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Auckland Transport Stumbles On Its Own Pathway

OPEN LETTER TO THE AUCKLAND TRANSPORT CHAIR AND BOARD from the Waiheke Climate Alliance.

It is bitterly disappointing that Auckland Transport has failed at the very first opportunity to take actual action on the climate challenge. It has stumbled and fallen by the wayside of its own Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway. (TERP)

In April 2022 we published a community report - The Climate Emergency and Transport on Waiheke Island. It detailed immediate actions that could be taken by Auckland Transport to enable hundreds of islanders to play their part in reducing transport emissions.

These include the expansion and restoration of bus routes and services cut in 2019, together with simple improvements to scheduling, timetables and operations that reduce road congestion and make car alternatives like biking and walking safer, attractive and viable. These first step mode-shift solutions are all the more compelling because they do not need extra buses or more drivers, can be implemented immediately, and vitally important, do not need funding.

This report was submitted to the Auckland Council TERP team, the Waiheke Local Board, Mayor Goff, Auckland Transport Chair and Deputy Chair and the Environment & Climate Change Committee for the TERP adoption in August 2022.

The response from Auckland Transport has come two months later and is a denial of not only our report but everything the TERP advocates and endorses. It is inexplicable and deeply worrying.

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Why, when the TERP says it is critical that Auckland Transport foster deep and ongoing engagement and dialogue with Aucklanders on climate actions did you totally ignore our call to work together on our developed solutions?

Why, when the TERP emphasises giving greater support for Maori, citizen and youth-led responses and enable community groups to “shape their own transport solutions”, did you reject those very community solutions in our climate report?

Why, when the TERP highlights the need to transform engagement processes to better enable citizen participation in transport decision-making did you fail to even contact us?

Why, when the TERP notes it is a vital risk that the proposed changes do not receive public support did you dismiss our solutions that detail the positive – our use of carrots instead of sticks - and our emphasis on encouragement and support and removal of barriers?

Finally, as we emphasised, both in our report and submission before the Environment & Climate Change committee, to implement the vital mode shift solution requires the active engagement of people. We all need to be involved, valued and able to contribute. It cannot be business as usual because it IS a climate emergency and we cannot wait.

As we concluded in our letter to Auckland Transport which bears repeating, we need to work together. But first we need Auckland Transport to get up – get back on the pathway – live up to its responsibilities. We are here, we are not going away, and we can help. So how do we do this?

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