#SummerSeries 17/18 – The Year That Was 2017

Up and down year

New Government


2017 did not start flash with Auckland Transport but by the end of it things were definitely on the up! That would mark how 2017 was as it started as a downer but has ended on a high pretty much all round.


In this post I take a quick recap on 2017 and Talking Southern Auckland.

In no particular order:

New Auckland Rail Timetable Disaster for Western Line Commuters? UPDATED

First fare hikes, now possible loss of services?


I had mentioned earlier in the month on the fact Auckland Transport Refuse in Improve Rail Frequencies.


In March a new rail timetable will be released and brought into operation by Auckland Transport for all four lines.

With a new timetable right on top of March Madness (when our transit system faces the highest patronage levels of the year with businesses, schools and universities all back in operation) we hope the new frequencies would be in line with the operative Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) 2015 as seen below:


rail-frequencies-per-rptp-2015 Source: Auckland Transport
rail-frequencies-per-rptp-2015 Source: Auckland Transport


Notice I used the word ‘hope?’ That is because Auckland Transport from what I have learned have refused to increase the frequencies especially in the off-peak, evenings and weekends from the current 20 minutes (30 minutes on the weekend) on the Western, Eastern and Southern Line and 30 minutes on the Onehunga Line. All Auckland Transport have done is reduced total run time from 53 to 51 minutes for the Southern Line, deleted Westfield Station and added Parnell Station. There is no changes to frequencies or extension of evening services which need to be extended until 12:30am Sunday to Wednesday and 2am Thursday to Saturday.


This is unacceptable behaviour from Auckland Transport on what seems to be a continued trend of not only silo thinking (the AT rail team refusing to work with the AT Bus team who created the very useful New South Auckland Bus Network) but due to that silo thinking the trains do not marry up with feeder busses at Papakura, Manurewa, Manukau and Otahuhu Stations which all have bus stations or interchanges attached.


Source: Auckland Transport Refuse in Improve Rail Frequencies


More information has come to light since then and before the new timetable goes into effect on March 12.


This includes the possibilities of:


This one always seems to be a pet peeve and 2018 unfortunately won’t be any better. The new CEO of Auckland Transport (who started last week) hopefully might address his predecessor’s failings and finally get the Southern, Western and Eastern Lines to 15 minute frequencies all day every day rather than the 20 minute weekend frequencies currently proposed. Over to you Shane.


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



Kiwi’s Announcement With Drury Starts Ball Rolling on New Town/Metro Centre

All go in the south


It was only last week I reported that Auckland to Receive its 11th Metropolitan Centre? Is the Super Metro Back?. Well Kiwi Property (owners of Sylvia Park and the main appellant against Parking Minimums in the Centres in the Unitary Plan) have been busy buying up land in Drury for a new town centre.

From Bob Dey’s Property Report:

Kiwi Property plans new town centre next to Stevenson’s Drury development


This will be one to watch with the Drury-Paerata Structure Plan decisions due out early next year after it went out for submissions earlier this year. Southern Auckland is going to be the action centre for development whether it be residential, commercial or industrial. Couple this with KiwiBuild, the Third Main, Transform Manukau, the Southern Airport Line, Pukekohe Electrification, and the Safer Communities Program in Papakura it will certainly be a busy three years ahead.


Speaking of Structure Planning:

HAVE YOUR SAY: Southern Auckland’s Future! Drury-Pukekohe Structure Planning Underway

Have your say on the future of Southern Auckland


It has finally started after the Unitary Plan went live in November 2016. The attempt to plan and map out the future of the Future Urban Zone between Drury and Paerata has begun with Structure Planning now under way by Auckland Council.


From Shape Auckland:

Status: Open

Closing date:20/10/2017

Area: Papakura and Franklin

Contact: Southern Structure Planning

  • When you have read the consultation documents, and are ready to have your say, use the online feedback form.


The Auckland Unitary Plan has identified land around Drury and Pukekohe-Paerata as areas for future urban development.

This means that:

  • there will be significant urban growth in these two areas over the next 10-20 years
  • Auckland Council is starting structure planning to guide the future urban development of these two areas.

A large number of new houses are proposed in the future urban zoned areas. New business areas are also likely.
This new urban growth needs to be planned comprehensively and in an integrated way.

