Port of Auckland Loses Fonterra

I am reading at the moment that Port of Auckland has lost Fonterra as a customer. Whale Oil a blog I frequent is running pieces on the latest from Fontera‘s decision. Personally I do not care if you despise Whale Oil or not – not interested – what I do care is the second loss of major customer and the Union being idiots.

While I do not make it a habit of posting here at VOAKL on politics per se, my social liberal side is now boiling with rage and I have swung to the neo-conservative side in this sorry saga and am wanting more and more for that union to have its back broken.

Basically Central Government and Auckland Council – do something NOW – doing nothing is no longer an option…


Changes at Swanson

After going through my “mail” and memos I came across this piece about Swanson Station changes.


The Attached Memo has the changes with platform PA annoucments and signage at Swanson also pointing out changes at Swanson.

Again allow yourself some extra time at Swanson to allow familarisation with Swanson.

And the Trains are Back (Somewhat)

Good Morning Auckland.

Today limited train services are back on the rail network. See maxx.co.nz for further details and word of advice – allow plenty of travel time to get to your destination as the mix of trains and rail buses are on until the middle of the month.

Yesterday I posted about works at Britomart including a piece about a stabling track at platform 0. After a point was raised I placed an edit and retracted that comment until I did some further investigation which I have done so this morning.

The work at Britomart is on a new set of points and track being built to allow better departing of trains from platforms one, two and three.

When I return home today I will re-edit my previous post and post a new post with a diagram on the points works at Britomart.

I would like to apologise for the previous error made yesterday and reiterate while I do my best in reporting correct information, from time to time the odd error will come up. If you do spot an error please let me know and I will address that error ASAP.

In today’s afternoon session I will be posting on the works at Britomart [note from admin – on hold], as well as The Draft Auckland Plan Series and other works and changes on the rail network including Swanson Station [note from admin – will publish on Thursday]. Also be on the look out for today’s poll on The Draft Auckland Plan land use split.

[Note from admin – The Port of Auckland and loss of Fonterra at the port news today is generating a lot of debate which I am also participating in across the Internet, as a result there will be some delays to some up and coming posts]

The Draft Auckland Plan (#4) (Serial)

The Five Centralised Master (Community) Plan – Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation Areas

In post (#3) of The Draft Auckland Plan Series, I looked at the Central Master (Community) Plan as one of two Brownfield or Greenfield methods in Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation model for growing Auckland (while still sticking to the set goal).

Five areas in my submission were outlined for the CMCP-LADU model of growth. All five areas are existing areas thus would be Brownfield developments. For a recap the five CMCP-LADU areas are (and will be blogged in that particular order as well) :

  1. Wynyard Quarter
  2. Tamaki
  3. Manukau (City Centre)
  4. Papakura
  5. Sylvia Park (Commentary Only)

In post (#4) we look at Wynyard Quarter, with post (#5) in The Draft Auckland Plan Series looking at Tamaki. Both Wynyard Quarter and Tamaki pieces (of the submission) had their origins while I was a Masters of Planning Practice student at the University of Auckland. They (the pieces) were assignments for two urban papers that were part of the Masters planning programme but were able to be adapted for my submission to The Draft Auckland Plan. Both documents or rather assignments were attached as appendices to the submission and can be viewed by scrolling to the bottom of the respective posts.

Wynyard Quarter

Wynyard Quarter was adapted from the original university assignment and attached as an appendix to my original Auckland Draft Plan submission. As in my submission the Wynyard Quarter CMCP-LADU was urban renewal piece:

As a former University of Auckland Planning student, an assignment that was given to me was to develop a plan to “renewal” a section of the Auckland Waterfront. I chose Wynyard Quarter and developed a basic Centralised Master (Community) Plan that would form a very basic framework in reallocating, redeveloping and re-utilising the land at Wynyard Quarter. While redevelopment has already started at Wynyard Quarter since my CMCP was developed (in 2010), the plan itself (see separate attached document ―Planning 701—Assignment Two: Area Chosen for Study: Wynyard Quarter, Auckland) still illustrates what can be done for the rest of the area.

