Tag: Manukau

RPTP Presentation

Ready, Set, Go for Presentation


Thursday 7th February at 1400 hours – Manukau Civic Centre I give my presentation to the Regional Public Transport Plan submission I wrote last year. I have finally completed the presentation for the four panel members which includes Councillor Mike Lee and AT’s Head of Public Transport Operations – Mark Lambert, with the main focus being local. That is the focus is close to home and covers the Manurewa, Takanini, Manukau and Papakura areas (I live in Papakura).

The presentation in PDF format is embedded below:


The speaking slot is only 10 minutes however if the panel members have read my written submission already AND paid some attention to the blog where most of the presentation material has come from, then the bulk of the speaking session should be a dialogue between myself and the panel members as they flesh out the points I have made. Not  spending time going over the entire submission as our AT panel members should have already read it (the presentation basically is a refresher with some graphics thrown in to illustrate points).


Transportation to the Hearing


Now being the Social Liberal that I am and having declared earlier that I am sensitive to price and time consideration when choosing a mode of transit, we shall take a look at the options I have to get me from Papakura to Manukau.


Basic Requirement
  • Presentation is at 14:00-14:10
  • Location: Manukau Civic Centre – Manukau City Centre (same area as Westfield Manukau Mall and Manukau Train Station
  • Must be at Manukau by 13:40 to hand presentation and notes for the panel members


To go by car to Manukau

Using the motorways it would take 15 minutes to travel the 11.1km trip – this is one way. As parking is free the main cost is petrol so I would say $3 for the return trip


To go by train to Manukau

According to the AT Journey Planner

Not even an option as the train into Manukau Station either at 1:04pm or 2:05 pm – so missing the market entirely as I would need to catch the 12:40pm service from Papakura and relay with the Britomart – Manukau train service at Puhinui at 12:56pm. Cost if I did decide to do this is $1 to the Park and Ride at Papakura and a $3 – 2-stage fare using my AT-HOP card (approx).

For the trip home providing I was not held up I would catch the 14:31 service from Manukau to Puhinui and relay with the 14:46 Eastern Line train heading to Papakura which gets in at Papakura at 15:03pm. Again cost is the same as the trip into Manukau


To use the bus

Not my first choice however I do have the following: Route 472 (so a Great South Road trundler) departing at 12:50pm and getting me to Manukau Mall at 13:15pm. Cost is $3.40 – two stage. Now the actual time consumer is the walk from the Manukau bus stop to the Civic Centre which takes another 10 minutes. So providing the bus was not late I would arrive at the Civic centre at 13:30 give or take.

Trip home would entail the following: Bus leaving (again the 472) 14:45 and getting to Papakura at 15:15 with the fare being $3.40.


So $3 and 25 minutes by car for the return trip, or over an hour and costing $8 approx for using a bus (trains do not even get a mention as the time is just too excessive to consider unless I really want to time waste).


I think CAR is the preferred choice for my trip to and from Manukau on Thursday; based on cost, efficiency and time. It shouldn’t be the case but it is – and now you can see why I am submitting to the RPTP so this situation should not happen!


Rather ironic isn’t it?

The CRL and North Shore Line Redux

A (re)Look at Two Particular Heavy Rail Projects


Over the last year advancements have been made on Auckland‘s heavy rail system (for both passengers and freight). BR:AKL has been following developments as Auckland’s rail continue to grow and evolve through the 21st Century. With the next step of the City Rail Link under way – that is the Notice of Requirements (protecting the land route for the CRL); BR:AKL takes a quick look back at some rail posts, in particular the operational model post CRL but pre North Shore Line, and The North Shore Line herself.


The Redux

Operational Models – An Alternative Proposal Post CRL, but pre North Shore Line (thus far)


THE PROPOSAL After seeing one or two particular proposals for CRL Timetable and/or Operations (that is how passenger trains would run along the Auckland Rail Metro Network) I thought to myself if I could come up with my own proposal.




