Food for thought
The elections are over and we can go back to what we were doing prior to the campaign. For me that is focusing back on The Southern Initiative, and the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan debate that is getting under-way.
My main thoughts on the election can be found here: The deconstruction – what went down which were thoughts penned by Jono Natusch. Initial thoughts from the election from me (so prior to the main thoughts) can be found here: Initial Thoughts on Election 2014.
Now in those initial thoughts my point number four seemed to have struck a chord with a few people, that point was:
4) South Auckland will continue to bubble away and develop on her own accord regardless of the LTP and National’s new term. West Auckland however, has sent a rather big warning with the West and Isthmus Party Voting National even in traditional Labour strong holds. The West is not happy and sees little faith in the Left at Central Level. This can make its way down to Local Level especially those who reside in New Lynn and Henderson (and I know who the Ward Councillors are for those areas). My most controversial point is this: Unless the West sees some serious cash coming its way in the LTP even at the expense of the City Centre the 2016 Local Elections out West just got interesting
Now this can be backed up here: Is the City Centre Revamps at the Expense of the West and that sentiment for the most part is growing although some on the Left can’t quite see that.
Since my initial thoughts there has been replies both on Social Media and the Main Stream Media.
From Facebook where I posted the five pointers:
I replied to a post our Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse pasted on her FB page this morning in terms of Council and Government working together. I make no apologies for the 5 points given below.
It has been rocky yes Penny but still in good enough shape to get things done at somewhat a muddled pace.
However, there a few pointers which I am going to point out (and will be in the blog later today) so of which might be controversial but this is for the sake of the City
1) National now command a solid majority and a near Super Majority if Winston Peters gets some deals (English and Joyce hinted at this last night). I suspect Government to be more interesting in our Planning matters although that will be tempered by the Unitary Plan becoming operative in 2016. The RMA reforms will now go through
2) The Congestion Free Network is for now dead in the water for the most part with the Greens losing vote share even in Auckland herself. However, parts of it can be picked and run with depending on how the Spatial Priorities turn out in the LTP discussions currently under way
3) Sorry but the City Rail Link is now definitely off the table for next year. Your earliest start date is 2017 at the moment as National looks to her 4th Term which she is looking solid in getting all things considered this morning. Council will need to review her transport priorities as a result of this and prepare to bite a rather large lemon. That said there is a way to salvage aspects of the transport plans and is something I have stored away in the blog.
4) South Auckland will continue to bubble away and develop on her own accord regardless of the LTP and National’s new term. West Auckland however, has sent a rather big warning with the West and Isthmus Party Voting National even in traditional Labour strong holds. The West is not happy and sees little faith in the Left at Central Level. This can make its way down to Local Level especially those who reside in New Lynn and Henderson (and I know who the Ward Councillors are for those areas). My most controversial point is this: Unless the West sees some serious cash coming its way in the LTP even at the expense of the City Centre the 2016 Local Elections out West just got interesting.
5) Will someone boot AT up its backside please. There are lots of small wins that can be gained from our transport system (Manukau South Link being one) but we are caught in them fluffing around. Start on small wins then move to the big stuff. Walk before you can run.
I make no apologies Deputy Mayor Hulse in those 5 points above. I care for this City a lot probably way too much. Last night was a shock (even Nat supporters were ;-O ) but as you said it We including Wellington can get the best for Auckland together
Luke Christensen CFN far from dead in the water, just delayed a few years. Auckland needs a rapid transit network regardless. Same with CRL, makes council budgeting much easier with more certainty around start date. Though will keep pushing govt, they will shift position depending on mood of the city.
Penny Hulse Wise comment Ben. No apology needed. Most of this needs to be on the table regardless of the election result. We do however need to work proactively with government on the transport solutions …..lets not give up on a more sustainable future for our city just yet. As far as the west goes…..dont forget that boundary changes were major for our area…..point taken however. Main thing is to stay focussed on our city and how to get the very best for our community. Cant imagine the government disagree with that
Ben Ross Some replies
Luke that by definition is dead in the water. Meaning all stop and not going anywhere at the moment. However, as we have noted the CFN is delayed and needed. Some changes and alterations to reflect what has happened and the CFN will be well on its way.George: Yes on the repayments George. However, do not under-estimate the mood of Auckland wanting a good rapid transit network of which the CRL is a part of it. The CRL will not start 2015 but most likely 2018 all things considered. Right now though George I would ask that focus is given on extending the Northern Busway to Silverdale and the Botany Busway gets underway in 2016.
Penny: Yes the boundary changes did cause a stir and will take some time to settle down.
No one has lost the sight nor vision of a sustainable and pro people City. It is just a few things have altered given the Election. You as well as I know that Bill English is not a silly person and he knows Auckland’s health is key to the nation (and his tax base).