In brief it was planned for Wynyard Quarter to have substantial mixed development coupled with generous amounts of public spaces; in order to generate an area with not only high amenity value to users and to the wider city, but to generate as much return for the city as possible (while still socially and physically (environment) sound).

The piece while crude (it was my first Urban Design paper) still offered a valuable insight and alternative to what was being presented at the time (about 75% green space by both the former Auckland City Council and my planning student counterparts). I offered a more intensive development that still had generous amounts of open space. I treated Wynyard Quarter as a virtual extension of the Central Business District albeit with some marine and industry in the mix (to give the impression of a working city (as well as economic benefits)) and as a result medium to high density development was “planned.” The embedded document for Wynyard Quarter gave my methodology and reasoning behind the more intensive planned development.

The question is, given the development already happening and has happened at Wynyard Quarter (North Wharf and the Silo Park) can my Wynyard Quarter CMCP ever be implemented by Auckland Council. The answer is yes! In a sense of irony looking back at my original assignment, I had put in flexibility into the CMCP to accommodate developments around North Wharf and Silo Park. With the actual point of Wynyard Quarter still in the early planning stages, ideas from my CMCP can be “used” if Auckland Council wishes to see a more balanced approach to; development, green-space, economic progress and viability of Wynyard Quarter and the rate of investment return (to the council).

It is up to Council to decide which approach to take: pro-green as current, pro-development (tower blocks) or a balanced approach as I advocate

You can see the Auckland Council Vision through the Draft Waterfront Plan HERE

Note on the embedded document below was originally published on A2 paper and saved as a PDF. If the document is too small to read you can try HERE to open in a separate window. If all else fails, leave a comment and I will see what I can do. (Admin)

Trains are Back From Wednesday

From tomorrow (4th Jan) parts of the rail network will be reopened. Otahuhu to Newmarket, Onehunga to Newmarket and the Western Line from Newmarket to Henderson/Swanson/Waitakere will be open to passenger (and freight) services.

My advice is, allow for extra time if you are travelling by train tomorrow. There are bound to be some “teething issues” as new signalling and points are brought on-stream, and the DMU units probably needing a jump start after sitting idle since Christmas Day.

I will Blog further on the gradual start up of the network when I return home from the control room this afternoon.

Back to Work and So are the Trains

Update from the earlier Quick Post

[Work Computer won’t let me do full posts without crashing]

Well my annual leave is over (for now) for another Christmas/New Years. The weather was great in Tauranga for Christmas but utter crap in Auckland for New Years which is rather typical.

So back to the Britomart Control Room I go (or was as I am back home when I finished this post), although today is still a total block of line across the entire network. Tomorrow however the first part of the network is open with Otahuhu to Newmarket, Onehunga to Newmarket and the Western Line from Newmarket to Henderson/Swanson/Waitakere being opened from tomorrow (4th Jan).

Over the course of the rest of the week, I will try to get some snaps (pictures) of the rail works and post them to VOAKL.

The media are beginning to pick up on the rail network slowly being opened as well with the NZ Herald giving a small report in today’s issue.

[Edit from Admin] Head to the Campaign for Better Transport site for pics on the rail upgrades that have been happening over the Xmas-New Year Block of Line – they look incredibly good 😀

Ellersile is basically complete with the platform and track moved to the west as part of a New Zealand Transport Authority program to build a fourth motorway lane from Ellersile On-ramp on the city-bound side of State Highway One (Southern Motorway). That fourth lane should go some way in freeing up a bottleneck that is constant from 6:30am until 6:30pm Monday to Friday on that stretch of motorway. However users of the Southern Motorway city-bound know that the South Eastern Highway on-ramp can even prove a bigger headache and bottleneck than Ellersile. So something needs to be addressed there urgently.

Did not see Parnell today where the controversial station is set to be built by the Mainline Steam Depot. I will blog later on the controversies of Parnell Station and why I am so dead against it. However I will endeavour to get some snaps of it this week and post it to this blog.

