Tag: Mayor Len Brown

Changes to the City Rail Link [updated with video from Auckland Transport]

LGOMIA request to go in for Post-CRL Operational Plan


Bit of activity around the changes to the City Rail Link this morning in order to scale back costs.

From the Office of the Mayor

Mayor announces 20 percent cut in cost of City Rail Link

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has announced a significant reduction in the cost of the City Rail Link (CRL) from $2.86 billion to less than $2.4 billion lowering the price of Auckland’s number one transport infrastructure priority by about 20 per cent.

A significant part of that cost reduction is an Auckland Transport (AT) decision to redevelop the existing Mt Eden Station and connect it to the CRL rather than build a new underground station at Newton.

That design change will save more than $150 million, improve the reliability and journey time of train services, minimise construction disruption and reduce property purchase requirements.

The other significant saving is a decision that additional electric trains will not be required as part of the core CRL project, saving more than $330 million.

Len Brown says the ongoing review of the design and costs for the project shows we can get the CRL operational using the existing fleet. It is expected new units will be required for the CRL’s future developments, as the network expands.

“This is an exciting development and makes a 2016 start date for the construction of the CRL even more realistic, especially at a time when more and more people are choosing to get out of their cars and travel by rail*,” says Mayor Brown.

“Aucklanders are behind this, the business and investment community are behind this, we just need to get on and get it done.”

Mayor Brown said he expects more good news on the cost of the project to come as optimisation, value engineering and advances in tunnelling technology are taken into account.

*The year to June 2014 saw a 13.9% increase in Auckland rail patronage, to 11.4 million trips.


More coverage can be seen at the following:

Auckland transport project overhauled

AT drops Newton Station for cheaper CRL

And from Todd Niall at Radio NZ this morning

The text version can be seen here: $500m cost cut in Auckland rail plans


More on this later today including sending in a Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act request on the post CRL operating plan


UPDATE: Auckland Transport has a video on the Mt Eden Station Changes


Dodgy Poll

Not all what to seems


[Please note I am not taking aim at Digi-Poll in any shape or form and I do respect their credibility as a polling company highly. I do however, take aim at the NZ Herald for their “reporting” and not laying out the fall statistical facts about the poll clearly in their article]


I did notice the Herald Digi-Poll out this morning citing a poll about Mayor Len Brown. You can read the article here: Thumbs down for Len Brown – poll

What the online piece did not show was the actual graphs which can be seen below from Twitter earlier today:

The Herald Digi-poll subsequently brought a stinging rebuke from Stats Chat which said:

Beyond the margin of error

Now, the Herald-Digipoll is supposed to be a real survey, with samples that are more or less representative after weighting. There isn’t a margin of error reported, but the standard maximum margin of error would be  a little over 6%.

There are two aspects of the data that make it not look representative. Thr first is that only 31.3%, or 37% of those claiming to have voted, said they voted for Len Brown last time. He got 47.8% of the vote. That discrepancy is a bit larger than you’d expect just from bad luck; it’s the sort of thing you’d expect to see about 1 or 2 times in 1000 by chance.

More impressively, 85% of respondents claimed to have voted. Only 36% of those eligible in Auckland actually voted.


So, how could the poll be so badly wrong? It’s unlikely to just be due to bad sampling — you could do better with a random poll of half a dozen people. There’s got to be a fairly significant contribution from people whose recall of the 2013 election is not entirely accurate, or to put it more bluntly, some of the respondents were telling porkies.  Unfortunately, that makes it hard to tell if results for any of the other questions bear even the slightest relationship to the truth.


You can read the full Stats Chat piece here: http://www.statschat.org.nz/2014/03/20/beyond-the-margin-of-error/


The bits in bold is what gives suspicion the poll was slanted to produce a “story” that was not truly there. Then again check this:

Thumbs down for Len Brown – poll

By Bernard Orsman 5:30 AM Thursday Mar 20, 2014

The journalist running the story is not known to be “objective” from time to time and has been pulled up before for either slanting or giving a misrepresentation (that is his opinion rather than a claimed fact).

So I would be very careful in trotting out this poll which has misrepresentations and a bad case of slanting as proof of fact against the Mayor. Using such a poll in that method will not do your credibility any good – although two of the oppositional five Councillors had (although expected).


Back to City Building we go as there is nothing to see from that Orsman piece.


Main Council to Review CCOs

Council Controlled Organisations to be reviewed


As Mayor Len Brown said in the elections last year, the Council Controlled Organisations (the CCO’s) were to be reviewed by the main Council. The CCO’s include (but not limited to):

  • Auckland Transport
  • Watercare
  • Auckland Council Investment Limited
  • Auckland Council Property Limited
  • Waterfront Auckland

From Auckland Council on the review:

Council to review super-city organisations


Auckland councillors will be asked to approve the draft terms of reference and timeline for a wide-ranging review of Council-Controlled Organisations (CCOs) at the next Governing Body meeting on 27 February, says Mayor Len Brown. The draft terms of reference can be found here (item 12, page 9).

Len Brown said: “Our CCOs deliver a huge range of services for Aucklanders, from water management, to major events, through to the big improvements we’re making in public transport. We need to ensure that as ratepayer owned and funded organisations, they are as lean and efficient as possible, with no waste and no duplication of effort.”

A key election pledge from Len Brown, the CCO review will aim to ensure Aucklanders are getting value for money from the seven council controlled organisations set up during amalgamation, and that they are fully accountable to ratepayers and elected representatives.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, Chair of the CCO Governance and Monitoring Committee said:

“Having had three years to work with the CCOs, we are at an ideal point to assess how well CCOs are performing on behalf of our communities, and to look at potential changes where they are needed across council. The review will assess what worked well in the first term and what we could do better going forward.
“It is very important that while the review is going on we continue to work with our CCOs to deliver for Auckland.”

