And away she goes on her maiden trip from Papakura to Britomart on the Southern Line.

And Here It Is: #FixOurCity

So what is this alternative to the Mayor’s Auckland Plan Transport Network


It was introduced at the Auckland Conversations event on Monday and given in brief yesterday here. Today and below is the full report from Generation Zero on their #fixourcity Essential Transport Budget:

From Generation Zero



The Essential transport Budget – An Alternative to the Mayor’s Auckland Plan Transport Network


I support #FixOurCity and the Essential Transport Budget and will be both taking this with me to the Papakura Local Board Long Term Plan ‘Have Your Say Session’ as well as my final written feedback to the LTP itself.

It is a more balanced and affordable budget than the Mayor’s gold-plated and excessive Auckland Plan Transport Network. Like the Congestion Free Network (that the Essential Transport Budget feeds into) the outcomes compared to the APTN give actual benefits (compared to congestion getting worse under the APTN) for $280m/year less than the APTN itself.

So why would you not support the Essential Transport Budget. It even seems Grey Power support the #fixourcity campaign.



Some Corrections to a Very Wrong Piece of Commentary on the Unitary Plan and City Rail Link

Should it have made the Herald?


The “commentary” piece that landed in the Herald and so linked below also landed in my email box early this morning as well. It is not often I hit the Gmail “Report Spam” button on such emails but today was a day I did hit it.


Because you have works of Non Fiction, Works of Commentary, Works of Fiction, and then there is just utter spam. And what Bryan Leyland wrote on the Unitary Plan and the City Rail Link despite both’s flaws and possible shortcomings falls into the utter spam department. I am surprised the Herald actually published it unchecked and unbalanced but it did and did itself no favours.

I have been mulling whether to publish a counter to what Leyland wrote and decided to do so.


So I am going to break down Leyland’s piece section by section with counter points


From the NZ Herald

Bryan Leyland: Council must get up to speed with future transport needs


The railway tunnel will serve only a very small fraction of Auckland’s population and at a huge cost. Mayor Len Brown is determined to commit Auckland to building a hugely expensive railway tunnel even though no comprehensive independent and objective economic analysis has been made on the merits of the tunnel and whether or not letting the city spread and developing satellite centres would be better.

Auckland Council has neglected its obligation to investigate and evaluate all options. Given the enormous amount of expenditure involved, this amounts to a serious dereliction of duty.


That myth around the City Rail Link serving a very small fraction of the population has been busted more than once and will be continuously be busted again.

Here is some actual information on the City Rail Link:

City Rail Link – an Index by Transport Blog

City Rail Link – The Information from Auckland Transport

Benefits of the City Rail Link – More information from Auckland Transport


As for studying all alternatives the City Centre Future Access Study (CCFAS) covered what Leyland said wasnt done to the point a CCFAS MK2 is either under way or about to get under way. More on CCFAS MK1 can be seen in these two posts from Transport Blog

What was wrong with the modelling done for the CCFAS

The MoT and the CCFAS

So Leyland might want to read up on CCFAS and CCFAS MK2 rather soon.


Overseas research on 44 urban rail systems revealed that the average cost overrun was 45 per cent and the number of passengers was half the predicted number. Have the economics of the Auckland tunnel been tested against 45 per cent higher costs and half the passengers? If not, why not?


Rather than make such a sweeping statement Leyland would have been wise to link those rail projects that have had such blow outs.

My Rail Fallacy posts cover the implications of such blow outs and can be seen through clicking the links below:





Now that last one illustrates what Auckland Transport might or would have done to avoid the Fallacy. The inflated costs and all reasonable considerations have been added into the final cost of the City Rail Link. This minimises The Rail Fallacy and consequential costs against the ratepayer. Thus Auckland Transport has done its homework in benefit of us.


The council planners seem to be totally unaware of the imminent revolution in personal transport that will be brought about by self-guided cars, modern taxi systems, ride sharing and buses. By the time the tunnel is in operation self-guided cars that will allow twice the traffic density on roads and reduce accidents by 50 per cent or more will be available. Not long after it will be possible to call up a driverless taxi or minibus by cellphone to take you where you want to go. For those who think that this is the stuff of dreams, it is now possible to buy a car that, in a traffic jam, will follow the car ahead and every major car manufacturer is developing self-guided cars.

These technological advances, combined with telecommuting (working from home and using the internet to communicate) and smartphone-assisted car pooling will have a huge effect on commuting and the shape of future cities. The council should take its head out of the sand and get up to speed with this revolution.