At Britomart there were two projects I checked out today, one complete and one not so complete. Both would be hidden from the public’s eye but have great benefit and importance to the passenger rail network.

The first was the bi-directional signalling system upgrade that is now complete from Morningside to Swanson Stations. This upgrade extends the bi-directional signalling system from Wiri in the south (including Manukau Branch Line) to Britomart (via Newmarket and Glen Innes (and includes the Onehunga Branch Line) and out west to Swanson. In short bi-directional signalling allows Train Control (Wellington) and the Co-located Control Room at Britomart (where I am based) to (through co-ordination between the two control centres and executed finally by Wellington) send trains down any direction on any of the dual lines at any time (providing it is safe) and even run trains parallel in the same direction. Rail users would see at times in the approaches and inside the Britomart Tunnel two trains running parallel together in and out of Britomart Station (or during the Rugby World Cup from Kingsland to Grafton). Rail users might have also been on a passenger train when the train suddenly crosses over at Tamaki and you find yourself going down the “wrong line” to Otahuhu where the train crosses back over again.

Britomart with Platform One on the extreme left.

All that above is possible due to bi-directional signalling, giving Veolia and Train Control some more redundancy flexibility in disruptions when for example a train breaks down on the line (especially the pesky Metro Port freight services which usually break down outside the bi-directional signalling areas). However to get more redundancy capacity and minimise disruptions on the network, ideally the system would also have cross overs between every station to allow trains to “run around” the train fault more quickly and easily – something to keep pressuring Kiwi Rail and Auckland Transport on.

With the extension of the bi-directional signalling system also means an “update” to the signal panel board display  (that mimics the board from Train Control Wellington and serves as a emergency back up in case of a failure somewhere in the communications line between Britomart and Wellington) in the Co-located Control Room. Every single train inside the bi-directional area of the network comes up as a red line or blip with a train number attached and often a “route set” (with signal and points indications as well). As the panel is real-time and the fact more can be seen with the extensions, more accurate tracking (coupled with the Real Time Information Display Systems being rolled out) can be done and (in theory); better communications to passengers where their trains are, how  far away the said train is and how late (or early) the service is.

The second piece of work at Britomart [note from VOAKL Admin, I did some investigating today, to be on the correct and factual side I will report on this set of works that affect platforms 1-3 at Britomart when Britomart is full operational again after the 18th of January]

So as the network is slowly brought up to running from tomorrow, rail users should be able to see some of the works down as Auckland strives to get a better passenger rail system. As for the bits the using public can not see, well here is hoping it helps your commute on the network.

The Draft Auckland Plan (#3) (Serial)

The Centralised Master (Community) Plan


In the last Draft Auckland Plan Series post I gave an introduction and outline into the land use and transport aspects of my submission. In particular the post looked at the Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation system I had devised, and the two LADU methods also devised in the submission. The two LADU methods (f0r both Greenfield and Brownfield land use) were; Centralised Master (Community) Plan (CMCP) and the Semi-Liberal Planned District (SLPD). Both methods had to follow the Regional Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation Philosophies (R-LADU-P) also mentioned in The Draft Auckland Plan (#2) (Series) post as basic requirements for a healthy (yet still affordable and economically viable) physical AND social environment.

Centralised Master (Community) Plan and Semi Liberal Planned District Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation briefs can be found by clicking on the respective hyper link and going to PAGE 14 of the submission document on Scribd.


The Centralised Master (Community) Plan is where the subject LADU is performed under a strict prescription criteria. The reason behind that is due to the land or area having:

“significant value or consequences (both positive and negative) to either the surrounding area or the entire city thus land allocation/development/utilisation inside these CMCP’s could not be left strictly to more market forces (as would be seen in a Semi-Liberal Simplified Planned District development).”


