Election Debate on Transport 22nd August

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The Campaign for Better Transport will be hosting a public meeting for political parties to present their transport policies, with a particular focus on Auckland’s needs.

“Now the Waterview tunnel is finished, we can say our motorway network is complete,” said spokesperson Cameron Pitches.

“We are looking forward to hearing what transport projects the various parties propose next in Auckland, and how they plan to fund them.”

Confirmed attendees are:

  • Denis O’Rourke from NZ First
  • Phil Twyford from Labour
  • Julie Anne Genter from the Green Party
  • David Hay from The Opportunities Party
  • Parmjeet Parmar from National

Each speaker has been allocated up to ten minutes to speak, to be followed by questions from the Chair and closing statements.

The meeting will be held at the Mt Eden War Memorial Hall, and is at 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start on Tuesday 22nd August.

Presentation to Auckland Transport on Rail to the Airport

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The CBT presented to the Board of Auckland Transport on rail to Auckland airport.  We made the following points in this “one pager”.

1. In our view the Jacobs “SMART Indicative Business Case” report underestimates the potential catchment of heavy rail, we assume because of the arbitrary requirement for a single seat journey to the airport.

2. We consider that some of the costs of heavy rail attributed to the airport heavy rail option will most likely be incurred anyway – in particular work required around level crossings.

3. We consider there is a high risk that the predicted Dominion Road journey times for light rail are overly optimistic, depending on the degree of separation from general traffic.

4. Implementation of either heavy rail or light rail from the north of the Airport is likely to be decades away and very costly.

5. Putting aside the report’s assessment of heavy rail vs light rail, we note that the three key problems identified in the Jacobs report do not have to be addressed by a single solution:

a. Constrained access to the Auckland Airport will limit economic growth and productivity;

b. Limited transport choice undermines liveability and economic prosperity for the Mangere – Otahuhu area; and

c. Unaffordable and inflexible planned transport investment constrains access to the Auckland Airport and surrounding business districts and Mangere-Otahuhu area

6. We ask the Board to take the same approach as ATAP in measuring transport effectiveness. In the context of Auckland Airport, the measure would be the potential catchment of public transport users within a 45 minute radius of the Airport. This should not preclude transfers between modes to meet this target and should therefore necessarily examine the option of a transfer at Papatoetoe or Puhinui.

7. We note that the Jacobs report identified that 7,350 daily commuters originate from Manukau and the east, twice as many than that originating from the north and central Auckland.

8. The current Airport 380 bus service connecting at Papatoetoe to rail services yields a fastest possible PT journey time of about 49 minutes from Auckland Airport to Britomart. However, there are a number of issues associated with transferring at Papatoetoe: frequency of service; ease and legibility of transfers, and the lack of a RTN quality right-of-way.

9. It is timely to bring to the attention of the Board that NZTA is currently planning a widening of 20B along the Puhinui Rd alignment for general traffic.

Desired outcomes:

1. As a matter of urgency, AT should work with the NZTA to designate a rail corridor east of Auckland Airport on the 20B alignment with a connection to the main trunk line. This designation work should also consider extending further east to include Botany.

2. Immediately establish a bus shuttle service between Puhinui Station and Auckland Airport, preferably with bus priority measures.

3. Auckland Transport should continue with designating a rail corridor between Onehunga and Auckland Airport.

Mayoral Candidate Meeting 13th September

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As we’ve done for a number of recent local body election, we’ve organised a public meeting for Mayoral candidates to put forward their transport policies for Auckland. This will be held at:

  • Jubilee Hall, 545 Parnell Rd
  • Tuesday 13th September, 7:15pm for 7:30pm start

Confirmed candidates are:

  • Chloe Swarbrick
  • David Hay
  • John Palino
  • Mark Thomas
  • Penny Bright
  • Phil Goff

The format for the evening is:

  • Introduction and welcome
  • Each candidate is allocated five minutes to state their transport vision for Auckland.
  • Quick-fire questions to each candidate in turn. If you have a burning question you want asked, send it through to
  • Each candidate is allocated two minutes for a closing statement
  • Questions from the floor

This is a free public meeting, but we welcome membership or donations.

