Full-On Action To Complete Auckland's Roading
28 February 2002
At Last! Full-On Action To Complete Auckland's Roading Network
The Government transport package announced today has the ingredients to give a much needed boost to Auckland, “but we clearly need to keep our foot on the pedal to get the network completed by 2007”.
"The package is most of what the Auckland Business Forum and Chamber of Commerce has been lobbying hard for over the past two years and shouldn't be seen as a parochial push by Auckland alone," said Michael Barnett, Chairman of the Auckland Business Forum and Chief Executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.
"The benefits of fixing Auckland's transport network will spin through to all New Zealanders by giving business faster and more certain access to vital places like the sea and air ports, and making it easier for everyone to get around the region.
The huge time-cost benefits from actioning Auckland's transport issues will be passed to consumers nationwide and give confidence to investors about the region's long term prospects," said Mr Barnett.
“The indication of legislation to speed up processes is important. Business agrees that appropriate consent processes need to be fast-tracked, and we look forward to this being actioned as soon as possible before the election and not being allowed to drag on indefinitely. “
Mr Barnett said another key point in the package supporting fast progress is Transfund and Transit being required to prioritise road projects and funding on a “reduced congestion” basis, rather than on a benefit cost basis.
This provision greatly helps network completion in Auckland, but without disadvantaging roading projects for other parts of the country.
In congratulating Government for responding to Auckland's call to action on its transport crises, Mr Barnett stressed that it is now up to Aucklanders themselves to get on with the job of completing the network.
"We have had the plans for 30 years, and blamed Government for the inaction to get them off paper and on to the ground faster. Now it is up to Auckland to get the job done, and do so in a professionally managed process over the next five years," said Mr Barnett.
He added, however that the region needs to be cautious about giving regional government the power to own and operate rail services. "I support the regional council remaining as the regulator of public transport services, but not extending its powers into the potential conflict of interest situation of also being the owner and operator. "As with buses and ferries, ownership and operation should belong to the private sector."