Submit for a healthy transport future for everyone in Aotearoa

I’m making a submission on the Draft Government Policy Statement on land transport 2024-34 (GPS) by the cut off midday on Tuesday 2 April.  The GPS sets the funding priorities for land transport for the next 1o years so is hugely important for delivering an efficient, safe, accessible, healthy and affordable transport system for all.

Unfortunately the draft GPS is not informed by evidence, ignores the fundamental reasons why people travel and will not deliver on the government’s strategic priorities. The GPS starkly deviates from sensible transport policy, value-for-money investment decisions, and best-practice transport planning seen in other countries around the world.  

For Aucklanders the GPS will result in more congestion, higher travels costs, poorer heath outcomes from increased pollution and reduced access to active travel options. 

It completely ignores the needs of the 30% of New Zealanders who cannot or do not drive. More people, especially the most vulnerable road users like children and elderly, will die or be seriously injured on our streets and roads if the GPS is allowed to progress as drafted.  

The GPS will not enhance economic growth and activity in urban centres like Auckland.  Our transport challenges can not be met by building more roads as proposed by the GPS – the Roads of National Significance (RONS) make up only 1% of Auckland’s road network and according to Waka Kotahi’s own studies have Benefit-to-cost ratios of 1 or less. The RONS are not a good use of public money and are inefficient. 

Leveraging every opportunity to get more out of the existing network, providing more efficient ways to move goods and people and encouraging mode shift will have the greatest positive impact for the city. The rapid transit network (and cycling network) can be completed by making use of existing road space. It makes no sense for the GPS to ban the current approach of funding improvements to local roads from a single funding source. Requiring walking and cycling investment from only one activity class will be inefficient and expensive for councils and create additional administrative costs.  It also makes no sense for the GPS to direct that investment is only to be made “where demonstrated volumes of pedestrians and cyclists already exist.”  The Auckland Harbour Bridge would never have been built if the same criteria had been applied. 

As a former Auckland Councillor and Local Board member I know from experience that people want safer streets, want more transport options especially for local trips, and support investment in walking and cycling infrastructure.  This is not based on “ideology” but on the feedback from countless public consultation processes and Waka Kotahi’s own surveying.


It also concerns me that there is no mention of engagement with Māori and improving outcomes for Māori.  Again, from my experience on council I know that when engagement happens properly and respectfully with Māori the outcome is improved and of a higher quality for everyone.  

There are a lot more points to cover about what needs to be ditched and improved in the GPS.  Fortunately,  smart and informed people have put together a submission guide Transport 4 all  to assist with feedback on the main issues.  Auckland Council also gave astute feedback on the GPS

Further reading

The GPS is a disaster for local government 

Submission from a group of academics specialising in transport systems, public health, urban development, and geography

Lawyers for Climate Action NZ submission 

The draft GPS cover reimagined as Transport for Life by Carol Green

Monthly Board Report September 2014

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board activities during August 2014 as Deputy Chair, lead for the Community and Transport portfolios, Chair of the Grants Committee, Deputy Chair of the Central Joint Funding Committee and with positions on the Ponsonby Business Association and Ponsonby Community Centre Committee.

Portfolio reports:  Transport

Cycle Advisory Group

The Cycle Advisory Group was established by the Mayor as a forum for providing advice, a strategic review and sounding board on cycling issues in Auckland. Members of the group consist of representatives from advocacy organisations, NZTA, ACC, MOT, Waterfront Auckland, AA, the Mayor’s office and Auckland Transport. Councillors Chris Darby, Linda Cooper and Penny Hulse are also invited to attend.

At the chair’s forum meeting in June it was noted that there was no local board representation on the advisory group. I was nominated by the board chairs as the local board representative.

I attended the fourth meeting of the group on 29 August which focused on the prioritisation process for cycling capex projects.

Draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport 2015

I made a submission on the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport. At the time I was convinced it was a waste of time.

However on 19 August Prime Minister John Key  announced $100 million in new funding to be made available over the next four years to accelerate cycleways in urban centres after a record breaking number of submissions were received on the GPS supporting cycling investment. It is proposed that an Urban Cycleway Investment Panel will investigate opportunities to invest in urban cycleways that would expand and improve the cycling network.

What is significant is that for the first time the National government has acknowledged the benefits commuter cycling and the need to provide connected infrastructure. The challenge to Auckland Transport will be to ensure that robust investment proposals are ready to go so that Auckland can tap into this fund (which does not require matched funding from AT).

Drinking station upper queen st bridgeDrinking fountains

The board has committed to funding three drinking stations in the street environment from the local board capex fund.

The first of the stations has been installed at the corner of Ian McKinnon Drive and Upper Queen Street as part of the Upper Queen Street bridge upgrade (photo right).

Missing connections

A priority of the Board is to improve connectivity around the Waitematā area. One of our advocacy positions to Auckland Transport through our Local Board Agreement 14/15 is for construction of the Wellesley St connection to Auckland Domain under Symonds St overbridge and on-road connection to the NZTA funded/constructed Grafton Gully Cycleway

Last month I came across this Dutch family in the photo right who were lost on the Symonds Street bridge trying to get to the Museum by following a street map.  It reinforced yet again the importance of the City – Domain walking connection bvia Wellesley Street (the project is with the City Centre Integration Group to progress).

