Month: July 2013

The Push for a #MovingAuckland

Generation Zero Writes


(In the Herald that is)

And so an “opinion” piece crops up in today’s Herald on Auckland Transport Blog and Generation Zero’s Congestion Free Network alternative – a proposal TotaRim Consultancy Limited supports.

The piece in the Herald today is fitting with ATB due to give a technical presentation to the IPENZ transport chapter at the old Auckland Regional Council (now BECA) building tonight. I have RSVP’ed to the event tonight and will be in attendance observing the presentation. Commentary will follow tomorrow on the presentation.

The following opinion piece written by Generation Zero leader (one of many) Sudhvir Singh opens as follows:

Sudhvir Singh: Generation Zero’s transport vision

Adding more services to public system will encourage Aucklanders to use it, writes Sudhvir Singh.


The Auckland city rail loop is one step towards a balanced transport system.

The Auckland city rail loop is one step towards a balanced transport system. Credit: NZ Herald

Auckland’s transport plan provides us with a once-in-a-generation choice between two competing visions: to keep pursuing the failed model of motorway-driven sprawl, or to develop a quality, compact city with a balanced transport system.


Generation Zero, with the respected authors of Auckland Transport Blog, have developed a fully costed, visionary alternative to the current $60 billion transport plan: the Congestion Free Network.


We propose the staged investment in public transport corridors all over the region, with high frequency all-day services. These corridors would include electrified rail to Mt Roskill and Pukekohe, busways to Silverdale, Kumeu and Botany, rail to the airport, light rail along Dominion Rd, an extensive ferry network and even rail to the North Shore. And all of this at only 40 per cent of the cost of the current transport plan.


A full regional cycling network would complement this system, as well as focused upgrades on specific local roads. This would provide Aucklanders with genuine transport choice.


By contrast, the council’s current plan to deal with Auckland’s growth over the next 30 years is set out in its Integrated Transport Programme (ITP)…

You can read the rest of it over at the Herald site.


I did though tail off that excerpt with the mention of the current 2012 Integrated Transport Program that I have written off before and even called it a lemon.

Through that short reaction alone you can see why I would support a #MovingAuckland as part of a #BetterAuckland via the Congestion Free Network idea.

Bold, visionary, sorely needed and a gut-ser (in the mountain of NIMBYism from my parents’ generation (the main but not only source) as well as Right Wing sources that will soon come up against the CFN concept) needed for Auckland. I applaud what is being advanced here.


I have sort responses from Auckland Transport and the Office of the Mayor on the Congestion Free Network proposal. Responses have come back from Auckland Transport on the CFN idea.

Basically in regards to the city and its transport, any CFN concepts are most likely to be further researched and incorporated (whether in parts or as a whole) into the 2015 Integrated Transport Program. The 2015 ITP draft is due out for release for “our” consideration and consultation this time next year.

As for the Office of the Mayor, a response is on its way.


And so like #SuperManukau, the Congestion Free Network idea ( #movingauckland ) works its way slowly through the wheels and cogs of Town Hall.


More as it happens



Mood of the Boardroom on Len

Businesses Quite Warm to Len

People still also don’t see a viable alternative candidate


The prominent Mood of the Boardroom exercise was conducted this week in Auckland. What had me interested the most was the fact that most businesses were quite warm to our current Mayor Len Brown and won’t mind him pulling a second term with the mayoral chains.

From the NZ Herald

CEOs cautiously back Brown bid

By Bill Bennett


Although a clear majority of business leaders say Len Brown deserves a second term as Auckland mayor, that doesn’t mean he has unqualified support.


Sixty per cent of CEO respondents to the Herald survey said Brown should return to the Auckland mayoral chambers. Only 16 per cent are against Brown getting a second term.


Brown had a landslide victory in the first Auckland-wide mayoral election in 2010 beating John Banks and Colin Craig. Within minutes of being elected, Brown spoke of his ambition to make Auckland the world’s “most liveable city”.


His platform was dominated by a promise to improve public transport in three main areas: build an inner city rail loop, extend the railway to the airport and, eventually, to the North Shore. He also promised to defend public ownership of assets and create a more compact city.


Earlier this month Brown made the airport rail link a focus of his re-election campaign.


His rivals for the election, due in October, include American-born businessman and former TV host John Palino who plans to shift the epicentre of the city south to Manukau and activist John Minto who will stand for the Mana Party.


The lack of a credible alternative mayor is noted

With the “lack of credible alternative mayor” piece; meh I give up going on about that now. Seems the elections are forgone in the mayoral department this time around.

As for everything else it seems our businesses are warm (but not flash hot) towards Len. While you can read individual comments in the said article from where I sit, it should mean then further stability for the next three years in and with Auckland Council. Sure there is still heaps to do – the Unitary Plan being a major one but, it is not like businesses are frothing at the mouthing wanting to burn someone at the stake. On the flip side though Council does need to improve things with business if we (Auckland) wish to continue to be an attractive city for residents and businesses alike.