Opportunities and constraints relevant to urban planning have been identified for Drury and Paerata-Pukekohe.


The recommendations and decisions on all this should be back early new year. Essentially we are seeing Southern Auckland becoming a City within a City (Auckland) with mass expansion in its south while Manukau and its industrial surrounds are up for regeneration and expansion themselves. How Council and Government will handle all this will be a definite one to watch in 2018


Drury Future Urban Zone


Krispy Kreme Opens in Manukau 2018

All things donut evil


New Tavern opening


I had mentioned a while ago that Krispy Kreme was coming to Manukau City Centre. Well it has been confirmed with an opening date mid-2018.

From Stuff:

New Zealand’s first Krispy Kreme to open in south Auckland

CHRIS HARROWELL – Last updated 10:41, May 22 2017

Get your first taste of Krispy Kreme next year - only in south Auckland.
WILL BURGESS – Get your first taste of Krispy Kreme next year – only in south Auckland. Source: Stuff.co.nz

Kiwis will get their first taste of Krispy Kreme doughnuts next year.

The global doughnut company’s first New Zealand store is expected to open in Manukau, south Auckland in March next year.

Construction of its retail store and manufacturing facility is underway as part of an $8 million development on a 2.6 hectare site in Ronwood Ave that’s owned by the Wiri Licensing Trust.

Sydney-based Krispy Kreme chief executive Andrew McGuigan is excited to bring the franchise to New Zealand.

Trust chairman Alan Johnson says the project will include a brand new tavern.


“It will create up to 150 full and part-time jobs in roles such as management, operations management, retail and foodservice, and manufacturing.


You all have a sweet tooth with those donuts not going to be much help to the waist line 😉



Ex-Tropical Cyclone Cook Update No.4: Traffic Gone To Fudge.

Preparation for Ex-Tropical Cyclone continues


From Auckland Civil Defence:

Cyclone Cook prompts early Easter exodus

 Cyclone Cook is skirting the eastern side of the Auckland region, likely bringing brief heavy rain and wind to Waiheke, Great Barrier Island and the south eastern coastal areas of Beachlands, Maraetai, Clevedon and Hunua.


NO there is no cyclone this week. In any case this was the most read post ever in the history of the blog. I suppose a Civil Defence emergency would do that. New Lynn would take an absolute hammering from the ex tropical cyclones with a storm water culvert collapsing causing mass flooding in the New Lynn Metropolitan Centre. The road over that culvert that collapsed has only just fully reopened.



Passenger Rail from Tauranga to Auckland?

Possible but needs a lot of investment


I have noted a Herald article about Auckland metro rail passenger numbers at record levels while ferry numbers are dipping (it will be the fares) this morning. Check “Rail clips the ticket as ferry trips fall away” for more on that story.

Tauranga to Auckland by Rail?

Before the last Labour Government (1999-2008) ditched the service the Silver Fern rail car use to run a daily service between Tauranga and Auckland that would take around 3.5 hours each way. As a kid I use to catch it when holidaying with my grandparents who reside in Tauranga and the trip wasn’t that bad – even though it took an hour longer than going by car.

There have been numerous attempts since the service was scrapped to reinstate the service but the infrastructure investment alone would be costly to allow dual freight/passenger running again. None-the-less a new attempt via a study is being pushed to reinstate the inter-city rail service.


This post came in at number five for most read for 2017. Somewhat ironic in that the post was written in 2014 and doubly ironic as it was prove as a foreshadow to what was to come in 2017 as I am about to touch on below:

Tilt Train
Source: Greater Auckland


Southern Auckland MAJOR Winner in Government Infrastructure Funding Round


Water, Wastewater and Stations on their way


Today the Prime Minister along with other Ministers, the Mayor Phil Goff and Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore attended a ceremony in Drury today marking a new special funding unit to bring forward critical infrastructure to enable faster developments of housing in the Southern Auckland Future Urban Zone area. The Southern FUZ is the yellow on the Unitary Plan maps starting from the edge of Papakura and following the Great South Road, rail line and part of the Southern Motorway to Pukekohe.