Auto-cars and tele-commuting. Stuff touted since the 1960’s and never eventuated or if so not to the potential to what the than visionaries had envisioned. Google and Yahoo are two of the big digital companies of the world that recently shunned tele-commuting and brought everyone back in-house to the office on the grounds of productivity and efficiency. It most cases (and if done properly) the office space in a city centre or even metropolitan centres and industrial complexes benefit from the mass agglomeration given by such spaces through shared resource and knowledge all in close proximity. Put it this way humans by natural order are social creatures and work better often in social rather than individual environments. This is why tele-commuting will never reach such potential.


The Unitary Plan is based on a blind belief that it is wrong to let the city spread and intensification is the only option. This is simply not true. There are large areas of low-value agricultural land to the north, west and south of Auckland and much of it is already allocated for “lifestyle blocks” that contribute nothing to the agricultural economy. So the council argument that the city must not spread because it would deprive us of valuable agricultural land is nonsense.

The Unitary Plan concentrates development in the central isthmus, which is already crowded and includes the volcanic area. The council has ignored the lesson from Christchurch that you should not keep all your assets in one place.


If Leyland had bothered to even read the opening remarks to the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan he would know that the PAUP allows between 60-70% of all development in existing urban areas known as Brownfield Areas with the remaining balance in the Greenfield areas (rural or virgin land).

If Leyland had also read the Interim guidance from the Unitary Plan Panel on Rural Urban Boundary he would have also noticed that Council is not getting it easy with the Rural Urban Boundary (a line that separates urban Auckland from rural Auckland) from the Panel either.

The link above takes you to that interim guidance with respected commentator Bob Dey giving his own thoughts here: Unitary plan panel at odds with council on boundary

Some extracts from Bob Dey’s piece:

Unitary plan panel at odds with council on boundary

The independent panel hearing submissions on the Auckland unitary plan has told submitters the council’s proposed provisions for the new rural:urban boundary “may be overly stringent” and that a more flexible boundary would be better.The panel also said in interim guidance it issued on Monday: “A rural:urban boundary is the most appropriate method to achieve the objective of a quality compact urban city when compared to the principal alternatives of the operative metropolitan urban limit & no boundary.”


The panel said the basis for establishing or changing the rural:urban boundary should be determined by criteria in the regional policy statement “which include at least the following” – a feasible developable area, infrastructure able to provided efficiently (including on a timely basis) & resiliently, and an appropriate timeframe for development.

The panel produced another caveat on the council view of restricting growth, essentially adopting an anti-compact stance while basing the guidance on the council’s compact city strategy: “There do not appear to be any plan methods which would achieve any objective or policy which seeks to allocate growth within & outside the current metropolitan area, other than using future urban zones as a restriction on growth.

“The panel is not satisfied that such restrictions would promote either the overall growth objective or the purpose of the Resource Management Act. The use of the words ‘greenfield’ & ‘brownfield’ in this context is accordingly not supported.”

In the interim guidance on rural subdivision, the panel said the unitary plan should provide for rural lifestyle subdivision “to a greater extent”: “It may be discouraged or constrained, but should not be effectively prevented. There should be no requirement to use existing rural sites rather than create new ones.”


Source and full blog post:


So the RUB needs to be more flexible and the Future Urban Zone is a flawed device into guiding future Greenfield development.


The Unitary Plan concentrates development in the central isthmus, which is already crowded and includes the volcanic area. The council has ignored the lesson from Christchurch that you should not keep all your assets in one place.

Most of the isthmus has well-established high-density suburbs with good houses, trees, gardens and lawns that are environmentally friendly and support large populations of birds and bees. The Unitary Plan will demolish these suburbs and substitute blocks of flats that will increase demand for parking, roads, schools, power, water supply, drainage and the like. There will be serious environmental and social impacts. Expanding infrastructure in an established suburb is far more expensive and environmentally damaging than building new low-cost houses on greenfield developments.


Apart from the Christchurch bit that section from Leyland is pure utter bollocks and should have never made it into the Herald unchecked. For starters thanks to NIMBYism on both sides of the political debate the Unitary Plan does not concentrate development on the Isthmus it actually forces development out into the fringes against the freer market and against the wishes of people interacting in that freer market.

The only place taking a real increase in development is the City Centre itself rather than the rest of the Isthmus. Using the term high density is disingenuous at best and down right false at worst. The only high density areas on the Isthmus are those that contain high rises (9 storeys or more) and that again is mainly the City Centre and parts of Newmarket.

