Bold decision making needed to unleash Auckland’s potential

Tāmaki Makaurau has had an aspiration to deliver a safe, connected cycling network since the former Auckland Regional Council signed off plans in the mid-2000s which were then adopted in the Supercity’s first Auckland Plan.

Since then, funding and delivery has been patchy and compared to many cities worldwide, Auckland’s cycling mode share by distance and trips remains low at 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent respectively.  This is often blamed on the weather and the hills, however international studies show that the biggest factor to determine cycling rates is the availability of safe, connected cycling infrastructure.    E-bikes further neutralise the effect of Auckland’s geography making riding a viable transport option across our region.

We also know there is huge demand to be able to cycle safely.  Where cycleways are built riders flock to them, for example, our North Western Cycleway has had a ridership increase of 128 percent between 2015 and 2019 (as measured at Kingsland).  Most Aucklanders own a bike and a recent survey found 56 percent of Aucklanders would cycle (or cycle more often) if it felt safe.

There is often the misconception that the push is to get everyone onto bikes for every trip.  This isn’t desirable or practicable.  To achieve Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri Auckland’s climate plan transport emissions reduction target of 64 percent by 2030 we need to aim for at least 7 percent cycle mode share by distance. This perhaps sounds like a lot, but it might mean using a bike or e-scooter for just a couple of trips a week or for every trip under two kilometres. It is also about making it safe for kids to get to school independently so we can take a big chunk of the approximately 40,0000 school drop-off trips off the road each day.

It is important to acknowledge there will always be a place for cars to be used in Tāmaki Makaurau, and the good news is more people cycling eases congestion for those who need to drive. It frees up space on our roads for essential trips and freight. More people cycling not only improves liveability, public health, and air quality, it is also good for business and the local economy.

Safe, connected infrastructure benefits everyone including the 30 percent of Aucklanders who don’t drive or can’t drive. Cycleways, wider footpaths and safer connections between our various modes of transport makes our city more accessible for everyone. The idea that roads are just for cars because of “congestion” locks us into transport planning that induces more demand for driving making congestion worse. It is also unfair.

So what is happening to deliver the cycling network – now called the Cycling and Micromobility Network – and provide Aucklanders real options to leave the car at home? $306m has already been allocated in the Regional Land Transport Plan unanimously approved by councillors and supported by all local boards last year to deliver cycling infrastructure over the next ten years.  On 5 May the Planning Committee considered the prioritisation of that funding to provide 45 kilometres of safe cycle facilities, as well as concentrated investment in local cycle connections in four key areas  (how the decision was reported in Greater Auckland).

Even though completing the Network is great value for money, it wasn’t a meeting to approve funding and no additional funding was approved.  But what we do know is that more funding will be needed to reach the 7% cycle mode share by distance goal (estimated to be at least $2 billion) as well as a range of significant policy changes at a national level.

By endorsing the direction of Auckland Transport’s Cycling and Micromobility Programme Business Case, a majority of Councillors have acknowledged the type of investment which will be needed in order to achieve our ambitious cycling mode shift target by 2030. Significantly more funding will be needed in coming years from both Council and Government along with some potentially difficult policy changes to shift New Zealanders’ transport behaviours. With bold decision making and smart urban public policy Tāmaki Makaurau has the potential to unleash significant benefits for all Aucklanders.

First published in Ponsonby News

Monthly Board Report August 2012

Waitemata Local Board member monthly report: Covering activities from 1 July – 31 July 2012

Board responsibilities:

  • Transport (West including Regional portfolio) with Greg Moyle
  • Community (including Regional portfolio) with Tricia Reade
  • Chair, Grants Committee
  • Member of the Isthmus Local Board Joint Funding Committee
  • Positions: Grey Lynn Business Association, Newmarket Business Association (alternate)

Portfolio reports


Transport Monthly transport update

The monthly Transport catch up was held with the Transport portfolio and relevant officers from Auckland Transport on 26 July. The issues discussed are reported back monthly by AT on our public agenda.

Auckland (Regional) Cycle Network

At our April meeting we referred our concern that the Regional Cycle Network (RCN) has been reported as 28% complete to the Auckland Transport Board on 21 March and the Transport Committee despite the lack of safe, continuous and connected routes particularly on “completed” parts of the network in the Waitemata Local Board area to the Transport Committee.