Beach Road cyclewayCycling network

Thanks in part to Local Board advocacy great progress has been made to complete major cycling projects in the Waitematā area.  The Grafton Gully cycleway (NZTA project), Upper Queen Street bridge connection (AC project) and Beach Road stage one (Auckland Transport project – pictured) will all be opening in early September to provide a continuous connection from Quay Street through to the NW cycleway.

Monthly transport update

A monthly update with Auckland Transport took place on 27 August. Current issues are reported back monthly by Auckland Transport on our public agenda including the details of the consultation undertaken with the Transport portfolio on behalf of the Board.

Portfolio reports:  Community

The community Development portfolio is working on a number of issues that were discussed at our monthly meeting with CDAC officers on 27 August including:

  • Grey Lynn Community Centre funding
  • Funding available for tables and chairs at community centres
  • Leys Institute Lift

I also attended a number of meetings during August relevant to the Community portfolio – these are listed below.

Local Board Engagement

Consultation on the draft Waitematā Local Board plan ended on 6 August.  A series of drop-in sessions concluded at the Grey Lynn Library on 4 August. Consultation on the Board’s localised carbon emission reduction plan closed on 16 August.

Community Grants

The Community Grant committee met on 25 August to consider applications to the Board’s community fund for the first round of 2014/15. The Board has $100,000 available for community grants per year.

The Committee has recommended allocating $30,852 in grants from the $80,612 applied for. A final decision will be made at the September Board meeting.

Local Government New Zealand

I attended the LGNZ Zone One meeting on 22 August with representatives from Local Boards, Kaipara District Council, Whangarei District Council, Far North District Council and Northland Regional Council. Councillor Penny Webster is Zone One Chair and Auckland Council’s representative on LGNZ.

The meeting received updates from Malcolm Alexander, CEO of LGNZ (Vision of LGNZ: Local Government powering community and national success) and presentations from Surf Live Saving, Fields of Remembrance Trust (WW1 commemorations) and an update on the Financial Prudence Regulations.

Workshops and meetings

In the period 1 August – 31 August I attended:

  • Communications catch up on 4 August
  • Engagement adviser catch up on 4 August
  • Local Board draft plan drop in sessions – Grey Lynn Library Hall on 4 August
  • Local Board workshop on 5 August
  • Newmarket Station Signage – Parks Portfolio Meeting on 6 August
  • Meeting to discuss LTP draft performance measures
  • WEBINAR   Tax – An elected members responsibility
  • Elections 2016 workshop for local board members on decisions to be made prior to the 2016 local government elections on potential changes to the voting system, establishment of Maori wards and representation arrangements.
  • Community meeting organised by Community development team at the Freemans Bay community centre – Inner City Network:  What would a successful network look/feel like? On Friday 8 August
  • City Rail Link Project update for local board members on 11 August
  • Working lunch with Housing NZ board members and housing NZ representatives on 11 August – HNZ  provided an overview and details of their presence in the Waitematā area
  • Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 12 August
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting in Parnell on 12 August
  • Waterfront Auckland CEO update for board members on 13 August
  • Meeting with Dave Peters from Cycling Auckland (bike hire business) regarding Waterfront Auckland’s bike hire operation (attended with Kevin Wright on behalf of Stephen Town and Connie Clackson from Waterfront Auckland)
  • Newmarket Laneways Precinct proposals – initial plans presented to board members on 13 August
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 14 August
  • Effective Meetings for Local Board Chairs and Deputy Chairs – This session is the follow-up from Monday 5 May and concludes the examination of styles and approaches that help meetings to run smoothly and generate decisions.
  • Local Board briefing on the LTP financial policies on 18 August – a briefing for 2 representatives from every board  on the financial policy issues that may be considered as part of the long-term plan with an opportunity to provide early feedback
  • Communications catch up on 19 August
  • Meeting to discuss photos for the board’s achievements report
  • Grants Committee agenda run through on 20 August
  • LGNZ Zone One meeting at the Orewa Service Centre on 22 August
  • Waitematā Local Board Grants Committee Meeting on 25 August
  • Local Board Workshop on 26 August
  • Ponsonby Community Centre committee meeting on 26 August
  • Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on 27 August
  • Community Development portfolio monthly catch up on 27 August
  • Auckland Transport meeting with Barbara Holloway, K’rd Business Association to discuss maintenance issues and service levels.
  • Meeting with Waterfront Auckland and Ponsonby Cruising Club to discuss the club’s lease
  • Cycling Advisory Group meeting on 29 August
  • Bus stop interactivity and user experience presentation by AUT students to Auckland Transport representatives

Splice Gift giversEvents and functions

In the period 1 August – 31 August  I attended:

  • 95bfm interview on the Waitemata Local Board plan on 1 August
  • City Givers Launch event at Pioneer Women’s Hall hosted by Splice on Saturday 2 August (photo right)
  • IPENZ annual debate on the positive team with Darren Davies and Matt Hinton The Car is So last century (photo below)
  • Cycle Action Auckland’s Associates Breakfast at the Auckland Art Gallery on 6 August
  • Vintage Austin Register – Auckland branch AGM on Sunday 10 August
  • Hosted the Green Desk on 95bfm  on 12 August talking to Florence Reynolds from Plastic Diet
  • Carlton Gore Road market dayGrey Lynn Business Association networking drinks
  • Hosted the Green Desk 95bfm  on 26 August talking to Emma McInnes from Generation Zero
  • Locally left at the Grey Lynn RSC with Jacinda Ardern and David Slack
  • Grey Lynn Residents Association AGM on 19 August at the Grey Lynn Community Centre
  • CAB Auckland AGM at the Flickling Centre on 20 August
  • Herne Bay Residents Association Candidates debate on 21 August at the Ponsonby Cruising Club
  • Carlton Gore Road market day organised by the Newmarket Business Association on Saturday 23 August (photo right of the new footpaths and bike parking)
  • Local Board hosted citizenship ceremony at the Town hall on 25 August
  • Cycle Action Auckland public monthly meeting 28 August
  • Movie fundraiser for Tearfund on 28 August
  • Belleville at the Herald Theatre at the invitation of Silo Theatre 29 August

IPENZ transport debate

Submission on the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport 2015

UPDATE: As I have acknowledged in my September monthly report when I made my submission on the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport  I was convinced it was a waste of time however I was proved wrong – on 19 August  the Prime Minister John Key  announced $100 million in new funding to be made available over the next four years to accelerate cycleways in urban centres after a record breaking number of submissions were received on the GPS supporting cycling investment. It is proposed that an Urban Cycleway Investment Panel will investigate opportunities to invest in urban cycleways that would expand and improve the cycling network.

What is significant is that for the first time the National government has acknowledged the benefits commuter cycling and the need to provide connected infrastructure. The challenge to Auckland Transport will be to ensure that robust investment proposals are ready to go so that Auckland can tap into this fund (which does not require matched funding from AT).

I made a quick submission yesterday on the draft GPS on Land Transport with one minute to spare before the consultation closed.

I was hoping to present a fuller case for investing in walking and cycling but ran out of time.  Thankfully I was able to draw on the submission from the On Yer Bike campaign  which encouraged  a record breaking 3,400 responses.  Sadly I don’t think submissions on the GPS will make any difference to the government’s crazy obsession with building uneconomic roads & motorways at the expense of all other transport modes but I wanted to join those demanding investment in cycling.

Dear Minister Brownlee,

I am Deputy Chair of the Waitematā Local Board representing the central suburbs and city centre of Auckland of almost 80,000 people.  The latest census has demonstrated the benefits of investment in public transport and walking/cycling in the Waitematā read. Where people are provided choice in Auckland they are leaving their car at home.

51% of people in Waitematā travelled to work on census day by means other than a car compared with the Auckland average of 16%

25% in Waitematā do not own a car compared with 19% in 2006 (rising to 51% in the city centre)

The draft GPS does not reflect Aucklander’s demand for transport choice.  The draft Government Policy Statement proposes to spend well under 1% of the budget on walking and cycling.

I therefore request that the government allocate significantly more funding to PT and walking and cycling in the 2015 Government Policy Statement on land transport.

In particular I request that the budget for active transport is increased from $15-30 million per year to $45-90 million per year for the next 3 years with progressive increases after that. This is a small increase relative to the total budget of $3.5 billion per year, but would start to make a real difference for cycling. The NZ Transport Agency should take an active leadership role in improving cycling.

Auckland Transport’s surveys have indicated that almost 60% of Aucklanders would cycle if they felt safe. Completion of the Auckland Cycle Network would give people a viable choice about cycling and provide more people with access to PT.

Investment in cycling is also consistent with the proposed three priority areas in the GPS

A strong and continuing focus on economic growth and productivity

Internationally competitive cities are now recognising is that a good walking and cycling environment is a pre-condition for an economically healthy city. It means higher rents, increases property values and creates economic benefits.

Road safety

Investing in cycling infrastructure creates a safer roading environment for all road users

For example, after a parking-protected bike lane was installed on Manhattan’s Ninth Avenue, all traffic-related injuries dropped 50 percent. Injuries to pedestrians dropped 29 percent and injuries to cyclists dropped 57 percent


Investment in cycling infrastructure represents excellent value for money. In the UK the average BCR is estimated to be 19:1 (and this is without factoring in all the possible environmental benefits such as the reduction in air pollution and the health benefits)

By providing transport choice the road system is less congested and provides for the movement of freight and the people and services that need to be on the road.

The roading investment as proposed in the draft GPS is low value for money.

I ask the Minster to consider the data from New Zealand and internationally and transport trends to finalise a GPS that is economically responsible, environmentally sustainable and will meet the transport requirements of  Aucklanders now and for future generations.