 With the baseline operation plan laid out (so basically one train an hour on each of the three lines in each direction) it was time to ramp the frequencies up to acceptable standards



POTENTIAL PASSENGER CAPACITY ON POST CRL RAIL NETWORK So far in my City Rail Link Timetable and Operation Plan Proposal I have covered the foundation of my proposal on passenger train operations and frequencies once the $3.6b (Rail Fallacy applying of course)  CRL was opened and under way. You can get a full recap at my CRL TIMETABLE AND OPERATION PLAN – PART TWO post. In this post I build upon the proposed frequencies from Part Two and apply what potential capacity the Auckland Passenger Rail network could have post CRL. Now remember as of current in my proposals I have three lines of operation – they are: …


Parts Four and Five have been in the pipeline since Part Three and should be up for “publishing” sometime in February (Part Five as soon as the RPTP is finalised). Part Four would look at a Manukau to New Lynn “shuttle” via Glen Innes and Britomart as well as preparing for the Manukau (Rail) South Link) with Part Five looking at a dummy timetable post CRL but factoring in any changes with the Regional Public Transport Plan.   The CRL Timetable and Operational Plan series will be used in lobbying and advocacy once Auckland Transport starts drawing up proposed operation plans for the trains once the CRL is operational.

As for the North Shore Line two posts were dedicated to this crucial project as well as mentions in submissions to The Auckland Plan:


Could We See Rail on The North Shore?


A QUESTION FOR THE CRL – Is the CRL Future Proofed for The North Shore Line?

…one thing has struck me – well two actually:

  1. No mention of The North Shore Line (which crosses the City Rail Link at Aotea Station)
  2. No apparent future proofing of Aotea Station for The North Shore Line when it gets built (that is when not if folks)


Including aspects of The North Shore Line are crucial as part of connecting “all” of  (metro) Auckland to the rail system. Both North Shore Line posts spell out the importance of the CRL as well as The North Shore Line. As time goes on I will write-up a Timetable and Operation Plan – Post North Shore Line with all the lines built and what such a timetable could look like for Auckland.

So interesting and exciting times ahead as advancements in one aspect of Auckland’s Fully Integrated Transport System (or Suite) continue slowly but surely.


[All City Rail Link posts can be found by typing “City Rail Link Debate” into blog search box]

2011-2012 Rail Patronage Stats – And a Direct Message to AT

2011-2012 Rail Patronage Stats – For Auckland


Direct Message to Auckland Transport also included


While undertaking my normal cruising through blogs and social media that I keep an eye on, someone had filed a Local Government Official Meetings and Information Act (LGOIMA) request into the 2011 and 2012 Auckland rail patronage statistics – in which the numbers have been released by Auckland Transport.


You can see the patronage information HERE on page two or in the embed below

Accordingly the disclaimer from Auckland Transport applies: “The following sets out the observations of train passenger boardings by station following a single weekday sample during the month of May. The data is representative of a “typical” weekday usage but is subject to daily/seasonal variances. Auckland Transport does not warrant the accuracy of the counts.”

Source: Auckland Transport

It is of also to note that it is mentioned by Auckland Transport that there were service disruptions (I am trying to remember them) in 2011 and 2012 which “could have” affected “normal” patronage demand on the network.


So in other words the statistics are pretty next to worthless as you need an uninterrupted day to gauge “normal” patronage demand properly.


The Request and Stats

Source: Auckland Transport

Disclaimer: [as above]


What can I get out of these stats?

  • Papakura is still the third busiest station
  • Increase on patronage on the Western Line but slump on the Southern and Eastern Lines (again there were disruptions on those life which WILL affect numbers)
  • Onehunga is underwhelming – which means those passengers are getting on at Ellersile making the Onehunga trains appear busy in the peaks
  • Manukau. The comment from my Facebook will be more apt in describing this one:
    • As for Manukau, well George you and I have been down this road with Manukau. With the station 700 metres short to where it short and an observation on that concrete post, it was the entire reason behind my urgency to you and Mike Lee to see that South Link be built in order to get that patronage up


Now arguably these measurements were done in May when (looking at the Auckland Transport rolling 12-month patronage statistics) there was still growth, however since August 2012 there has been what is now a systemic and noticeable decline kicking the patronage levels back to July-August 2011 levels (so a full total back slide rendering efforts and good work gone in – useless). You can see my views on this backsliding over at my “FIRST STEP IN IMPROVING AUCKLAND’S PUBLIC TRANSPORT” post.