Basically so called sensitive areas in Auckland would be put under the CMCP-LADU method. These sensitive areas (as per Table 8.2 Page 132 of The Auckland Draft Plan (Urban Auckland)) are:

  • International City Centre
  • Metropolitan Centres
  • Any urban (or rural) centre marked with an (*) in Chapters Seven and Eight of The Draft Auckland Plan
  • Tamaki

The reason why those areas were placed under the CMCP-LADU method was due to their sensitive nature in Auckland and could not be left to the more liberal Semi Liberal Planned District LADU method. The sensitivity ranges from large economic, social environmental and/or physical environmental effects the areas bullet pointed above have and thus in my opinion need a LADU method that is performed:

“under a strict prescription. That prescription would provide the covenants on land allocation, land utilisation, urban design and “rules” around what types of activities or future activities that could or could not be carried out.”

The Draft City Centre Master Plan provides an extensive and comprehensive example of what a Centralised Master (Community) Plan can look like. The Draft Waterfront Plan could also be another example of a CMCP based on the sensitive social and physical environmental effects the area has in and for Auckland. In any case both examples are indicative on what a CMCP can do.

However with time short and only just me and my computer, I could only focus on selected areas for the CMCP LADU method however room was left for further development if Auckland Council takes up the idea in the final Auckland Plan.

The areas I thus focused in my submission were:

The above mentioned areas had significant value or consequences and were therefore put under the CMCP-LADU method. If the CMCP-LADU method is adopted into The Auckland Plan then the following would occur:

Local Boards, Auckland Council (mainly in regard to the International City Centre Zone), stakeholders and developers would need to work together to form the Centralised Master (Community) Plans to takes these centres forward for the next 30-50 years. However while developing a CMCP, the primary goal of “The Plan has to follow the objective of being: Simple, Efficient, Thrifty, and Sustainable while still making Auckland „The Most Liveable City.” So rule of thumb, the CMCP (as one person said) if printed on A4 paper should be no thicker than an average person‟s thumbnail – anything thicker means it is too complex and/or inefficient.”

Detailed individual Central Master (Community) Plans for the five areas mentioned above will be not attached or added to this submission per-se. For one the idea of a CMCP has to be approved by Auckland Council first in finalising The Auckland Plan, second if a CMCP model of land allocation/development/utilisation is adopted then a second phase of “planning” has to be undertaken in order to create the CMCP. That planning work would and should be down collaboratively with Local Boards, Auckland Council (mainly in regard to the International City Centre Zone), stakeholders and developers. That planning work would be done either in preparation for the Unitary Plan or the Long Term Plan.


As quoted it would happen through the Long Term Plan and Annual Plan that is set out for both the Auckland Council and the Local Boards (both affected with the CMCP or not). However I am a bit concerned as the Long Term Plan (the action plan and budget (including rates) mechanism ) is already drafted and can not be easily changed despite public consultation that will happen next month. I am wondering if The Draft Auckland Plan is already set regardless of its public consultation that happened last year and thus the Long Term Plan is a natural follow on from it.

In any case, my submission mentioned five areas that I had placed under the CMCP-LADU method due to their significant value and/or consequences to further development.

The next round of posts on The Draft Auckland Plan Series I will look at each of the five areas in my submission mentioned under the CMCP-LADU method and why.


The Draft Auckland Plan (#2) (Serial)

First (extensive) Look into Land Use

Land Use: The Beginning

Land use took up the bulk of my submission (around 70%) as I focused on the Central Business District and Southern Auckland (due to time and resource constraints). I also noted that land use is one of the four pillars that dictate (at Local Govt.. level) the economic progress and affordability of living, working and conducting business in the city (the others being: Infrastructure, Regulation and Taxes). So I did some reading of a few blogs, academic journals and essays on the existing and historic land use and influences in Auckland. For references to the historic and existing conditions in Auckland see page FOUR of my submission or SLIDES three to six of the presentation I gave to the Auckland Spatial Plan Hearings Panel.

Quick note on Energy

I had made a fleeting but important note on energy in my submission. Energy is a catalyst in influencing land use and transportation use and I pointed out to the Hearings Panel the more likely way we (Auckland and New Zealand) will go in the energy transition cycle.

