AA not making sense

On Friday, the Automobile Association put out a press release saying the Auckland Council is making a mistake by making road users pay for public transport projects. This was said after the Auckland Council said they want to look into congestion charges and network charges to pay for projects like the CBD Rail Loop and second harbour crossing.

This is not the first way it has been suggested for Auckland Council to pay for these projects. Last month, it was reported that the Auckland Council was looking at a $6 toll of the Auckland Harbour Bridge as a way of paying for the harbour crossing. On the day the NZ Herald reported that, I actually spoke with a councilor about this. He said that there was poor reporting on that, and that it was said if there was no funding from the New Zealand Transport Authority, they could pay for it entirely from a $6 toll on the Harbour Bridge.

In terms of the CBD Rail Loop, there are groups that would have you believe that the Government has outright refused to pay for any part of the CBD Rail Loop. In fact, this is not true. John Key, who has been against the CBD Rail Loop has said that the CBD Rail Loop will ultimately occur, it’s just a case of how much is paid by Central Government and how much is paid by Local Government. This was said in an interview I did with the Prime Minister.

If road users aren’t going to pay for an improvement of Auckland’s transport infrastructure, who is? It could be funded by an increase in rates, but that wouldn’t be fair to those ratepayers who don’t use the roads, and as it is, the Auckland Council has already announced increases in rate charges that were unexpected. In fact, that’s the opposite of what the “Supercity” was promoted as causing, but that’s another yarn. The fact is, these projects are extremely important. A second harbour crossing in Auckland should be one of the Government’s “highways of national significance” if we’re honest, but as they’re not willing to actually do what the country needs of them in terms of transport, it needs to be paid for some other way. With the CBD Rail Loop, the Government is not going to pay for the full cost of it, and that’s to be expected. So where do we make up the difference? These are things that need to be thought of. Both projects are highly important.

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Posted on August 7, 2011, in New Zealand Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Of course the AA can be trusted to see the small picture – their thought process is congestion charges = less drivers = less AA members. Of course they don’t tell you that each peak time rail trip generates $17 in decongestion benefits (and that’s NZTA data, not Auckland Council data). So even though rail investment frees up road space to the significant benefit of the AA’s clients, they oppose congestion charges. Go figure. Of course in an ideal world we wouldn’t even have to consider this option if the government rebalanced the funding regime away from Steven Joyce’s bitumen monuments to himself but that’s another rant…

    “Some groups would have you believe that the govt won’t fund the CBD rail link”…yes Key says ultimately it will occur, but they have seemed very determined to pick holes in council’s business case, modelling, projections, economics to reverse the BCR…of course it will occur at some stage, but the govt is playing a very sly game of delaying tactics under the guise of appearing to be fiscally responsible, while not mentioning that they’re committing close to $20 billion to roading projects with very dubious benefits. Fact is we do need it, capacity will be hit in the next year or two. The plans for this project go back a century – yet another delay to it is not what we need.

    Oh and leave the damn council alone! Amalgamation costs more than you might think – considering the original projected rates rise was over 9% (not a typo, that was well known), 2.9% is a pretty good effort with finding savings I think. I think what really needs to be exposed is this: on the one hand the govt creates the super city ostensibly to make its own decisions, yet the buck still stops in Wellington to fund Auckland’s big projects. So then you get Joyce on national radio suggesting that the Council sells its assets if it wants more PT infrastructure funding – if that aint Wellington dictating to Auckland I don’t know what is.

    Oh and one more thing – nobody believe Joyce when he says he’s spending $1.6 billion on Auckland rail – that funding was approved in 2006-2007 under the previous Labour government. The $1.6 billion was comprised of $600M for Project DART and $1 billion for electrification – Project DART is complete!!! yet he still counts the funding for it as current funding. Hmmmm. Oh and don’t believe him when he says the BCR for the Holiday Highway is 1.1 – that’s with a 4% discount rate applied – normal procedure is to apply 8%. With 8% applied 1.1 becomes 0.4. 40 cents for each dollar invested. What a great investment, not!

    • I agree that amalgamation costs a lot, but we were told that it would mean we’re paying less, not more. And yet, the Auckland Council has released a plan where rates will go up steadily over the next five years. It was more a jab at Rodney Hide though, rather than the Auckland Council.

      How about we just say nobody should believe Joyce. Who cares what it’s on, you can’t trust the man.

  2. Yep pretty much, Rodney Hide’s fault for selling the Super City as a way of cutting costs across councils…the real benefit of a unitary council is a greater coordination in the planning process across the city so that the ‘bigger picture’ spatial goals and transport goals might actually be met and coordinated. It’s not really about cutting costs at all in my opinion and it was incredibly stupid of him to sell it as a cost cutter when his own ministry predicted the first rates rise would be 9%!

    Exactly! He’s so full of shit! Yet he has a steady reasonable sounding deep voice so he gets away with it. He doesn’t look or sound like a liar, yet he is. A compulsive one. Honestly, saying that four year-old funding is “current funding”…take that logic too far and he might say “this government committed funding for the harbour bridge in 1959″…

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