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Speaker: It's called "planning" for a reason

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  • Angus Robertson,

    Matthew,

    Your point (unless you have changed it) is that the workers of the CBD are highly productive. My point is that the productive workers of the CBD are highly renumerated for their productivity. Complimenting (not ignoring) your point. The idea of a rail tunnel through the Auckland CBD is disliked as paying assistance to the rich, well paid, productive workers of the CBD is disliked.

    If the CBD loop was to be paid for by the beneficiaries of the CBD loop (through congestion charging/railway fares) then a lot of the antipathy would be reduced. And the added bonus is by using a congestion charge we will reduce congestion even more. Win, win.

    And why does the rest of the country suck on Auckland’s road tax tit instead of paying for their own transport infrastructure? You know, since we’re playing the “If it benefits you, you should pay for it directly” game.

    Basically, the rest of the country is poorer and Auckland is richer. To a large subsection of the electorate it is notional that richer people should help out poorer people.

    The tunnel makes rail more useful, which reduces congestion, which benefits the regional economy and thus the national economy.

    Will this benefit to the rest of the country arrive in some form trickling down effect?

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    Some workers in the CBD are highly-paid. Many are not. There are lots of secretaries, and PA’s, and council workers, and fresh graduates, who’re being paid the average wage or less. They’re very definitely not highly-paid, and many of them never will be. For all the ones who move into highly-paid positions in the future there will be others coming in below them who are not highly paid.
    The agglomeration effect of concentrating jobs in a small area has benefits to the companies based in that area. This is not controversial, unless you’re Steven Joyce trying to find excuses for not funding the CBD tunnel. It also has general benefits to the community by reducing stress on infrastructure.

    You’re still framing this as purely beneficial to those working in the CBD. It’s not, and never has been, just about the CBD. It’s about the entire rail network, across the whole region, and about unlocking its potential. Britomart as a terminating station is a bottleneck, and there’s only so much that can be done to route around it before we get back to the point of there being insufficient network capacity to keep growing patronage. The tunnel makes many things possible, including rail through the south-western suburbs. Rail that will serve all those notoriously over-paid residents of Mangere Bridge and Puhiniui, and those highly-paid blue-collar workers in the vicinity of the airport.

    As for how it benefits the whole economy, more of those highly-paid workers of whom you are so dismissive means more taxation income. No trickle-down, just hard-nosed income tax to pay for government services. Assuming we don’t follow through the “low taxes grow the economy” nonsense to the logical conclusion and just abolish income tax completely. But even then those workers will still need to eat, and entertain themselves, and all those other consumptive activities that produce tax income in other ways. Plus, at the income level of the average CBD worker, trickle down is very real. They're not the uber-wealthy with squillions in the bank, and most of their income still gets spent. Even those on $100k still spend more of their money than they save, in the main. Trickle down's true mythology doesn't really kick in until you get to the very large salaries or the rich-list.

    You’re the first person I’ve seen who doesn’t like the tunnel because it’s supposedly some form of corporate welfare. The first, and only, person. I’ve seen people who don’t like it because they oppose rail. Some don’t like it because they oppose public transport. Some don’t like it because they don’t understand the issues with Britomart’s current configuration (though those folk generally change their mind once it’s explained that the tunnel will more than double the capacity of Britomart). You have the unique distinction of being the first person I’ve seen who’s expressed their dislike in terms of classism, corporate welfare, and a desire to see the demise of the agglomeration benefits that come from the CBD.

    Oh, and if you want to say it’s all about highly-paid workers, why doesn’t Wellington CBD do better? Wellington has the highest average rate of pay in the country, or did last time I checked. It’s not like Auckland’s got more people working in the central city than work in the CBD in Wellington.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    I suppose we could simply not build any underground stations, making the CBD loop a pure throughpoint facility for regional rail – like an underground Spaghetti Junction.

    Then the benefits for the wider region won’t be morally sullied by bourgeois Queen Street types zipping around downtown and flashing their big city money at the clippies.

    I, for one, welcome the opening of this new surreal branch line of the Auckland rail debate.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sam F,

    Shall we tear up Britomart, too? After all, it's only there so we corporate whores can use the rail service and it was paid for by good, hard-working ratepayers and taxpayers.

    ETA: Snap! It's not polite to edit your entire post and change its thrust :P

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Apologies, comrade – I’ve de-edited.

    Truth be told, I’ve long thought the idea of a Central Post Office was suspect too – such a big lavish building just for townie snobs to post their letters.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sam F,

    Apologies accepted, comrade. I hope those good, socialist electrons you used weren't too inconvenienced by all the to'ing-and-fro'ing.