In July, with Christopher Dempsey, I presented to the Transport Committee on the cycling network – now named the Auckland Cycle Network. The Transport Committee responded positively by moving  (Cr C Casey, seconded Cr GS Wood) that Auckland Transport and NZTA report on the current state of the Auckland Cycle Network and the extent to which the reported 28% complete cycle network is of sufficient standard, and plans to achieve the Auckland Plan targets. I look forward to receiving this report from Auckland Transport.

St Mary’s Bay Parking Zone Trial

The Ponsonby Road Business Association have raised concerns with Board members about the impact of the new parking zone restrictions on Jervois Road businesses which came into effect on 23 July. I have provided the following response: The  St Marys Bay Parking Permit Zone is being trialled for a year to deal with the issue of all day commuter parking. From the feedback at the St Mary’s Bay Residents Association AGM (held on 26 July) and directly to Auckland Transport it would appear that a majority of residents are in favour of the zone (probably about 80% now compared with only 50% when it was first proposed). If St Marys Bay is a success we are likely to see parking zones extended to Freemans Bay and other city fringe suburbs as there is so much demand to restrict all day commuter parking in residential streets.

Businesses within the zone can apply for permits even for cars not registered at the address. Mercy hospital has been allocated a specific number of permits and St Marys College are eligible to receive 20 (although they have requested more).   Currently no one is eligible for permits from outside of the zone. This is likely to have the biggest impact on businesses close to the zone especially in heritage buildings with little or no off street parking that have been using residential streets for all day parking. Employees, tenants and business owners are going to experience a period of disruption while they adapt to the zone restrictions.  However Auckland Transport have agreed to review the eligibility of permits for those outside the zone within 3 months (rather than 1 year).  This will be after assessing the availability of space within the zone and the degree to which it is being used by short stay visitors. One of the benefits of the zone for business is that more parking will be available for customers.  There needs to be a trial to be able to establish that benefit and to assess the appropriate number of permits that should be made available .  Another potential positive for Ponsonby is that the zone results in less traffic as fewer commuters will come into the area.

I appreciate that the PBA would like action on out of zone permits to be taken sooner but I think by allowing for a period of assessment (as suggested by AT) will result in a much better outcome for the residents, businesses and visitors.


Unitary Plan community engagement

It is really positive news that the Auckland Plan Committee in early July agreed to extensive, wide-ranging community engagement prior to the release of a Unitary Plan discussion document in March 2013 (rather than stick to the orginal timetable to notify a draft plan in December). We now have an opportunity as a local board to meaningfully debate the details of the Unitary Plan with our communities and for input by key stakeholders during September and October. Many people worked behind the scenes to reach this decision by the governing body but I particularly acknowledge our hard working Unitary Plan team of Shale Chambers, Christopher Dempsey and Tricia Reade. Following this decision the community portfolio jumped at the opportunity to work on the details of our engagement plan and strategy to ensure we undertake the most effective consultation possible to achieve the best outcomes for the Unitary Plan.

Community Grants

The Community portfolio team worked with officers to finalise the details of the Board’s community grants fund application and guidelines. Details of this and the regional funding schemes went live on the Council website at the end of July. An email was sent to all our community stakeholder database to advise that Auckland Council is currently inviting applications for a range of community grants funds.

The funds applicable to the Waitemata Local Board area are:

1.   Waitemata Local Board Community Grant

2.   Waitemata Local Board Events Fund

3.   Community group assistance fund

4.   Community group accommodation support fund

5.   Auckland City Cultural Heritage Fund

The first round for the Waitemata Local Board funds closes on 17 August.

Central Joint Funding Committee

I am the Board’s representative on the Central Joint Funding Committee that has been allocated responsibility for administering legacy community funding schemes. The Committee held its first, largely procedural,  meeting on 30 July. We elected Leila Boyle as chair and Desley Simpson as deputy chair and agreed the terms of reference of the committee that ensure that in practice the same model as 2011/12 will be implemented. Funds were also distributed to the Great Barrier Island and Waiheke Island Local Boards. The agenda and minutes of this committee are available on the Board’s website page under “Local Board agendas and minutes”.

Other issues relevant to the Community portfolio

A range of meetings were attended during July relevant to the Community portfolio – these are listed below.