Transport is a big key still yes but I see a realisation that our Mayor will not get the City Rail Link 2015 he has so pushed for. Council must be ready to consider in the Long Term Plan deliberations to move the full start date (not including the Precinct Properties section) to most likely 2018 at the earliest (so it is pushed to the 2018 LTP) when National (in 2017) will most likely bring it forward (call it a hunch). Pushing the CRL back to 2018 as well as a new transport package might give the City a breather as well as calm it down over the LTP debate.
I have seen the 10 Spatial Priorities first mentioned by the Mayor’s presentation to the Council. Well if money and rates are the issue then the Spatial Priorities have presented Council will a nice framework to take the City forward and rationalise what capital we have that wont blow the bank nor the ratepayers wallet. Food for thought for Council and Govt
Now today I have seen this from 3 NEWS Front Line
Council still pushing for early start on rail link
Despite the National Party’s decisive election victory on Saturday, Auckland Council isn’t giving up hope of getting work on the $2.4 billion inner-city rail link (CRL) started before 2020.
The council wants construction to begin by 2016, but the Government will only consider bringing its preferred start date forward if patronage increases to 20 million trips a year.
Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse it is a “bit of a chicken and egg” situation.
“The community have spoken decisively – they want the rail link, they want transport sorted out, and they want alternatives to sitting in traffic in the morning. The central city rail loop is that solution,” she said on Firstline this morning.
“There has been politics around this – of course there has been – but the reality is we know that Government wants what’s best for Auckland, and strong economic growth is tied up with good transport, and that’s the focus that we’ll have in our discussions with them, hopefully in the next week.”Last month the council announced it had shaved nearly $500 million off the cost of the CRL, in an attempt to get the Government – which has committed to paying for half of it – on board with an earlier start date.
“Aucklanders have made it clear in the latest Colmar Brunton poll that the one thing they want council to do is to sort out public transport, congestion and housing, so we’ll be talking to the Government about this as soon as they get their feet back under the desk,” says Ms Hulse.
Yes we want the City Rail Link that is a given but it does come down to timing. As I said in my replies:
Council must be ready to consider in the Long Term Plan deliberations to move the full start date (not including the Precinct Properties section) to most likely 2018 at the earliest (so it is pushed to the 2018 LTP) when National (in 2017) will most likely bring it forward (call it a hunch). Pushing the CRL back to 2018 as well as a new transport package might give the City a breather as well as calm it down over the LTP debate.
(That answers Transport Blog’s question around the start date on Twitter).
Look all in all yes the Mayor and Deputy Mayor are going to have to sit down with the new Government. The Government will not want to see Auckland stall unless they REALLY want to hobble the economy and piss off a lot of urban voters that went Blue. But the Council MUST be ready to make compromises. As I said the Congestion Free Network is now dead in the water but still salvageable, presentable and quite doable, it is just the timing will be different to what was set out initially.
With the Government confirmed and more liberal push towards urban development most likely owing to the stall Resource Management Act reforms an interesting challenge now presents itself to Council. The Special Housing Areas will in the larger scheme of things take care of residential development for now. The Council via the Auckland Development Committee will get cracking on making sure business land is readily available for development (see: What If – We Go Full Throttle for kick starting some development) unless it wants people and business really hostile to them. And with the population now settled and getting back into things our City Building is away again in earnest.
Where the Council has room to move is these Spatial Priorities set out in the Long Term Plan draft. That said I would drop Newmarket off the list and place it around Henderson per Point 4 in my initial thoughts. We have a limited amount of capital and we have a growing City. Pushing the City Rail Link back to 2018 and focusing large investment around these Spatial Priorities would be in my eyes a win for the ratepayer, the taxpayer, the Council, and the Government. Bits at a time targeted to key selected areas (the South being a key one: South Auckland – The Rising Jewel in Auckland’s Crown) to get best investment bang for your limited buck! We can not simply go willy silly with the capital going broad brush right across the City as it will not work.
Your Congestion Free Network as I said is dead in the water but still very doable. How? Fit it to the Spatial Priorities. Where Council (and hopefully Government) is focusing that limited capital you do those aspects of the Congestion Free Network that are connected or covered in the Spatial Priority area. So if I look to the South it means some work along Te Irirangi Drive to allow the efficient and fast movements of the buses between Botany and Manukau. It also means starting AMETI Stage II and getting the bus way from Panmure to Pakuranga over the next few years as well. It also means getting the Manukau South Link built seeming the rail and motorway corridors from Drury to Manukau City Centre is deemed one big Spatial Priority!
In the end this is all doable folks. We just need to adapt and change owing to the election results! There is no point Generation Zero, Transport Blog and the wider Council being stuck in pre election hubris pushing through ideas that are now no longer suited to the new political environment. Use what you have and adapt it to this new environment which is all about Spatial Priorities and a very high chance Government getting involved more intensively in City Building.
Onus falls back to Council at the moment however, on comments this morning I do wonder if Council is willing to adapt!