Slide FOUR of the presentation illustrated the cycle we will most likely take for energy sources for our transportation fleet. This lead to the inevitable conclusion in my submission that the car will be with us for at least until the end of the century and that any planning should take into account all forms of transport mode including the dominance of the car.

 Back to a First Look at Land Use

In my submission I asked a question about land use, the question was: “How does Auckland best allocate and utilise its land efficiently and optimally so that the goal of being the “Most Livable (and affordable) City” can be realised.” The submission answered by stating two possible options of either; a centralised prescription based approach seen currently in Auckland or a neo liberal approach seen in HUSTON, Texas.

However I advocated for a mixed model approach where both the centralised prescription method and liberal method had their respective places in Auckland – regardless of Brownfield or Greenfield development. The submission provided list of both where intensification and sprawl would take place and which growth model would be best suited to each mentioned area. The mixed model system while is the main system to achieve to goal: 

To accommodate employment and economic activity in supporting a healthy social and physical environment for over two million residents by 2040. In doing so The Plan has to follow the objective of being: Simple, Efficient, Thrifty, and restoring Affordability to residents and businesses while still making Auckland ‘The Most Livable City.”

The mixed model approach was designed on the premise that a ‘one size fits all’ growth planning policy would not work and adaptation is and would be required. Thus two “methods” were drawn up to outline and guide the growth method needed for Auckland.

Both growth methods (which would be under the Land Allocation/Development Utilisation (LADU) system in the submission) had to follow a very basic guideline to ensure the quality of the physical and social environment of the city.

This basic guide line group is called the Regional Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation Philosophies which outlines the following individual philosophies for the LADU system:

  •  Follow and Implement the New Zealand Urban Design Protocol
  • Follow these philosophies:

  ○ Would you and your family live here happily?

  ○ Would you work here happily?

  ○ Would you and your family use this recreational space while feeling safe?

  ○ Would it be something you would allow your next generation to inherit?

  ○ Not contravene the principles of the Resource Management Act 1991 (i.e. the land allocation/development/utilisation will not create severe adverse effects – or simply put, lower the amenity of the surrounding existing physical and social environment)

 Who and where got developed is also mentioned in the introduction to the Land Use section of the submission for both intensification and sprawl. The list below gives some (but no means limited to) areas suitable for one kind of growth or the other:

 Areas for “sprawl” to occur at:

● Drury^

● West Papakura^

● Westgate

● Hobsonville

● East Takanini^

● Airport

● Kumeu

● Wiri*^

Area‟s for intensification to occur at:

● Wynyard Quarter^

● New Lynn

● Takapuna

● Tamaki^

● Manukau City Centre^

● Papakura Central^

● Papatoetoe Central (Hunter‟s Corner)

● Pukekohe

● Otahuhu

● Penrose/Southdown/Onehunga#

See Appendix Map for illustration of the above areas (that are outlined (^))

 *Wiri for both intensification and sprawl

 #Urban redevelopment

However again focus was on the CBD and Southern Auckland.

What were the two methods under the mixed model LADU system?

One was called the Centralised Master (Community) Plan which was a centralised prescription method of growth, while the other method was the Semi Liberal Planned District which was inspired from the Huston, Texas model of urban development.

My next post in the Draft Auckland Plan Series will expand on the Centralised Master Community Plan Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation method of growth in Auckland

Area focused in my submission

The map above illustrates the areas I had focused on in my submission, with particular focus on Southern Auckland. If time had allowed North and North West Auckland would have also had been included but alas one can only do with what he or she is given with.

That is all for this post, if you enjoy reading the blog feel free to comment or even spread the word. In the mean time I hope my contributions have added another view-point or dimension into what is a View of Auckland.

The Draft Auckland Plan (#1) (Serial)

First Look at my Submission

Introduction to Land Use, Transport and Urban Design

We begin to dissect my submission into the Draft Auckland (Spatial) Plan as a commentary and springboard for debate and discussion into the Plan itself and Auckland’s future. As mentioned in earlier posts my submission focused on land use and transport – areas that I have a passion about AND have the most effects on the city.