High Density development in the Unitary Plan is also only allowed in the City Centre Zone, nine of the ten Metropolitan Centres, and Pakuranga Town Centre (the Heavy Industry Zone allows for higher density industrial development compared to the Light Industry Zone). The rest of Auckland either has low or medium density development depending on the incoming zones.

The Unitary Plan will not demolish the existing Isthmus suburbs as we are not China nor the former Soviet Union on some State Building exercise. What the Unitary Plan allows in conjunction with the Auckland Design Manual is for the Isthmus to naturally evolve to the demands of the people via the freer market.. Meaning if they want a three storey terraced housing complex in a Terrace Housing and Apartment Zone that allows six storeys then that three storey development can be built. If there is demand for that six storeys then the six can be built instead.

The point being is that the zones are enablers and when applied properly allow the people to choose the housing typology needed for a given area.


As for the myth around Brownfield being more expensive to provide infrastructure; that was refuted in the recent Cost of Growth Study that went to Auckland Council. In short that study concluded independently (from Council) that neither Greenfield nor Brownfield had any advantage or disadvantage over the other in terms of infrastructure costs. How so?

I outline it here (backed up with extra commentary and the report itself): COST OF RESIDENTIAL SERVICING REPORT BEFORE COMMITTEE – UPDATED


The council’s objective is to ration land and artificially inflate land values so as to force people to demolish good houses and force them to build apartment buildings to spread the rates burden. Auckland houses and the land they stand on now cost seven times the average income. In many prosperous and liveable cities overseas, the cost is only three times the average income. Virtually all of the low-cost cities have flexible urban boundaries and town planners whose objective is to help people live how and where they want. The objective of the council planners seems to be to dictate where and how people should live.


Leyland has contradicted himself for reasons I have pointed out earlier in this post.


The Unitary Plan will make personal transport unaffordable for low-income people and this will make it extremely difficult for them to take their families to the beach or parks or out into the bush.


Who says low-income people want personal transport. If the public transport figures and feed back to the Long Term Plan is anything to go by people want more invested on public and active transport and less on “roads.” Heck even Grey Power are saying less on roads:Grey Power joins fight against major road projects



Auckland can pour vast amounts of money into city centre development in the hope of getting enough passengers to justify a railway tunnel, or it can allow the city to spread and develop satellite centres so that people can live in affordable houses and work in the same area.

Before any action is taken on the Unitary Plan and the tunnel, ratepayers should demand that an independent and objective study is done on the social, environmental and economic benefits of allowing the city to spread, compared with intensification. Nothing is more important.


If you used actual facts rather than conjecture Bryan, and that both the Unitary Plan and City Rail Link were that deeply flawed then yes another independent review of both would be needed. But both the Unitary Plan and the CRL are not deeply flawed. They both have some shortcomings but they are being worked through very methodically. The Unitary Plan Panel has not being giving Council and easy ride and on a few occasions have savaged the Council for less than ideal evidence and methodologies for their claims with the Unitary Plan. The Regional Policy Statement Interim Guidance has been a very clear example of that. I also expect the Port of Auckland rules issue to be another example too other the next few months.


So should have the Herald published Leyland’s spam (not even worth putting into the Fiction Section of a Library)? Yes it should have as it does trigger an automatic rebuttal on the true facts. True facts that need to be put out into the public to the point drilled into them. That said I hope the Herald has contacted Deputy Mayor, Auckland Development Chair thus overseer of the Unitary Plan – Penny Hulse for a reply to refute Leyland’s conjecture and put the solid actual information out there……


Source of Herald material:


Britomart station drawing
Source: Auckland Council

Latest Long Term Plan Feedback Numbers

Pattern becoming visible


The latest Long Term Plan feedback figures have come through and a pattern is beginning to emerge around the topics.

The numbers so far:


While there is little movement across questions one, two and four (apart from which transport modes should be invested in) some clear trends are beginning to emerge:

  • Males still out ranking females 2:1 in giving feed back
  • Those of European ethnicity make up 80% of all feedback so far (down from 82% last week)
  • 16% of all feedback is from under 35’s while 46% are over 55
  • Increasing numbers want budget cuts to Governance and Support. Arguably this is a reaction wanting cuts to the Council staff budget
  • Support for more rail investment has increased compared to last week
  • Public and Active Transport modes still attract most support for more investment although support or non-support for more in roads remains steady
  • The $385 Uniform Annual General Charge level still attracts 48% support while the $900 level faces diminishing support
  • Still a majority reject the proposed rates increase
  •  And 49% still support tolling of some form but with 15% saying no to either Tolls or Taxes/Rates


The Have Your Say events are in full swing which generate plenty of discussion as is. With the Auckland Conversations on transport and transport investment last night it is yet to be seen whether it will influence the feedback for the rest of the period.


