Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: You can Roughan but you just can't Hide

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  • Tristan,

    anyone who comes along fanshaw st in the morning will know you can almost walk form the Air New Zealand building to the tepid baths by stepping from bus to bus now.

    The CBD bus terminal must already be at capacity because Birkenhead buses are forced to turn right at the end of Fanshaw (cutting across three lanes of traffic in the process) to terminate on Albert st. If I was a cynical Labour party stooge I wouldn't be protesting to loudly because if National decide more buses are the answer I wouldn't expect them to hold on to their North Shore strong holds for much longer

    One option that is expanding very quietly is the ferry business from the shore. It needs feeder buses and to be the same cost as a bus but catching a boat means no traffic and really is the best way to get to town from the shore

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 221 posts Report

  • Tristan,

    Auckland is a car city and always will be.

    Also what a moronic thing to say..

    I wonder what Auckland did before cars were invented, people must have just sat down in grids of four and wondered what they were missing..

    Auckland started as a waka city, then a horse and cart city, maybe a tram city and who knows what is next.

    To lock us into what my scooter friends would say 'the metal cage' speaks alot about the the metal cage like frame of Mr Roughan's mind

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 221 posts Report

  • Steve Withers,

    Trains tend to be publicly owned while buses tend to be privately owned. Therefore…ideologically…National and ACT can be relied upon to support the private solution.

    Never mind doesn’t work and won’t scale. Outcomes don’t matter to the faithful. The believing is all that matters.

    A thousand buses / hour into the CBD should be a hazard to avoided……for any sane person or planner.


    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 312 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Stephen Doyle,

    For some reason Govts are afraid of a powerful united Auckland

    Dealing with another civic body of more similar scale requires maturity.

    This is a mark of how the politicians and backroom operators see their capacity for that. Given some of their other behaviour, maybe it's realistic to be scared rather than confident.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Tristan,

    I wonder what Auckland did before cars were invented

    Complained an awful lot about horse shit in the streets, hooning cart drivers and the moral menace of women dispensing with the side saddle. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Tristan,

    Auckland started as ... maybe a tram city

    No "maybe" about it. In 1953, based largely on the tram network, Auckland had around 110m public transport trips off a population less than a quarter of current. We still haven't recovered to those numbers after decades of automobile-centric sprawl and festivals of road-building.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report

  • Sacha,

    Transport Blog has another useful consideration of Core Rail Link facts in light of the recent burst of newspaper commentary and last week's well-intentioned Campbell Live story (promoted as 'who should pay' for the CRL).

    Some of us have been asking for many moons for the civic bodies responsible for this project to share genuinely useful information for journalists and the public to draw on.

    Like the Unitary Plan currently being consulted on, this is a critical ingredient for the Auckland region's future and it is at risk through weak leadership of what should be a robust and well-informed conversation.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Trams can be injurious to your health
    In 1903 a runway tram killed 3 people in Auck .
    No more double decked trams after that.

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 510 posts Report

  • Konrad Kurta, in reply to Marcus Turner,

    I’d like to see these statements collated after the event, and those who’ve made such statements confronted with them. I have the impression that some people get a lot of publicity for statements about any upcoming change, and that their predictions are mostly wrong.

    Right there with ya'. At least people still seem to remember John Banks's, 'Britomart will be a white elephant' quote, though that didn't stop Aucklanders voting him in again for another round of, 'say no to everything'. It's been interesting to see the sheer magnitude of mouth-frothing and hysteria that has been drummed up over the CRL and Unitary plan, especially considering the plans themselves are so un-sensational. I still don't get why anyone would get Chicken Little over either one.

    South Korea • Since Dec 2012 • 43 posts Report

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to Konrad Kurta,

    They are the opposition (or writers closely associated with) and to oppose something politically means pointing out all the things the governing party does are horrible.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report

  • Sacha,

    Brownlee has not read the Auckland transport funding options report but says no, regardless.

    Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee, who hasn't read the report, said a regional fuel tax, congestion charges and a road tolls as they stand would never be agreed to.

    Mr Brownlee said New Zealanders won't be paying twice for roads when money has been generated through their excise duty or road user charges, while a congestion charge would not be appropriate on government-owned roads.

    This is exactly what Auckland has been contending with for decades. Central government will neither pay its share, nor let this region get on with it ourselves.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Ross Mason, in reply to Yamis,

    ......but the roads and rail need to work together, not ending up with one winning over the other, or being counter productive.

    And that goes to the root(ed) national transport policy of this country (along with the power shimozzle). The road and rail are two corridors, run by different groups who will not budge to cater for the other because they are "competitors".

    Sort that out and the country (and Auckland) might get somewhere.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sacha,

    Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee, who hasn’t read the report

    Italicised words not in the article as it now shows. Your editing, or theirs?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    I never saw it in italics.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Konrad Kurta,

    Right there with ya’. At least people still seem to remember John Banks’s, ‘Britomart will be a white elephant’ quote, though that didn’t stop Aucklanders voting him in again for another round of, ‘say no to everything’.

    The Banks thing was hilarious. He not only changed his mind once he'd become mayor, he sat waving from a car in the launch parade down Queen Street!

    The first, failed CitRat Britomart plan is a saga in itself. Aside from its bizarre financing arrangements, it was mad on an engineering level. A five-story deep hole and water being pumped into the harbour for the next 35 years, all so the council could claim it was being built at no cost to ratepayers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Yamis,

    I’m sure there’s plenty of other spots that will get potentially nightmarish as well as centres often near rail build up, at the same time and train frequency increases.

