Wellington Blames Waiheke Ferry


Wellington’s regional council singles out the Waiheke ferry service for the blowout in costs for the Government’s SuperGold transport concessions card for pensioners.

The Greater Wellington Regional Council, in its submission to the government, says it’s “unfortunate” that the transport minister pulled back from his initial fingerpointing at the Waiheke service.
That happened when his initial comments drew an outburst from senior citizen lobby groups.

NZTA has since sent a questionnaire to councils asking how the scheme can be changed.

Says the council: “It is perhaps unfortunate that Government has withdrawn this as an option, as the cost of the Waiheke Island service is clearly jeopardising the whole scheme. The reimbursement for the Waiheke Island ferry service was $2m for the first year of the scheme (23% of the Auckland scheme costs, and 11% of the total NZ scheme costs).

It seems logical, given the cost and “holiday” nature of the Waiheke service, to remove it from the scheme (or at least restrict its use to local residents).

Waiheke ferry a nice mini-cruise for free if you're over 65

By contrast, the council says the concessions for the Wairarapa train service is not in the same lague.
The Wairarapa train service cost $150,000 for the same period (3.4% of the Wellington cost, and less than 1% of the total NZ scheme cost).

“The same logic does not apply to the Wairarapa train however – its cost is minimal and it is not a holiday service. And it also seems logical to limit payment for premium services where a cheaper parallel service exists.”

It does raise the issue of the Wellington airport bus service known as Airport Flyer.

“The Airport Flyer currently costs the scheme about $600,000 a year. The reimbursement rate for this service is much higher than parallel services (because of the higher fare structure on the Flyer). Many people use the Flyer when they could just as easily use another service (and one that would be at
less cost to the scheme).

“It is suggested therefore that, assuming the Waiheke Island ferry service is to remain in the scheme, Council support changes to the way that service is funded. This might involve a reduction in the reimbursement rate for that particular service, restricting its use to Waiheke Islanders, or a cap (at a lower rate than for other services) on spending.

“It is also suggested that Council support the reimbursement rate for premium services, where a cheaper parallel service exists, being at the rate for the cheaper service. ”

The ARC is finalising its submission on the scheme but questions were raised last week about the practice of certain harbour ferry services issuing single trips to SuperCard holders rather than the cheaper return fare tickets.




  1. Richard says:

    The problem here is that Waiheke is now a residential suburb as well as a holiday service, unlike say the Rangitoto ferry.

    Government really stuffed this one up and should have negotiated a cheaper rate with operators. This was a gift to them and Fullers were advertising “”Come to Waiheke on your Gold Card”. Gold Card passengers are mostly people who would not travel or would use a car and therefore without them there would be an empty seat with no subsidised fare.

    Pay the operators less and they are still winning!!!

  2. Brad H says:

    That is the Devonport Ferry in the photo not the Waiheke one.


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