To which I have this message to Auckland Transport:


I am not your enemy and I don’t want to be your enemy.

Your goal is the same as my goal (I think after a head scratch) and that is: to build and maintain (and this includes in the customer service satisfaction and confidence in using our public transport) a world-class public transport system that is: easy to access, easy to use, easy to understand, and most of all it is affordable to all – for our most liveable City.

However something has gone horribly wrong your direction and we are now seeing a sustained and systemic patronage slip in our rail network – a backbone (but not the sole back bone) to keeping the citizens and visitors of this city moving. I have no interest in attacking you Auckland Transport as that is counter-productive.

But your experiences that I have had with you both good but more hostility does not (and with absolute respect) leave me with much confidence in you nor your abilities in achieving the goal – it just simply does not. What is not also helping in my confidence towards you is the feedback I hear from infrequent and frequent passengers – customers of Auckland Transport on the public transport system which I am sorry as much as I want positives, I only see overtly negative feedback on experiences.

Your goal is my goal and all I want to do – am trying to do is as a ratepayer (your master, your employer – not the other way around) is do my bit in making our transport system better. Whether that be through praise in what you do right, constructive criticism to overcome the weaknesses, or offer alternatives and ideas others might not have thought of in getting our transport system moving forwards – not backwards as we are seeing; this is my way in doing my part in achieving the goal so that our transport system  is: easy to access, easy to use, easy to understand, and most of all it is affordable to all – for our most Liveable City.

You would have now doubt read my “FIRST STEP IN IMPROVING AUCKLAND’S PUBLIC TRANSPORT” post that sums up the current feelings towards you – Auckland Transport on the customer service and experience of the current system; and if you haven’t then I recommend strongly in reading it.

So what say you Auckland Transport – I am pitching with everything I have (skills, experience, knowledge, ideas, and pure passion and enthusiasm (my former co-workers can vouch for those two) to you – to make our transport system a better place in partnership with you. You know where to find me, you know where to contact me.

I await your reply. 


LGOIMA Request Out – Manukau Car Park

Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act Request on Manukau Public Car Park is Out



Recently I had filed a Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act request to Auckland Council over the business case for the now Auckland Transport owned and operated Manukau City Centre Public Car Parking Building:

Time for a Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act Request


It is time to file another Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act request to the Auckland Council. This time the LGOIMA request will be on the recently opened Auckland Transport public car park building in Manukau which I reported on this morning. The request I will be filing will be for the originalbusiness case presented to the former Manukau City Council (under Mayor Len Brown) on this $14m building before it was carried over as a legacy project by today’s Auckland Council.

I am curious to what the business case was for this parking building in trying to understand why the former Manukau City Council went ahead with this project and possibly why Auckland Council did not stop it.

I’ll be keeping the readers up to date on the request – whether it is accepted or rejected by Council officials.

But in any case it is time to take a peek and what was the methodology behind the construction of this parking building in Manukau City Centre! 


And so the information requested has come in today and is posted (as four attachments) below.



This is the revised version





Now I am still reading the documents, but on first glance I think we have just been sold down the road initially with this building if we do not get any more high density development around Manukau soon (the Manukau South Rail Link adds another dynamic to the mix as well).


However check this out from AT’s website in the Ronwood Avenue Parking Building:

Ronwood Avenue car park

Last reviewed: 10/12/2012 11:55 a.m.

Car park location: Corner Ronwood and Davies Avenue, Manukau  – entrance from Ronwood Avenue

Parking description:  Multi-storey parking facility with a Vehicle Height Clearance of 2.1m. Eight levels with 676 spaces.

Car park features:

  • System for quick and easy parking (space availability signage by level)
  • Well lit
  • Clean and tidy
  • CCTV cameras that link through to a central control room monitored by security personnel.


Contact us about this car parking facility, or if you require immediate assistance in the car park building, press the blue “assistance” button located on the payment machines.

