Hard News by Russell Brown

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

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  • Sacha, in reply to Rodney Hide,

    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.

    Sometimes letting the agencies know that you know the rules is enough to induce a response. I wonder in this case if conveying the caveats and linkages involved in interpreting the data is concerning the officials. Perhaps there's some way of reassuring them that can unlock swift action?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rodney Hide,

    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.

    I may disagree with you politically (rudely at times), but I would likewise love to see more independent engagement with official policy work. Unfortunately, previous governments have prohibited state funding of NGOs for any 'advocacy' work so it becomes an add-on or the preserve of those with other funding streams like churches and business groups. That needs to change.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Rodney Hide,

    Sacha

    Thank you. That's why I am so dismayed. The Ombudsman has already made it very clear that the spreadsheets must be provided with his involvement in the Auckland CBD Rail Link Business Case (2010). The exact same situation now applies to the City Centre Future Access Study (2012). Auckland Transport is just putting us through the dance to stretch it out. They must know what the Ombudsman will again conclude that they must be released. It will take months though.

    I am also loathe to give any assurance about the use of the information on principle. I don't think release should be conditional upon how it may be used. Having said that, they have seen the work that Tony did and so must accept it's a serious attempt to understand their analysis.

    On the NGO funding I am not as hopeful as you. I suspect governments fund NGOs and thereby somewhat buy their support. I can't imagine any government funding an NGO that was a consistent and trenchant critic of the analysis driving their policy agenda.

    And that's why Tony and others are so important. Just every now and then checking the work of some is probably enough to keep them all on their toes.

    best

    Rodney

    New Zealand • Since Apr 2013 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    I am, as a citizen, increasingly heartened by the increasing availability of good quality information for making one's own comparisons with. So, for example, when the government announces it is getting tough on benefit fraud one can pull the comparison figures on the size of tax fraud and compare the effort spent on getting tough on each.
    But I am also feeling that there really needs to be some exposure to tools like the free, open source, R (for mathematical/statistical analysis) at high school to have a generation that knows what they are capable of doing to check the statements of authority.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

  • Lou, in reply to Patrick Reynolds,

    He has never used public transport in Auckland until he went to the Rugby World Cup by train and he was quite shocked at how he got from the Britomart to Kingsland quite quickly... but he still didn't like it. had to mix with real people....

    Auckland • Since Apr 2013 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Graham,

    Another confused editorial from the Herald this morning.

    Firstly it says:

    Some may benefit from better public transport, but many would gain little or no direct or indirect advantage.

    and the a couple of paragraphs later:

    Virtually overnight, there would be less road congestion. Equally, to cater for those induced to leave their cars at home, planners would have to ensure that convenient, quick, reliable, comfortable and affordable public transport options were available.

    So those that are induced to leave their cars at home would benefit from better public transport directly, while those travelling on the less congested roads would have an indirect advantage. Doesn't that contradict the first paragraph I've just quoted?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Mike Graham,

    Doesn’t that contradict the first paragraph I’ve just quoted?

    Yes. Yes it does.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Lou,

    He has never used public transport in Auckland until he went to the Rugby World Cup by train and he was quite shocked at how he got from the Britomart to Kingsland quite quickly… but he still didn’t like it. had to mix with real people….

    So in other words, it’s less to do with BCRs, and more to do with being ‘too bourgeois to bus’ or ‘too top-hatted to take the train’.

    John Roughan's probably never been on the Orient Express. Or the TGV. Or the Shinkansen.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to Mike Graham,

    Depends on how well the proposed plan is able to create:

    ...convenient, quick, reliable, comfortable and affordable public transport options...

    ..for everyone. But this plan is to spend the vast majority of funds on getting people to and from the CBD.

    If people, like me, do not work in the CBD this plan is of stuff all benefit. My commute to work would take 1.20 hours to walk, while the existing "un-convenient, un-quick, unreliable, uncomfortable and unaffordable public transport option" takes 1.05 hours. I drive and on a bad day it takes 12 minutes.

    A fuel tax inducement to get me out of my car is going to piss me off, since the plan is to spend virtually none of the revenue on improving it I will be getting the same level of non-service as now.

    All of the benefit is going to the CBD, the CBD best pay for this through rates rises there or congestion charges there. Anything else is going to be problematic.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • James Millar, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    But this plan is to spend the vast majority of funds on getting people to and from the CBD.

    Actually the CRL will be of huge benefit to people who don't work in the CBD. The CRL turns our train network into a true 'network', rather than just 4 lines funnelling all services into the Britomart dead-end. Since Britomart is one-way, we're limited in the frequency of trains services as trains must exit the same way they came in. Post-CRL trains can go through Britomart and service frequency can be massively increased. With a 5-minute train frequency, bus services could be realigned to feed into the rail network, rather than competing against it. More trips by train = fewer bus and car trips required = roads less congested.

