Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Ratepayers deserve full explanation over costly tram failure

Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Ratepayers deserve full explanation over costly tram failure

Reports that the board of Waterfront Auckland has suspended funding the Wynyard Quarter trams should come as no surprise, says Auckland Councillor for Orakei, Cameron Brewer.

“Promises made that the two old trams would attract over 10,000 users a month and pay for themselves were completely pie-in-the-sky. Ratepayers deserve a full explanation why such outrageous promises to Auckland Council could’ve been made in the first place.”

Back in May 2012, Mr Brewer released alarming figures which showed revenue from ticket sales for the trams’ first eight months was only a third of what was forecast and monthly patronage numbers* had fallen to only 20% of what was forecast. By then, the tram company had already recorded an operating loss of $139,136 and Waterfront Auckland was actively seeking a further $150,000 subsidy required to return the tram company to a break even position and ensure continued operations.

“The trams financial failure was well-signalled but no one wanted to hear about it. Instead they just kept driving empty trams around a desolate car-parking hoping something would change. Ratepayers have been forced to keep forking out, while a few camels have kept their heads completely in the sand. It’s totally unacceptable.

“The trams proved popular when they first opened and during the Rugby World Cup but they have been a disaster since. Their hours and days of operation should have been cut back over 12 months ago. Instead every day from 10.00am to 4.30pm, according to Waterfront Auckland’s website, they’ve been going around and around - empty most of the time. You wouldn’t run a business like that. Ratepayers have been treated like mugs.”

Mr Brewer says as well as a full explanation of why Waterfront Auckland’s forecasts were so wrong and why it kept the service going for so long, the $8.2m allocation to extend the tramlines over the Te Wero drawbridge, and along to Britomart should be deferred indefinitely.

“Waterfront Auckland assured us that such an extension of the project wouldn’t increase existing operational costs much as the trams were already fully staffed and running full time. However ratepayers should be very worried about further operational and capital cost blow-outs.”

According to the council’s draft 2013/14 Annual Plan and Waterfront Auckland’s website the extension work has been deferred from the current financial year of 2012/13 to 2013/14 with the project starting in September this year and due to be complete September 2014.

“That’s still too soon. Waterfront Auckland needs to first and foremost sort out the failings of the current service, before extending it. Let’s not throw good money after bad. Ratepayers deserve better and Auckland has much greater priorities,” says Cameron Brewer.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Labour: Little Announces New Shadow Cabinet

“Labour had an impressive intake of fresh faces after last year’s election and newest MPs have now had a year to show what they’re made of. This reshuffle rewards hard work and continues my drive to renew our Caucus line up." More>>


Because Reasons: Someone Reckons David Seymour Is Politician Of The Year

Trans Tasman's 11th annual Roll Call has thrown a curve ball this year, ignoring the likes of John Key, Bill English, and Winston Peters to pick its politician of the year from the ranks of the new generation. More>>


Whaling: NZ Deeply Disappointed By Japan's Decision

“New Zealand is strongly opposed to whaling in the Southern Ocean. We call on Japan to take heed of the 2014 International Court of Justice decision and international scientific advice concerning their whaling activities.” More>>


Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



More RSS  RSS News AlertsNews Alerts
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news