Hours  |   Tariffs  |  Lease Parking  |  Debit Card  |   Parking Vouchers  |   Ways to Pay  |

Normal operating hours 

​Day of the week ​Opens ​Closes
Monday to Friday 6.00am​ ​9.00pm
​Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays ​Closed ​

Note: Customers can park their cars in the building for 24 hours or longer, but can only exit before the last exit or opening times. See Other Parking rates to work out the cost of leaving your car overnight. For example, should you park your car in the building after 5pm on Friday night, and remove it on Monday morning at 6am, you will pay the $5 evening rate for each night it is in the building ($15 in total).



The following tariffs are a guideline only and subject to change. Refer to the schedule of fees at the car park entry.

Casual parking (Monday – Friday)

​Casual parking ​ ​ ​
0 – 1 hour​ ​$1 1 – 2 hours $2.00
2 – 3 hours $3.00 3 – 4 hours $4.00
4 – 5 hours $5.00 Max daily rate​ $6.00
* Lost ticket fee​ ​$40.00 ​ ​

* If customer loses their parking ticket, an instant $40.00 fee will be charged to be released from the car park.


Other Parking

Other parking​ ​Tariff ​Times & Conditions
Early bird parking​ $4.00​ Weekdays only

Enter and pay before 9.30am

Availability during this time is on a first come basis until full​

Levels 1 and 2 only

Evening rate​ $5.00​ Enter after 5.00pm – valid until 6.00am (following morning)

One entry, one exit

Pay at the machine​

​Lease Parking

Monthly lease deals (incl. GST)

See application forms for lease parking
















Level 3

No reserved allocated space -“first come – first served”

Global concession


Reserved allocated (undercover)


Level G​
Reserved allocated (external)


Level G​
Reserved unallocated


Level 4
Debit card​ Coded for denominations $20.00 to $200.00.


Contact us for more information
​Parking vouchers See casual rates above Available in 1,2,3 hour; half or full day periods, parking vouchers are used at the pay machine together with the entry ticket.

Request via fax or contact us ​

​Ways to pay Automatic payment machines can take Visa, Mastercard, Diners card and EFTPOS payments, as well as cash.

Help is only a button push away if required.



* If customer loses their parking ticket, an instant $40.00 fee will be charged to be released from the car park.



So what methodology was used? Love to seriously know

And I would really love to know how the diminished operating hours and parking tariffs compared to the original and revised Business Case studies are meant to assist in paying off the building as well as building a “sustainable” positive cash flow for Auckland Transport and Auckland Council. Now remember the parking building’s parking tariffs have already been slashed to these current levels to match or even underpin the All Day Park and Display street parking around Manukau. Even then that has not enticed people off the street and into the building (and it wouldn’t for me either).

I also have to ask, it is packed at Westfield Manukau Mall with Christmas shoppers and will be this weekend. Have AT even thought of opening the building this weekend to catch the overflow – you know a win-win for AT and Westfield? Probably not. So while you the shopper go round and around looking for a park, you have a perfectly empty dead parking building just sitting there – NICE ONE AUCKLAND TRANSPORT!


Why does Cabbage Boat come to mind here folks.


More in this business case later.

Wheels of Progress Turning Ctd

NZ Herald on “Boost for Trains In (the) South”


Wednesday I had posted on The Wheels of Progress Turning and how we are a step closer to Electrification all the way to Pukekohe and getting the Manukau South Link built and operating. Today Mathew Dearnaley from the NZ Herald posted his article on these two developments.

From the NZH:

Boost for trains in south

By Mathew Dearnaley

Auckland Transport will be asked by its council parent to give high priority to a south-facing rail link from Manukau while also considering the cost of electrifying trains to Pukekohe.

The council’s transport committee this week heard the organisation’s board is to consider electrification costs to Pukekohe at its next meeting in a fortnight.

But after the Franklin and Papakura local boards urged a more direct rail link with Manukau, the committee also decided to ask Auckland Transport to give that high priority before electric trains start running in 2014.

Although the Government’s existing $500 million electrification project is to stop at Papakura, committee member Christine Fletcher said an extension to Pukekohe was “the next logical step”.

Mrs Fletcher, who is also a council appointee to the transport board, believed an existing order of 57 electric trains being built-in Spain should be extended.

Although the cost of electrifying rail to Papakura was estimated at $115 million in 2008, and would normally be seen as the Government’s responsibility, committee chairman Mike Lee noted that he and Mrs Fletcher had persuaded the transport board last month to save $50 million by scaling down the upgrade of Dominion Rd.