Other Board Activities

Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill

At the Board’s July meeting we confirmed out agreement with the  Auckland Council’s proposed submission on the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill with one exception regarding the elected council setting employment and remuneration policy. I drafted the Board’s submission to make additional comments in relation to the proposed consequential changes to the Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009 (the Act) and the impact on local boards. A copy of the submission is attached to the agenda.

Declaration of Interests 2012

I submitted my Declaration of Interests in accordance with Auckland’s Code of Conduct at the end of June. I have decided to make a register of my interests publicly available and to keep it up to date on my website.

LGNZ conference

I attended the LGNZ annual conference on behalf of the Waitemata Local Board with funding from the Board’s professional development budget. My report on the conference including my expenses is available here

Local Board workshops and meetings

Attended: Local Board workshop on 3 July

  • Transport Committee meeting on 4 July
  • Meeting to discuss the future of Pioneer Womans Hall as a community asset
  • Various meetings to confirm the board’s community grants application and guidelines.
  • Meetings to discuss the board’s unitary plan engagement strategy
  • Meeting with the Telecom Foundation to discuss the location of the Telecom Christmas tree
  • Workshop for local board members on the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill
  • Cluster workshop on 9 July regarding the Sports and Recreation strategy
  • Waitemata Local Board monthly public meeting on 10 July at 35 Graham Street
  • Meeting to discuss the recommendations of the operational subsidies for Community Centres in the Waitemata Local Board area on 11 July
  • Parnell roundabout meeting with Auckland Transport
  • Site visit to Lumsden Green with board members and officers regarding the proposal to develop a new café frontage on the square.
  • Monthly catch up with Ashley Church, CEO Newmarket Business Association
  • Local Board workshop on 24 July Waitemata communications catch up
  • Monthly meeting with  Community Development and Partnerships Central
  • Joint meeting with Stephen Town, NZTA and Matthew Rednall, AT to discuss the status of various projects in the Waitemata area –  city centre motorway ramps; update on one system approach with AT; Grafton Gully to port; grafton gully cycleway project
  • Pacific Island Pioneers Centre proposal meeting with Rev. Obed Unasa
  • Bikes in Schools programme meeting with Sport Auckland
  • Next steps with Public Art meeting on 19 July Meeting  regarding plans for a Wynyard Quarter farmers’ market
  • Public Forum on Newmarket Station Square on 25 July
  • Monthly transport portfolio catch ups with Auckland Transport on 26 July
  • Preparatory meeting for Grey Lynn Park Advisory group meeting
  • Central Joint Funding Committee meeting on 30 July
  • Community Forum on the social implications of gambling at the Problem Gambling Foundation of NZ boardroom, 31 July

Events and functions

I attended the following events and functions during July:

  • Farmers’ Market of NZ conference on Monday 2 July at the Jubiliee Buildings (in my role as chair of the GLFM)
  • Auckland Conversations on 3 July – an excellent presentation by Bill Dunster, founder of the ZED factory who spoke about how to reduce our environmental impact while increasing our quality of life
  • Western Bays Community Group meeting in Grey Lynn on 3 July
  • Cycle Action’s Associates Breakfast at the Art Gallery on 5 July
  • Good Drinks on 5 July at the Nathan club raising money for the Village Project in Uganda
  • Grey Lynn Business Association July networking drinks at Kokako
  • “Reclaiming Grey Lynn’s resources” presentation with Warren Snow organised by Grey Lynn 2030 at the Grey Lynn RSC
  • 15-17 July LGNZ conference in Queenstown
  • Kermadec Fundraiser at Western Springs College
  • Richmond Rovers Rugby League Club – Afi Ah Kuoi Memorial Day on Saturday 21 July
  • Krishnan’s Dairy at Q Theatre (at the invitation of Q Theatre)
  • GLBA seminar – .  “Attract – How to Get More Customers Online”
  • St Mary’s Bay Association Inc. AGM 26 July
  • Korean Veterans Cease Fire Parade on 27 July – presented a wreath with Christine Fletcher on behalf of the Council
  • Sustainable Environment Awards presentation 2012 on 30 July
  • Blessing of the Garden to table project at Wynyard Quarter on 31 July

Completing the Regional Cycle Network

At the Waitemata Local Board meeting in April I raised concern that the Regional Cycle Network has been reported as 28% complete to the Auckland Transport Board on 21 March and the Transport Committee despite the lack of safe, continuous and connected routes particularly on “completed” parts of the network in the Waitemata Local Board area.