In regards to the Unitary Plan and our businesses

Still from the same article

Len’s Unitary Plan a work in progress

Brown’s Unitary Plan aims to shape the city as it adds a million extra residents over the next 30 years. An important part of this will be to intensify housing – a move proving controversial with residents in many suburbs.


There’s uncertainty in the boardroom about the plan, with more than a third saying they are unsure whether it will deliver growth. A small majority, 52 per cent think the plan will enable economic growth, with only 10 per cent saying it will not. While 59 per cent of CEOs think the plan makes the right provisions for future population growth, close to a half worry it will not decrease business compliance costs.


Forty per cent of respondents think the plan will enable investment, but a little under a half are uncertain about this.


Okay a tepid response towards the Unitary Plan from business which would be the same as the rest of the city – most likely. Better though than an openly hostile reaction against the Unitary Plan which would not do for stability within the city. So on this alone there is still plenty of work to do before the Unitary Plan goes out to final notification (decided in August).


One final note from the Herald article

A sizable majority, 63 per cent, support the idea of limiting Auckland’s growth with projects such as a rapid rail link to Hamilton.

Ah no! This is a liberal democracy not Mao’s China or Stalin’s Soviet Union so no population cap measures. As I have mentioned before Auckland has critical mass and will perpetually grow from within itself owing to that mass. People have been flocking away from the provinces to the big city since the Industrial Revolution in England. Cities are just power magnets of economic opportunities that will always attract people. It is just something we need to adapt to best we can.

And so the final summary figures on the Mood of the Boardroom with the Mayor

How they rate Len

• 60 per cent of CEO respondents say Brown should return to the Auckland mayoral chambers.

• 3.2 out of five report card mark on his first term; 52 per cent of respondents think the unitary plan will enable economic growth, and

59 per cent think the plan makes the right provisions for future population growth


Not too bad for our first mayor of the Super City and its first three years



Oh Dear – Toys out of Cot – Again

Someone down in the South is not happy


Oh dear it seems someone (or rather some Association) has spilled their cup of tea and decided to have a moan in the media. Yes I am being rather unflattering towards the Karaka Residents and Ratepayers Association but, upon reading the following Courier article can someone explain on earth is really going on here please?

Lets take a look at the said article to get some context shall we?

From the Papakura Courier and the ever-so reliable Dubby Henry

Community groups aim to speak out 



Franklin residents could soon have a powerful new voice if community groups get their way.


Groups across the area want to form a united “de facto community board” to rival the Franklin Local Board as a voice for disenfranchised residents.


The group will speak on key overarching issues such as the Auckland Council‘s Unitary Plan, transport and infrastructure.


The Karaka Residents and Ratepayers Association is driving the move and is working on signing up the 20-plus groups stretching from Kawakawa Bay to Waiuku and Buckland in the south and Alfriston in the north.

Association chairman Steve Bird says many groups have already expressed interest.


He says the move has been in the works for some time but its necessity has been highlighted by the recent furore over the Karaka-Weymouth bridge.


That saw residents’ groups in Weymouth and Karaka arguing with each other when they could have united earlier against the development.


Many Franklin residents feel voiceless in the super city, he says.


Big turnouts at residents’ meetings suggest people are not getting information from the local board or from Auckland Council so “we are circumventing that system”, Mr Bird says.


He hopes a united group will have “strength in numbers” and will force the council to listen.


Smaller groups in outlying communities will especially benefit from a bigger group going in to bat for them, he says.

Right let me get this right? Weymouth and Karaka residents were arguing against one another over the now shelved Karaka-Weymouth Bridge?

Last I looked and I was there personally at the those meetings over THAT bridge I saw Weymouth and Karaka residents UNITED against the Karaka Collective and their supporters. Both over and AGAINST that bridge as well as the Karaka North and West Rural Urban Boundary issues.

It was also due to superb planning by Council Planners, some very fine work by the Franklin Local Board, and the united stand in Franklin, Karaka and Weymouth that is seeing the “Corridor” option of the Southern RUB being advanced through the Unitary Plan as the best option. The Karaka North and West options like THAT bridge have been shelved.

So apart from a Council Comm’s cock-up with the Deputy Mayor acknowledged (and most likely someone got roasted for it back in Council) I’d say for the most part in regards to the Southern Rural Urban Boundary and that bridge, Council did listen.

In saying that I realise there are issues with the Large Lot and details around the Rural Zones – that was apparent in today’s Committee meeting. I did hear today from the planners that those issues are still being worked through with the respective Local Boards at the moment.


As for force in numbers and “forcing” Council to listen. Good luck with that guys. If anything the Council will more likely go tell you to jump rather than listen to what will most certainly be an enlarged unresponsive NIMBY group.

And as a demonstration that Council listens to the small fellow, watch the Manukau developments.


Although elections are approaching, the move is not political.


