Thoughts on High-speed Rail and Buses |

Thoughts on High-speed Rail and Buses |


Some thoughts on High Speed Rail Project happenings in California. As I said on Facebook:

Oh dear. How NOT to go and build a rail line. Seems The Rail Fallacy (so mentioned at View of Auckland) is proving true here folks – even when Direct Democracy applies (that is citizens voted for the HSR project in California). Must write up a post on an idea that I criminally under-mentioned in my submissions called The Rail Efficiency Program. But then again time is never my friend much…


Mind you a private firm is having a tilt at building a passenger rail line (Union Pacific builds freight lines normally when needed without much prodding) – will keep an eye on that and see how it goes.


Videos of Transport Conversation

How Effective Transport Planning Has Transformed London – Videos   << From Auckland Transport Blog


From Auckland Transport Blog by Matt L:

On Tuesday night Patrick, myself [Matt L] and a number of readers attended the Auckland Conversations event about transport. The guest speaker was Daniel Moylan who was the deputy chair of Transport for London (TfL) and he was talking about how effective transport has transformed London, he was a great speaker and it was a really interesting talk. It was also pleasing that many of the things that he said that are needed for a good PT system are the same things we talk about on here about frequently and are also things that we know AT want to implement as well. One thing that I think is important to remember is that Daniel is a conservative which reinforces to me my belief that good transport solutions should cross the political divide, I would love for the debate in NZ to move above the petty levels it seems stuck at.


Head over to Auckland Transport Blog [link in the sub-title above] and the watch the videos. I am about to get some viewing in now before watching Sherlock over on TV1. Once I have watched the video I might run some commentary tomorrow or Sunday.

But in the mean time I wish we had more people like Daniel Moylan in political and planning circles in NZ.


[From Admin: Posted this article bit later than expected after taking some advice on part the post here which I have omitted for now]

Next Stage of the Wynyard Quarter Redevelopment Under-way

Your Waterfront, Auckland | Waterfront Auckland | Leading the revitalisation of Your Waterfront | What’s Next | Daldey Halsey.


I see that the next stage of redeveloping Wynyard Quarter is under way with Daldy and Halsey streets up next for redevelopment:


Daldy and Halsey streets are two of the three key north-south connections in Wynyard Quarter. Running between Fanshawe Street and Jellicoe Street. The Daldy Street ‘park axis’ is an important urban design project for the quarter introducing a civic scaled, green landscape connection between Victoria Park (south) and a future Headland open space (north).

Waterfront Auckland is seeking resource consent for the revitalisation of these streets from Auckland Council.

Stage 1 of the project will see the revitalisation from Pakenham Street north towards the water’s edge. Stage 2 will see the revitalisation of the streets between Fanshawe and Pakenham streets.

We want to know what you think about the designs of these two streets.

Your feedback will help us shape the final design.


You can check the concept plans by hitting the link at the top.

I keep tabs on Wynyard Quarter as the area was where I first did an urban design project while at University. I also used that same project for my submission to the Auckland Plan and City Centre Master Plan hearings to which go commendation from Councillors on the hearing panel.


As for public feedback  for this part of the

Wynyard Quarter redevelopment; can’t resist so will write-up an informal submission. 


English: The Western Reclamation (also known a...


Looking out to Wynyard Quarter


In the mean time you can check my project idea compares with what is actually happening down at The Quarter

Renovations for Auckland Local Government Group

Big changes for Auckland local government stalwart | Scoop News.


Last night the oldest local political group, Citizens and Ratepayers held their AGM. At the end of it, what was C&R became Auckland Communities and Residents.

The press release from Auckland Communities and Residents (ACR) as follows:


Big changes for Auckland local government stalwart

Thursday, 31 May 2012, 10:35 am
Press Release: Auckland Communities and Residents

Media release

Thursday 31 May 2012

 Big changes for Auckland local government stalwart

Auckland’s oldest political association is changing its name in a wide-spread organisational change. Citizens & Ratepayers, the largest political group in Auckland local government, has become Auckland Communities and Residents. President Mark Brickell and Leader Chris Fletcher made the announcement following the group’s Annual General Meeting.

Mr Brickell said the organisation had broadened its policy focus, established new branches across the region and was formally adopting a policy of actively working with like-minded interests. “This follows a 12 month review begun shortly after the 2010 local body elections. Despite standing many strong candidates and running a very visible campaign, we did not win as many Governing Body, Local and District Health Board seats as expected.” “These changes will position Communities and Residents as a more effective regional organisation ahead of future elections.”

Communities and Residents Leader Councillor Chris Fletcher said the name change recognises that greater Auckland is made up of many different communities with residents at its heart. “The new organisation stands for strong communities, and will speak up for what is important locally – at times taking on ‘city hall’ to protect this. It will also stand for the interests of residents – those who live and work in Auckland, and expect their local government to be a responsible and prudent governor of the rates they provide.”

