Open Schism in C&R Exposed
And so I go trundling through Facebook and Twitter this morning (as I usually do) and I notice this crop up which links to an article from Bernard Orsman and the NZ Herald:
Council duo attack rail link spend
By Bernard Orsman
C&R ticket divided on Mayor Brown‘s $2.86 billion policy, with some comparing it to a ‘black hole of Calcutta‘.
Spending on rail in Auckland has been compared to a “black hole of Calcutta” as right-leaning councillors take an increasingly strident line against Mayor Len Brown’s $2.86 billion city rail link.
Communities & Residents councillors George Wood and Dick Quax are openly contradicting their ticket’s policy of support for the rail link by saying it does not stack up and calling for a halt.
C&R leader and rail supporter Christine Fletcher is playing down the divisions in the caucus, saying Mr Wood and Mr Quax have always had “extreme” views and the ticket is a broad church.
Mrs Fletcher insisted the C&R policy of supporting the rail link and land purchases, but not approving a start on construction until funding is in place, “was the policy” and had the backing of candidates chosen for next year’s local body elections.
The views of Mr Wood and Mr Quax – half the C&R caucus of four councillors – have hardened in the past week with the release of a Horizon Research poll showing 64 per cent of Aucklanders support the rail link and a leaked report saying rush-hour traffic in central Auckland will slow to walking pace in 10 years without the rail project.
Mr Quax said the rail project made little sense because it would gobble up 80 per cent of the public transport capital budget over the next 10 years when much-needed bus lanes and ferry terminals received a “paltry” 20 per cent.
“The Government has made it quite clear that it does not see the central rail link as a transport priority project. The numbers don’t stack up. For every dollar it returns just 40c and will only remove 1400 cars per day from the road.”
Mr Wood said he supported the project “sometime in the future”, which Auckland Transport said could be 2025 and the Government 2030, subject to it being financiallyviable.
“Rail is a ‘black hole of Calcutta’ and is soaking up 80 per cent of the public transport budget and costing ratepayers around $461 million over the next three years,” he said.
“There is a lot to be done in other areas before we get into sucking all the lifeblood out of Auckland into this one project.”
Centre-right and independent councillor Cameron Brewer is also becoming increasingly concerned about the cost of the rail link after initially supporting the project and work to secure the designation and buy properties along the 3.5km underground route.
Mr Brewer said he had yet to be convinced about the cost and benefits of the project, including the benefits to nearly 90 per cent of Aucklanders who do not work or live in the CBD who may have to pay for it through tolls or a regional petrol tax.
Mr Brown did not want to comment about C&R’s internal wranglings on the rail link, but said he could not see how councillors could ignore the latest poll.
“The poll showed overwhelming support for the city rail link and integrated bus and rail improvements to public transport across Auckland.”
•C&R councillors George Wood and Dick Quax blast the $2.86 billion rail link
•C&R leader Christine Fletcher says the ticket supports the link
•Mayor Len Brown points to a poll showing 64 per cent support
Did I not ask the last week to Communities and Residents (C&R) for a UNIFIED Policy Statement on the City Rail Link? I think I did in this particular post: THE ACHILLES HEEL OF C&R. With the question being in that post: “Is Communities and Residents (C&R) Actually Unified?”
Well if you read the article above, I think the answer is a firm ‘NO!’ Especially after the language exchange from Councillors’ Wood, Quax and C&R Council Leader Chris Fletcher…
And so where am I going with this?
Well if we want to avoid this parody below I think it might be seriously time to take the broom out, brush out the cobwebs and inject some new blood into Council. And by new blood I mean electing no-one that has served on a legacy Council prior to the current Auckland Council.
Yes that picture still gets the laughs every time someone goes at posts it.
But in any case, can Auckland really afford a fractured Council in the most pivotal period of our future (2013-2016). Pivotal meaning that what ever Council does in 2013-2016 will affect Auckland quite easily for the next 50 years. So no pressure there folks
A schism has been exposed in the primary (heck that is loose when they only hold 19% of the voting power in the current Council) centre-right party “ticket” which can result in being the catalyst to a fractured Council after the elections next year. It is something I clearly do no want, and nor does Auckland!
I have warned aspirant Councillor Cameron Brewer about the City Rail Link on Facebook:
Cameron Brewer, I had noticed this after C&R developed a schism that the ratepayer has noticed: “Mr Brewer said he had yet to be convinced about the cost and benefits of the project, including the benefits to nearly 90 per cent of Aucklanders who do not work or live in the CBD who may have to pay for it through tolls or a regional petrol tax”
That argument about the CBD can be shot to pieces by anyone from the Centre like myself OR the Centre-Left with a simple and slick marketing campaign that would have Auckland Transport envious on the City Rail Link. This resulting in the Centre-Right’s flank being awfully exposed in the campaign next year.
I might go an expose that flank now in a post of mine and see where we go over the next 10 months
So as ratepayers and voters next year we have a collective decision to make; do we bring in a unified and progressive Council that will take us forward for the next 50 years, or a fractured Council that will cause us to backslide in the mud for the next 50 years.
Again as candidate to the Papakura Local Board in next year’s Local Elections you can check my baseline policies and stance on the City Rail Link
2013 – Your City, Your Call