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Auckland’s transport development an emergency

Thursday, August 25th , 2005

Auckland’s transport development a ‘national emergency’

Labour or National can win Auckland by convincing voters they offer the clearest leadership on completing Auckland’s base road network – mainly the western ring route, the EMA predicts.

The Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says the leadership required will be demonstrated by the party that tackles completion of the western ring route as a national emergency.

The benefits from taking a crisis management approach to Auckland’s transport development now far outweigh the costs and are totally justified, said EMA chief executive, Alasdair Thompson.

“The base road network – the western ring route – could be completed well within eight years if there was the political will to do so,” he said.

“But Aucklanders are being lulled into thinking the region’s transport crisis is being addressed with adequate funding and consent processing. It isn’t.

“Transit’s record over the past 5 years is littered with changing objectives, altered time scales for urgent projects, and ‘unforeseen’ delays.

“The latest example is Transit’s current schedule which inexplicably sees funding of Auckland’s road construction plummet after 2007/8.

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2. “The funding drops from over $350 million next year to about half that in 2009/10, before work on the vitally needed Avondale extension is due to start.

“Funding levels must be maintained and increased to build contractor capacity and eliminate delays, and the money is available to do this.

“To demonstrate the level of commitment that Aucklanders will vote for, political parties must commit to complete the western ring route within 8 years by: Adopting the Resource Management Act’s definition that the project is in the ‘national interest.’ Requiring a ‘whole network’ approach to be taken, using if necessary special legislation of the type employed to build the Viaduct Basin for the America’s Cup. Requiring Transit to address the project through a turnkey process with methodical step by step performance management of its delivery. Providing the funding, using borrowing and tolls as required, sufficient to cover the cost of the entire project.

“Other undertakings helpful to Transit would require it to adopt an outcome-led best practice model whereby quality, flexibility and delivery on time and within budget are key performance measurements.

“Completing the western ring route by 2012 would generate a further $838 million GDP growth each year, representing a return of $4.60 for every dollar invested. (Allen Report)

“That’s clearly a ‘national interest’ no growth inspired government would want to lose.”

ENDS

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