    I'm still baffled that Angus portrays this is a corporate welfare issue.
    I understand people from other regions resenting money being spent on Auckland, though there are plenty out there who can get beyond their bigotry and recognise that it's good for the country as a whole if Auckland's economy performs to best possible effect. That, however, is a long way from seeing the tunnel as corporate welfare for the fat cats of Queen Street.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Rail. Is. The. Answer.

    Period.

    I've just driven 150km this afternoon through Santa Monica, Downtown LA, Orange County, Newport Beach, Long Beach, and back to SaMo past LAX.

    More roads=more traffic.

    Carpool lanes, even carpool lanes that have their own dedicated additional fricking flyover that goes from the centre lane over the plebs who are one to a car (ie everybody) are still not enough.

    Why not buses? Because dedicated busways, like dedicated carpool lanes with their own flyovers have to end eventually, and then the backed up cars choke up the buses, and they're still screwed.

    Trains/light rail/trams win because they avoid road traffic. What we need is to allow intensification near the train stations. Now I love gardening, but I've been really pleasantly surprised that a combination of low rise apartments, no carparking, excellent public greenspaces, and shops within 3 minutes walk of the front door are actually more potentially awesome than having a garden. And the poeple with families who live in these same buildings seem to find the same.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    the tunnel as corporate welfare for the fat cats of Queen Street

    This argument would have more credibility if the CBD wasn't the transport hub. Is there any public transport from the shore to the airport, that doesn't require entering the CBD?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    The idea of a rail tunnel through the Auckland CBD is disliked as paying assistance to the rich, well paid, productive workers of the CBD is disliked.

    What about the students of AUT ? They will most certainly benefit from the envisaged Aotea station.

    What about the punters going to a gig at the Edge, or the clubbers hitting K Rd ?

    Tourists ? Queen St shoppers ?

    These groups are all distinct from your putative well-paid CBD works (not all, it has been pointed out, will receive the average wage or above). Yet they will all receive a benefit from the CBD rail tunnel, and all users of the tunnel will be paying for the privilege. There is an element of user pays to this.

    I'm just glad that the political stars have aligned on this concept at a local government level. We just need to spook Key enough for him to reign Joyce in. Next year's election is a prime opportunity to make this issue one of the big election issues, at least in Auckland. Nicky Kay would be an obvious pressure point, as MP for Auckland Central she needs to be very clear about her support for this, and more importantly, what she intends to do about progressing this.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Joshua Arbury,

    Nikki Kaye has gone awfully quiet on this issue in recent weeks.

    Auckland • Since May 2009 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Joshua Arbury,

    Pressure from on high, perhaps? The National Party line is very definitely hostile to rail, and Kaye won't want to rock the boat. Which is, of course, potential suicide in an electorate that will benefit from the tunnel and which only barely swung her way in '08. It's National's electorate to lose, and they're doing a pretty good job so far of alienating the Chardonnay Socialist set resident in the central Bays.

    Hopefully Jacinda's taken some of the comments on your posts and fed them into the Labour apparatus, and we'll start seeing something resembling an effective opposition in the new year. Not holding my breath, but it could happen.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    You’re still framing this as purely beneficial to those working in the CBD. It’s not, and never has been, just about the CBD. It’s about the entire rail network, across the whole region

    Exactly. Mentioned upthread #horsetowater

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I understand people from other regions resenting money being spent on Auckland, though there are plenty out there who can get beyond their bigotry and recognise that it’s good for the country as a whole if Auckland’s economy performs to best possible effect.

    I don't resent national money being spent on Auckland. I just wish it wasn't framed as "what's good for Auckland is what's good for NZ because it's the biggest city/economy".

    What's good for any part of the NZ economy is by nature good for NZ. The "auckland reasoning" seems to imply that the rest of the country is lucky to get government welfare for its projects, whereas in Auckland it's deserved. The language needs to change.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    +1 Kyle Matthews.
    Living in a place that is a popular tourist destination - where the locals pay, through rates, the cost of rubbish removal etc. and *very* little is injected into our peculiar local economy- I find it somewhat difficult to think of Auckland as a truly special case. The place is huge (in ANZ terms)but it has huge resources and income also.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    The "auckland reasoning" seems to imply that the rest of the country is lucky to get government welfare for its projects, whereas in Auckland it's deserved. The language needs to change.

    I'm not sure what you are reading - examples welcome. I've always heard Aucklanders acknowledge the rest of the country as worthy of investment. Many of us travel, work and have relatives and friends all over this fine land so we'd be silly not to.