Britomart station drawing
Source: Auckland Council

Introducing: #FixOurCity

An Alternative to Auckland’s Transport Choices and Funding Those Choices


At the Auckland Conversations event last night that covered transport and its place in the Long Term Plan this came out from Generation Zero’s Sudhvir Singh:


Well introducing with their launch today the Generation Zero the “Fix Our City” campaign with the ‘Essential Transport Budget.’

From Generation Zero:

Launch of Essential Transport Budget

Youth organisation, Generation Zero, is today launching its report – Fix Our City: An analysis of the Transport Budget in the 2015 – 2025 Long Term Plan – that proposes that Auckland Council focuses on a transport budget that prioritises the essential public transport, walking and cycling projects in the Auckland Plan Network.

The Essential Transport Budget (ETB) lays out which projects in the Auckland Plan Network are required to deliver on Auckland’s goal of becoming the world’s most liveable city and outlines the non-essential projects that should be delayed. Spokesperson Dr Sudhvir Singh explains; “by prioritising only the essential transport projects in the Auckland Plan budget we will be able to save over $220 million a year over the next 10 years.”

Dr Singh; “Both proposed transport budgets in the Long Term Plan – the Basic Plan Network and the Auckland Plan Network – fail to address the issues facing Auckland. The Basic Plan Network doesn’t deliver the level of investment required to keep up with growth, and in the Auckland Plan Network there is still a large number of low value roading projects, designed in a vain effort to ‘solve’ traffic congestion. If just widening roads was the answer to our congestion woes, we would have solved Auckland’s problems years ago.”

The Essential Transport Budget proposes spending $7.7 billion over next 10 years, which is $2.5 billion cheaper than Auckland Council’s Auckland Plan Network ($10.3 billion). This reduces the $300 million a year The Council is attempting to raise through alternative funding to $80 million a year.

At the core of the ETB is a commitment to prioritise public transport and cycling projects, and delay non-essential roading projects such as widening Mill Road. Dr Singh; “This will reduce the burden on ratepayers and ensure we build a ‘turn up and go’ congestion-free public transport network, which is an essential component to Auckland becoming the world’s most liveable city.”

Over the first 3 years of the ETB, walking and cycling would receive $114 million and public transport improvements would receive $621.1 million. The budget saves just over $400 million in the first 3 years by reducing expensive non-essential road improvements.

To fund the additional $80 million a year needed through alternative funding over the next 10 years, the report highlights the ease of a Regional Fuel Tax of 7 cents per litre starting in 2016 as the easiest way to raise funds, while investigating a congestion charge in the 2020s that deals adequately with issues of equity. The report also explains possible revenue raising options in the short term, including the Government contributing by delaying some non-essential motorway projects, and the possible sale of Council assets such as the downtown car parking buildings.

Dr Singh; “With only $80 million a year of additional funding required, we can be more creative in our discussions around alternative funding. Every alternative funding mechanism has its issues, and our report highlights the implications of the different options.”


About Generation Zero

Young New Zealanders working to cut carbon pollution through smarter transport, liveable cities & independence from fossil fuels.

About Fix Our City

The Report; Fix Our City; An analysis of the Transport Budget in the 2014-2024 Long Term Plan, an alternative proposal of essential projects and with possible revenue streams, was written and edited by executive members of Generation Zero. More at



A screen-grab of the front page

Commentary on their budget version will happen once it is released.

Until then – there is an alternative out there!


February ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking

Ben Ross - Talking Auckland:

Another good month for Talking Auckland with the blog breaking into the Top 30.

My main goal is to get both visitors and Page Views sustained over 10,000 for each month by the end of 2015.

And with that I give my thanks to readers and commenters alike with without you Talking Auckland would not be possible.

This month sees the Long Term Plan feedback rounds close on March 16 with the Council then to deliberate before the final thus operative Budget commences in July.

This month also marks March Madness with the Universities back and the transport systems to get their full work out. Today while the rail system coped State Highway 16 certainly didn’t.

Expect more transport related commentary as we work our way through March Madness.

The Unitary Plan debate heats up again with the Panel releasing Interim Recommendations around the Rural Urban Boundary that marks the line between Urban and Rural Auckland.

Also with the Unitary Plan I have my first two notifications on my submission I gave to the UP. While my hearings are not until later this year I will be gathering the evidence I need to support my claims and ideas to my submission.