    I’m sure the transport planners have thought of all this though. I have faith in them a damn sight more than the ideolgues doing the rounds.

    The number of at-grade road crossings across the whole of the Auckland rail network is in the small dozens. Some, such as Sarawia St are just diabolical, and will only become more so as the frequency of services increases when electrification and the roll-out of the electric trains completes. Even with the increase in frequency that the CRL will enable, only two crossings are to be grade-separated as part of the CRL works.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sacha,

    I meant the words that I italicised are missing from the report on the far end of your link.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Oh they must have edited it. Still in the audio they broadcast, including latest story (5 mins, audio options).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Rodney Hide,

    Hi Russell

    Than you for your logical and consistent support for Auckland Transport to release the spreadsheet and their model output reports to me.

    The controversy in setting Auckland Transport up was over whether it should be a CCO or a department within the Council. I am not sure it would have mattered which option was followed in pursuing an OIA request. At least with a CCO I can complain to both the Chair and the Mayor!

    I have regularly requested over the years spreadsheets and models from the Treasury who have only been too willing to supply them and to answer any questions about their construction. I would have thought the same would be true for Auckland Transport. I am disappointed that that hasn't proved the case.

    I have never been a transport buff but have always been interested in how the reports reached the conclusions that they do. It's only now that I have had the time to study them. I was genuinely shocked that the reports fail to present their analysis and their reasoning. The conclusions they reach don't flow out from the reports but from analysis that is withheld.

    With the Ombudsman's help, Tony Randle secured the spreadsheets for the Auckland CBD Rail Link Business Case (2010). His approach here is not to redo the analysis but to check for its internal consistency. That means accepting the options and the assumptions and working through the numbers. That is how he uncovered the failings in the analysis. It's simple stuff -- they either accounted for the operating cost of the second purchase of 26 trains or they didn't. It turns out they didn't.

    And so on and so forth.

    Tony hasn't done a new study. He has just done a critical review of the existing one.

    We now have a new report out last December which is where I started. It's not possible to follow the logic of the argument from the report itself sadly. The only way to do that now is once again to get the model output reports and the spreadsheets they feed in to and which complete the calculations.

    That's what's being refused.

    I again appreciate your support for their release.


    Rodney Hide

    New Zealand • Since Apr 2013 • 4 posts Report

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Rodney Hide,

    they either accounted for the operating cost of the second purchase of 26 trains or they didn’t. It turns out they didn’t.

    Rodney, we don't budget in the OpEx for additional cars and trucks to make use of the new tarmac when we build or expand a motorway - and goodness knows we wouldn't build half those additional lanes if we did budget it in. How is it in the least bit logically consistent to expect that the OpEx of trains that are not required in order to make use of the Core Rail Link be included in the CRL's construction cost? The CRL will be useful with the initial order of EMUs, it doesn't need additional trains for its benefits to be realised. The costs of the Northern Bus Way don't (and never did) include the cost of additional buses, either in CapEx or OpEx.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rodney Hide,

    I again appreciate your support for their release.

    And I really appreciate your constructive engagement Rodney, especially given that I was a bit tart about your column.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Rodney Hide,

    Hi Matthew

    I think the wider point of whether the OpEx of private cars and trucks should be included is best addressed to Auckland Transport. I am just working from their assumptions and their spreadsheets.

    However, they do cost the operating cost per train ($2.1m) for the first 24 trains. They have the 26 additional trains that are introduced 2022 to 2032 included in the spreadsheet but their SUM calculation doesn't pick the relevant cells up. That's a clear spreadsheet error that the analysts meant to include.

    The error is a technical one. The debate about whether the private operating costs should be included is one to have with AT and their analysts.

    I should also note that Tony found an error in the timing of the operating costs of the trains which has a significant effect on the NPV of the considered option.

    Trust this helps.


    PS Russell -- I am well used to tart !

    New Zealand • Since Apr 2013 • 4 posts Report

  • Sacha,

    Idiot/Savant explains concisely how the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act applies here.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rodney Hide,

    So, in that vein, where's the Treasury analysis on the Roads of National Significance, specifically Puhoi-Wellsford and Transmission Gully?

    In the case of the former, I'd be interested in your thoughts on the Gravina Island Bridge (championed by Alaska Republicans), and Japan's Roads to Nowhere (with close ties to the long-ruling LDP).

    I'm in favour of TGM in principle, but no one seems to have explained why the cost projections somehow managed to more than double. Several years back, it was costed at only around $400-450m, and somehow I doubt it's red tape at fault.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report

  • Rodney Hide,

    Thanks for that link Sacha. My next step is to write to the Board Chair Lester Levy who came to the position promising greater transparency. I figure the Ombudsman is so backlogged it would be months before they would get to it which I guess is what government departments and local councils are now banking on.

    DeepRed I haven't looked at the roading studies but I am keen to.

    I suspect they would be a little easier to unpack than the public transport studies which are devilishly complex. I have the same suspicion of these studies as I do of the others. It's altogether too easy to twist a CBA. My experience of Treasury, though, is that they are more analytically correct than spending departments.

    I have in recent times come across shocking studies in health and justice where the reports just bolster what the the departments first want.

    We are a little lucky we don't have the log rolling and the pork barreling on the scale of the USA. But on the downside being small we tend just to accept weighty reports rather than have them torn to shreds and put back together to see what's driving the results.



    New Zealand • Since Apr 2013 • 4 posts Report

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