    Also, post-CRL, there could be West-East or West-South services that avoid the CBD entirely (depending how they'd plan the lines), say by going through Newmarket.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since May 2007 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to James Millar,

    You do not need the CRL to do any of that.

    Sans-CRL there could be trains going West-East for much less investment than buying a tunnel. There could be trains running West-South today if the funds were cleared to do so.

    But the funds are not there, instead they are committed to building a tunnel, and that is kind of my point.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • James Millar, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    Services going West-East would be useless to the majority of users if you had to bypass the CBD and go through Newmarket-Strand-Eastern line, which is the only way you could do it without the CRL. The CBD has the highest concentration of jobs in NZ, plus tens of thousands of students across numerous university campuses, and you'd have to be running alternate West-Britomart and West-East services. Given you'd be competing for space with the current Onehunga, East-Britomart and Southern services coming into Britomart I'm not sure how the network would cope.

    You absolutely need the CRL if you want to improve capacity of our whole rail network. The new electric trains will make a bit of difference as they can carry more passengers, but ultimately given the Britomart bottleneck you're limited in the services you can run.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since May 2007 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Patrick Reynolds, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    Angus you are just exchanging one choke-point [Britomart] for another [Newmarket]. The CRL is critically needed to shift the system limit from 20 trains per hour to upwards of 48 tph. The CRL takes load off Newmarket as well as Britomart by enabling all western line trains to go direct through the CBD [still by far the biggest destination, and thence to the eastern and southern lines.

    In the end , despite all the accusations of conspiracy and skulduggery, Randle's only contribution to the debate is to say that if we build a really poor bus tunnel it will cost less than an order-of-magnitude better rail tunnel. Nothing more. This is probably true but of little value.

    He fails to grasp that the CRL is at the heart of an integrated bus-train-ferry Transit plan; it is a case of buses where they are best and trains where they are better. There is no mode bias except in his own mind.

    He fails to mention the greatly increased operating costs of diesel buses [in tunnels!] with their vastly higher worker to passenger costs. One train and operator to 750 [or 1000 at crush loads] passengers, operating on our own home-grown clean [and c. 80% renewable] electricity. As well as extreme dis-benefits to the city of those 1000+ extra buses on AK's our streets, especially to other road users like drivers. He just fails understand the scale of the issue in Auckland.

    The CCFAS study was conducted by NZTA, MoT, Treasury as well as AT. It just isn't credible that there is some coordinated conspiracy in all these institutions to advocate a poor project because of its mode. Oh and the earlier report was conducted and launched before AT came into existence, which Hide as the minister responsible surely must know, so his inuendo against AT is clearly just political scuttlebutt. Randle's curious obsession with trying to get rail lines pulled up where ever he looks is no foundation on which to build any kind of argument and it does Hide no credit to try to build on it now.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2010 • 40 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    You do not need the CRL to do any of that.

    Sans-CRL there could be trains going West-East for much less investment than buying a tunnel. There could be trains running West-South today if the funds were cleared to do so.

    But the funds are not there, instead they are committed to building a tunnel

    Simply not true, I'm afraid. And if funds were already committed to the CRL do you really think its right-wing opponents would still be kicking up such a fuss?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    Sans-CRL there could be trains going West-East for much less investment than buying a tunnel.

    Actually, Angus, it’s a practical impossibility to run trains west-east without the CRL. The switching is already possible through the Parnell yards to have Western Line trains go out east (and vice-versa) instead of through Britomart, but since they’ve already spent nine minutes travelling from Newmarket to the waterfront why not just go to Britomart and turn around? No amount of investment short of the CRL will change that simple geographical fact, and the routing patterns would be so hideously complex that it’s just pointless.
    Also, there will never be rail to the airport or to the North Shore without the CRL. It won’t happen, ever.

    Plus, I wasn’t aware that the benefit to you, personally, was the point of the exercise. I thought it was the benefit to the 10s-of-000s of people who work in the area that will suddenly become between 11 and 25 minutes closer to a travel mode that is immune to traffic jams (some of whom will stop contributing their personal vehicles to said traffic jams)? Or did I miss the bit where you were anointed Supreme Being of New Zealand?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    I have to smile. Gerry on TV3 tonight. In one breath the gummint is selling the power companies back to us and in another telling Aucklanders that they are not going to pay twice for the roads that are already there. Say what?

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1588 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Or did I miss the bit where you were anointed Supreme Being of New Zealand?

    No, but it is a democracy where I (and a lot of people like me) get a vote.

    However to find the Supreme Beings of NZ is very simple - follow the money.

    The part of NZ that has the highest property values is the Auckland CBD. The part of NZ that has the highest net worth employees is the Auckland CBD. The home of our bankers, insurance firms, financial services, national media is the Auckland CBD.

    This transport plan will enhance the value of the Auckland CBD. The original consensus of Aucklanders was that the poorer and less powerful parts of the NZ would pay, but the rest of the country are saying no. We need a new consensus that allows for Auckland to pay for the rail loop.