Councillors, local board members, CCOs and the Independent Maori Statutory Board have all been given an opportunity to provide feedback on the review’s draft terms of reference. These groups have also contributed to the development of two CCO current state assessment reports that councillors will receive ahead of the Governing Body meeting.

The seven CCOs are Auckland Tourism Events Economic Development (ATEED), Auckland Transport (AT), Watercare, Auckland Council Investments Limited (ACIL), Auckland Council Property Limited (ACPL), Waterfront Auckland, and Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA).




The Governing Body Agenda which outlines the Terms of Reference for the CCO Review (and the Governing Body’s submission to the Unitary Plan)


Another post will be drawn up on the Council’s Unitary Plan Submission


Cycling – a Rehash

An Article and a Redux


I caught on Twitter yesterday this from Campbell Live:

So cue watching Campbell live for the cycling clip and article which you see here below

Future plans for Auckland cycleways announced

By  Thursday 30 Jan 2014 7:13p.m.


Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Campbell Live reporter Lachlan Forsyth took on Auckland’s traffic this afternoon to discuss the future plans for Auckland’s cycleways.

“We’re doing around 1000km of cycle pedestrian way, we want to do that over 30 years,” says Mr Brown.

Figures from Lobby group Gen Zero suggest Auckland’s per capita investment in cycling is woeful – $5.70 compared to Dunedin’s $14.90 and Wellington’s $21. At $37, Christchurch spends more than seven times as much.

“We have not been spending enough and we will be looking to spend more, reflecting a sentiment amongst Aucklanders that we really need to have the options up,” says Mr Brown.

The Mayor has stated that he wants a higher prioritisation of cycling projects against other transport initiatives, the construction of Skypath, and a $900 million 1000 km cycle network completed over the next 30 years.

Auckland Transport already has an annual budget of $1.1 billion, overseeing more than 7000km of road.The Skypath is a much needed link for pedestrians and cyclists over the Harbour Bridge, but Mr Brown says a final decision will be made in the next few months.

“It really depends on how we go with our discussions with the Northcote community and St Mary’s Bay community.”

One problem that cyclists often come across is traffic lights not registering them. This means the lights stay red unless a car comes along.

Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/Future-plans-for-Auckland-cycleways-announced/tabid/817/articleID/330403/Default.aspx#ixzz2rumaJya7

Long story short it is material already covered before and unless the 2015 Long Term Plan changes the funding allocation (discussion on the LTP is later this year) we will be maintaining the status quo in building cycling infrastructure. That said I have noticed the South Auckland Local Boards being proactive with adding more cycling infrastructure ranging from the green paint, to shared paths, to even the odd dedicated cycle path, to improving intersection crossings. While it is mainly remedial works to improve existing areas none the less the respective Local Boards seem to be doing more than other areas in Auckland.


Most recent piece of remedial works was here in Manukau (I’ll get pictures when next down there)


And some examples of cycling infrastructure that is already in place and being added to over time

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What does limit the Local Boards doing more is the piddly budgets they get from the main Council to carry out these kind of beneficial tasks. Sadly this 2014/2015 Annual Plan and possibly the 2015 Long Term Plan will see Local Boards get no more money to the point they could be facing cuts to their budgets. Rather unacceptable in my eyes as the Local Boards are more responsive than the Governing Body in tending to local beneficial projects…


Finally I noted on Campbell Live this:


To which I say it is time for the redux here: Cycling Accident Leaves Larger Questions To Be Answered

Some solutions that are short, medium and long term were all provided as examples.



Mayor Len Brown on upcoming Transport Projects

Generation Zero Got a Mention


The Roads are Staying


I caught on Twitter that Mayor Len Brown was doing an interview with Radio Live over the lunch break. It is a very long interview covering an array of topics but the one that caught my attention the most was on transport.

We know three things:

  1. 2015-2025 Integrated Transport Program comes out for submissions later this year
  2. We have a current $15 billion funding gap for the 2012-2022 ITP owing to the massive road-fest in that program
  3. Generation Zero along with Transport Blog are strongly advocating for the Congestion Free Network which as they claim costs less than the current ITP and actually gets Auckland moving (the current ITP won’t)


Cue this piece from Radio Live today (http://www.radiolive.co.nz/Audio.aspx) which made think “oh boy.” To get the piece go to that Radio Live audio link, select Monday 20th January, then select the 12:30pm line on the scrolling menu, wait until 4:04 mark where the Mayor talks about Generation Zero and the ITP.

It would appear from that snippet that Generation Zero and Transport Blog are going to be facing an interesting debate when it comes to the 2015-2025 Integrated Transport Program. The Mayor does support some aspects of what Generation Zero and Transport Blog are pushing like the City Rail Link. But when it comes to the motorways and roading side of the ITP (subsequently leading to the funding issue) this is where sparks could fly. In short the Mayor has said the roading projects remain and (this was a stretch) that Generation Zero had taken any new roading project off the table. The Mayor went on further saying this was not tenable and effectively even with all the public and active transport investment, that mode usage would only move from 10% current to approximately 15% – leaving 85% by car. Also remember the population is growing to volume also on both modes increases as well.

The Radio Live portal:

Radio Live


It seems rather underwhelming what the Mayor said when it came to transport investment. I wonder if the Councillors have other ideas and could force a change of tact with the ITP? Will have to wait and see I suppose, but least we know what we are up against.