Southern Rural Urban Boundary with Future urban zones in yellow


I have always said the Southern Auckland was in best position to take the brunt of new housing and population growth and today it seems prayers as they were are answered. From Beehive.govt.nz:


What is the opportunity in the South?

The greatest opportunity to create new urban areas in Auckland is to the South of the city, where around 5,300 hectares of land has been identified for urban development. The areas of Paerata, Pukekohe, Drury West and Drury South offer the greatest opportunity to fast track the supply of housing as they are the most ready to develop.


What infrastructure investments are needed in the South?

Although areas in the South have significant potential to expand greenfield housing capacity in Auckland, only 3,000 additional houses can be supported by the existing water and roading infrastructure.

It is estimated that an infrastructure investment of $387 million ($215 million for transport; $172 million for water) could increase the supply of new houses by 17,800 across Paerata, Pukekohe, Drury West and Drury South.


What water infrastructure developments would this cover in the South?

The estimated $172 million needed for water infrastructure in the South would pay for a number of developments including (but limited to) the:

  •        New Paerata water main ($30 million)
  •        New Paerata sewer ($40 million)
  •        Drury West wastewater reticulation ($20 million)
  •        Drury South pump station ($25 million)
  •        Bremner Road sewers ($2 million)
  •        Bremner Road pump station ($20 million)
  •        Paerata storm water ($1 million)
  •        Pukekohe storm water ($26 million)

What transport infrastructure developments would this cover in the South?

The estimated $215 million infrastructure investment in the South would pay for a number of transport developments, including the:

  •        Rail stations at Paerata and Drury West ($60 million)
  •        Paerata rail crossing ($20 million)
  •        Bremner upgrade ($38 million)
  •        Mill Road, Great South Road/Spine Road ($97 million)


That was from July 2017 in what would become the dying days of the last National administration. To continue the sense of irony this would only be the entrée to what would come post-election and the policies that would roll out to support the growth in the South.

Papakura Park and Ride overflows
Black lines are where cars have parked and their drivers walking to catch the trains north



Election 2017 Over. Now For Some Runs on the Board with Quick Transit Wins

Some quick transit wins in 100 days


With Prime Minister-elect Jacinda Ardern due to announce her Cabinet today and to go to the Governor General on Thursday it is time to look at the next three years in terms of projects. Specifically I am thinking planning, housing and transport in terms of getting some quick runs on the board. I am not deaf to parts of the electorate being hostile to the new Government, so getting those quick runs on the board with tangible projects will go some distance in the new Government making its mark into the ground.



This is where quick tangible wins can make a noticeable difference right off the bat – and at low-cost as well before we start hitting the big rail projects.

A quick recap:

Make Auckland a world-class city – LABOUR POLICY

Investing in Auckland’s transport infrastructure is vital both to the quality of life of Aucklanders and the economy of our largest city. Labour will invest to make Auckland a world-class city.
Auckland’s population grew 14 per cent between 2008/09 and 2015/16, with a 16 per cent increase in state highway traffic volumes and a 35 per cent increase in public transport boardings in the region.

Yet spending via the New Zealand Transport Agency on new and improved transport infrastructure in Auckland hasn’t increased.
Congestion has worsened dramatically in recent years and costs Auckland nearly $2b a year. Average speeds at peak times have fallen nearly 10km/h since 2014. Delaying projects that would reduce congestion is a false economy. The cost of doing nothing is too high for Aucklanders and for business.

It’s time to accelerate investment in Auckland transport.

Labour will:
• Build light rail from the CBD to Auckland Airport. This will be part of a new light rail network that will be built over the next decade with routes to the central suburbs, the airport, and West Auckland, and will later be extended to the North Shore
• Build a new Bus Rapid Transit line from Howick to the airport, starting with a bus service which will connect Puhinui and Manukau train stations to the airport in one year
 Invest in more electric trains, electrification to Pukekohe, and building a third main trunk line urgently between Westfield and Papakura
• Build a range of significant cross-town bus priority routes including New Lynn-Flat Bush, Point Chevalier-Botany, Silverdale-Whangaparoa, and Howick-Glenfield
• Allow Auckland Council to collect a regional fuel tax to fund the acceleration of these investments, along with infrastructure bonds and targeted rates to capture value uplift.