Airport Rail Meeting On Demand

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With thanks to the RMTU and thedailyblog.co.nz you can now view our Airport Rail meeting on demand:

The speakers are in order:

  • Graeme Easte from CBT @ 3:30
  • Pete Clark from Auckland Transport @ 25:22
  • Graham Matthews from Auckland Airport @ 34:30
  • Mike Lee from Auckland Council @ 50:10
  • Jim Jackson from the Onehunga Enhancement Society @ 1:12:50
  • Stu Johnson from the RMTU @ 1:22:19
  • Show of hands and questions from the floor @ 1:28:15

You can watch it full screen here.

Airport Rail Meeting 30th August

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Recently Auckland Transport announced their preferred rapid transit mode to Auckland Airport is light rail. AT have ruled out heavy rail as an option and say they will now focus on protecting the route for light rail only.

The Campaign for Better Transport has been campaigning for more than a decade to get a rail connection to the airport. Does AT’s light rail proposal stack up, or has the evidence been stacked against heavy rail from the outset? When will a rail connection finally be built? Would a light rail solution perform as well as a heavy rail solution? How will the $1.8bn East West Connection project impact on getting rail across the Manukau Harbour?

To try and answer these questions, the we are hosting a public meeting in Onehunga:

Haskell Room, Pearce Street Hall, Onehunga
Tuesday 30th August, 7:15pm for a 7:30 start (Onehunga train departs Britomart 6:49pm)

Speakers include:

  • Auckland City Councillor and AT Director Mike Lee, a long time advocate for rail in Auckland
  • Graham Matthews, General Manager Airport Development & Delivery at Auckland Airport
  • Jim Jackson, The Onehunga Enhancement Society
  • Graeme Easte from CBT
  • Stu Johnson from the RMTU

We are also hoping that an AT representative can also attend.

This is a free event – donations or CBT membership gratefully received to cover costs.

Annual General Meeting 14 July

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Annual General Meeting

Our AGM this year will be held on Thursday 14th July 2016, 7:30pm at the Garden Room, Richmond Road Community Centre, 510 Richmond Road, Grey Lynn.

Our special guest this year is transport economist and Green MP Julie Anne Genter.  We will confirm further details closer to the date, but in the meantime pencil this in your diary.

Membership Subscriptions

As we are well into the new financial year it is time to renew your existing membership or support us by joining or donating.  As advocates for better transport in Auckland, the more members we have the stronger our voice is to local and central Government.

Annual membership fees are only $20, or $10 unwaged – although additional donations are always appreciated! We are a completely voluntary incorporated society and we have no salaried positions, so any money we receive is simply to cover costs.

You can sign up on line , or simply make a payment using the following details:

  • Bank – Kiwibank
  • Account Number – 38-9009-0281735-00
  • Reference – Your Name

Current Campaigns

Our focus is on North Shore Rail.  This might seem a long way off into the future, but central Government’s Transport Agency is already starting the notice of requirement process for a $4bn – $6bn road only crossing. To put it bluntly, this must be stopped.  With a benefit cost ratio of 0.4, it is inexplicable that $27m has been budgeted by the NZTA to continue with designation work for a tolled crossing.  If you haven’t already, please find out more and support the campaign at www.northshorerail.nz

Easing of Heavy Truck Rules Prompts Safety Concerns

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Media Release From the Campaign for Better Transport

Government moves to relax rules for heavy trucks have prompted road safety concerns from The Campaign for Better Transport.

The Ministry of Transport is proposing to allow standard truck maximum weights to increase from 44 tonnes to 45 tonnes, remove the need for permits for maximum load trucks, and allow wider and taller trucks on New Zealand roads, as part of its review of the Vehicle Dimensions and Mass (VDAM) Rule.

Changes to the VDAM Rule were made in 2010 to allow the maximum weight of trucks to increase from 44 tonnes to 53 tonnes on selected roads.

Cameron Pitches, spokesperson for the Campaign for Better Transport, says further relaxing of the rules around maximum weights will put other road users at risk.

According to Ministry of Transport figures, in 2010 trucks were involved in 15% of all fatal accidents. In 2014, trucks were involved in 23% of all fatal accidents, accounting for 67 deaths and 772 injuries.

“The Government expectation that safety would improve by introducing heavy trucks to our roads is clearly wrong. The trend is worrying and more work needs to be done before we relax the rules further,” said Mr Pitches.

