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Govt’s Auckland Transport Structure Misguided

Media Release
City Vision-Labour Councillors - Auckland City Council
For Immediate Release
Thursday 3 September 2009

Government’s Auckland Transport Structure Misguided

The Government’s recent announcement about setting up Regional Transport Agency as a Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) at arms length has generated widespread misgivings among Auckland City Councillors. City Vision-Labour Councillors today urged Auckland City Council’s Transport Committee to make immediate representations to the Government to make the proposed body more democratically accountable and integrate its decision-making and role with other closely related Council and public functions. In spite of this being a vital and urgent matter, Transport Committee Chair and Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) Councillor Ken Baguley ruled the resolution out of order on a trivial technicality.

Councillor Richard Northey said, “We don’t want another independently acting CCO like Metrowater. What we want is to have an integrated transport delivery structure with its strategies and policies determined by the Auckland Council and its committees. Roads and streetscapes impact so much on economic development, town centre design, recreational activities and events that decisions about them cannot be shut away from the rest of the Council and the public.”

Councillor Graeme Easte said, “I note with dismay that the Government has kept rail and motorways totally separate from this new agency. Surely the key objective of creating a Regional Transport Agency should be to ensure co-ordination of the public transport and highway networks. Rather than do that, the new proposal creates an entity which will be responsible for every minor street and path, including such distractions as maintaining street trees and berm mowing in minor cul de sacs rather than concentrating on the big issues. I am also concerned that the new agency should guided by a comprehensive and over-arching strategy, similar to the existing Regional Transport Strategy model, not merely a handful of key policy directives as proposed.”

Councillor Glenda Fryer said, “The new transport agency will diminish the Auckland Council’s ability to properly plan for the new city after 2010. Planning for land use goes hand in hand with transport and road use, and to spin off regulatory and governance control over suburban roads, road reserves and footpaths will tie the hands of the new Auckland Council when it attempts to bring the whole of the region together in one District Plan. Sound policies that include land and transport planning for Auckland to 2025 will be hamstrung by the Government’s actions.”

Bruce Kilmister, Chair of the Western Bays Community Board, said, “This move to control all roading takes local decision making away from the proposed local boards. There is no question that local residents, through their new local boards, will know best where to place speed bumps, pedestrian refuges, pedestrian crossings, tree planting and other local roading matters. Leave local roads to local decision-making!”

Councillor Leila Boyle said, “I am very disappointed that C&R today decided not to endorse our team’s very sensible motion that read:

“That the Transport Committee express its continuing concern to the Government about aspects of the proposed Auckland Regional Transport Authority including its full control of local roads and their streetscapes making it difficult to integrate with decisions properly made by the new local boards and by town centre organisations such as Mainstreet committees and also its inadequate integration with Central Government agencies responsible for state highways and rail making integrated decisions about roads, buses, ferries and trains unnecessarily difficult.

“I find it bizarre that C&R would not allow this position to be on the public record when we raised it during an item where the report stated how this very matter was discussed at the August Regional Transport Committee. It seems to me to be an abrogation of their responsibility to advocate on behalf of the people of Auckland on this vital issue facing the region,” Councillor Boyle concluded.

ENDS

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