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Auckland Transport plans "a war on pedestrians"

May 29, 2019

Auckland Transport plans to flood Auckland footpaths with two-wheeled vehicles, including e-scooters, e-bikes and conventional bicycles, says a group of prominent Aucklanders calling themselves ‘OpenTheBooks.co.nz’.

Speaking on behalf of the OpenTheBooks group (OTB), road safety campaigner Clive Matthew Wilson says many pedestrians are already unhappy that they’re sharing pavements with e-scooters.

“But it’s about to get much worse. I have repeatedly asked Auckland Transport to deny that they plan to allow all kinds of bikes and scooters onto footpaths. They have repeatedly declined to discuss the issue, which speaks for itself.”

Dr Lynley Hood from the Visual Impairment Charitable Trust Aotearoa (Victa) said this policy change would effectively become “a war on pedestrians.”

Auckland Transport’s proposal would require a law change. The government’s proposed ‘Accessible Streets’ package, would legalise the Auckland Transport plan.

The OTB group also wants a full independent inquiry into how e-scooters were allowed onto the streets of Auckland in the first place.

Matthew-Wilson points out that:

a major foreign corporation was apparently able to circumvent due process of law by hiring the former head of a major political party.

Matthew-Wilson adds:

“As of January of this year, the New Zealand Transport Agency stated that an "electric scooter would be considered to be a motor vehicle and would need to be registered" Motor vehicles cannot be used on footpaths.

“Yet after a quick chat with the former head of the Labour Party, who was a paid consultant for the e-scooter company, the NZTA mysteriously changed its mind. The process by which this sudden change occurred should be the subject of an urgent inquiry.”

Matthew-Wilson claims e-scooters were simply the first wave of two-wheeled vehicles to hit Auckland’s footpaths, “without consultation and without any democratic process.”

“That’s the way Auckland Transport works: they sneak policy through whether Aucklanders want it or not. And what happens in Auckland, tends to happen everywhere else a short time later.”

The four-person OpenTheBooks.co.nz (OTB) group reflects a wide range of political and social beliefs, but is “united by our outrage at the manner Auckland Transport conducts its affairs.”

The OpenTheBooks group comprises:

Don Brash

former Governor, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

Clive Matthew-Wilson

motoring and road safety expert.

Lisa Prager

community activist & local business-person

Jim Cato-Symonds

travel broker.


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