“So it’s a matter of priority,” he said.

The committee also decided council staff should do their own study, although in consultation with Auckland Transport and the local boards, on the costs and benefits of a south-facing link from Manukau in relation to other rail projects.

Councillor George Wood said an $81 million north-facing line to Manukau, built to feed into a new Manukau Institute of Technology campus, was not “giving anywhere near the level of service it could do to people living to the south”.


Hmm Mathew, you might want to do some research (or get your junior to do so) on how the Manukau South Link came about. To give you hand go click THIS LINK and THIS LINK and THIS LINK on how the entire Manukau South Link matter arose and got to where it was.

As I have emailed Councillors Wood, Fletcher and Lee; a massive thanks to all three of them was sent for facilitating the discussion on the Manukau South Link which then got put alongside the Pukekohe electrification proposal. A special thanks to Councillor George Wood was also mentioned for bringing to the Transport Committee the Notice of Motion after I had raised concern about the South Link with him directly.

Now I will work on operation proposals on services running from Pukekohe and Papakura to Manukau using the South Link using both the existing DMU (Diesel) rolling stock and the new upcoming EMU (Electric) rolling stock and forward them to the Transport Committee for consideration.

But as I have said before:

I will continue to advocate and lobby hard for that South Link to be built – FOR YOU, the residents of South (and Counties) Auckland! As you deserve better!




Well I get nothing out of this directly nor personally per se. What I do get once the South Link is built and operating is the quiet satisfaction that access for South and Counties Auckland to Manukau via the South Link (Manukau being the major Southern Hub of Auckland) has been greatly improved for residents and communities south of Manukau. Quiet satisfaction that as a citizen and ratepayer of Auckland, I have done my part in advocating and lobbying our civic institutions in wanting to make my community that I live in a better place. And that is regardless if I am elected to Papakura Local Board next year or not!


I’ll draw up another post this weekend on my campaign for Papakura Local Board, but as Councillor Wood noted and thanked in the Transport Committee on Wednesday: I do have a real passion and drive on transport and planning issues here in Auckland as I just simply want Auckland my home to be a better place to live, work and play in. Thus why I lobby, advocate and draw up proposals for Council on all things Transport and Planning – it is not for me – it is for you!



Shining The Light – To a Better Papakura (OUR home)
To a Better Auckland – (OUR City)

Auckland 2013: YOUR CITY – YOUR CALL


Wheels of Motion are Turning

Fighting for the South Manukau Link


Continuing to advocate and lobby hard for that South Link to be built – FOR YOU, the residents of South (and Counties) Auckland! As you deserve better!


Last month I had posted on someone deciding to place a nice big concrete pad in the middle of the path for the Manukau Rail Southern Link. You can see the post (SOUTH AUCKLAND GETS SHAFTED – YET AGAIN) by clicking on the link.

Well after some advocating and lobbying, Councillor George Wood who is a member of the Council Transport Committee got a Notice of Motion placed into November’s agenda about the South Link. The Notice of Motion is:

Requests Auckland Transport to give a high priority to the installation of a south facing rail link between the Manukau Spur Line and the North Island Main Trunk Line at Wiri so that this connection can be in place by the time
that electrification of the Auckland Metro rail systems occurs. 

You can see the Notice of Motion in the November Transport Committee Agenda at the bottom of this post.


Naturally I am supporting this motion after kicking up the initial fuss in the first place when I first spotted the concrete pad in the middle of the South Link’s path.

I had this to say in my material forwarded to Councillor Wood as well as my submission to the Regional Public Transport Plan:

The link to the original New Zealand Herald article: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10799107


As I said above, the Herald and I had commented on the missing link in April. Now some seven months later it seems apparent the link is a no-go or basically dead. Without the link; Manurewa, Papakura and Pukekohe are virtually isolated in easy access to Manukau by rail. This flies directly in the face of the idea around a Rapid Service that should allow very easy access with minimum fuss or transfers to a primary service centre for South Auckland.

The current proposal using trains which incur a transfer penalty at Puhinui or the bus trundling along the Great South Road (which takes more than double the time a train does) from Papakura to Manukau (and skipping Homai on the way) to me in my opinion is substandard for the people in these locales, and basically reinforces the isolation factor/feeling these residents have from a major service, employment and leisure centre!