The Draft Auckland Plan had a goal (well many actually) of making the city “The Most Livable City” (Mayor of Auckland Len Brown). After some reading of academic material, the draft Plan itself and some I developed my own goal for Auckland and built my submission around that. My goal was: “To accommodate employment and economic activity in supporting a healthy social and physical environment for over two million residents by 2040. In doing so The Plan has to follow the objective of being: Simple, Efficient, Thrifty, and restoring Affordability to residents and businesses while still making Auckland ‘The Most Livable City.”

Simplicity, affordability, efficiency, thriftiness and sound economic progress would be words used constantly to allow residents and businesses “live” in a livable Auckland.

The Outlines

Skipping the Introduction (you can read that for yourself in my submission) lets take a look at the three outlines in the submission to the Draft Auckland Plan.

Three outlines were written up; one on land use, one on transport and the final on urban design. The outlines provided a brief outlook at the aspects of respective sections of the submission.

The Land Use Outline

Objective: Adopting a mixed model of intensification of existing urban areas AND “sprawl” in current Greenfield sites to accommodate Auckland‟s growth in an affordable manner.

Mixed model and mixed growth methods following a set philosophy, for a more balanced approach to realising the goal set out for Auckland by 2040. Two models for the two growth methods were developed in what I believed were the best attempts to realise the goal I had set out. The two models (which will be explained in-depth later in the series) were called: Centralised Master (Community) Plan (CMCP) and the Semi-Liberal Planned District (SLPD) and both covered the Greenfield (sprawl) and Intensification (Brownfield) growth methods. Both models had to follow a core philosophy to ensure a high quality standard in urban form, design and function in order for the main goal to be realised.

Page six of my submission provided candidate areas for both Greenfield and Intensification growth.

Land Use will be covered extensively in my next blog posts on the Draft Auckland Plan Series

The Transport Outline

Objective: To complement the land use ideas set out in this submission – in allowing transport choice and efficiency across the Auckland Region

As per my submission:

 This submission will focus on what are considered major transit links needed in Auckland to improve the efficiency of the regional transit network. These links are not limited to:

● Eastern Highway

● Inner City Rail Link and AMETI

● Westfield Rail Diamond Realignment

● South-to-Manukau Rail Link completion

● Rail Station re-deployments/additions (where required)

● Future Proof the following lines:

○ Airport Line (from Onehunga-to-airport-to main line at Wiri)

○ Botany Line

○ South West Line

○ North Shore Line

Also, a priority system would be added on reallocating the priorities on building Auckland‟s Transport Network through until 2040.

I did not mention things my high occupancy vehicle or bus lanes again due to time and resource constraints in writing the submission. Transport will be focused on after the sub series on Land Use

Southern Motorway heading to CBD

Urban Design Outline

Sadly I could not elaborate on urban design in my submission outside of the accompanying outline due to the tight deadline imposed on getting the submission to Auckland Council. However I believe over the next ten years there will be plenty of opportunity to ensure good urban design principles. Just remember:

Auckland must be careful in how we design our urban environment as well. What could be a great design on paper and start off well enough when paper turns to reality, over time that reality and its environment degrade due to actual poor planning

In short though, the Regional-Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation-Philosophies outlined an idea of achieving ideal urban design framework that allows a healthy physical and social environment now and for years to come.

In my next post on The Draft Auckland Plan Series, I take a first look at the Land Use section of my submission.

Upgrade and Transfer Complete

After some tinkering and some coffee the transfer and upgrade of the View of Auckland Blog is now complete.

Sit back over a hot or cold drink and have a read of the existing View of Auckland Posts here at http://voakl.net 

Some fine tuning will be happening at VOAKL while I get the feel for the site (as well a better index and category filing of posts)

I will be posting the next two articles in The Draft Auckland Plan Series shortly.

In the meantime, help spread the work of VOAKL, as planning issues affect everyone in Auckland and New Zealand 🙂