    Paying for this plan is going to be objectionable to a majority of people in Auckland, because it is a useless plan for most of us most of the time. It is a plan that is designed to spend money on services that are NOT "convenient, quick, reliable, comfortable and affordable public transport options" for a majority of Auckland. Can you see this point?

    If I was less of a cynic I'd be expecting that the rich pricks...our supreme beings...local tory businessmen...chief executives...honest hardworking people... of the CBD to pay for this costly enhancement to their well being. But these people are disproportionally wealthy and will get someone-else to subsidise their existence.

    The political questions stay same, but the stage is now Auckland and not the rest of NZ.

    A - How much should less expensive places pay to enhance the most expensive place?

    B - Should the most expensive place pay to improve its own infrastructure?

    In the rest of NZ the answer was very little of A and a lot of B.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Katita, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Brownlee indeed ... I actually had to switch off since his total evasion of every question had me frothing at the mouth

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Actually, Angus, it’s a practical impossibility to run trains west-east without the CRL. The switching is already possible through the Parnell yards to have Western Line trains go out east (and vice-versa) instead of through Britomart, but since they’ve already spent nine minutes travelling from Newmarket to the waterfront why not just go to Britomart and turn around?

    Angus can speak for himself, but I presumed he actually meant west-south, since south in Auckland is mostly to the east. I'm still inclined to think of Remuera, Greenlane, Ellerslie and Penrose as East Auckland. But if he genuinely meant that we can use the western line which goes through Glenn Innes, then you are dead right, it makes no sense to have that as a route at the moment. But I don't think even a west-south route is needed. You can always change at Newmarket, and it's highly competitive with the bus routes in terms of time, but cheaper, and IMHO, nicer. I could take my bike on that route, if conditions got too crappy for me to want to come home on the bike.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    Paying for this plan is going to be objectionable to a majority of people in Auckland, because it is a useless plan for most of us most of the time. It is a plan that is designed to spend money on services that are NOT "convenient, quick, reliable, comfortable and affordable public transport options" for a majority of Auckland. Can you see this point?

    I can see it without agreeing with it. You don't or won't acknowledge that if you take pressure off the roads that the public transport (and every other kind of transport too) on the roads gets better. It doesn't matter that most people don't work in the CBD. It's still the transport bottleneck, and that cascades all the way back out into the suburbs. It's getting steadily worse, no matter how many suburban motorway improvements you make. As it chokes, the city sprawls, and the transport problem gets worse and worse, because the distances increase.

    Yes, if CRL is put in, it will disproportionately improve the CBD. Obviously, since it will be in the CBD. Just as the huge tunnel being built under Oakley Creek disproportionately improves the suburbs surrounding that location. I'm a big beneficiary of it. But it also takes pressure off the central motorway junction, diverting significant traffic from west to south via an alternate route. So it has a much wider justification. The CRL is like that, but in spades, because every passenger using it is not on the roads at all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Angus, the Core Rail Link is not only about the central city - though it is being incompetently communicated in ways that allow that impression to be spread, so I understand how you may have formed that impression.

    A Transportblog reader has today produced a pair of diagrams of the impact on train service frequencies across the region the CRL project would bring. Lord knows what the people whose job it is to create that sort of material are doing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to BenWilson,

    Angus can speak for himself, but I presumed he actually meant west-south

    Sayeth Angus: Sans-CRL there could be trains going West-East for much less investment than buying a tunnel. There could be trains running West-South today if the funds were cleared to do so.

    So, no, he very definitely meant west-east in addition to west-south. He's dead right about west-south and I think it needs to be explored as a near-term measure - once we have transfer fares sorted and there's no penalty to change trains at Newmarket - to address the congestion at Britomart. West-east, though, is not a matter of spending money - no spending is needed to enable west-east switching at the Parnell yards - as both you and I have observed.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris,

    We don’t need no steenkin’ rail, says Roughan. Congestion and capacity issues on the roads could be fixed by simply synchronising traffic lights.

    Actually I agree with Roughan for once - well kinda. My guess is that in 20 years time, cars will all be talking to eachother under the central control of artificial intelligence. Traffic lights won't be needed - or trains for that matter.

    Oops, talking about shit I don't really know again.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Scott Chris,

    My guess is that in 20 years time, cars will all be talking to eachother under the central control of artificial intelligence

    You’re optimistic. We’ve been promised something like that for at least the last 20 years. It’ll be probably another decade before we start to even see such cars appearing on NZ roads (based on the current state of testing of true smart cars), and with our average vehicle age approaching 13 years it’s more like 30 years after first arrival before we see such technology in widespread use.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Zach Bagnall,

    It's already happening at a driver level since yer average car probably contains a smartphone or satnav with realtime traffic info overlay. Traffic routes around damage.

    Colorado • Since Nov 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

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