Operational Proposal for Manukau to Papakura Link

With the Manukau to Papakura Link (The South Link) built for around $3.8m, the next question is what kind of services do you run. The answer is both straight forward for both the existing diesel passenger train fleet and the upcoming new electric passenger train fleet. The estimate length of journey from Papakura to Manukau Station via The South link is around 19 minutes (plus a seven minute walk from the Manukau Station to the Westfield Manukau Mall), compared to 30 mins using the Waka Pacific 471 and 472 bus according to the www.at.co.nz Journey Planner.

Thus allowing for turnaround at Manukau and Papakura Stations and knowing what rolling stock availability there is available pre-EMU’s; I recommend using one ADL-2 class DMU to run a single service backwards and forwards between Manukau and Papakura every one hour  in a single direction from 6:00am until around 10:19pm – seven days a week. That means for example your Papakura to Manukau via The South Link would start at Papakura at 6:30am and arrives in Manukau at 6:49am; then leave Manukau at 7:00am to make its return run to Papakura via the South Link.

An example of how a proposed Papakura-Manukau via The South Link Timetable would work (for brevity I have not included the afternoon services)

From Papakura Arrive at Manukau From Manukau Arrive at Papakura
    6:00am (first service) 6:19am
6:30am (first service) 6:49am 7:00am 7:19am
7:30am 7:49am 8:00am 8:19am
8:30am 8:49am 9:00am 9:19am
9:30am 09:49am 10:00am 10:19am
10:30am 10:49am 11:00am 11:19am
11:30am 11:49am 12:00pm 12:19pm
9:30pm (last service) 9:49pm 10:00pm (last service) 10:19pm


When the new electric trains are fully on-stream replacing the diesel fleet between Papakura and Swanson, the frequencies can be increased to every 30 minutes at the minimum, or 20 minutes for optimum service delivery until either the Botany or Airport Line (via Puhinui Station) is open and a new operating model would be in place (subject to EMU fleet availability).

In concluding this section of my RPTP; I highly recommend Auckland Transport remedy the situation and get that link for $3.8m built by 2016 at the absolute latest. Once the link is built, operating services would begin on an hourly timetable, stepping up to 20 minute frequencies once the new EMU fleet is fully online. To do otherwise is not an option unless you endorse isolating a major part of the community from its main service centre!


Now what I did not mention is the fact that we will have 10 ADL-class DMU’s available when all the EMU’s are online 2016. With ADL DMU’s already by then doing the Papakura – Pukekohe shuttle runs until the main line is electrified from Papakura to Pukekohe, those DMU’s can be extended to do a full Pukekohe – Papakura – Manukau via the Southern Link shuttle service until such a time Pukekohe is electrified and the EMU’s fully take over. So with upwards of 10 DMU’s, you can pretty much obtain 15-20 minute frequencies on Pukekohe – Manukau shuttles until those EMU’s can do the runs in place of the DMU’s (most likely 2020).



So here I am pitching for the residents and communities of: Homai, Manurewa, Takanini, Mahia, Papakura, Drury and (in-part) Pukekohe to get the missing link built for a frequent and rapid service to Manukau – the primary service and employment hub of South and Counties (former Franklin District) Auckland. Manukau has more connections to South Auckland residents than the CBD ever will, and as a result South Auckland should be able to access Manukau easily and efficiently which building The South Link will provide. To not provide the link and roll out the services utilising the link in my opinion as a Papakura resident and ratepayer, an insult to my fellow South Auckland neighbours and communities.


Thus I will continue to advocate and lobby hard for that South Link to be built – FOR YOU, the residents of South (and Counties) Auckland! As you deserve better!



Shining The Light – To a Better Papakura (OUR home)
To a Better Auckland – (OUR City)

Auckland 2013: YOUR CITY – YOUR CALL



The Agenda




Dodgy Governance

White Water Rafting in Manukau or White Water Shafting in Auckland?


