Media Release: Letter sent to Len Brown contradicts media statements
The Campaign for Better Transport today labelled Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee’s response to an 18 month study of transport options for Auckland as “cynical and arrogant.”
Mr Brownlee yesterday dismissed a report prepared jointly by SKM, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, Treasury and the Ministry of Transport that concluded that the City Rail Link was essential to keep Auckland moving in the decades ahead.
Mr Brownlee said that he had expected a broader review of potential solutions for Auckland, and said that motorway projects currently underway will have an impact on central city traffic.
However, Campaign for Better Transport spokesperson Cameron Pitches said the transportblog.co.nz website had uncovered a letter sent by Mr Brownlee to Mayor Len Brown in February of this year, which confirmed that Mr Brownlee was comfortable with the proposed scope of the study, and that Mr Brownlee was “pleased to hear of the close engagement of government officials in developing the scope and support this continuing throughout the project”.
“Mr Brownlee’s media response to the study is cynical and arrogant. He has known all along about the scope of the report through the involvement of his own officials. His claim that he expected the report to be a broader review of transport solutions is simply not credible, in light of his letter to Mayor Len Brown,” said Mr Pitches.
“Mr Brownlee is also fully aware that the study already has projects such as the Western Ring route factored into calculations. Even with these projects the City Rail Link is still needed. It is cynical of him to now pretend that he doesn’t know this, and it diminishes the hard work that officials have done in the last 18 months.”
The study did consider simply increasing the size of the motorway network, but concluded that this was “not considered to be realistic, given that significant additional road and parking space would be required. This would be detrimental to public transport capacity and reduce the number of people that could access the CBD, which is counter to the objectives of this study.”
Mr Pitches suspects that central Government has treated the study as an expensive delaying tactic, and has been caught out now that the study has found to be in favour of the City Rail Link.
“You have to wonder where he gets his advice from. He ignores the wishes of the majority of Aucklanders and he ignores the advice of his own officials. I think he seriously believes that the solution to Auckland’s growing transport and liveability problems is the construction of yet more motorway lanes. “
In the last year, The Campaign for Better Transport has twice requested to meet with Mr Brownlee to discuss Auckland transport issues, and has twice been turned down due to “heavy diary scheduling”.