All in all this is month three of what will be a busy but interesting 2015

Originally posted on Open Parachute:


Image credit: Dear Kitty. Some blog

There are now over 300 blogs on the list, although I am weeding out those which are no longer active or have removed public access to sitemeters. (Let me know if I weed out yours by mistake, or get your stats wrong).

Every month I get queries from people wanting their own blog included. I encourage and am happy to respond to queries but have prepared a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) people can check out. Have a look at NZ Blog Rankings FAQ. This is particularly helpful to those wondering how to set up sitemeters.

Please note, the system is automatic and relies on blogs having sitemeters which allow public access to the stats.

Here are the rankings of New Zealand blogs with publicly available statistics for February 2015. Ranking is by visit numbers. I have listed the blogs in the table below, together with…

View original 1,626 more words

Spatial Priorities 2

I Talk Cost of Growth

The Report Was Inclusive and Now Buried by Council


Tonight I am back on the All About Auckland Show talking about that Cost of Growth Study Auckland Council seems to have buried rather quietly.

The Promo for tonight’s show

Cost of Growth Inconclusive

The long-awaited Cost of Growth study finally surfaced a couple of weeks ago but seems to have sunk without trace.

The report was inconclusive about the relative costs of green field developments vs brown field, which is why the study has been quietly buried.

I discuss the report with local body commentator Ben Ross

Tonight on SkyTV Channel 83 FACETV

Monday’s at 9pm – repeats Tuesday’s 12.30pm



The Cost of Growth Study I have previously commented on and can be seen here (including the report itself): COST OF RESIDENTIAL SERVICING REPORT BEFORE COMMITTEE – UPDATED

Just a note that Bob Dey has given commentary on a report out about land use rules and economics as well. You can see that here: Economic report for council an exhortation to relax land use rules



Thoughts on Transport Aspects of the Long Term Plan

Tolling does not bother me but only if used under one condition


As the Long Term Plan feedback draws to a close on March 16 the vexed issue around tolling and fuel taxes has sprung back up into the forefront of the debate.

With an Auckland Conversations chit-chat session around transport in Auckland tonight I decided to put to paper (well a blog post) my thoughts.


First some context coming in from the Herald:

Cut roads budget by $2b’

Generation Zero says savings will come from axing major projects in Auckland Plan.
Youth lobby group Generation Zero says Auckland Council’s planned spending on new roads in its 10-year budget should be cut by $2 billion.

The group, which aims to stop global warming, will unveil an alternative “essential transport budget” cutting $200 million a year off the council’s preferred option at an “Auckland Conversations” debate with Mayor Len Brown tonight.

Its alternative would add only about $1 billion to the $6.9 billion “basic” option in the 10-year budget – far short of the extra $3.4 billion required for the $10.3 billion “Auckland Plan” that is the only other option offered in the council’s consultation document which is open for public comment until March 16.

The saving would come from axing most major road projects in the Auckland Plan, including the Penlink Rd between Redvale and Whangaparaoa, upgrading Mill Rd in South Auckland and widening Lincoln Rd in Henderson.

“We think the Auckland Plan is too much of a wishlist and it’s not affordable,” said Generation Zero Auckland director Dr Sudhvir Singh.

“We have done the costings for a very comprehensive public transport and cycling network for an additional $100 million a year. That would allow Auckland to have a congestion-free network and a turn-up-and-go frequent public transport network serving the entire region.”

The Auckland Plan would require either $2 peak-time motorway tolls or a combination of raising petrol tax by 12c a litre and raising residential rates by an extra 15 per cent over 10 years on top of the 57 per cent increase already built into the “basic” option.

Transport Blog editor Patrick Reynolds said the rates increase option was “not really practicable or equitable”, and motorway tolls should not be imposed until commuters had a viable public transport alternative.

“New Zealanders have shown a tremendous lack of enthusiasm to pay even a small toll, so it’s almost certain that people will take every opportunity to avoid tolls, in other words the local roads are likely to become flooded by structural rat-running,” he said.

“The poster cities for road pricing – London, Stockholm and Singapore – all have complete subway networks and busways and cycleways. We are attempting to do that before we have that network.”

Auckland Business Forum head Michael Barnett said motorway tolls would be fairer than rates and petrol tax hikes, but he said the council should consider a third option of selling assets such as the port.

He said it would be dangerous to drop roading projects such as Penlink, Mill Rd and Lincoln Rd that were needed to cope with population growth in those areas.




Okay two issues in play here: one from Generation Zero updating a refresher to their Congestion Free Network “shopping list” in light of the Long Term Plan, and Regional Land Transport Plan, the other from possible conservative mayoral candidate Michael Barnett.


