

2000* 2002** 2003***
NB $ Mar04:Ready to Go ++ Aug 2004 # 2005 +++ Actual Start Date
SH20/1 Manukau Extn 2000-04 Mar 2004 2006/07 YES 2005 “Early” 2006 + UNCONFIRMED
SH20 Manukau Har Crossing 2005-09 2005^ 2009/10 NO 2010 2009/10 UNCONFIRMED
SH20 Mt Roskill 2000-04 March 2003 2003/04 YES 2004 “Spring”
2005 + UNCONFIRMED
SH20 Avondale 2005-09 2006^ 2010/11 2011 2010/11 UNCONFIRMED
SH18 Hobsonville 2000-04 Unclear 2005/06 YES 2005 2005/06 UNCONFIRMED
SH1 Alpurt 2000-04 Unclear 2006/07 toll rd YES Dec 2005 Started Dec 04
SH1 NS Busway 2000-04 Nov 2003 October 2004 YES Nov
2004 Started Sept 04
SH1 Esmonde Rd 2000-04 Nov 2003 Mar 2004 YES Started
2004 Started April 04
SH1 HBTC 2000-04 2004^ 2009/10 NO 2010 2009/10 UNCONFIRMED
SH1 Newmarket Viaduct 2000-04 Jly 2004 2007/08 NO 2008 2007/08 UNCONFIRMED
SH1 Waiouru 2000-04 2006^ 2006/07 YES 2004 Started Sept 04

3rd Harbour Crossing After 2010 -TBC No info No info Study
Starts
2004 TBC – No project yet UNCONFIRMED
ETC After 2010 Unclear No info No info TBC UNCONFIRMED

TABLE: Transit NZ’s Auckland SH major project start dates published since December 2000


* Source: Auckland State Highway Strategy, December 2000 – This document was prepared after considerable lobbying, including by business community. It was launched at ARC with huge fanfare, and wide expectations that Transit’s Auckland office would be beefed up and funded to deliver the strategy in a timely way.

** Source: Transit New Zealand Auckland Projects, October 2002.
^ Date indicates that “Application for construction funding” would be made

***Source: Transit New Zealand’s 10-year SH Plan 2003/04 – 2012/13, 30 June 2003 and Regional Manager Presentation, September 2003.

NB$: On 12 December 2003 the Prime Minister unveiled an additional $1.62 billion for transport infrastructure in Auckland, and said: “(The) money will go to the most appropriate projects, whether they be road, public transport or transport demand management….” The package included provision for “future revenue from tolls and borrowing.”

++ Source: Briefing Paper for Minister of Transport – Hon Pete Hodgson, March 2004. This paper stated that “…the additional funding would in addition to accelerating the work in the first (ready to go) group of projects, only allow a start on the very large projects. Mentioned was Avondale and 3rd harbour crossing.

# Source: “Getting Auckland Going,” Transit NZ Supplement published in NZ Herald, August 2004 supporting Regional Manager Presentation.

+++Source: Transit New Zealand’s Draft 2005/06 -2014/15 10-year SH Plan, February 2005, except where indicated.
+ Reported comment by Transit Chairman, New Zealand Herald, May 2004.


COMMENT:

1. The table shows clearly that Transit NZ dates have slipped badly. A slack performance of this magnitude in any private sector business would see the Executive team either severely reprimanded or out of a job.

2. It is patently clear that:

- Timelines have not accelerated as a result of December 2003 package of measures
- The group of “ready to go” projects listed when Pete Hodgson became Minister have NOT yet all started as suggested by Mr Williams in our meeting, and those that have, did not do so earlier than was indicated before the package was announced.
- There is no evidence that any other projects have been accelerated directly as a result of the 2003 package.

ENDS

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