    Sure, there has been a clear trend for at least the last 6 years to identify Auckland as the only place in this country that will ever have the scale to be compete for business and people on the world stage with other city-regions. That's a worldwide trend in economic development thinking and I haven't seen the reasoning seriously disputed though there is bound to be some grumbling (just like in places like Adelaide and Brighton). It doesn't change the strengths of other centres in particular industries like software, electronics, farming services, biotechnology, film and food production, etc. But it does mean the proposed national convention centre is not going to be anywhere else, for instance.

    Maybe some of the 'language' is in response to knowing that the Auckland region has been under-invested in by successive governments and public agencies for decades even on a population basis, let alone potential cost-benefit? Current examples include promoting the Puhoi holiday highway to Northland above the Auckland central rail loop designed to future-proof the region's whole rail network for massive population increases over the next half century (and with more than three times the economic benefits per dollar spent). Another classic from the same sector would be Wellington's new trains being mostly paid for by all New Zealanders, but Auckland's ones to be paid for by.. you guessed it, Aucklanders.

    That type of behaviour holds back the region from achieving some of those global scale multipliers that only large enough places in each country can have. The whole of New Zealand could do with the extra income, skilled people, opportunities and attention it can bring us. Large projects anywhere will always require some government investment or at least approval. It needs to count.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    Kyle, when the country's biggest region, and biggest economic contributor (Auckland's GDP in 2009 was over $48b), is described as "an anchor" by the PM, that's pretty serious. That says that whatever can reasonably be done to lift that drag from the national economy should be done. Ignoring that Auckland's contribution to the national economy is actually in line with its size, and is consistent with other cities of similar size overseas, what's good for our economy is good for the nation because we contribute so much tax income.

    Auckland doesn't get back what it puts in, and never has. In general tax take, and road tax, more goes out than comes back. Mostly we don't complain, except when accused by cockies from down the line of "bludging" off the productive teat of the nation, but when there are projects that will help grow our economy and deal with detrimental factors such as congestion it would be nice if money from central government was as readily available to us as it is to, say, Wellington's train set: 90% taxpayer-funded, and you won't hear Aucklanders complaining except when told that we only get a loan for our trains.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Matthew Poole - in terms of my own strange wee district, we pay a shit load more in rates (for the WCC/WDC) and taxes, than any resident ever gets either a service/supply or any other return for. In terms of the visitor load for the West Coast in general, as far as I can ascertain, LESS comes back to the district than it COSTS the district to host loopies.

    As someone who was peripherally responsible for tourists coming here, I am very sorry, and yes, I am seriously thinking of moving to the deep south.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Islander,

    Can’t speak to your rates, but y’all have state-funded roads, and hospitals, and schools, don’t ya? Who do you think pays for those?

    Not trying to get into an argument about this, but Auckland has the biggest gap between taxes paid and taxes returned and that’s down to the density benefits that make it more cost-effective to build roads, hospitals, schools and all those other things that are provided by the state in this country.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Actually, our several tiers of rates,Matthew, are largely funded LOCALLY. We pay local body rates (Westland County Council and Westland Regional Council - for which we get buggerall in actual local returns)as well as our several taxes. We do not have most of the services you would expect for these rates. I mean, local hospital? Ptui. (There was one, but it got dold off 7 years ago.) Ambulance service?
    May be available - occaisionally.)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Islander,

    Your point being...? We're talking about taxes, not rates.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Roads, drains and resource management would chew up a fair bit of the Coast's council spending, along with the regional economic development, tourism promotion and so on that councils also share.

    DHB funding for ambulance and local hospital services would be quite stretched by the low population density too. But the natural spendour, kaimoana and community might provide some compensation..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Sacha,

    True Sacha - but the point I was making to Matthew Poole, was - that as well as the usual taxes, we also have these non-usual taxes that *dont benefit us* (local ratepayers and tax-payers.)
    And the local advantages (kaimoana etc.) are not, in ANY way assisted by the whacking great tourist hordes who come through here and who, in a most literal way, dont even clean up their own shit.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Matthew P, we also pay taxes. The rates I have mentioned are in addition to the taxes, and have NO benefit to local people.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Islander,

    the whacking great tourist hordes who come through here and who, in a most literal way, dont even clean up their own shit.

    Yes, I'd be putting a lot of pressure on your elected councillors to sort out the 'freedom' campers, the dirty bastards.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Joshua Arbury,

    The other thing worth noting is that between now and 2050 Auckland's population is set to grow by about a million. The entire rest of NZ's population is anticipated to grow by less than 400,000 over the same time period.

    Auckland • Since May 2009 • 236 posts Report Reply

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