Mrs Fletcher said a key policy change has been to endorse a much stronger focus on Auckland’s regions. This includes supporting the Southern Initiative, but opposing the excessive spending on the CBD. It includes supporting land purchases for the City Rail Link, but not approving a construction timetable until full funding is confirmed and wanting greater focus on electrification of rail to Pukekohe

“Communities and Residents will concentrate on affordable policies across Auckland and in limiting rate increases. However new policies will build stronger communities throughout our region and more effectively advance protection of Auckland’s environment, and natural and built heritage.” “Disappointingly, the just-released Auckland Plan has not been driven by communities and residents. Instead, ‘city hall’ has led a top-down, hand-out approach. As a result our key community voices, the Local Boards, are at risk of being marginalised. A Communities and Residents Governing Body majority would transfer greater funding to Local Board budgets.”

Mr Brickell said a further change was the organisation’s move to formally abandon the “whipping” system, previously used to compel all elected representatives to vote the same way. Mrs Fletcher said Aucklanders have said they don’t want “party machine” politics in local government. This change endorses the approach the elected representatives had been implementing. “This will allow both Communities and Residents and like-minded representatives to work together on issues in common, but to give people the flexibility to take a different view on policies of particular concern to their community and residents.

Mr Brickell said he expected these changes would see the organisation endorsing candidates in some wards, rather than automatically standing against them, although specific decisions had yet to be made. He said. Communities and Residents would start to select and endorse candidates in key locations before the end of the year.

“Communities and Residents is determined to build constructive working relationships with those who share our outlook. We will develop and advance policies that build stronger communities and protect our residents’ interests.

Mrs Fletcher said the organisation is positive about Auckland’s prospects, but believes a key challenge under the recently adopted Long Term Plan budget is to avoid the most livable city becoming most unaffordable.



It is good to see the oldest political association under go change to reflect the times in Auckland. However I reserve my final judgement on ACR until after the 2013 local elections where Auckland votes in its second Auckland Council (including Mayor (incumbent or not). So ACR (yay another acronym) have from now until technically early 2014 to impress Auckland voters to vote for them.

Will we see whole-scale change with ACR or a case of Leopard changing its spots?

Mind you I think their PR machine might need to hit the floor running as I spotted this parody.

A piece from the Press Release:

“A Communities and Residents Governing Body majority…”

They (Auckland Communities and Residents) refer to themselves as Communities and Residents as short form in texts. Now Auckland Communities and Residents I have given the name ACR – fine with me; but Communities and Residents if I gave that an acronym becomes C&R. Hmm not sure whether that was intended but if the C&R term sticks with the Communities and Residents name rather than ACR which gives a more clean break; “guilty by association” comes automatically to mind. Now if I have drawn a connection there through perception, then it won’t take much for others to do so. Oops?

Never mind the C&R term still applies, just checked their webpage but still…

So I raise an eyebrow and keep and eye on C&R (was hoping to write ACR) through to the elections and just after it.

Your move next C&R?


Auckland – do we want to become the next Kaipara

Govt goes to aid of debt-laden Kaipara council | NATIONAL News.



That is my reaction to the shit-of-a-situation that Kiapara has landed itself in with their wastewater plant laying waste to the Kaipara Council’s books.

What happened in Kaipara with Central Government now going to aid them should sound as an ominous warning to Auckland Council.

With Auckland‘s Long Term Plan to be adopted next month by the Governing Body, I hope they are paying constant attention to the books. Otherwise you might just find a Central Government Minder sitting next to the Mayor at Council and Committee meetings. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing?

So just be careful Auckland, we do not want to end up in the same state as our northern neighbours

Auckland Plan Launched and Away

Auckland Plan is GO – and even has a website (that is readable)


I was meant to report on this yesterday but was dealing with a rather crappy written article from the NZ Herald on the Manukau Station, as well as the National Party and the CRL. Auckland Transport Blog has already reported on this – however I am adding my 2-cents as I did a very extensive submission (and was my first ever) to The Auckland Plan.

So yesterday the Mayor – our resident Prude launched The Auckland Plan after extensive submissions and deliberations on it. VOAKL has already written commentary on The Auckland Plan and how I gave it a “C-” grade (barely passable). But now that the Plan is live it is time to work with what we have from it – or simply burn it and do a full rewrite 2013 after the Local Elections.

Now Auckland Council has done one intelligent thing and created with this website for The Auckland Plan. I have had a cruise through it and am quite impressed actually with this website that gives the digital version of a Plan that is over 200 pages long 😛 (think of paper and ink folks printing that out). Each section or chapter of digital version of the Auckland Plan is listed for clicking, reading and even printing – although can not download as a PDF file which I usually do for such things.

So yeah – worth checking out at least.

Below is my original submission to The Auckland Plan, with the main focus on Urban Auckland and Transport (there was some focus on other parts).

VOAKL will maintain commentary on The Auckland Plan, especially as the action plan which “funds” the activities of The Auckland Plan (so the Long Term Plan 2012-2022) is adopted soon by the Governing Body, and The Unitary Plan (basically a Plan on Planning Rules guiding building and development) is drafted, debated and adopted next year. With The Auckland Plan still a “C-” grade document, I will be continuing to seek improvement of The Auckland Plan to get close to as an “A” grade as possible.

My Original Submission to The Auckland Plan