The Southern Airport Line is due to have its phase one start next year with the tender documents from Auckland Transport currently out. I noted in 2016 that: #Election2017 – Auckland and the Airport Line will Make or Break the English Government and it certainly did in 2017. The then administration was dead adamant that Airport Rail (or even bus ways) were not needed for another 30 years while promising another suite of gold plated roads including the now defunct East West Link Option F. In the end transport and Auckland did break English and his then Government.


Speaking of Airport Lines I managed to get into the Herald thanks to The Spinoff on how both the Northern and Southern Airport Lines would work:


How Do the Northern and Southern Airport Lines Work? A Short Redux into the twin Airport Lines

Something for everyone

With the announcement from Labour to fast track the Northern and Southern Airport Lines (see: Labour Wants to Get Auckland Going – Southern Airport Line Committed To) there seems to be a bit of concern trolling muddying the debate on both lines:


The screen grab:

Airport Line badge of honour
August 2017


Achievement unlocked!


Airport Access Study 2028
Source: Auckland Airport Access by Auckland Airport, NZTA and Auckland Transport



Airport Lines, The Airport Access Business Case and Light Rail. Dominoes all falling into place!

Cases in position now to get going


The excitement is building since I blogged recently that Auckland Transport had released tender documents on the first stages of the Southern Airport Line build from the Airport all the way to Botany. Auckland Transport late last week had re-released tender documents into the Government procurement site reflecting the Government’s desires to have the Southern Airport Line completed by 2021 to Manukau and 2023 to Botany. This will be five years ahead at the minimum of the full completion of the Northern Airport Line from the City Centre to the Airport via Dominion Road.


In the excitement two questions need to be asked:

  1. What will the alignment of the Southern Airport Line to Botany
  2. How will the Southern Airport Line traverse the Airport complex itself


That was some excellent news coming from Auckland Transport in regards to the Tender documents being released for stage one of the Southern Airport Line. Stage one included bus lanes, bus priority measures, an upgraded Puhinui Station and a Botany Interchange all to be done by 2021 (2023 for Botany).

After nine years of delays and the promise of not doing anything with the Airport Lines for another 30 years from National the election of the Labour-led Government would be one of the biggest highlights this year. And Transport Minister Phil Twyford is certainly not mucking around making his expectations perfectly clear on Auckland transit.


Big expectations ahead Phil for 2018 getting these projects rolled out!



2017 is also marked by two research projects into urban intensification and a guest lecture on inter-regional planning all which were and are topical given the expectations from the new Labour led administration:

Guest Lecture: Inter-Regional Planning and Sustainability

Relief value for Auckland

Yesterday I gave a guest lecture to Environmental Planning at the University of Waikato on inter-regional planning and sustainability. My thanks to Professor Iain White for the opportunity to guest lecture.

The lecture built upon a blog post I did recently on inter-regional planning. You can see the full post at the bottom of this post.

The main points of the lecture:

  • Cities and provinces since the 1990’s have been in competition
  • Rapid urbanisation and globalisation has seen the provinces hollowed out when industry has moved to Auckland
  • Auckland houses 37% of GDP and 34% of the population while growing at 800 new residents a week, this is unsustainable
  • Infrastructure both in terms of transport and water are not coping
  • Record suicide rate of 606 for the year in part will have come from Provincial centres being hollowed out and no real chances of employment available
  • Inter-Regional Planning connects up the smaller Centres with the bigger Centres spreading the population and employment load. Acts as control rods for Auckland
  • Tourism potential

The lecture slides can be seen below:




Finally to round out 2017 we have the two Omnibuses on Transform Manukau and the growth pressures facing Southern Auckland:

#TransformManukau Omnibus 2017. Framework Plan Included

The Southern Auckland Development and Its Pressures Omnibus

Both omnibuses will be updated in the New Year


Goal 2.7 of Manukau Framework Plan
Source: Panuku Development Auckland


2017 has gone out on a high with research work continuing and Auckland truly embarking on a City Building exercise that I first mentioned at the beginning of the year. Excitement levels are high as the Government rolls out programs that should have been done long ago.


That was 2017, tomorrow I look at what 2018 might bring!