ARC Calls For New Auckland Transport Agency To Be Axed


The ARC today called for the super-city plan for an Auckland Transport body to be shelved, with chair Mike Lee saying the ARC is adamantly opposed to its creation.

Making submissions to the parliamentary committee hearing the relevant local government bill, Mr Lee said that the proposal for an Auckland Transport bureaucracy was the “most obnoxious” aspect of the bill “because it is the most threatening to achieving the purpose of the reform.”

It meant that Auckland will not have integrated decision-making, and it will prevent the region and its communities from having genuine input into transport-related decisions affecting their local areas and across the region.

“In short it means regional governance is not unified and strengthened, it is instead weakened.”

He told the committee that the transport agency will be spending over 50% of the Auckland Council’s rates revenue $1.3 billion of Aucklanders’ money, yet the arrangements proposed don’t make it accountable to the public for the expenditure of that money, and nor do they make it accountable to the Auckland Council.

“It is also unclear to us how members of the public, members of local boards or members of the Auckland Council will be able to influence the transport agency, or any transport projects in their local area. ”

He said the accountability arrangements for Auckland Transport fall well short of what is required and that the fact the agency can conduct its business in secret was the tip of the iceberg.

The more significant problems  in the ARC’s view were that:

  • The Auckland Council is unable to appoint the Chair and Deputy Chair
  • Auckland Transport is not required by legislation to act in accordance with the requirements of its shareholder
  • The Board is not made accountable to the Auckland Council
  • The Auckland Council may be able to make changes to Auckland Transport’s statement of intent, but the provisions in this Bill would mean that Auckland Transport is not even required to act in accordance with its statement of intent
  • Auckland Transport is not required to give effect to the Regional Land Transport Strategy or to any other policy of the Auckland Council that relates to the transport agency
  • Auckland Transport could set up companies, sell assets and enter into major financial commitments without the approval of Auckland Council, even where the transactions may leave the Council with significant liabilities or commitments
  • Auckland Transport won’t be required to have regard for the wider land use and development objectives of the Auckland Council.

Management positions for Auckland Transport have already been advertised. The Auckland Transition Agency is already in the process of setting it up this bureaucracy.

“Yet the public has had no opportunity to voice its opinion whether its wants this body or not. The work and the deliberations of this select committee have not been completed and parliament has not yet made a final decision. And yet this is going on – clearly it’s a sign of things to come. This makes a mockery of this committee’s work – it is a disgrace.”

Mr Lee said he was not playing political games. He fully supported significant changes to the way Auckland was run but was very unhappy with the way it was happening. “My comments will not be intended as political points-scoring because I believe the future of Auckland is too important for narrow politics.”

But Mr Lee concluded: “I would go far as to say that if the Super City is based on this Bill the way it is now then I will predict the Super City will not survive – it will not stand.”




  1. Jon R says:

    I take my hat off to Mike Lee. These are very valid points he has raised.

  2. Matt L says:

    The ARC’s stand on the whole super city debate has really surprised me. They easily could have taken the same approach as every other council (except Auckland City) and tried to protect their patch and their own jobs however they seem to have taken the other path. One could say they are picking their battles.

    It would be interesting to find out the number of submissions for/against the way Auckland transport is being proposed

  3. Max says:

    Sweet. When I spoke to IPENZ before the Select Committee, I was talking from a “it’s gonna happen, lets make the best of it” point of view. But it’s good to see that the opposition is so public.

    I DID mention to the Select Committee that they were in danger of creating a yearlong shitfight (didn’t quite name it that way) in the way they were setting up this entity - chaos and inefficiency for years, rather than integration and streamlined processes.

  4. Max says:

    IPENZ Transportation Group, Auckland Branch, to be exact. Not sure if IPENZ Auckland itself has made a submission…

  5. Jeremy Harris says:

    Absolutely correct, the funny thing is initially I was supportive of a Transport CCO if done correctly, this is a dictatorship…

  6. Cambennett says:

    Good on Mike Lee, he’s dead right about this. This is nothing more than a weasily way of Joyce doing what he wants regardless of public support by bypassing the local council.

  7. Simon says:

    Mike Lee is right on. This is all about about taking power away from Auckland to make decisions about its future so that it doesn`t become powerful enough to stand up to Joyce and get in the way of the National party`s ideas of how Auckland and NZ should be.

    I think they saw from their time in opposition how strong Auckland could potentially become as the mayors and Mike Lee lead a pretty united front down to Wellington in pressuring Labour to spend more and come to the party on PT development. I think they could see that the old central government trick of divide and rule in always getting the various mayors and local Auckland councils to fight and argue amongst themselves was not working anymore so enter a new trick.

    With many calls for a united Auckland to speed up decision making etc, they`d give us the Super city we wanted, but they`d sneakily do it on their terms so that Auckland would actually become weaker and be under their control rather than become a powerful united city which could threaten their plans for the city and country.

    This is all about making Auckland a limp doll at the beck and call of central government politicians.

  8. ingolfson says:

    “This is all about making Auckland a limp doll at the beck and call of central government politicians.”

    Roll on, next election…


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