In July, with Christopher Dempsey, I presented to the Transport Committee on the cycling network – now named the Auckland Cycle Network. The Transport Committee responded positively by moving  ( Cr C Casey, seconded Cr GS Wood) that Auckland Transport and NZTA report on the current state of the Auckland Cycle Network and the extent to which the reported 28% complete cycle network is of sufficient standard, and plans to achieve the Auckland Plan targets.

Here is our presentation to the Transport Committee

I would like to take this opportunity to speak to item 11 on your agenda. The Waitemata Local Board has referred to you an item regarding the Regional Cycle Network – now named the Auckland Cycle Network (ACN).

We would like to share with you some good news to come out of the RLTP but to highlight the extremely low base we are starting from with regards to the infrastructure that currently exists of the ACN particularly in the Waitemata Local Board area – and the lack of budget to do anything about it.

Highlights – as you are no doubt aware there was extremely strong support for investment in walking and cycling through the RLTP and LTP submission process. Aucklanders want a choice to be able to leave the car at home for short transport trips.

We know that 60% would like to cycle if they felt safe. The good news is that funding has been brought forward in the RLTP to almost double the capex budget available to improve and construct the ACN.  Before we get too excited we have to remember this is still only 1% of the transport budget. A budget that is not keeping up with cycling numbers that recorded a 15% increase to April.

There are also exciting projects happening on motorway land using NZTA funds. I’m sure you are aware of the Grafton Gully cycleway project that will connect the NW cycleway with Tamaki Drive. Work starts this year.

What we would like to focus on is the RCN. Since our resolution renamed the ACN but essentially the same planning tool showing cycle routes that connect schools, tertiary facilities, community infrastructure and links employment and growth areas.

The ACN map is what we have to show the extent of Auckland’s cycling network that forms Auckland’s overall strategic transport infrastructure.

There are various “official” targets for completing the ACN

–       AT briefed us last week on a target completion date of 2040

–       The Auckland Plan is slightly more ambitious at 2030

–       The Regional Land Transport Strategy is aiming at 2026

What is important is the claim by AT that 28% is currently complete. This was repeated to the transport committee and the AT Board in April.

Looking at the ACN in the Auckland Plan (map 13.3) the red lines are meant to indicate what is “complete or existing”. You can see in the Waitemata area we have “complete” on only a few roads

–       Symonds street

–       Great North Road

–       Quay Street

–       Queen Street

–       Ian McKinnnon Drive

–       Khyber Pass

Khyber Pass






I’d like to show you just two of these roads. The Khyber Pass photos were taken by Member Dempsey. This “complete” route takes you through a motorway junction.

On Great North Road we have 4 metre wide shared bus lanes for just 2 hours per day. At the intersection of Ponsonby Road riders mount the footpath to be in a safe zone.

So in our Local Board agreement we have included this advocacy project: Auckland Transport to prioritise for upgrade in the 12/13 financial year all routes currently identified as “complete” on the RCN within the Waitemata Local Board area that are found not to be a safe standard following the review currently underway

We know the review has now been completed. AT knows that the RCN/ACN is by no means “complete“or “existing”. Unfortunately there is very little budget available for remedial work.

We bring this to your attention because this is a regional issue. You need to be aware of the ACN. The fact it is in the Auckland Plan and that it provides a key planning tool for cycleway investment. The routes we have highlighted are regional as Waitemata plays hosts to the region with large numbers arriving into the area each day by different modes of transport.

Unfortunately we are starting from a very low funding base and very little infrastructure – by no means 28% of a network.

I’d like to end with this latest study.

“The presence of off-road bike paths and on-street bike lanes are, by far, the biggest determinant of cycling rates in cities. And that’s true even after you control for a variety of other factors like how hot or cold a city is, how much rain falls, how dense the city is, how high gas prices are, the type of people that live there, or how safe it is to cycle” (study in the journal Transport Policy, Ralph Buehler and John Pucher )

It is often heard in Auckland that the weather is too bad and the roads too hilly to cycle. I’d like to put this myth to bed once and for all so you don’t have to debate the reasons for low cycling numbers – which I’ve heard around this table.

We therefore look to the Governing body to give AT clear direction to urgently bring the ACN up to a genuine 28% complete standard by supporting our local board agreement project.