In regards to the Congestion Free Network refresher from Generation Zero, the issue came down to tolls. I was at the Otara-Papatoetoe ‘Have Your Say’ session as well as observing feedback coming out of other sessions around the City. The message I constantly heard was along these lines

“We do support tolling on the motorways BUT only as a demand management tool when the public transport system is fully complete.” That line of thought even came from the Southern Auckland areas that would be most acutely affected by tolling which is like GST regressive. I tried to draw the logic out behind this line of thought and it came down to two things:

  1. Sharing the costs more evenly across all modes
  2. Putting in a cost that forces people to realise there is an actual cost in travel decisions

That being there is a cost in travelling on the road when you had a public transport option available to you. The natural outcome in the end being is that the scarce road space is freed up for those who actually need it rather than those “want” it.

So it will be interesting to see how Council and for that matter central Government handle the tolling issue. It simply does not deserve to be swept under the carpet but a more sane and logical debate needed on using it as a demand management tool like our advanced cousins overseas.


As for Michael Barnett, he might want to contact National’s favourite polling company Curia and get them to poll South and West Auckland around the issue off asset sales with Port of Auckland and the airport. At the same time get Curia to poll around the Mill Road widening issue as well.

Why? Because any policy that suggests such actions mentioned above will have the South and West not exactly voting for you. And if one wants the Mayoral Chains you have the South and West onside.

The Mill Road corridor has even become an issue the Papakura Local Board and its Ward Councillor are not exactly singing the praises on. Not when the Southern Motorway is beginning its upgrade this year and the entire reason behind Mill Road was because the motorway was not being upgraded for another decade. In any case I believe Auckland Transport are going to go with just route protection only for Mill Road and come back to it later on.  Hopefully then maybe Auckland Transport will come up with something more sane than a 4-lane mini motorway.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Your thoughts on the tolls, and what Barnett was thinking as policy platforms?


Auckland sunset

Young Planners, Social Media, and the 21st Century

Upcoming Young Planners Congress


Note: Pressers placed in Talking Auckland are to be taken at the value you attach to them. I just pass the information on. Commentary does not always follow.


Young Planners showcase social media and what it means

Social media is playing a key role in increasing participation in planning, as illustrated by a recent consultation process in Auckland. A month ago, when submissions on a cycle lane beneath Auckland Harbour Bridge were closing, Ryan Mearns of Generation …Young Planners showcase social media and what it means for planning

Social media is playing a key role in increasing participation in planning, as illustrated by a recent consultation process in Auckland.

A month ago, when submissions on a cycle lane beneath Auckland Harbour Bridge were closing, Ryan Mearns of Generation Zero prompted 9000 shares and re-Tweets alerting pedestrians and cyclists to a quick online submission form so they could have their say on the SkyPath.

People from 42 countries sent in a total of 10,000 submissions – all within ten days.
It was all achieved by simplifying Auckland Council’s online submission form and pre-filling some sections to save time and waste.

Mearns, the communications officer for Generation Zero, says the wopping public participation in planning shouldn’t be a one-off.

Generation Zero is inspired by bus, tram and bike-friendly city planning in Vancouver and Melbourne. Speakers from both of those cities will be sharing their visions at the Harrison Grierson Young Planners Congress on April 14.

The freshest generation of Auckland architects, planners, designers and theorists are convening there, where they’ll discuss designing their communities from the bottom-up. All members of the public interested in planning, qualified planners and Generation Zero supporters are urged to attend.

Auckland Transport’s Liam Winter is organising the meeting of minds. It will feature international planning experts Charles Montgomery and Lucinda Hartley, as well as Kiwi ‘delineator’ Nat Cheshire and open data guru Nick Williamson. Julie Anne Genter – the only MP to have come straight from an urban planning career into parliament – will deliver a keynote speech.
The congress precedes New Zealand Planning Institute’s national conference at the Aotea Centre, but has a distinct flavour of its own.

Many of its speakers worked in planning through their 20s and, now aged in their 30s, these digital natives operate with a different perspective to senior planning officers.

Winter says planning can be “impenetrable” to laypeople.

“The result traditionally is a paltry rate of planning participation, and arguably a tendency for weight to be given to self-interest over greater societal benefits.”

“Generation Zero’s utilisation of social media technology to engender planning participation … has been an unqualified success in terms of sheer numbers,” Winter says. “The Young Planners Group commends Generation Zero’s leaders for their efforts in breaking down barriers to planning participation for young people.”

Get in quickly – some subsidised tickets to the Young Planners Congress are available here.