“This proposal is specifically designed to increase the trucking industry’s market share of heavy freight, but the public generally want more heavy freight on rail and off the roads.”

In recent years the Government has spent tens of millions of dollars strengthening bridges and roads to support heavy trucks.

The proposal estimates economic benefits to be $634m over 30 years in present value terms, largely resulting from a theoretical reduction in the number of trucks for the same freight task, but Mr Pitches is skeptical.

“Most of the potential benefits seem to be for truck operators themselves, but for the wider community this could easily be offset by the increasing number of accidents involving trucks.”

“Similarly, claims of positive environmental benefits aren’t substantiated if freight is moved from trains,” said Mr Pitches.

In allowing wider trucks and buses on the road, the proposal will also place pressure on New Zealand’s bus and coach manufacturers, as larger buses could be imported directly from the USA and Australia. New Zealand’s manufacturers employ over 250 skilled staff and over 500 specialist subcontractors and suppliers with an estimated turnover of over $50 million this year alone.

Public submissions on the proposed changes close on Wednesday 17th February.  A pro-forma submission is available here.


Truck accident statistics:

From their latest newsletter “Express”,  Kiwirail forecast during the first half of 2016 they will operate 36,711 rail services which is equivalent to reducing 545,311 truck trips, saving 39.4 million litres of fuel and 106,011 tons of CO2 emissions if the same freight task had of been moved by road.

Vehicle Mass and Dimension Rule Submission

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The Ministry of Transport is proposing changes to the Vehicle Mass and Dimension (VDAM) Rule, which controls maximum allowable weights and sizes of trucks on New Zealand roads.  You can read our submission here, and make your own submission online here.  A pro-forma submission which you can edit is here. Our general comments are:

This discussion document appears in some cases not to be written objectively and is limited in scope. Not taking rail and sea modes into consideration at the same-time highlights weaknesses in the benefits and risks evaluations provided by the Ministry of Transport.

While road transport is important to the economy, rail and coastal shipping are both currently under utilised and offer potential productivity benefits which MoT need to take into consideration.

Many of the changes proposed in this document offer extremely low economic benefits while at the same time it fails to quantify the costs involved in the required infrastructure upgrades. Therefore, submitters are not in a position to make correct decisions as they lack all the information they require.

It would appear safety, environmental factors, direct and indirect costs of truck accidents are not fully taken into account by this document, when it is obvious they must be. According to MoT figures in 2014 trucks accounted for 67 road deaths (23% of all road deaths). Since 1990 truck related road deaths have increased from 14% to 23% of all road deaths. During 2010-14 35% of all fatal truck crashes and 58% of minor injury truck crashes were caused by truck operators. These shocking statistics imply that the trucking industry urgently needs to improve its standards. MoT data shows that when a car collides with a truck, car occupants represent 96% of deaths, 89% of all serious injuries and 83% of minor injuries. The proposals in this document to increase width, heights and mass loadings in this document do nothing to mitigate these worrying statistics.

“The NZ Injury Prevention Outcomes Report – June 2015” released by the Accident Compensation Corporation states that the total costs of all road crashes in 2010 was $2.23 billion dollars and 18% of that figure was directly attributable to the trucking industry. When the insignificant 30 year economic benefits, as mentioned in this document, are taken into account it is clear that most of the proposals are not worth pursuing when measured against the costs trucking related crashes have alone on other road users and society as a whole.

Trucks cause over 99% of damage to the road network, yet only cover 58% of road maintenance costs through Road User Charges. Other motorists, taxpayers and ratepayers are effectively subsidising this industry to the tune of billions of dollars every year. When compared to rail which covers 84% of its operating costs and must pay 100% of the its maintenance costs it would be sensible for the MoT to be putting more resources into promoting freight to be moved by rail instead of by road where possible.

The Campaign for Better Transport recommends that many of the proposals are put on hold until the MoT is in a position to provide the detail we have highlighted as being necessary. Basing decisions on the information contained (and omitted) within this discussion document makes little sense and brings the credibility into question of both the MoT and the Minister.

It is suggested that a comprehensive economic evaluation of all the benefits and costs of the changes proposed here be undertaken by a reputable and independent (preferably overseas based) economic research consultants. It is only in this way that a credible evaluation can be made of the benefits or otherwise to New Zealand of these proposals.



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