It seems Dodgy Governance at Auckland Council continues, again around the White Water Rafting Shafting facility that was “approved” (subject to public “consultation”) by – oh look the Auckland Council Strategy and Finance Committee. The very same committee blasted over The Long Term Plan and the V8 saga down in Pukekohe!


A press release from Councillor Cameron Brewer – Orakei


Rafting’s compelling economic story news to economists

Tuesday, 9 October 2012, 6:44 pmPress Release: Cameron Brewer

Whitewater rafting’s compelling economic story news to Council’s economists

Today’s revelation that neither Auckland Council’s own economic development unit nor Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) were asked to have input or to review last week’s proposal to support a $20m – $30m ratepayer investment into a whitewater rafting facility in Manukau, shows the poor process surrounding the project going from bad to worse, say Auckland councillor Cameron Brewer, who chaired today’s Economic Forum.

“At today’s forum some councillors were genuinely surprised to hear from representatives of ATEED and council’s own EDU that neither were involved in the Counties Manukau Pacific Trust and Regional Facilities Auckland’s proposal for proceeds of a council land sale to go into converting a South Auckland paddock into a whitewater rafting facility.”

Mr Brewer says that’s concerning given the controversial proposal narrowly got through last week largely off the back of all the economic development promises sold to councillors.

The report circulated to the 4 October 2012 Strategy & Finance Committee promised that the project would create 110 full-time equivalent jobs, attract 31% of its visitors from outside the Auckland region and New Zealand, act as a catalyst to attracting quality development within the surrounding area, and contribute an additional $7.4m annually to Manukau’s GDP.

“Now we learn that the compelling economic story that helped to successfully sell this project was never audited or even inputted by council’s own economic team or ATEED which employs 60 people in its economic development operations alone. That’s not good enough, particularly when you consider the proponent’s business case for this facility was completed in July last year. As councillors we need to be confident that what is promised can stand up to scrutiny and that should start with internal reviews of such big economic promises at the very least.

“I support those councillors who now want to see this project’s economic feasibility and business case peer reviewed by either council’s own economic development unit or ATEED. That needs to be done before this project becomes part of council’s draft annual plan for 2013/14.”

“This project was rejected outright by the former Manukau City Council three years ago. It then somehow escaped this council’s proper 10-year Long Term Plan budgetary process, and now we learn it has also avoided the scrutiny of council’s two economic development teams despite it being sold as an economic development project. Ratepayers should be even more worried,” says Mr Brewer.



Well this sorry saga flies in direction contravention to just about every fundamental I stand for – for a better Auckland, specifically these points:

  1. Basics first: One thing I learnt when I moved out from the parents’ home and struck it out in the real world (including getting married and owning our first house) is that with the limited resources you have got, you did the basics first then with anything left over you just might be able to afford a luxury. Same applies to our civic institutions; they have limited resources so get the basics right first then “treat yourself or others” to a luxury if you are able to do so once the basics are taken care of.
  2. Listen and Engage: God gave us two ears and one mouth. In my line of work you actively listen with both ears THEN engage IN DAILOUGE with your one mouth. Not the other way around as that is usually monologue and the fastest way to get your ears clipped. Same applies to civic institutions:  you actively listen with both ears THEN engage IN DAILOUGE with your one mouth unless you like getting your ears clipped… Oh and remember some days all the person wants you to do is JUST LISTEN to their little piece – as all we want some days is just to get it off our chests.


Council is not getting its basics right if it splashes out on this rather large-scale luxury item. Council is also not listening nor even consulting those who should be auditing this facility proposed in Manukau City so how the hell are we meant to display the remotest of confidence in our civic leaders which Councillors and the Mayor are.

The answer is we can NOT!

Council has infringed on my fundamentals with this White Water Shafting deal and I am not very happy about it – in fact I am disgusted by those Councillors who voted for the proposal…


Can I spin a positive out of this? Well apart from standing for Papakura Local Board next year the answer in short is sadly NO!


Although I have to ask this question: Do I continue to stand for Local Board, or try my hand at Council itself and try to tip out a centre-left sitting Councillor north of me (in other words NOT contesting Papakura as the current councillor centre-right and it is pointless trying to tip out one of your own). It is a question that I will need to think long and hard over as the elections draw near.

In the mean time it is back to submission and speech writing – before Council does anything else rather daft!