“The idea is to act unofficially as a local board in terms of being a sounding board. So we’ll get the information that people are finding they’re not able to get through the council.


“The council treats us like mushrooms – we’re in the dark and they feed us garbage.”


The proposal is doing the rounds but there will be some delay for each group to vote on the move.


The combined group will be an incorporated society with its own constitution while those it represents will stay independent and continue their local work.


It will focus on key issues that affect big areas, such as the Unitary Plan, the Rural Urban Boundary lines, transport, infrastructure and education although “we’ve got to put our toe in the water to see where the strength lays for particular subjects”, he says.


Now that I had to laugh over: “”The council treats us like mushrooms – we’re in the dark and they feed us garbage.”

I was called a mushroom once and I took a complement – why? Because to turn crap/garbage and turn it into a very valuable product that is worth quite a bit (think how much do mushrooms cost at the supermarket) to the wider community/people.

So the Association might want to think that quip again owing that the Southern RUB outputs are becoming quite valuable from a rather crap start.

As for the rest of it, running parallel to the Local Board must be the most daft thing to do in advancing the interests of the South. I recommend contacting Desley Simpson – Chair of the Orakei Local Board and ask how she works so well with her Associations she has in her area.

And so I wonder if it is the Karaka Collective stirring behind the scenes after their “proposal” with the RUB and bridge were shelved by the Council and are looking at RUB sentiment from the east Takanini and Alfriston area after Council said they were not moving the RUB further east.

I believe the Takanini/Alfriston RUB issues are owing from Veolia Water not wanting to put in the infrastructure in that area. Also the fact that the particular area concerned sits on a natural flood plain that floods usually after each decent rain dump…

Still I wonder what is really going on here with this mega association push. Seems some minorities are wanting to “circumnavigate” due process and the sound majority…


Roll the eyes material after concessions made in advancing the South… Typical


Talking Auckland: Blog of TotaRim Consultancy Limited

TotaRim Consultancy
Bringing Well Managed Progress to Auckland and The Unitary Plan

Auckland: 2013 – YOUR CITY, YOUR CALL


Mill Road – South End Concerns

Auckland Transport Preparing for Investigation


After the recent uproar over the proposal for the Redoubt Road and Mill Road (north end) widening, attention now switches to the southern end of the Mill Road Corridor Project with Auckland Transport preparing an investigation into it.

The Mill Road Corridor Project is essentially creating a 4-lane south-eastern bypass route from Redoubt Road, down Mill Road, through east Papakura before finally connecting at Drury near the motorway interchange. The purpose behind this bypass is to allow for growth in the East Takanini and Papakura area, as well as an alternative to the Southern Motorway between Manukau and Drury (currently congested in peak hour).

Currently owing to the congestion on that section of Southern Motorway, there is a lot of rat running along Redoubt Road and Mill Road as workers head south to head home.

From Papakura Courier

Mill Road decision looms 



Homeowners in “limbo” over the controversial Mill Rd corridor could soon find out if they’re in the firing line.

The contract to investigate the second stage of the highway goes to tender in August.


The arterial traffic route is an alternative to State Highway 1 and will link Manukau and Flat Bush to Drury and the southern motorway through Papakura.

Planners will pick up where the Papakura District Council left off its investigations in 2010 but the routes are far from finalised, Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan says.


The district council held meetings in 2009 with residents who were worried their houses could be bowled.

But it’s “too early to tell” if those same residents will still be in the path of development, Mr Hannan says.


The most likely route will head down Cosgrave Rd before doglegging around Cosgrove School and cutting through farmland to link with Dominion Rd, which is expected to be widened from two lanes to four.

The corridor is about 1.2km east to where I live and could cause rat running down the main road if people decide to use that as a bypass to Papakura or even the motorway via Elliot Street. The rat running would be a pain for myself trying to get to and from Papakura or the Papakura Train Station (until Glenora was built) so I am keeping an eye on this part of the corridor’s development.

From the Papakura Courier article again

After Dominion Rd the route will cut through Hunua Rd along several possible routes through Drury to get to the southern motorway, meaning residents around Waihoehoe and Fitzgerald roads could also see their properties affected.

I would see that part as the main feeder for the upcoming Drury South Industrial Park as trucks would use it to gain access to State Highway One

And he reckons it doesn’t make sense to create what will essentially be a second motorway on his street now the Government has announced it is to widen State Highway 1.

That would be true. Apart from maybe Hunua Road to State Highway One (so the southern most end) the rest of the project should probably be reviewed in light of the Southern Motorway upgrades.

Those upgrades which include the dogged Takanini Interchange should take a lot off pressure off that area. Putting the need for a 4-lane bypass back on the shelf and relieving some concerns for local residents. Sure Mill Road will need kerbing, intersection improvements, cycle lanes and maybe a bus lane or two but; not the full hog as we are seeing now.

The investigation is expected to take two years and there will be “full consultation” with residents, he says.


We all hold our collective breaths here folks