As noted the Young Planners Conference proceeds the main New Zealand Planning Institute Conference soon after.

I have not decided yet whether to cover either one or both conferences.



Weekend Analysis: Being Tardy With The Objective Facts

Councillor Darby and Herald’s Bernard Orsman sensationalise the facts


As mentioned on Talking Auckland earlier this week Councillor Chris Darby’s motion at the Auckland Development Committee to effectively revert the Port reclamation rules back from Discretionary to Non Complying was lost 12-10 (see: PORT OF AUCKLAND UPDATE: DISCRETIONARY RULE ON RECLAMATION REMAINS)

On one had we had Orsman posting a misleading article yesterday stating that reclamation was due to start in April this year. That was proven incorrect when this came to:



From Auckland Council:



A story in today’s NZ Herald claims incorrectly that ‘Ports of Auckland will start work in April on the first step to reclaim more of the Waitemata Harbour after the Auckland Council yesterday voted in favour of more generous rules allowing expansion over the seabed.’

This statement is not correct for two reasons:

1. The work to begin in April will be a piled structure, not reclamation (as reported in media over the last couple of weeks). This work is not ‘the first step’ to reclaim more land; it is a wharf structure which is entirely reversible. Any reclamation work would be a separate process subject to resource consent.

2. The vote by Council yesterday has no connection to the work to begin next month. This work received consent in December last year. The decision yesterday relates to council’s current view on the unitary plan rules, which won’t be agreed until mid-next year – ie the rules that would apply if the ports were to make an application for reclamation.


Auckland Council has requested a correction from the NZ Herald.




Of course Orsman made the correction but you would never notice it without close inspection.


So while Orsman misleads and then gets corrected Councillor Chris Darby of the North Shore decided to have a virtual sook on Facebook:

This stoush has just begun. Yes the reputation of the mayor and councillors is on the line but more importantly so too is Auckland’s reputation.

After yesterday’s decision the often touted strap-line ‘The World’s Most Liveable City’ is dustbin bound. That line is now a meaningless mantra to be silently chanted by those who threw away the opportunity for Auckland to become an admired international city.

Yesterday council had the opportunity to turn a page for Auckland’s future. Instead if finds itself rereading and repeating the sorry history of port sprawl into the Waitemata Harbour.


My reply was long but made in very plain English:

Ben Ross Actually the stoush is long over Councillor and you will find the City’s reputation will remain intact.

First of some correction matters

NZ Herald story on Ports of Auckland incorrect – first steps to reclamation will not start in April
A story in today’s NZ Herald claims incorrectly that ‘Ports of Auckland will start work in April on the first step to reclaim more of the Waitemata Harbour after the Auckland Council yesterday voted in favour of more generous rules allowing expansion over the seabed.’
This statement is not correct for two reasons:
1. The work to begin in April will be a piled structure, not reclamation (as reported in media over the last couple of weeks). This work is not ‘the first step’ to reclaim more land; it is a wharf structure which is entirely reversible. Any reclamation work would be a separate process subject to resource consent.
2. The vote by Council yesterday has no connection to the work to begin next month. This work received consent in December last year. The decision yesterday relates to council’s current view on the unitary plan rules, which won’t be agreed until mid-next year – ie the rules that would apply if the ports were to make an application for reclamation.
Auckland Council has requested a correction from the NZ Herald.

The Port has agreed to hold off any port reclamation (different from building piled wharves) until the Unitary Plan is in operation late next year.

When it is these are the specific tests the Port must pass:

Specifically this:
The policies are as listed in the General Coastal Marine zone for the CMA in the precinct in addition to those specified below.
The general policies 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11 for the centres and mixed use zones and the General Business and Business Park zone apply to land within the precinct in addition to those specified below.
The City Centre zone policies 5 – 9, 11, 16 – 17, 19, 21 and – 23 apply to land within the precinct in addition to those specified below.10. Provide for further reclamation to be undertaken, only if:
a. there is no practicable alternative
b. it will provide a significant regional benefit
c. it is the most appropriate form of development
d. potential adverse effects will be avoided, remedied or mitigated.11. Provide for minor reclamation that is carried out as part of rehabilitation or remedial works of an existing reclamation or CMA structure, while avoiding, remedying or mitigating any adverse effects on the environment.


I think B and D are quite stringent there.
Also you sure your are not using the Port issue as a lightning rod over the QEII issue? Some say you are despite the sale of that piece of land not able until Road Stopping is complete by AT and that needs a full public notification first. Anyhow QEII Square moves 50metre south-east to outside the Britomart Entrance where the buses currently are (and will be moved). That space alone gets good light and you can see up Queen Street valley and onto Queens Wharf.

