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Auckland South Communities Reassured of Open Approach

MEDIA RELEASE

2 December 2013

Auckland South Communities Reassured of Open Transport Approach

The NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport are asking community groups to help the two organisations find the best transport solutions to better link an economically growing south-west and south-east Auckland.

Existing transport in this important area – which includes Auckland International Airport, Mangere, Otahuhu, Onehunga, Penrose and East Tamaki – is already inadequate and with projected job growth there will be increasing pressure to better manage that increasing demand.

“We know that there are community concerns about a potential motorway solution, but there are a number of ways in which we can meet that demand. We do not have a preferred option – motorway or otherwise. We are asking communities to work with us to find the best possible answer to an important issue that will affect jobs, the streets families live in, and the way people and freight can move safely around this area,” says the Transport Agency’s Highways Manager, Tommy Parker.

Auckland Transport Key Agency Initiatives Group Manager, Rick Walden, says working openly with the community is a priority.

“We wanted to better understand the transport needs of this area, which we had been doing through local boards and other key stakeholders, before we began wider consultation. We’ve sensed a growing concern in the communities about this approach and acknowledge that we should have engaged the wider community from the start. We’ve heard what people have to say and we are responding to that immediately. We want to begin a more collaborative approach to discussing the issues and how best to deal with them together,” Mr Walden says.

“We want to work through issues like better public transport, walking, cycling and roading infrastructure with those communities.”

This combined area is Auckland’s industrial heartland and a major freight distribution hub, employing 135,400 people and generating $10.2 billion a year. Its economy is a similar size to the Bay of Plenty, Manawatu-Whanganui and Otago regions.

“Finding the right transport solution to meet this demand, provide better connections for freight to the motorways, and develop a strategic East-West link for Auckland, that also balances the needs of the communities, is no easy task. It is going to involve all of us, and it is going to take a while - there will be no quick-fix solution,” Mr Parker says.

“We’re asking for people’s patience, but more importantly we are asking for their help. Our first step will be to meet with community leaders, schools and local boards as well as the Respect Our Community Campaign group to discuss how we can all best move forward together. We will be contacting them this week,” says Mr Walden.

Next steps:

• Meet with community leaders, schools, local boards and the Respect Our Community Campaign group to discuss a process for engaging the community

• Update the community on how they will be engaged before the end of the year

ENDS


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