Back to POAL, the reclamation rules are now to be before the Unitary Plan Panel. What you are being express with the truth here Chris is how the UP Panel process work and how Judge Kirkpatrick can very easily put the reclamation rules back to Non Complying if the material stacks up. That said he could have knocked it also from Non Complying back to Discretionary as well.

Halting all port work is also illegal under the RMA as it not a prohibited activity. So I dear someone to try it in the Enviro Court and find out how that goes.

finally looking at the voting split it became rather obvious:
The Affluent Isthmus and North Shore vs the less affluent West and South Auckland, Cr Krum’s area housing heavy industry, and Rodney.

Time for that Isthmus and North Shore lot to stand back while the UP is under deliberation. Also this is now a matter between Krum’s Ward and Southern Auckland where the industry housed is that is connected to the port. If we are going to alter operations through environmental concerns if is for those people to decide seeming their Economic situation is on the line. And I am talking $380m and 3,500 jobs in the South connected to the port through just General Cargo alone. $280m of that is in wages paid (Cruise Industry only gives $160m).

As for relocating the port? If within Auckland the RMA itself would prohibit it without Central Government involvement…/port-of-auckland-relocation-and-the…/



Darby further replies (to which I then reply:

Chris Darby Lot of words for so little argument Ben.

  • Ben Ross Actually the bulk of Bledisole Wharf houses containers waiting to be shipped out (by sea or rail/road)

    And Chris really, that all you gt after losing again this time 12-10 to a full Committee that was down one (which would have been 13-10 if Sir John was there)

    So and go file that Judicial Review you talked about last week. It is over and it is before the Unitary Plan panel. We will come back to it when Kirkpatrick makes his recommendations next year.

  • Penny Webster Thank you Ben for telling the real story Not as sensational but true



The debate has come down to one between Darby and his Ivory Tower brigade versus the other 12 Councillors, Mayor and Deputy Mayor who either house the populations or industrial bases affected by port operations.

The situation with port reclamation is complex one and thus does not need to be sensationalised by Ivory Tower Councillors nor their supporters.

It is probably most wise for Council to embark on a campaign again to refresh us of the Unitary Plan Hearings Panel processes. That is what happens when a topic comes up for hearings, the process of Council making its position for mediation, mediation itself, and then the actual hearings. Because it seems a few have forgotten that the reclamation issue is now before that Panel. It is out of Council’s hands until next year.


So in real short terms:

1) POAL not going for consent nor thus reclaiming wont happen prior to Unitary Plan going live next year
2) The old proposal for reclamation in the PAUP was a total dog and as loose as current legacy rules
3) New proposed rules going to the PAUP Panel are stricter (I have the link to the material if wanted) than old proposed rules
4) Those new rules esp point 10 make POAL jump through more hoops then Port of Tauranga would
5) Unitary Plan Panel can recommend more lax or even tighter rules in July next year
So THAT is where we are at with POAL
Environment AND economics weighed off considerably
Spiel over



Indeed that spiel or rather Weekend Analysis is over for this weekend ;-)


Source: NZTA

Council Will Have Survey Independently Peer Reviewed

Survey on Transport options to start soon


Note: Pressers placed in Talking Auckland are to be taken at the value you attach to them. I just pass the information on. Commentary does not always follow.

From Auckland Council:

Independent company to survey Aucklanders on transport

 A quantitative survey, asking 4,200 Aucklanders for their views on fixing and funding transport, has started as part of Auckland Council’s 10-year budget consultation.

The month long survey will enable robust analysis and further insight into the views Aucklanders have on the issue of transport, which is a strong focus of the budget.

The survey, including the questionnaire and sample, has been developed and designed by independent research company Colmar Brunton.

The University of Auckland has also been commissioned by council to conduct an independent peer review of the survey to ensure the statistical reliability of its results.

Dr Catherine Frethey-Bentham, Senior Lecturer at The University of Auckland says, “The University of Auckland is providing independent advice and performing a peer review of the procedures followed in conducting the Long Term Plan survey, to ensure that rigorous survey design and data collection processes are enacted.”

The survey results will be considered, along with feedback collected on council’s 10-year budget, by elected members before they make decisions on what goes into the final budget in June.

Survey respondents will be contacted by telephone based on a sample that is demographically representative of Auckland’s population.

 Results will be made public by May.

The maximum margin of error (at the 95% confidence level) on a sample size of 4,200 is +/-1.5%




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,251 other followers